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Old 06-03-2012, 06:44 AM   #1
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Default Pilsner Starter- Advice Needed

I'm in the process of making a pilsner. I used my immersion chiller to get the wort down to 80 and stuck it in the fridge to chill overnight.

2 days ago I made a 2 liter starter. Fast forward to tonight. I took a little taste of the starter and it was still sweet. I had it around 50 for the two days, swirling periodically. Since it wasn't doing much at that temp I just pulled it out of the fridge so hopefully it kickstarts overnight. At this point, I'm not sure if I should pitch the whole thing tomorrow or hope it ferments out quickly, chill tomorrow night, decant the liquid and pitch Monday morning. If I wait till Monday morning, the wort will be sitting for 30 hours. Running out for another vial of yeast wasn't in the plans for tomorrow.

Thoughts?

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Old 06-03-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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you put your yeast starter in the fridge? not sure of your yeast, but fridge temps would put your beasties to sleep i think.

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Old 06-03-2012, 11:41 AM   #3
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I suppose it depends largely on the yeast strain you are using but i have done all of my starters at room temp regardless of strain. The goal in a starter is propagation. With a proper amount of healthy yeast in primary, any bad esters or off flavor compounds will be resolved in your primary/secondary/lagering regimen whose goal is flavor.

Everything you do to a starter should have propagation and yeast health as the driving force.

Everything in your fermenter should have positive flavor impact as its driving force.

The goals are different so it stands to reason that the fermentation temperatures are also. Lager yeast temp ranges on the package are speaking to the latter of the two reasons rather than the former.

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Old 06-03-2012, 12:23 PM   #4
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Btw.... Let it ferment today at room temp, aerate your wort tonight and pitch the whole starter at high krausen. This is assuming this is a fairly typical lager and that you have activity in your starter.

Get it into your lagering fridge ASAP and you'll be good.

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Old 06-03-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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Yeah... I saw a lot of differing opinions on whether I should do my starter at fermenting or room temps. Definitely room temp next time.

I'm thinking I'll bring the wort up to around 60 degrees before pitching and slowly drop it down to 50.

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Old 06-05-2012, 02:26 AM   #6
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Good news. Had activity after 18 hours... could have been sooner as I was at work. I never did see any activity in the starter and it was still somewhat sweet when I pitched. I did think there were more yeast in the starter by the time I pitched last night. I slowly brought down the starter temp to 55 and pitched it into a 50 degree well shook up wort.

Can't wait to try one in 3 months

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Old 06-09-2012, 04:29 AM   #7
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Well, my airlock is bubbling every 4-5 seconds after 5 days at 48-50 degrees. Seems to get just a bit faster every day. I took a peek today and the top is covered in yeast, but it's not churning like my ales have. I know the lager yeast is a bottom fermenter, so I was surprised to see so much yeast on top.

Is this normal for lager yeast? At this point I'll let it go for a couple weeks or until the airlock activity has slowed before getting a gravity reading. If it's below 1.02 I figure I'll let it slowly rise in temp for a D rest before bringing it down to lager temp for 6-8 weeks. Sounds like a good plan?

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Old 06-09-2012, 05:42 AM   #8
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Yes that krausen is normal for lager yeasts. Just my 2 cents:

For your starter- Ferment at room temp for a day. Step it up with more wort on day 2. On day 3, crash cool the starter and then decant the beer off the top leaving only enough for swirling and getting the yeast into suspension. This is because as the yeast is propogating, that is when you're going to start getting all of the esters and whatnot from the yeast, especially at the warm temps. Then pitch the cold yeast into the wort (45-50 degrees). It really has helped my lagers a lot doing it this way. They end up even cleaner than when I pitched the whole starter.

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