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Old 03-09-2011, 11:44 AM   #1
Token's Avatar
Nov 2007
UP of MI, Michigan
Posts: 543
Liked 19 Times on 13 Posts

I'm making a half batch California Common today. I was told by LHBS that yeast in vial would be enough since I'm just doing a half batch. I was also told to make a starter by someone else. I figured I'd go ahead and make a starter. I've never made one, and I don't have a stir plate. It's just a 1L starter, and it got swished quite often by me and my family. It spent its time in a closet where the temp is between 60 and 64 degrees. I made the starter very early Sunday morning. Last night (Tues) I poured it into a mason jar because I had it in a growler but wanted it in clear glass so I could see the yeast level and decant the beer. There were some clumps falling into the mason jar, and there was really thick yeast the end. I put the jar in our garage to crash it, then I went to bed. This morning I looked at it, and there doesn't seem to be any more yeast at the bottom of the mason jar than was in the original vial. It's not done falling out of suspension 'cuz the rest of the liquid is still pretty cloudy. I'm planning on brewing today. Now what?

When I was shaking the vial prior to pitching, I noticed it took a bit of effort to get all the yeast mixed in. I read something about that being typical of this strain. Is that true? Would that explain all the clumps that were falling from the growler into the mason jar?

If it doesn't clear much more in the next four hours or so, should I just pitch the entire starter? I was hoping to not do that, but I also can't put this off yet another day. (we were going to brew yesterday but didn't realize how long a lager starter takes) I used light DME for the starter, and the starter stayed within proper temps for the yeast strain; so I'm thinking I could pitch the whole thing and be ok.

I've never made a starter. I've never made a lager. And I've never made a California Common. In my defense, I have brewed beer many times! It's just this lager starter thing that has me sweatin' on this beer.
Worry Wort Brewing

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Old 03-09-2011, 12:51 PM   #2
Bmorebrew's Avatar
Mar 2010
Baltimore, Maryland
Posts: 474
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You say half batch, I assume 2.5 gallons?
I prefer to make starters vs. not making them, but in this case I would say it wasn't necessary - White Labs vials have cell counts roughly equivalent to starters in the 1 to 2 liter range. For 2.5 gallons at probably around a 1050 OG, dumping the vial would be fine.

Obviously you've made it already, I would just dump the whole thing in, don't sweat it.

And if worse comes to worse, plan on brewing again and pitching on top of part of that cake in a few weeks.

There's always a silver lining!

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