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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Starter for BIG Beer
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:08 PM   #1
GhengisT
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Default Starter for BIG Beer

Hey guys,

I'm about to brew my 2nd batch of beer. I decided to go (BIG) w/ a Dragons Milk clone (OG = 1.080 FG = 1.018).
New Holland Brew Co. Dragons Milk

I went to my LHBS & they built the recipe for me. The guy that runs the shop said I should make a starter & pitch a 2nd vial of yeast (using liquid WL) when I pitch the starter (just pour it in). I'd like to avoid pitching that 2nd vial of yeast so I can use it for something later, but I understand that I need a hit a target cell count.

This is my first starter, and a stepped up starter at that. Let me know if what I've done thus far is helping or hurting:

*Sunday Night - Boil 1/2 cup DME & 2 cups of water + pinch of Wyeast nutrient. Pitched into 1L flask. Intermittent shaking through the night. Covered w/ tinfoil

*Monday Morn - Mean krausen has formed. More intermittent shaking throughout the day.

*Monday Night - Refrigerate. Start building stir plate

*Wednesday Night - Stir plate is complete. Decant old wort, pitch 1 cup DME & 4 cups of water + Wyeast nutrient. Placed starter on stir plate. Krausen formed immediately. After 4 hours, back into the fridge.

*Thursday night - I decided to let the yeast out to play again. Allowed flask to warm up to room temp, placed back on stir plate. Krausen overflowed most of the night (covered w/ tinfoil).

It's still on the stirplate & frothy. I'm hoping to brew tomorrow mid-morning. Should I just leave the yeast on the stir plate? Is is ok to pitch even when they're starting to settle?

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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I plugged that all in to yeastcalc.com and it puts you right on the money w 271 billion cells. No need to pitch that vial.

What will be the temp of the fermentation?

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for doing that Progmac.

My hardwood closet floor has held an avg. temp of 65F degrees over the last week. LHBS advised holding 66F, so I'm about on the money.

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #4
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cool. sounds like you're good to roll. try to stay patient with your wort cooling. if you pitch super active yeast at 72 you could very quickly be up to 76 with the activity from a beer that big and by the time you get it back down half the fermentation is done. i would pitch a beer like that around 60 degrees if possible and let it rise naturally.

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:49 PM   #5
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cool. sounds like you're good to roll. try to stay patient with your wort cooling. if you pitch super active yeast at 72 you could very quickly be up to 76 with the activity from a beer that big and by the time you get it back down half the fermentation is done. i would pitch a beer like that around 60 degrees if possible and let it rise naturally.
Any harm in pitching lower? Say I dip my starter into the ice bath w/ the wort & pitch them in the mid 50s. Big beers should ferment slow & steady right?
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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Any harm in pitching lower? Say I dip my starter into the ice bath w/ the wort & pitch them in the mid 50s. Big beers should ferment slow & steady right?
I would be comfortable down to 58 or 59 but your suggestion might work well. Certainly better than pitching warm and cooling it down. The concern might be that your yeast aren't going to reproduce very quickly down into the 50s and you'll get a longer lag time. I've done fermentations with normal ale yeasts (not 'hybrid' yeasts like kolsch) pitching at 52 and warming to 58. But in those cases I used something between a lager and ale yeast pitching rate. What yeast are you using?
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:40 PM   #7
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I'll definitely aim to pitch on the cooler spectrum of 60F. I'm using White Labs WLP001. Assuming I maintain a 65 F climate, anticipating fermentation is going to add another 5-6 F, that should put me right in the optimal temp for the yeast. Sound about right?

WLP001 California Ale Yeast
This yeast is famous for its clean flavors, balance and ability to be used in almost any style ale. It accentuates the hop flavors and is extremely versatile.
Attenuation: 73-80%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 68-73°F
Alcohol Tolerance: High

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Old 01-26-2013, 10:59 PM   #8
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other people pay disagree, but i have found slow cool fermentations do not add more than two or so degrees to wort temperature

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Old 01-27-2013, 03:49 PM   #9
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Brew day went well. We had a little trouble maintaining our steep temp of 154F. Highest we hit was 158 & lowest was 150, so we still got what we needed. Yeast starter was 70F when we poured it into the bottle bucket. We poured the 60 wort on top, measured our 5gal mark & then transferred to glass carboy. Rolled around my apartment for 30 min or so..

My closet temp is 65 F, sticky thermometer on side of carboy reads 68 F. Should be a good beer!

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Old 01-28-2013, 02:31 PM   #10
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Cool! Let us know how it turns out

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