lager yeast starter...slow

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

barside laundry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Location
lancaster, pa
I ordered an Oktoberfest kit from Midwest with a Bavarian Smack Pack dated April 07. What did I do wrong? This was the sequence of events:

Took yeast out of box (70F) on my porch and put in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Removed from frig and allowed to warm up to 70f and then smacked and shook.
Let sit in kitchen (72F) overnight and the next morning it was slightly swollen, not nearly as much as ale yeast I have used in the past.
I gave it a shake and heard a sizzle in the packet and let go another few hours. Made a yeast starter (1quart of water and 1 cup of DME).
Let starter cool in my fermenter frig (50F) overnight.
Removed starter from fridge in the morning and added yeast. The package had been smacked about 30 hours prior to pitching and sat at 72F and was still not completely swelled.
I shook up the starter and put in 50F frig. After 24 hours still no sign of fermentation. Checked gravity of starter - 1056. Moved starter out of frig to basement (62F) and now I am seeing bubbles and head. Should I brew tomorrow and use this starter? I called midwest yesterday and they already sent me a new package of yeast but I won't get it until Monday (1 day after ideal brewday). Will crushed grains get stale? If don't brew tomorrow it will be about 16 days since grain was crushed, assuming they did it after I called.
thanks guys.
 

Baron von BeeGee

Beer Bully
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
5,374
Reaction score
30
Location
Barony of Fuquay-Varina, NC
I'm having trouble following the sequence of events and temperatures, but what I do for a lager starter is mostly the same as an ale starter...smack the pack at room temp, cool the starter wort to room temp, pitch & ferment at room temp. The only difference is that after starter fermentation I gradually bring the starter down to pitching temp (usually ~50-52F) so that it will be at the same temp as my wort when I pitch.

Frequently changing the temperature of yeast and/or doing it rapidly usually doesn't make it happy.

Also, if possible, I'd suggest a 1g starter for most lagers. They require pretty large pitching rates. For me this means splitting the smack pack between two 2L growlers.
 
OP
OP
B

barside laundry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Location
lancaster, pa
Its a long story but I now have a 1 quart Bavarian yeast starter fermenting and I have a smack pack of Oktoberfest yeast. I do not have time to make another batch so I am thinking about using both yeasts for my oktoberfest. any thoughts?

thanks
 
OP
OP
B

barside laundry

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Location
lancaster, pa
Also... when do you guys like to pitch your lager yeast starters? Some people say to chill the wort down to ferm temp (50F) and then pitch yeast. Some say to pitch at 70F and wait for fermentation to begin and then chill. I hate the idea letting my wort sit overnight in the frig without yeast.
 

Baron von BeeGee

Beer Bully
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
5,374
Reaction score
30
Location
Barony of Fuquay-Varina, NC
I would pitch both yeasts and call it a day.

As far as pitching temp that's almost as contentious of an issue as bleach vs sanitizer, plastic vs glass, or stainless vs aluminum. Everybody has their procedure that works for them, I think the key is just to understand why you're doing what you're doing and start experimenting.

For the record, I pitch at fermenting temps which usually means chilling my wort for nearly a day before pitching and then another day or two before actually seeing activity. It does require being very meticulous with sanitation.
 

boo boo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,164
Reaction score
46
Location
Hearts's Delight, Newfoundland
And for me, I have cold water for use in my IC, so I don't have to wait for temps to drop overnight. I just chill to fermenting temps and pitch my starter.

BTW, I make my starters at least a week in advance of brewing day.
 
Top