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Old 02-04-2013, 03:07 AM   #11
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Nope you don't need a starter! I would use a starter on beers with a high OG, 1070+. A starter only speeds up fermentation and too much yeast can have a adverse effect. I would grab a newer yeast packet at your LHBS and pitch both and forgo the starter.

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:11 AM   #12
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Sorry Ogri I didn't mean any disrespect. Beersmith gives me the same results and if I followed them I would always wonder why they make yeast packets so small. Plus the cost of making a starter....It's just not worth it.

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkwooder View Post
The date of manufacture is otc.2, not the expire date.

Actually, sorry, it's the production/manufacture date that's written on the pack/vial, according to the calculator, not expiry as I wrote. So it's still showing that your date on the package means only about 10% viability.

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Sorry Ogri I didn't mean any disrespect. Beersmith gives me the same results and if I followed them I would always wonder why they make yeast packets so small. Plus the cost of making a starter....It's just not worth it.
No worries, mate. Like I said, was just going by the calculator. Good to know that there's consensus between different yeast pitching calculation programs
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BobC View Post
Nope you don't need a starter! I would use a starter on beers with a high OG, 1070+. A starter only speeds up fermentation and too much yeast can have a adverse effect. I would grab a newer yeast packet at your LHBS and pitch both and forgo the starter.
My "local" brew suply is 50+ miles away, I'll try pitching it in the starter wort and see what happens. It was the newest lager yeast they had. I thought it would be fine, because Weast says it's good for 6 months from the manufacture date.

Looks like I won't be brewing in the morning!
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:24 AM   #15
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This is the first thread I have read that recommended not to do a starter especially for a lager. That yeast is pretty old, you can always build it up by doing a 1 liter followed by a 2 liter starter or something like that, or get another pack and do a 2-3 liter starter. Lagers require big starters, especially if you start on the colder side of fermentation such as 46 and let it raise to 48-50. If you start at room temp and then immediately lower it to 48-55 you need less but may get some off flavors. Cheers

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:35 AM   #16
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Default 4-5L starter

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Originally Posted by Kirkwooder View Post
4-5l of starter seems nuts to me. Thats 20-25% of my total volume! That will make a huge differance in the final product! Do all lagers need this much starter? Why does Wyeast recomend 1 smack pack for this 5 gallon batch? and why do home brewers still use it?

I must not be understanding something!
The starter is just to grow the yeast. A big starter like that would mean, after 2 or 3 days of fermenting, you would chill the starter to get the yeast to drop out of solution, then decant (pour off) the starter, leaving the flocculant yeast on the bottom. Just pitch the yeast on the bottom, which is a fraction of the volume. With Ales, a lot of people don't decant and just dump the whole thing in, and sometimes I do that, especially when it's only a liter or two.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:39 AM   #17
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Default Pitch More Yeast!

Hey guys. Yeast cell count is critical to an effective fermentation (which leads to good beer) and a lager at 1.040 requires around 285 billion yeast cells. A just born Wyeast pack contains about 100B cells, but that number drops rapidly with time. If it was made in October, it's viability is likely down by about 60 to 70%. So you will, indeed, need a LOT more yeast packs. I generally recommend my customers use 4 fresh packs for lagers if they won't do a starter. (Technically, you should do a 2 quart starter and pitch 3 packs of yeast with a born on date of October.)

Don't pitch the yeast until the packs are swollen, then allow at least 24 to 36 hours for the starter to grow.

I strongly recommend that you NOT cut corners when it comes to yeast, especially with a lager. Many things will happen to your beer if you underpitch...every one of which is bad. Most beginner brewers find it really hard to accept this ugly truth, but great beer requires a lot of healthy yeast. And saving a few $$ on yeast is simply not a good reason to risk the entire batch.

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Old 02-04-2013, 04:04 AM   #18
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well now you know to plan for a large starter for the next lager you want to brew. But I'm sure you don't want to drive for a couple of hours to get more yeast so lets work with what you have.

1st I would prepare a 1 liter starter and let it do its thing at 50F. after a couple of days pitch to a 3 liter starter, that would give you a 4 liter starter altogether. After 3 days begin your brew day. I know it's not the ideal way to do it but sometimes we just have to make do with what we have.

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Old 02-04-2013, 04:15 AM   #19
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I would follow the advice that everyone has given so far. I would add myself that you should think first of yeast health when making this first batch of lager.

Build up the starter, use quality nutrients in the starter and in the beer and ferment on the warm side. Then you will have a large amount of healthy lager yeast to work with in the future. My 3rd and 4th pitches have always made the best lagers.

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Old 02-04-2013, 04:23 AM   #20
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Do you have a stir plate? Think you can build one?

I'm getting prepped to jump into lager territory since I have the ability to control fermentation temps easily (2 freezers rigged with STC-1000 controllers). One of the things I was told by more experienced brewers around here is that a stir plate and 2L flask is very useful, especially when doing lagers with liquid yeast.

For example, to get the 283 billion cells Mr. Malty says is needed for your 5 gallons of 1.040 lager wort, you would need 3.47 liters of simple starter. Put a stir plate into that equation, and the starter size drops to 1.3 liters.

Needless to say, I now have a stir plate, flask and stir bar ready for when I try that first lager (probably a Schwarzbier).
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