Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: rbowers on September 10, 2011, 07:33:48 PM

Title: Large Starters
Post by: rbowers on September 10, 2011, 07:33:48 PM
What is the best way to make a large starter?  Planning for a brew day in 4-5 days for a lager batch.  I have one vial of German lager yeast (WL I forget the #).  Is it best to ferment a starter at room temp or at the specified temp ( in this case 45-55 F)?  Is it best to add the same amount of wort as usual, ferment, cool and then add more wort or to just add more wort than usual from the start?  Is it detrimental to the yeast to keep warming and cooling it with each subsequent addition of wort?  Suggestions?
Title: Re: Large Starters
Post by: majorvices on September 10, 2011, 07:43:29 PM
You can ferment the lager starter at room temp, you are growing yeast not making beer. If you have a stir plate or constant aeration you can make a smaller starter than if you only have a simple starter. Check the pitching calc at www.mrmalty.com for an idea what size starter you will need. For a 1.050 lager 2 vials/smack packs in a 1 gallon simple starter would not be too much yeast. You could get by though with a 1 gallon simple starter with one vial. If the yeast os older you may want to start it off in a 1 qt starter and pitch that into a 1 gallons starter. ferment to completion, crash cool, decant spent starter beer and pitch only yeast, cold.
Title: Re: Large Starters
Post by: tygo on September 10, 2011, 09:24:31 PM
For a 1.050-1.060 lager I usually pitch one smack pack into a 2L starter, ferment out, cold crash, decant, and pitch into a 4L starter.  If the smack pack is a little old I might also add in a 0.5L starter in the beginning just to wake things up and get a little growth before stepping up to the larger starters.

That regimen does take a good amount of prior planning though.
Title: Re: Large Starters
Post by: wingnut on September 17, 2011, 02:10:40 AM
1 Gallon glass jug, about a gallon of 1.040 starter wort, foil covering the opening, and a stirplate is how I do it.  I usually let it ferment out and then cool to the pitching temp after the beer is clear from the yeast dropping out.  one or two days later I decant most of the beer, swirl the yeast into a slurry and dump it into 5 gallons of wort. 

Works great every time!  if it sits for more than a week before being used, (after fermenting out) I add some start wort again to revitalize the yeast the morning of the brewday.   If I store it more than 4 weeks, it gets another gallon of start wort and I treat it like a vial... sometimes I even rinse the yeast to get rid of the dead ones.

Enjoy your lager experiance!   It takes patience, but they are awsome!