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Old 12-09-2011, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default "Warm" starter for Lager Yeast

So I want to do my first lager, maibock, and I am going to attempt this my emptying my kegerator mini fridge to use just for the ferment. I don't have a fridge to ferment usually, just a Son of Chiller type box, so I can't get cold enough to lager.

I want to cover all my bases and building up enough yeast is key for a good, diacetyl free lager, but in order to get the yeast I will need between 5 and 9 liters of starter, according to Mr Malty for my recipe (1.070 SG and between sitting or shaking the starter)

I was thinking about making a small batch of beer if I am going to be making so much wasted starter wort, If I make 3 gallons of a light session beer I would be wasting less, no?

But, I was wondering if I could make a lager starter using cold ale temps at 60-62 F or so, and if this would affect the health of the lager yeast for my Maibock?

I hope to only have my kegerator out of commission for about a month or so for the Maibock and would love to just ferm this "starter" beer like a cream ale or something, but I don't know if the resulting yeast would then be conditioned for warmer temps and not work as well as between 48 and 50 (where I want to ferment my Maibock).

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Old 12-09-2011, 02:59 PM   #2
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I like to do a small 5 gallon batch to grow yeast for subsequent 10 gallon batches. It works great! The starter beer usually turns out fine and it holds me over until the rest are ready to tap. Personally I feel fermenting a Lager starter at ale temps is much better. Sometimes I get a sulfur odor but as long as the beer is decanted off the yeast before pitching all is good. You can save yourself a lot of time & cost by reusing the yeast on subsequent batches. I just store the thick slurry in a mason jar in the fridge and pitch it right from the fridge into the next batch. The yeast slurry will be fine if it's pitched within a couple of weeks. Cheers, and Happy Brewing!!!

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Old 12-09-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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You can certainly ferment your lager at warmer temperatures. I generally prefer fermentation temperatures but have done it both ways and would have no problem fermenting a lager starter warm if circumstances dictated. Be sure to let it ferment all the way out, then chill and decant. 60-62 degrees as you plan should be great. Room temperature is okay too if you're stuck.

An even easier solution for you would be three packages of dry yeast rehydrated. Simple. W-34/70 would be great.

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Old 12-09-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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+1 on growing yeast at ale temps. Just chill it in the frig for 24 hours after you are done fermenting then decant.

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Old 12-09-2011, 03:43 PM   #5
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Yep ive done a dozen lagers or so and each one I ferment the starter at room temp, throw it in the fridge 24 hours out and then decant off the beer.

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Old 12-10-2011, 03:09 AM   #6
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I appreciate the suggestions

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