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Old 11-04-2006, 05:17 PM   #11
Baron von BeeGee
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Jul 2005
Barony of Fuquay-Varina, NC
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With dry lager yeast I'm not really sure what the cell counts are. I don't bother doing starters when I use S-56 because of the high cellcount which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Maybe it's not necessary with dry lager yeasts?

As far as temperature goes, to be honest, I'm not clear on that one myself. I do decant the wort so I'm inclined to think as you that it's okay to ferment "warmer" than at lager temps, although I've tried keeping it in the 60's. I know of people that insist on making their lager starters at lager fermenting temps but I'm afraid it would take a while. But maybe not.

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Old 11-05-2006, 04:10 AM   #12
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Nov 2005
Pepperell, MA
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Originally Posted by sonvolt
Should I make a starter in the same manner as I once did, or should I ferment my starter at recommended temps. I figure that I could ferment warm and then pour off the beer from the starter as it will have some off-flavors. But . . . will the yeast be healthy at that point?
This is yet another subject where there seems to be a divide among home brewers: What temp to propagate lager yeast at.

If you make a starter at room temp, the yeast will grow faster since it's metabolism works faster. You may get off-flavors, but if you let the stater ferment out, you can decant the beer (yes, this stuff is called beer) off the yeast.

If you propagate at lager fermentation temps (50's), the yeast will grow much slower.

I propagate lager yeast at lager fermentation temp. My thinking is, why do I want to get the yeast used to warmer temps if it will have to work in the upper 40s, lower 50s eventually. I also don't have the problem of shocking the yeast when I pitch the wort. Since it takes longer, I will have to start the process of propagating one week before brewing.

Professional breweries do also propagate at fermentation temps and some home brewers reported less flocculant yeast when they propagated warm.

What should you do? I don't think that it currently matters if you keep your starter warm or cold. Once you are more familliar with lagers you may want to pay attention to this. I suggest that you mark 100ml (~3oz) on your starter flask. This is the amount of yeast sediment that you need to properly pitch a 5gal batch of ~12*P lager.


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