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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Steping up a starter to avoid making a giant sized starter.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
maida7
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Default Steping up a starter to avoid making a giant sized starter.

I'm planning a lager using liquid yeast. I have a fresh vial of wlp830. The mrmalty calculator says I need 400 billion cells. To get that from one vial it says to make a 4 liter starter on my stirplate or make a 1.6 liter starter with 2 vials.

My problem is that I don't have a big enough container to do a 4 liter starter and I don't want to buy a second tube of yeast.

Can I make a 2 liter starter from the 1 tube. Ferment that out, cool it down so the yeast flocculates, decant and then pitch that into a second 2 liter starter?

My theory is that the first starter will double the yeast count so it's like having 2 very fresh tubes. Then the second starter gets me up to the levels I need for my batch of beer.

What do you think? Is this sound logic?


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Old 03-30-2010, 05:35 AM   #2
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one thing that I've seen other people do with big starters that facepalmed me (why didn't I think of that style) is just to make the starter in your fermenter itself.

Whaddayuh think? I like the idea as it means one less container to clean.


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Old 03-30-2010, 05:45 AM   #3
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This is what I am about to do. I wouldn't make a big starter in the fermenter because I don't want all that starter beer in my main beer. I just want the yeast.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:44 PM   #4
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Any other opinions?
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:55 PM   #5
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I'm trying that tonight. I made a 2L starter last week and I'm going to decant it tonight, make another batch of starter wort and then pour that wort back on top of the yeast cake from the first starter to try and step up my yeast count.

I asked pretty much the same question the other day but without many replies. I figure at worst, I waste some DME. I can't see how it'll hurt the yeast from the first starter.
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Old 03-31-2010, 12:44 AM   #6
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According to Wyeast calculator a .5L starter stepped up to a 2L starter on stir plate will give you 453 billion or 1L to 1L gives you 397 billion.
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enid View Post
According to Wyeast calculator a .5L starter stepped up to a 2L starter on stir plate will give you 453 billion or 1L to 1L gives you 397 billion.

I find that calculator very much inferior to the mrmalty version. Mainly because it does not adjust the initial yeast pack for viability. Secondly, it does not relate the starter to YOUR batch of beer.

But it does seam to have a good method for calculating the effects of two steps.

I calculate I need a final pitch rate of 20.6 million cells per ml for my 1.056 batch of lager. According to the wyeast calculator if I do a .5 gallon starter on a stirplate and pitch that into a .5 gallon starter also on a stirplate I get a final pitch rate of 28 million cells per ml. So I'll be over pitching by 26%. Maybe a bit less if you factor in the reduced viability of the initial vial of yeast.

So is over pitching by 26%+/- a big deal? Should I cut back on my second starter step? WWJD?
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Old 03-31-2010, 01:45 AM   #8
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I think if you factor in yeast viability and other unknown factors I dont think you are overpitching by much, especially for a lager. Overpitching will limit esters and fusel alcohols which is probably good for a lager. I think most people under pitch rather then pitch too much, plus I think it is better to be a little over then under, except in certain styles, hefeweizen comes to mind.
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Old 03-31-2010, 12:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maida7 View Post
I'm planning a lager using liquid yeast. I have a fresh vial of wlp830. The mrmalty calculator says I need 400 billion cells. To get that from one vial it says to make a 4 liter starter on my stirplate or make a 1.6 liter starter with 2 vials.

My problem is that I don't have a big enough container to do a 4 liter starter and I don't want to buy a second tube of yeast.

Can I make a 2 liter starter from the 1 tube. Ferment that out, cool it down so the yeast flocculates, decant and then pitch that into a second 2 liter starter?

My theory is that the first starter will double the yeast count so it's like having 2 very fresh tubes. Then the second starter gets me up to the levels I need for my batch of beer.

What do you think? Is this sound logic?


I do this all the time for my Big Beers. i have never had an issue with the Yeast and the Final Product, fermentation wise, has turned out as planned.


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