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Old 01-31-2011, 11:32 AM   #1
jetmac
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Default Help, should I step up my lager starter after 4 days? Details inside....

I made a starter Thursday for my NB Sustainor Nontraditional Bock using 2 Wyeast Hella-Bock smack packs and the last of my DME and put it in the fridge so I could decant and pitch the yeast slurry Sunday. My plan started out that I would brew Saturday, but I changed my mind and decided Sunday would be better. So I figured on Saturday, I would grab some DME at my LHBS (Just Brew It Fayetteville) while I was out taking my trailer full of junk to the dump, and use the DME to step up my starter to be pitched Monday.
Well, I got a flat tire on my trailer on the way to the junk yard and I didn't make it to the LHBS. As it turned out I wasn't able to brew Sunday morning but rather Sunday evening. So I have my carboy in the fridge to cool it to 50-52F and was wondering if I should step up my starter and pitch late Monday or Tuesday afternoon. Or just go ahead and pitch the starter I have today.
What do you guys think?

Cliff notes:

5 Gal batch. SG 1.064

Made 2.5L starter Thursday using 2 Wyeast smack packs to pitch Sunday.
That didn't happen.
Wound up brewing Sunday evening and wort is in fridge cooling.
Can I pitch today with the starter I have or should I step it up and pitch after the yeast settle?
Or are there other options?


Oops. Just Brew It is closed on Mondays. Guess I'll head to Brewmasters Warehouse


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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:41 AM   #2
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The couple extra days in the fridge won't dramatically impact yeast viability. You don't mention batch size or gravity, but if that starter was an appropriate size to pitch before, it will be now too. Sorry to hear about the flat tire


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Old 01-31-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
The couple extra days in the fridge won't dramatically impact yeast viability. You don't mention batch size or gravity, but if that starter was an appropriate size to pitch before, it will be now too. Sorry to hear about the flat tire
Thx. Added. 5 gal batch size 1.064 SG

I wanted to step up the 2 smack packs before I started, figuring I would get 300bil with the smack packs into the 2.5L starter and 450bil stepping that up into 3L starter. So now that I'm thinking about it. 300bil is probably low already and with the extra day it may be lower. I may just go ahead and step it up.

But the Mr Malty pitching rate calculator does specify 2 packs into 2.5L starter for 5 gal of 1.064.
Maybe I'll just pitch it. Either way it's better than just pitching the 1 pack as recommended.

I think I answered my own question
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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:33 PM   #4
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Another way would be to decant the spent starter wort, refill flask with actual cooled/aerated wort from your batch, get that going strong, then dump that entire flask into the carboy.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetmac View Post
Thx. Added. 5 gal batch size 1.064 SG

I wanted to step up the 2 smack packs before I started, figuring I would get 300bil with the smack packs into the 2.5L starter and 450bil stepping that up into 3L starter. So now that I'm thinking about it. 300bil is probably low already and with the extra day it may be lower. I may just go ahead and step it up.

But the Mr Malty pitching rate calculator does specify 2 packs into 2.5L starter for 5 gal of 1.064.
Maybe I'll just pitch it. Either way it's better than just pitching the 1 pack as recommended.

I think I answered my own question
I don't have a ton of experience with lagers, so I can't offer much guidance about pitching rates beyond the standard 1.25m cells / mL / plato.

But, I wouldn't assume that your yeast suffered too much from a couple of days in the fridge. Possibly, it helped the yeast. My starter protocol (based on advice from Chris White) involves two days on the stir plate and then two days in the fridge, followed by a decanting. The extra time (particularly at the cold temp) supposedly allows the yeast to build up glycogen and trehalose reserves. The theory is that this puts them in a good strong position for a reproductive phase right after pitching. Not sure if this is actually valid, but I know I don't like to reproduce when my glycogen and trehalose are low.

Anyway, I can't find a ton of definitive info comparing high krausen-pitching and post-crash-pitching, but it is an interesting topic.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help. I pitched it without stepping it up.
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Revvy>>You shouldn't worry about ANYTHING, you didn't hurt the yeast, they know what they need to do, they want to eat all that sugar they are swimming around in. They want to pee alcohol and fart co2, it's their nature.

Bobby_M>>I flood the keg with CO2 for one minute with the lid off, rack the beer in to the bottom gently, seal it, flood it, vent it. If there's still O2 in there after that, F it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malfet
My starter protocol (based on advice from Chris White) involves two days on the stir plate and then two days in the fridge, followed by a decanting. The extra time (particularly at the cold temp) supposedly allows the yeast to build up glycogen and trehalose reserves. The theory is that this puts them in a good strong position for a reproductive phase right after pitching.
I've read this too Malfet and ever since I've been alotting an extra day for my starters to sit in my fridge. Even when I harvest/wash yeast I give it a day or so in the fridge. I haven't done side-by-side comparisons but just based on lag time, clean ferments, etc. it sure seems like the yeast are happy.


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