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Old 10-14-2009, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default "Bottom Fermenting" Lager Starter

I'm doing a starter with a Wyeast lager yeast. I've never lagered before, so I don't really know how to check how fermentation is coming along with the starter. If it's "bottom fermenting" does this mean I won't see any krausen but should just be looking for the accumulation of a yeast cake/trub at the bottom? Or should I see all the "normal" signs of fermentation?

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Old 10-14-2009, 05:05 PM   #2
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You should see the normal signs of fermentation. You may not get as much krausen with a lager, but you will still get one. Also, in my experience with lagers, they sometimes take a little longer to start, so dont be worried if you dont see activity as quickly as an ale.

The most obvious sign of fermentation will still be the airlock, and the most reliable sign will still be the hydrometer readings. Hope this helps!

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Old 10-16-2009, 02:42 PM   #3
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The starter took some time to take off but did get going nicely. There are signs now that the fermentation is slowing down but isn't done yet.

Based on Mr. Malty's advice for this six gallon batch I made a huge (8 litre) starter. Obviously I'm not going to pitch all that. I plan to do a true lagering process for this beer; now I need to decide whether to pitch at 65 degrees or so (room temp in my basement) or cool both the starter and the wort to 50 degrees, decant the beer from the starter and pitch at that temperature.

Advice?

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Old 10-16-2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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My preference is to chill the starter. On brewday, decant the spent wort and allow the yeast to rise to about 48 degrees. Chill the wort to 50 degrees and pitch the yeast. The very slightly warmer wort seems to make the yeast very happy.

I believe in pitching at fermentation temperatures. It will reduce esters and give you less diacetyl. Just like when I make an ale, I don't pitch at 85 and allow it to come down to 65, I don't pitch my lagers at 70 and allow it to come down to 50. Another thing about pitching warmer, then reducing the temperature- If you chill it too fast, you can slow fermentation, but if you chill it too slow, the most active period of fermentation can be over.

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Old 10-16-2009, 02:50 PM   #5
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If you have 1.5 million cells per ml per degree plato (the Fix/commercial/mr malty pitching rate), pitch cold.

The warm pitching is meant to correct for low pitching rates and causes some problems (which can be corrected later in the process).

In fact you might want to pitch colder than 50 and raise the temperature slowly to 50.

Kaiser's website has a lot of information on fermenting lagers as it is done in Germany. These are best practices and since you have an adequate amount of yeast, you can follow them.

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index...menting_Lagers

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Old 10-16-2009, 03:27 PM   #6
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Fantastic advice guys; thanks for the help!

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