Slow start for yeast starter

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Gnomebrewer

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I have a 2.5L starter of WLP802 (Czech Budejovice Lager yeast) going at the moment. After 24 hours, it had zero signs of ferment which was confirmed with a gravity reading (but I was too lazy to check the pH for a shift). I've only ever had one failed yeast (WLP830) a few years ago and was a bit worried about a recurring WLP lager theme. I decided to give it another day to see whether it would go, and fortunately at 40 hours (this morning) there's activity! Normally I see a start within 12 hours. What's the longest it's taken to see activity in your starters? This might help to allay fears for others seeing long starter lag times.
 

Garrett_McT

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Completely off topic here, but what was your fermentation profile you used for you WLP830 strain? I have a post about a high diacetyl rest and am worried about off flavors and aromas in the finished beer.
 

IslandLizard

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Is the starter on a stir plate?

I've had that same 802 yeast take 3 days to show any signs of growth (becoming significantly lighter in color) and another 2 days for getting some foam. That's on an orbital shaker, but expect similar performance on a stir plate.

As long as there's some action you should get appreciable growth. I'd give it another 24-48 hours to be sure. You would only know how much you got after cold crashing.
 

Holden Caulfield

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Of the 40+ liquid yeast starters I have made, as I recall, all started and finished within 18-36 hours with 1 notable exception - WLP800, which has taken as long as a 36-48 hours just to start. Perhaps it is a Czech strain thing.

Note, the oldest yeast used was 4.5 months from manufacture date and this did impact the start time significantly, although I do not have specifics.

was a bit worried about a recurring WLP lager theme
WLP makes great yeast and I have never had any issue with any of their strains including - 002, 005, 007, 530, 540, 800, 810, 830, 833, 838.
 
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Completely off topic here, but what was your fermentation profile you used for you WLP830 strain? I have a post about a high diacetyl rest and am worried about off flavors and aromas in the finished beer.
I didn't use it - the vial was DOA so I ended up using a different strain.
 
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Gnomebrewer

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Is the starter on a stir plate?

I've had that same 802 yeast take 3 days to show any signs of growth (becoming significantly lighter in color) and another 2 days for getting some foam. That's on an orbital shaker, but expect similar performance on a stir plate.

As long as there's some action you should get appreciable growth. I'd give it another 24-48 hours to be sure. You would only know how much you got after cold crashing.
Yes, it's on a stir plate. It sounds like mine was a fast starter then, with foam at 40 hours! I'm in no rush, so it will get another day then be stepped up to a 10L starter for a few days.
 
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WLP makes great yeast and I have never had any issue with any of their strains including - 002, 005, 007, 530, 540, 800, 810, 830, 833, 838.
Yes, they do make great yeast. I suspect the issue I had with 830 was handling in transit (it has a long way to travel to get to me), not the quality from the manufacturer.
 
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Why not brew a (small) beer with the 2.5 starter slurry, and use the cake for the bigger batch?
2 beers for one.
The thought has crossed my mind, but there are a few reasons why I'm not.
I can't be bothered brewing 10L (takes almost as long as brewing 60L, which is what the starter will be used for).
I keg (10L doesn't fill a keg; I do have some half-kegs/9.5L, but they're all full).
The yeast from a 10L stir plate starter will be healthier than from a 10L yeast cake.
1L of the 2.5L starter is being stored for the next beer, only 1.5L goes into the stepped up starter. 1.5L starter isn't enough for a full 20L batch of lager.
 

IslandLizard

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The yeast from a 10L stir plate starter will be healthier than from a 10L yeast cake.
Healthier by only a small margin maybe? Lager yeast doesn't get stressed as much, unless you brew high gravity.
I've been reusing lots of harvested yeast cakes the past 2 years.

Are you "brewing" 10L of starter wort from grain or using DME?

I overshot a 5.5 gallon brew last week, and ended up with a gallon and half extra wort, alas at 6 points OG reduction. Was thinking of using the extra wort for starters, but ended up fermenting half it out in a gallon jug, and added the other half to a beer of the same style that came up short on gravity (and volume!) after a spill (overflow) of first runnings... I had 4 spills that brew day, and 3 were before the club meeting. That was a record, marvelous!
 
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Healthier by only a small margin maybe? Lager yeast doesn't get stressed as much, unless you brew high gravity.
I've been reusing lots of harvested yeast cakes the past 2 years.
It's quite a big difference - depending on the starter size and initial cell count it's somewhere in the double to ten times range (going off a comparison from yeast pitch calculators, comparing the cell count from stir plate with cell count from no agitation). I also reuse harvested yeast cakes and it works really well, but you need cake from a bigger batch that what I'd use from a starter. For 60L of 1.048 lager, I'd use a 10L stir-plate starter (stepped up from 1.5L), or the cake from a 20 to 30L batch of beer. The cake from a 10L batch of beer isn't enough for a 60L lager.

Are you "brewing" 10L of starter wort from grain or using DME?
DME. I use a large DME starter for the first batch off a new pack of yeast, then a small starter plus some slurry for future batches (or just slurry if I haven't got around to making a starter).
 

deuc224

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I think the slowest yeast to start is wlp 530, that thing takes days to take off.
 

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