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Old 06-11-2008, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default Starter stepping up question

Man my Google-fu must stink. I'm sure this has been answered before but...

I'm planning my first lager and a large starter seems to be usually recommended for lagers: a gallon is the last figure I saw.

So I'm cool with making a starter (never done it, but done plenty of sourdough starters and watched videos on beer starters). What I'm hazy on is stepping up.

Let's say I start with 32oz of water + 1cp of DME and pitch my smack-pack into it. It ferments merrily away on my counter for a day or two.

Now do I just make 32oz of wort, dump it into the existing starter and shake it up? Repeat over 2 more days?

Or do I now make 64oz of wort, decant the old wort and just pitch the yeast?

Also, how does one know when its time to build up? I've been reading about "high kraeusen" but haven't seen anything on how to tell when you've reached that point.

Thanks for any direction,

-Joe


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Old 06-11-2008, 03:59 PM   #2
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Go here: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

This is a great tool to answer your question for each batch. Good luck!


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Old 06-11-2008, 05:56 PM   #3
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I decant some and then add new. I figure that it has done its job on the old. Some of the old stays in there, I just get rid of about 60-70% of it and pitch some new. I would step up the volulme and maybe the gravity each time. For a standard ale with purchased liquid yeast, I only use one starter feeding. I can't comment on the size of a lager starter, but I would decant and add more to it each time. If you do a 32, 32, and then a 64, you have a gallon starter. At least that is how I would look at it.

If you are going to pitch it into a high gravity beer, then you should build it up on higher gravity wort. 1.040 is the standard and then I would take it up to 1.060
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostalgia View Post
Also, how does one know when its time to build up? I've been reading about "high kraeusen" but haven't seen anything on how to tell when you've reached that point.
Thanks for the input. Any info on this part?

-Joe
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostalgia View Post
Thanks for the input. Any info on this part?

-Joe
It looks like the top of your fermenter or bucket during fermentation, just on a smaller scale.

Like this,



I've only managed to have a starter at high krauzen when I was ready to pitch it once, and it was awesome, the beer started fermenting in less than 3 hours.
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:19 PM   #6
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Awesome. A pictures helps a lot. Thanks!

-Joe
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:45 AM   #7
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Ok, I'm about ready to start (no pun intended) and have one more nooby question for you.

I'm planning to brew my lager on Sunday. According to MrMalty, I'll need about a gallon of starter.

So I was planning to mix 32oz of water with 1cp of DME and pitch into that. I was going to add the same over the next 3 days to make a full gallon. If I start building tonight (Tuesday) it'll be done by Friday and have 2 days of fermentation before I pitch it on Sunday.

Sound right?

Thanks in advance,

-Joe
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:02 AM   #8
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Well, I went ahead and got things going. Boiled some wort for 15 minutes, let it cool to 75F, put it in a well-cleaned and sanitized growler, shook the bejeebus out of it, pitched, swirled, tin-foiled, and put in my 70F basement.

We'll see how it looks in the morning.

-Joe
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:09 AM   #9
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I am curious to see how this all turns out for you.

I will be doing my first stater for my next brew, and it will need to be pretty big. I have been reading up as much as I can, but I am still fuzzy on some of the details. All the more info the better.
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:13 AM   #10
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I've moved from being crazy about the details (I'm an engineer and all) to, "What's the worst that can happen?"

I've maintained sourdough starters for years, so this should be cake.

Once I finally charge my camera's battery I'll add in some pictures.

-Joe


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