Originally Posted by mysterio
I'm going to attempt my first mini-mash in a couple of days, a Pilsner Urquell clone, which is also my first proper lager. In regards to the starter, should I make it 'bigger' than usual, so that there's more active cells? What kind of size? Maybe two litres and a cup of DME? Also should I let the whole thing ferment out then siphon out the liquid before pitching so as not to add any esters? Or, should I just pitch the whole thing 2 days in?
Make a large starter (2-3 qts) and let it ferment out. Then dekant the liquid and pitch the yeast sediment. I tried settling out the yeast in the fridge, but that didn't work for me since lager yeast can handle pretty cold temps. That's why I let the lager starters ferment out.
I'm also undecided whether I should keep it simple with a single temperature infusion (the recipe recommends 150F for 90mins), or maybe try something like 130F for 30mins, 155F for 45mins then 158 for 20mins as Papazian recommends. I understand the science behind it all but I can't decided if the end result would justify the extra risk of me messing up!
How much of the extract are you expecting to get from the mash (10%, 20% or more than 50%)
If it is only a small amout, the mash shedule will not have a noticable effect. This means you can keep it simple and just make sure you have conversion in your mini-mash.
But I say, go for the step mash here. It will have great instructional value to do a step mash at a smaller scale. And even if you mess it up, as long as you have conversion you will be just fine.
The most complex mini-mash I ever did was a double decoction with 5.5 lb of grain. It tought me a lot about hitting the rests with decoctions and after that I made my first AG batch as a double decoction.