Mary Izett had a great presentation on 'alternative' fermentations at this year's NHC, including kombucha. Take a look, and use her as a reference!
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I am no master of wine/mead to say that you should make a starter, but if you are going to make a starter for champagne yeast I would suggest either apple juice or the combination of a small amount of DME/LME plus simple sugar and water to get a starter around 1030...
At Michael Fairbrother's (Moodlight Meadery owner) NHC presentation, he said he's just growing yeast for the first three days of fermentation (aerating to keep it in growth phase). You'd never do that with beer.
First off - I'd take a week off and just brew once or twice a day. Get 'er dialed in as-is before you start tweaking.
I won't be taking off work, but I also won't be modding it for at least the first six-nine months.
My fermentation temp is set at 48F in my freezer. I check the temp of the water in the thermowell to ensure it is close to 50F and I assume the fermenting beer will be 1 to 2 degrees warmer which should put it right at 50F. After fermentation ceases, I bring the beers out into the basement for a D-rest at 65 or so for about a week and then back into the cold. I have never had a D issue that I could perceive.
I've tried using adjuncts in the form of both flaked corn and minute rice in the 20% range in an effort to lighten the body etc. Hops are either Hallertauer, Saaz or Tettnang depending on what I have available and what my whim is. I've been trying for something in the 30 - 35 IBU range in order to put it into the German pilsner range.
Lactobacillus can use a wide range of carbon sources, but it is highly strain dependent and I don't know what strain of lactobacillus we're dealing with. Presumably lactobacillus delbrueckii? In any case, published lab tests show that many strains of lactobacillus can use dextrin as a carbon source...