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Old 03-23-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
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Default Oktoberfest Lager 2633 from 2009 - Would You Use It?

I ordered some recipes a couple weeks ago from Brewmaster's Warehouse; plan was to brew an Oktoberfest this Friday.

When I pulled the yeast pack out, I see the mfg date is 10/20/2009. I emailed BMW with my concern and they simply said that Wyeast guarantees the packs for 6 months from manufacture (4/20/2010).

Well, if I plug a "fresh" pack into Mr Malty, it says I need 1 pack and a 6L starter. It tells me that the viability of my pack from 10/20/2009 is 10% and that I would need 8 of those packs and a 6.25L starter. Additionally, I smacked the pack almost 24 hours ago and I still don't have any swelling.

My LHBS doesn't have any Oktoberfest, and I have to brew something on Friday. So, what should I do? Try to make as big of a starter out this questionable pack as possible and brew the Oktoberfest, brew my other recipe (which is also a high-gravity lager and will require a large starter), or say screw it and waste my day off?

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Old 03-23-2010, 09:44 PM   #2
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Well, I'd use that yeast. It'll be fine. You can make the starter now, and it should be ready to go by Friday. That said, I always make my starters for lagers in advance- I don't think three nights is enough time to step up a lager and then have time to cold crash it and decant. You'll probably have to wait until it's finished and pitch the whole thing.

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Old 03-23-2010, 10:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Well, I'd use that yeast. It'll be fine. You can make the starter now, and it should be ready to go by Friday. That said, I always make my starters for lagers in advance- I don't think three nights is enough time to step up a lager and then have time to cold crash it and decant. You'll probably have to wait until it's finished and pitch the whole thing.
Thanks Yoop. This is (for all practical purposes) my first lager so I'm nervous about the pitching rate.

I plan to start with 2L tonight, step up to 4L in 24 hours, and then to 6L in 48 hours. Plus 24 hours to crash would put me into Saturday evening.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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Thanks Yoop. This is (for all practical purposes) my first lager so I'm nervous about the pitching rate.

I plan to start with 2L tonight, step up to 4L in 24 hours, and then to 6L in 48 hours. Plus 24 hours to crash would put me into Saturday evening.
Well, that assumes it'll start when you hope it doesn, and finish up by Friday night. Instead of cold crashing it, I'd probably keep it room temperature and pitch the whole thing. I just don't think you have enough time for it to ferment out and then to crash. Lager yeast take longer to fall out than ale yeast, because even at 45 degrees, they are still active.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:12 PM   #5
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Well, that assumes it'll start when you hope it doesn, and finish up by Friday night. Instead of cold crashing it, I'd probably keep it room temperature and pitch the whole thing. I just don't think you have enough time for it to ferment out and then to crash. Lager yeast take longer to fall out than ale yeast, because even at 45 degrees, they are still active.
Good points. Ugg. 6L seems like a lot to pitch into a 5.5G batch, no?
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:25 PM   #6
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With old yeasts, I usually make a small (about 1/2 - 1 liter) starter, and leave it for about 48 - 72 hours to build up a supply of healthy yeast cells. I then step it up to the required volume (you can increase the volume by a factor of 10 without any problem.)
The first stage takes a little while to get going, but the second stage starts with a relatively large amount of healthy yeast, and should be ready for pitching within 24 hours. If the starter is large, I chill overnight, decant, and pitch the slurry. If the starter is less that 1.5 liter, I pitch the whole thing.

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