I'd like to brew an Amber Ale much like Bell's Amber Ale. I think I've found a few recipes that might work.
I've read the section from Palmer's about this process, but I still have a few questions:
1. Someone suggested using the yeast from 6 bottles, though Palmer suggests harvesting from 2 or 3 bottles. I guess, if I can't drink enough beers in one sitting, I'll need to "step up".
2. Please explain the "stepping up" process. I think I know what it is. Is it simply decanting the liquid from the current starter, re-suspending the sludge, then pouring this starter into another 2 cups of starter wort as was done in the initial step? Then this process is repeated a few times?
3. Does anyone know if Bells bottle conditions with the same yeast that's used for fermentation? I've read that some brewers use a different yeast for bottle conditioning.
Edited: I continued to search a bit and found the following link referenced in another thread about yeast starters:
The stepping up chart referenced in the above link uses known starting points. IOW, you sort of know how many cells you're starting with when you prepare a starter from commercially prepared yeast. It also mentions that you don't continue to get doubling with subsequent steps. I imagine that is due to a quart of wort only being able to sustain a certain number of cells (overpopulation issue).
I'm guessing that no one knows how many cells are in a bottle of commercially prepared craft beer, so . . .
Question #4. how do you know if you have enough yeast cells to pitch if you're preparing the starter by harvesting from the commercial beer bottles? From how many bottles do you harvest, and how many step-ups do you undertake?