Yeast Starter for Belgian Strong Ale?

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nitsuj80

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Mr. Malty is showing that I am going to need 290 billion yeast cells for the belgian strong ale that I am going to be brewing next week. According to the calculator it is showing that I will need a 1.75 liter starter with one smack pack since I will be using a stir plate. The OG of this strong ale is 1.081.

This is my first time doing a starter so let me get this straight. If I do a 1.75-2 liter starter, let it ferment for 24 hours, crash it in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, decant the beer off the top, and then pitch the slurry I should be good to go? I have also heard of guys adding some fresh wort and stirring before adding the slurry in order to get the yeast active again; is this necessary?

Thanks for the advice. This is only my second beer, first starter and I just want to make sure I am doing it right.
 

indigi

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Let the starter go for 48 hours. It takes ~40 hours for the yeast to hit their peak growth numbers.
 

kanzimonson

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Your procedure sounds great. If you can, it's nice to allow 48 hours, but usually 24-36 is enough. It's also strain-dependent... my English ale yeast usually finishes with a starter in 24 hours MAX.

I've never heard "40 hours til peak growth"... 24-36 hours is what you see repeated over and over. Not saying it's bad or good, but possibly unnecessary.
 

Homebrewtastic

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If your strong ale contains simple sugars I would leave them out of my wort to start. Instead introduce the sugar mid fermentation while your beer is at high krausen. You won't need quite as large of a starter and you'll end up with better attenuation.
 
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nitsuj80

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Thanks for the advice.

I was thinking about putting the starter into my fermentation chamber which is a chest freezer with a ceramic heater/temp controller to maintain a constant temp. I have two young kids and that is the safest place. Is that going to be a problem though because of the fact that it is closed off or am I worrying too much? I was thinking from an oxygenation point of view since I am relying on a stir plate for oxygenation.
 

kanzimonson

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So you're talking about actually growing the starter in the chest freezer? I'm sure there's plenty of oxygen in there.

That's more dedication than a lot of us, but keeping your starters at a specific temp is just one more of those 5% factors in making better beer. I've always just done mine at room temp, which can vary from 60-85 depending on season.
 

sjbeerman

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Thanks for the advice.

I was thinking about putting the starter into my fermentation chamber which is a chest freezer with a ceramic heater/temp controller to maintain a constant temp. I have two young kids and that is the safest place. Is that going to be a problem though because of the fact that it is closed off or am I worrying too much? I was thinking from an oxygenation point of view since I am relying on a stir plate for oxygenation.
I would try to keep the starter around 70 F, if possible. Also, most starters reach their maximum cell density within 12-18 h and are complete within 24 h, according to JZ in the "Yeast" book. Allowing the starter to go an additional 8-12 h will enable the cells to build up their glycogen reserves, which they will need to attenuate the beer completely. Therefore, cold crashing after 48 h is a good rule of thumb.
 
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