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4 Liters for Yeast Starter?? Is this right?

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Mofoa

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This is the my first time making a yeast starter and I plan on brewing a Pilsner over the weekend.

After checking both mrmalty and yeastcalc, it's telling me I need roughly 4.4-4.4 of yeast starter with one smack pack.

Here is my possible issue right now, since I am new to the tools referenced above, I wasn't 100% sure how to use the tool, and after playing around with it, I concluded that in order to get to around 350B yeast cells (as told my both tools), that I would need to triple my smack pack (100B cells) by making a 3L of starter--using 300 grams of DME and 3L of water for simplicity sake.

Today, I am back to playing with the tools and I "think" I need 4.2-4.4 Liters of starter using one smack pack. Does this sound right?

Using Wyeast 2278 (Czeck Pils) with an projected O.G. of 1.047.

Thanks in advance...
 

whoaru99

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I came up with ~5L back dating the yeast a little bit on Mr. Malty (1.047 and 5.25 gal).

A couple of the other calculators suggest a step up starting with something like 1L then going to 2-3L.
 

sweetcell

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http://yeastcalc.com/ is a useful tool for calculating step-ups.

lagers need about twice the amount of yeast that ales do, so i'm not too surprised at that number.

on mrmalty, don't forget to choose the aeration method that you'll be using. if you have a stir-plate, the size of starter required will be smaller.
 

PJoyce85

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That is totally possible depending on production date and assumed viability. Just make sure you don't pitch the entire starter into the wort!!
 

fall-line

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You may already know all this, but.. To elaborate on PJoyce85's comment (which is correct), after your starter has done it's job and you have a nice big yeast population, you'll want to let the yeast settle out to the bottom and then decant off the liquid above before pitching.

For example, if you are using a stir plate just shut it off 2-3 hours before you intend to pitch, and let the yeast settle. Discard the lighter liquid (it's weak beer) on top, and then swirl up the yeast slurry at the bottom to pitch.

It's often tempting when using only a 1L starer or so to pour in the whole thing.. Which is probably ok, but obviously that wouldn't be a good idea with 4L.
 

sweetcell

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For example, if you are using a stir plate just shut it off 2-3 hours before you intend to pitch, and let the yeast settle. Discard the lighter liquid (it's weak beer) on top, and then swirl up the yeast slurry at the bottom to pitch.
i've never made a lager starter so maybe the yeast is more flocculent, but 2-3 hours doesn't seem like enough to get it to floc out. i find i have to cold-crash in the fridge for 24-48 hours before i get a good separation between beer and yeast sludge.
 

fall-line

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Yeah you are right, thanks sweetcell. I've done pretty well with 'a few hours' but after re-considering I retract my earlier statement. Do this on the morning of brew day, or the night before and you should be good.
 

PJoyce85

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Just like Myth Busters:

*Warning: Scientific Content*

After 1-2 days, the starter should be finished. Once this is complete, turn off the stir plate (if you are using one). Let the yeast settle for about 12 hours. This will allow the yeast to build up their glycogen reserves. Place in the fridge and let the rest of the yeast fall out. Take out about a day before brewing and let warm. Decant and pitch. I have never had a yeast issue using that procedure
 
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Mofoa

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Thank you all for the multiple quick responses. Having never done a yeast starter before, I did review several "yeast starter" posts as well as viewed several other How To videos on YT. Good thing I came to this site as there were some good posts on what to do AFTER making the yeast starter--which is good because until today, I thought all I had to do was dump the entire mixture ( wort + yeast) into the fermentor. So thanks for validating that. :mug:

Given Ive' gone ahead and made the 3L of yeast starter last night based on my original assumptions--I see now that I forgot to mention that in original post--what's the recommended way to increase my total volume to 4L? Smack pack is less than 10 days old--so some very fresh stuff.
 

Geordan

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It's important to note that many lager yeasts are less floculent than ale strains, and I suspect that even having sit at 12 hours at room temperature, you will be dumping out lots of viable cells in the 'spent wort' you're decanting. Having looked in to starters for lagers specifically recently, I would cold crash the starter in the fridge for at least 72 hours before decanting or pitch the whole starter.
 

PJoyce85

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Just stick with the 3 liters. Pitch the yeast and let them do their work. What is the OG of the starter wort?

It is recommended that you try to ferment your starter at the same temp you plan on doing your primary. This is particularly important for lager yeast as you don't want to be pitching a stressed colony from being outside of their normal range I'm sure there are many people who have done their starters at room temps with no problems, but it makes sense when you think about it.
 
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Mofoa

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It's important to note that many lager yeasts are less floculent than ale strains, and I suspect that even having sit at 12 hours at room temperature, you will be dumping out lots of viable cells in the 'spent wort' you're decanting. Having looked in to starters for lagers specifically recently, I would cold crash the starter in the fridge for at least 72 hours before decanting or pitch the whole starter.
Good point. My LHBS also recommended 3 days for the starter to work. Sounds like we have a consensus on that.

Just stick with the 3 liters. Pitch the yeast and let them do their work. What is the OG of the starter wort?

It is recommended that you try to ferment your starter at the same temp you plan on doing your primary. This is particularly important for lager yeast as you don't want to be pitching a stressed colony from being outside of their normal range I'm sure there are many people who have done their starters at room temps with no problems, but it makes sense when you think about it.
I see what you're saying. In that case, I'll be moving the starter into the garage to bring down the temperature to fermenting level for the next 36 hours, followed by a cold crash in fridge for last 12 hours to let the yeast settle--then decant, then pitch.

Shoot. Forgot to take the OG reading. Will look into this.

Thank you very much for your guidance and opinions guys. Crossing my fingers.
 

sweetcell

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I'll be moving the starter into the garage to bring down the temperature to fermenting level for the next 36 hours, followed by a cold crash in fridge for last 12 hours to let the yeast settle--then decant, then pitch.

Shoot. Forgot to take the OG reading. Will look into this.
wait, you forgot to take an OG reading of the starter or of your wort? in other words, is your wort boiled and ready for the yeast? if so, you can't wait 36+ hours for the yeast to drop out. you need to get yeast in there ASAP, before other bugs in the air take over.

if i'm brewing on saturday, i'll start my yeast starter on monday or tuesday - that gives me enough time to let the starter run its course and to cold-crash it in time for a saturday afternoon pitch.
 
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Mofoa

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wait, you forgot to take an OG reading of the starter or of your wort? in other words, is your wort boiled and ready for the yeast? if so, you can't wait 36+ hours for the yeast to drop out. you need to get yeast in there ASAP, before other bugs in the air take over.

if i'm brewing on saturday, i'll start my yeast starter on monday or tuesday - that gives me enough time to let the starter run its course and to cold-crash it in time for a saturday afternoon pitch.
Forgot to take a reading of the starter. I pitched the yeast once the wort had cooled down from ice bath, then topped with aluminum foil. That was about 20 hours ago (Jan 10th evening).
 
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Forgot to take a reading of the starter. I pitched the yeast once the wort had cooled down from ice bath, then topped with aluminum foil. That was about 20 hours ago (Jan 10th evening).
Not to add confusion, but I've always shaken the starter up and pitched the entire thing. Never taken an OG reading of the starter either. No problems in over 15 years of brewing.
 

whoaru99

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Do 1L then decant that off and pitch the slurry into 3L. Then, when it comes time to pitch, decant off the majority of the 3L and pitch the slurry of that into you wort.
 

PJoyce85

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overflow said:
Not to add confusion, but I've always shaken the starter up and pitched the entire thing. Never taken an OG reading of the starter either. No problems in over 15 years of brewing.
It's not a problem to pitch the entire thing if it is a smaller starter. I have pitched 600ml before with no issues but 3l in a 5 gallon batch is too much. You are adding almost 25% of the volume of the beer in spent starter wort.

The Brew Strong guys say that you should not be adding any more starter wort than 5% of the volume of the main wort.
 

sweetcell

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Forgot to take a reading of the starter.
eh, don't worry about it. hopefully when you made your starter you measured the DMA and the water. it's pretty hard to mess that up, your gravity can be safely assumed. also, the gravity of a starter isn't critical. you want it around 1.035-1.040 but a little more or a little less isn't going to hurt. a definite case of RDWHAHB.

Not to add confusion, but I've always shaken the starter up and pitched the entire thing. Never taken an OG reading of the starter either. No problems in over 15 years of brewing.
i've always cold-crashed for 24-48 hours and poured off the spent beer. the stuff is going to be highly oxidize, don't want none of that in my finished product.
 

helibrewer

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Smack pack is less than 10 days old--so some very fresh stuff.
Is that based on the date stamped on the pack or when you smacked it? Just for info, if you ever use White Labs yeast, the manufacture date is 4 months PRIOR to the date stamped on the tube.
 
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Mofoa

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Is that based on the date stamped on the pack or when you smacked it? Just for info, if you ever use White Labs yeast, the manufacture date is 4 months PRIOR to the date stamped on the tube.
It's Wyeast, and it's the date "Manufactured" as written on the pack.
 
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Mofoa

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Just an update...yesterday was brewday for my first AG Pilsner batch. I also applied the BIAM method, and so far, the biggest challenges I've encountered were controlling my temps. This may have been due to the 30 degree F outside. This

After cold crashing the yeast for 12 hours, then bringing up to room temperature for 5 hours, I decant the spent wort and pitched the yeast to the cooled down wort.


----------------------------------------------
A little more detail on batch:

Started with 7.5 total gallons water
9 lbs of Pilsner milled fine
1 hour mash at around 150F degrees (I say "around" because it was difficult to maintain this constant level)
+15 minutes to bring temps up to 170F degrees
+10 minutes mash out at 170F degrees

Took sample for Gravity before boil: 1.032

60 minute boil
+1.75 oz. - 60 minute
+1.25 oz. - 30 minute
+1.00 oz. - 0 minute

Looks to be between about 5.5 gallons of wort.

O.G. Reading: 1050

14 hours later, fermentation is active.

Based on these OG readings, what does this tell me? Did I do OK?

Thanks
 
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