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drunde77

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I am planning on doing a yeast starter for my next brew. It is a boston lager. When would you start a yeast starter for a lager? I plan on brewing saturday. Also do you do the same for ales?
 

Pie_Man

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In general, it takes about 2-3 days for the starter to finish growing yeast cells. Lager starters might take an extra day or so. Determining when to start depends on your starter process. Are you planning to pitch the entire starter or are you decanting? If you're decanting, are you going to crash cool prior to decanting? If you're cooling your starter so you can decant the majority of the starter wort, I'd add an extra day or two to the process. If you're doing a multiple step starter, that will also increase the time you'll need.

For my last lager, I cooled the starter for 2 days to settle the yeast, I then decanted almost all the wort, gave the remaining wort a good swirl to get the yeast off the bottom of the starter vessel and pitched.
 

pabloj13

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In general, it takes about 2-3 days for the starter to finish growing yeast cells. Lager starters might take an extra day or so. Determining when to start depends on your starter process. Are you planning to pitch the entire starter or are you decanting? If you're decanting, are you going to crash cool prior to decanting? If you're cooling your starter so you can decant the majority of the starter wort, I'd add an extra day or two to the process. If you're doing a multiple step starter, that will also increase the time you'll need.

For my last lager, I cooled the starter for 2 days to settle the yeast, I then decanted almost all the wort, gave the remaining wort a good swirl to get the yeast off the bottom of the starter vessel and pitched.
+1. Give yourself plenty of time. A day or two in the fridge isn't going to hurt anything. I like to start a week ahead of time just to make sure my yeast are all set and I don't have any issues or last minute emergencies.
 

jflongo

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I there any negative to pitch the entire starter?
 

Bamsdealer

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If it were a 1liter ale starter id pitch the whole thing. Since this is for a lager youlll need a ton of yeast so youll want to chill a day after your first starter decant the liquid and do another starter. Decant the liquid from that and pitch, So i'd start today. The process takes the better part of a week.
 

Pie_Man

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Agreed, today is a good day to start. Check out yeastcalc.com, it's a great site for stepped starters.
 

pabloj13

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I there any negative to pitch the entire starter?
Depending on the temp you grow your starter at (most do it at room temp), the yeast may throw some nasty esters and things into the starter wort. One negative would be potentially pitching those nasty flavors. That being said, many do it that way.
 

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jflongo said:
I there any negative to pitch the entire starter?
Have a little taste of it and you decide.

A week is a good lead for a lager started, you definitely want to crash for a good day or even two.
 

ScrewedBrew

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Just made my first starter yesterday. I swirl it everytime I walk by it. If it sits for about an hour, it looks like all the yeast is already on the bottom. Wouldn't a cold crash put them to sleep or stress them? I was planning on decanting the spent wort without a cold crash "stress" cycle.
 
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drunde77

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So, I ordered from the brew shop last week... It won't be until Tuesday till my yeast arrives. I did a whyeast smack pack this time instead of white labs. If I push brew day to Sunday, will I have time for a yeast starter?
 

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You should be good for a Sunday brew with a stepped starter. Truthfully, I wouldn't be scared to brew Saturday if that was your plan. Just do as big of a starter as you can, chill, decant then pitch into a well aerated wort at 50degrees. You'll be fine.
 

Pie_Man

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Just made my first starter yesterday. I swirl it everytime I walk by it. If it sits for about an hour, it looks like all the yeast is already on the bottom. Wouldn't a cold crash put them to sleep or stress them? I was planning on decanting the spent wort without a cold crash "stress" cycle.
There's probably some yeast still in suspension, so either cold crashing or just letting it sit still before decanting is probably a good idea.

I don't think cold crashing will stress the yeast. Yeast are shipped and stored cold, this is no different. I've not experienced any negative effects from this approach. Perhaps it takes a little longer for active fermentation, but I haven't found lag time to be a good indication of a quality fermentation.
 

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Whether or not I pitch my starter volume depends on the size of the starter. For beers with a 1L starter or less, I make the starter 24-36 hours ahead of time, and pitch the whole thing. If I'm going bigger (which is often the case, and for a lager you'll absolutely have to), I go about a week ahead of time (as most others have said), give it maybe 3-4 days, and then the rest in the the fridge. Then on brewday, I pull the starter out early, decant, let it warm back up while I'm brewing, swirl and only pitch slurry.
 

ScrewedBrew

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There's probably some yeast still in suspension, so either cold crashing or just letting it sit still before decanting is probably a good idea.

I don't think cold crashing will stress the yeast. Yeast are shipped and stored cold, this is no different. I've not experienced any negative effects from this approach. Perhaps it takes a little longer for active fermentation, but I haven't found lag time to be a good indication of a quality fermentation.
After it finished attenuating, I let it sit for another 12-18 hours without refrigeration. It looked like the yeast compacted on the bottom just fine. It was a 2 qt starter. I decanted the spent wort into a growler with a tbsp of sugar and 5 hop pellets. Will have a "light" beer from it. My LHBS told me to make a 2 qt starter, pitch one and save 3. I put some pre-boiled water in the slurry and swirl. Poured into a measure cup and had exactly 2 cups. 1 1/2 cup went into the wort, and the 1/2 cup left was divided equally into 3 jelly jars to bank.

Making another starter today. I'll try cold crash and compare my results.
 

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If it were a 1liter ale starter id pitch the whole thing. Since this is for a lager youlll need a ton of yeast so youll want to chill a day after your first starter decant the liquid and do another starter. Decant the liquid from that and pitch, So i'd start today. The process takes the better part of a week.
This, you will need to do a 2 stage starter most likely for a lager unless you own a flask thats 3L or bigger...

Which means you will need about 5 days total minimum.

Day 1 + 2: Starter Ferments(assuming a lag time on Day 1)
Day 2 Night: Throw in Fridge
Day 3 Night: Decant + Make new starter
Day 3 +4: Ferment
Day 4 Night: Throw in Fridge
Day 5: Take out of fridge and brew.
 

Pie_Man

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After it finished attenuating, I let it sit for another 12-18 hours without refrigeration. It looked like the yeast compacted on the bottom just fine. It was a 2 qt starter. I decanted the spent wort into a growler with a tbsp of sugar and 5 hop pellets. Will have a "light" beer from it. My LHBS told me to make a 2 qt starter, pitch one and save 3. I put some pre-boiled water in the slurry and swirl. Poured into a measure cup and had exactly 2 cups. 1 1/2 cup went into the wort, and the 1/2 cup left was divided equally into 3 jelly jars to bank.

Making another starter today. I'll try cold crash and compare my results.
You added sugar and dry hopped your starter? That's interesting.

Your LHBS told you to make a 2 qt starter, then to pitch one part (half a quart) and save 3 parts (1.5 quarts)? While that might be fine advice, I would recommend using a site like yeastcalc.com or mrmalty.com to determine if the one part (.5 quart) is a large enough starter for your recipe.
 

Qhrumphf

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You added sugar and dry hopped your starter? That's interesting.

Your LHBS told you to make a 2 qt starter, then to pitch one part (half a quart) and save 3 parts (1.5 quarts)? While that might be fine advice, I would recommend using a site like yeastcalc.com or mrmalty.com to determine if the one part (.5 quart) is a large enough starter for your recipe.
As long as I'm understanding him correctly, 2 cups of thin slurry even w/ a high trub percentage should be an adequate pitch for 5 gallons of ~1.100 for ale, ~1.050 for a lager. If it was a thicker slurry he could have gone higher. So unless he's pitching into a high gravity lager or a super-high gravity ale, he's in good shape. And probably overpitching for most beers. Edit: this is assuming harvesting the same day as pitching, a few days in between and it's slightly lower, but still right ballpark.
 

Bamsdealer

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As long as I'm understanding him correctly, 2 cups of thin slurry even w/ a high trub percentage should be an adequate pitch for 5 gallons of ~1.100 for ale, ~1.050 for a lager. If it was a thicker slurry he could have gone higher. So unless he's pitching into a high gravity lager or a super-high gravity ale, he's in good shape. And probably overpitching for most beers. Edit: this is assuming harvesting the same day as pitching, a few days in between and it's slightly lower, but still right ballpark.

I'm having a hard time following. I think he's talking about 2 cups of starter slurry, not batch slurry. Splitting a starter slurry in four would result in less yeast than the original vial.

You're correct on two cups of slurry from a 5 gallon batch. I typically save a pint of slurry and pitch the whole thing into imperial brews... Standard gravity brews get half a mason jar's worth of slurry
 

Qhrumphf

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I'm having a hard time following. I think he's talking about 2 cups of starter slurry, not batch slurry. Splitting a starter slurry in four would result in less yeast than the original vial.

You're correct on two cups of slurry from a 5 gallon batch. I typically save a pint of slurry and pitch the whole thing into imperial brews... Standard gravity brews get half a mason jar's worth of slurry
Yep, seems you're right. Doubt you could even get 2 cups of slurry out of a 2 quart starter.
 
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drunde77

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Wow lots of talk going on here... just give you an update, I got my yeast yesterday and made a two L starter. I checked and swirled the guy this morning and it over flowed with "fizz". I think im pushing brew day back to sunday. Gonna watch some hockey saturday. If things fall right I may make it to the bIues home opener.....

Should I worry about decanting this guy and stepping it up a bit?
 

Pie_Man

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I would step it up and decant. Let the numbers in yeastcalc.com be your guide.

You didn't ask about this, but I found my lagers turn out better when I pitch cold, at the low end of the yeast's temp range. Living in Florida, I cool my wort with my chiller to about 70-80, then the rest of the way in my temp controlled fridge, usually over night. I cover the carboy's opening with sanitized paper towels while it's cooling. I'm not sure what your cooling plan is, but I hope this helps.
 
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drunde77

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My flask is inly 2000ml. Do I decant and then step it up? If so when should I be doing this?
 

duboman

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drunde77 said:
My flask is inly 2000ml. Do I decant and then step it up? If so when should I be doing this?
First cold crash when it's done fermenting, then decant and step up, all to ferment, crash, etc. most starters will ferment out in 18-24 hours.
 
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drunde77

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Ok so the plan is to stuck the guy in the fridge tomorrow morning before work. I shake it and it sril fizzes ill decant when I can and get a new step going
 

ScrewedBrew

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You added sugar and dry hopped your starter? That's interesting.

Your LHBS told you to make a 2 qt starter, then to pitch one part (half a quart) and save 3 parts (1.5 quarts)? While that might be fine advice, I would recommend using a site like yeastcalc.com or mrmalty.com to determine if the one part (.5 quart) is a large enough starter for your recipe.
I'm really good at not making sense. :)

The other way around. Pitch 1.5, save .5

mrmalty calc said I needed a 1.3 qt starter. So, I made a 2 qt starter.

After attenuation, I decanted the fermented beer into a growler, primed and dry-hopped to drink next week. Why dump it down the drain? Dry hop, prime and drink. It'll probably be nasty, but I'll try it anyway. :mug: I don't want the spent beer in my next batch, just the yeast.

Since I only needed a 1.3 quart starter and made a 2 qt, that is roughly 3/4 of my starter was needed. After decanting, I added some pre-boiled and cooled water to the slurry. 3/4 of the slurry mix ( 1 1/2 cup ) pitched the new batch. The left over 1/4 cup was saved for future batches. So the 1/4 cup left over, I topped it off to 3/4 cup (easily divided by 3). Gave it a good swirl and mix. Then poured 1/4 cup each into 3 sanitized jars for storage. Topped each jar off with the sanitized water, capped and put in the fridge for future batches.

Hope this makes sense. I made a bigger starter. Pitch 1, save 3. Like this article, only divided the remainder into 3 jars. When I start the next batch, I'll use 1 of the saved jars, step up to 2 qts and do the same thing again.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/yeast-harvesting-novel-approach.html
 

FuzzeWuzze

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I'm really good at not making sense. :)

The other way around. Pitch 1.5, save .5

mrmalty calc said I needed a 1.3 qt starter. So, I made a 2 qt starter.

After attenuation, I decanted the fermented beer into a growler, primed and dry-hopped to drink next week. Why dump it down the drain? Dry hop, prime and drink. It'll probably be nasty, but I'll try it anyway. :mug: I don't want the spent beer in my next batch, just the yeast.

Since I only needed a 1.3 quart starter and made a 2 qt, that is roughly 3/4 of my starter was needed. After decanting, I added some pre-boiled and cooled water to the slurry. 3/4 of the slurry mix ( 1 1/2 cup ) pitched the new batch. The left over 1/4 cup was saved for future batches. So the 1/4 cup left over, I topped it off to 3/4 cup (easily divided by 3). Gave it a good swirl and mix. Then poured 1/4 cup each into 3 sanitized jars for storage. Topped each jar off with the sanitized water, capped and put in the fridge for future batches.

Hope this makes sense. I made a bigger starter. Pitch 1, save 3. Like this article, only divided the remainder into 3 jars. When I start the next batch, I'll use 1 of the saved jars, step up to 2 qts and do the same thing again.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/yeast-harvesting-novel-approach.html
So you turned your starter wort into a mini beer? If you used a stir plate or any other oxygenation method(like you should) prepare for some skunky beer.
 

ScrewedBrew

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So you turned your starter wort into a mini beer? If you used a stir plate or any other oxygenation method(like you should) prepare for some skunky beer.
Hmm. Never thought of that. I guess that's why I didn't want to pitch the starter beer. I'm sure it will be better than pisswatter beer from the grocery store. On the other hand the FFT samples I drink don't taste skunky.
 

Bamsdealer

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The samples shouldnt taste skunky if no hops were used. Its he acid in the hops that create skunkiness when they react with light or oxygen. I would stop oxygenating your starter as fermentation comes to an end if you plan on hopping and drinking your starter as a beer. Letting the yeast finish on their own will purger the beer of any dissolved oxygen
 
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drunde77

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So I stepped up my starter friday morning. Sunday morning I cold crashed it foe 5 hrs. Then decanted. Pitched around 530... 3 hrs kater im seeing activity in the airlock. My ambient temp is 52 still trying to bring that down.
 
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