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Old 01-25-2013, 11:13 PM   #1
antony
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Default first lager starter

so I'm making my first lager on sunday (maibock) & I was going to get a starter going tonight with wl german lager yeast (1qt to 1 cup dme). I believe its best to leave the starter at room temp (70ish) but I was looking for clarification. also, i've read threads that call for larger starter (stepping up) that are begun at least a week before pitching.

questions: will 1qt starter be sufficient? do i have enough time to get going & pitch on sunday night? if i was making an ale i wouldn't be so worried but this is my first time with lagers....

any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-26-2013, 12:35 AM   #2
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It depends on your OG, but a 1 qt simple starter at room temp should at least get the yeast active and growing before it hits the wort. You may also want to add nutrients to both the starter and wort if you have any. Lagers generally need a lot more viable cells than ales, so 1 qt (or 1L) is on the small side for a 5 gallon brew.

If you are able you would be better off making it around 3qts and decanting it by sticking it in the fridge Saturday night, then pour off almost all of the clear liquid off the white yeast cake (the stuff you want, of course) on the bottom of your starter vessel Sunday before pitching.

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Old 01-26-2013, 01:13 AM   #3
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How big of a starter or how many steps you need to make depends on your OG however a 1 quart starter will not be enough for a lager and definitely not enough for a Maibock. Go to Mr. Malty or Yeast Calc to figure out what you need and don't brew until it's ready. You do not want to waste the amount of time and energy it takes to make a Maibock because you couldn't wait long enough for your yeast to propogate. At the end of the day it's your choice but I would strongly recommend against it. I've made this mistake and got away with it and I've made this mistake and been burned. I will never do it again.

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Old 01-26-2013, 02:31 AM   #4
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my og is supposed to be 1.071 & according to mr.malty it needs a 7.12L starter? so 7 times the size of the one I was going to make? I usually make my starters (1L) in gallon bottles....should I make a 2-3L then step it up to 7L or do you think I can get away with a 3L starter (the most I think I can get in a gallon jug)? its lookin like I'm not brewing sunday.....boo.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:46 AM   #5
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I'd do this a bit differently. In two ways:

1: If you intermittently shake the starter (introducing O2), you need a much smaller starter.
2: By stepping up the starter size, you need less starter wort overall.

I'll spare you the math; you can find a lot about this sort of thing in White and Zainasheff's book "Yeast: the Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation." But I would make a 2-liter starter, shaking intermittently, crash the yeast out, decant, then add 3 liters of wort, bring to high krauesen, and pitch. That'll probably give you the best fermentation in the with the least hassle and time.

Big beers are not simple to make; it's easy to forget that in the early, halcyon days of being a homebrewer when you only want to replicate the beers that stun you the most. You need to buy more, mash more, wait more, and make a ton more yeast - and there's so much more risk of a stuck fermentation or off-flavors. Doubly so for lagers.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:31 AM   #6
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thanks for the advice. i found a video referencing the book you mentioned along with a chart for stepping up starters. going to get something a little bigger than the gallon jar & step up the starter from the one vile until I get 500 billion cells. it'll take longer than the 36 hours i'd hoped but i figure its worth the wait. looks like it'll be a long night of brewing after work one day next week instead of sunday.

thanks again.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:36 AM   #7
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where is this video, I would like to see it.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:47 AM   #8
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http://billybrew.com/stepping-up-a-yeast-starter

after looking at mr. malty again & entering in variables for viability, intermittent shaking, o.g., & growth factor it has me at 11.41 liters of starter. jeez. or i could make a 3L one after buying two more vials of yeast. or hell, just blow another forty bucks and pitch 6 vials and be done with it.

i'm gonna use the chart and step up to 500 billion (ish) cells. i think i need something bigger than a gallon jar though. anyone use any method for larger starters that they care to share (>gallon)?
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antony View Post
http://billybrew.com/stepping-up-a-yeast-starter

after looking at mr. malty again & entering in variables for viability, intermittent shaking, o.g., & growth factor it has me at 11.41 liters of starter. jeez. or i could make a 3L one after buying two more vials of yeast. or hell, just blow another forty bucks and pitch 6 vials and be done with it.

i'm gonna use the chart and step up to 500 billion (ish) cells. i think i need something bigger than a gallon jar though. anyone use any method for larger starters that they care to share (>gallon)?
I brew a starter beer to build yeast for my lagers. Make a starter for a 1.042ish hybrid and brew/ferment a steam type beer at ~60F. When that batch is done, rack to secondary and brew/pitch the maibock on the cake at ferm temps or wash the yeast and pitch it.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:17 AM   #10
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so...update? i used yeastcalc & made a stepped up starter to get to 500+billion cells but...I wasn't able to brew five days ago (when planned & when the starter was ready). I've left the starter in the fridge & hope to brew next weekend. It looks like a ton of yeast in the gallon jar but i was wondering if I have to make another starter to wake this batch up after a week and a half of fridge storage? My gut tells me no, just warm it to room temp for several hours before pitching. I don't want all this time wasted if I should be doing more.

Advice always appreciated...

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