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Old 08-12-2012, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default Oktoberfest Yeast Starter Question

Brewing my first Oktoberfest today. I made a yeast starter last night with 4 pints of water, 1 cup dry Pilsen malt extract and a vial of White Labs Oktoberfest yeast. Should I pitch the entire starter or pour off the liquid and only dump in the slurry from the bottom. I am concerned that pitching the entire starter may affect the flavor of the beer. The starter will be about 14 hours old when I go to pitch. Thanks.

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Old 08-12-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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You should let that ferment out completely then cold crash. 14 hours isn't enough time. So, at this point it only really matters if you can wait a day or two before pitching (just keep the wort in your lagering cabinet at fermentation temp). If not, then pitch the whole thing.


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Old 08-15-2012, 09:27 PM   #3
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I know I may be a bit late in my reply, but usually it is best to chill your starter and decant the liquid off before adding your starter yeast, but the flavor impact from dumping the full volume will depend on the size of your starter relative to the size of your batch. Are you doing a 5 gallon batch? If so, a 4 pint starter isn't that large compared to the size of the batch. On many occasions I've dumped a 1.5L starter into a 5 gallon batch without major flavor impact, so I think you'd probably be okay here.

If you are looking to make the best possible beer though, you should follow BigB's advice and let the starter ferment out completely, decant the liquid, and pitch only the yeast into your wort.

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Old 08-15-2012, 11:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for your help guys. I took your advice and let the 5 gallons of wort sit while the yeast propagated. I chilled the starter overnight and then brought it up to temp before pitching last night. Air lock activity was quick but there is a funky smell coming from it. Holding my breath on this one!
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
Thanks for your help guys. I took your advice and let the 5 gallons of wort sit while the yeast propagated. I chilled the starter overnight and then brought it up to temp before pitching last night. Air lock activity was quick but there is a funky smell coming from it. Holding my breath on this one!
You didn't need to let it "come up to temp" as in the fridge it was probably about 40 degrees, while fermentation temperature is 48-50 degrees. In any case, keep it at 50 and it'll turn out great!
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:21 AM   #6
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This is going to be off topic, but my plan is to let it ferment at 65 for a couple days, then drop it to 48 for a couple weeks to let it ferment out. Then let it warm to room temp over a day or two for a diacetyl rest, then transfer to secondary to lager for several weeks. Does this sound ok?
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
This is going to be off topic, but my plan is to let it ferment at 65 for a couple days, then drop it to 48 for a couple weeks to let it ferment out. Then let it warm to room temp over a day or two for a diacetyl rest, then transfer to secondary to lager for several weeks. Does this sound ok?
I would get it to 48 ASAP. Fermenting at 65 is going to throw all kinds of off flavors, diacetyl, esters, etc.

Pitch at 48 and go at 48 and you won't need a diacetyl rest.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
This is going to be off topic, but my plan is to let it ferment at 65 for a couple days, then drop it to 48 for a couple weeks to let it ferment out. Then let it warm to room temp over a day or two for a diacetyl rest, then transfer to secondary to lager for several weeks. Does this sound ok?
No. If you ferment it at 65, that would explain the odor.

Fermenting a lager at 65 degrees, when the yeast strain's optimum temperature is 52 degrees, will not make for a good lager.

You've got several issues, because the starter was too small as it was. But fermenting a lager at 65 degrees would be a huge mistake.

Pitch cool, ferment cool, and make a lager. Pitch at 65, ferment at 65, make an ale. But pitching a lager and fermenting at 65 won't give you a good result, unfortunately.


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