Just double-checking the math... the rule of thumb is 25% viability loss per month (refrigerated), so the 2206 would be about 70%, and the 2278 about 35%. Not that it will make a huge difference in the sizes of the starters.
I guess it depends on whose calculator one uses? This one ( http://www.yeastcalc.com/index.html ) indicates only 13% viability for the 2278. I've emailed Wyeast to see if this would be an accurate number, assuming the yeast has been properly stored by the LHBS. I pitched the 2278 into a 1.5L starter. Would one more step be adequate? How large would you make the next step?
I received a quick email from Jess at Wyeast. He states, "Jim,
It is really hard to estimate this number. I do not agree with the calculator's percentage numbers you are using (likely the Mr. Malty calculator). I don’t like to give estimations because it is so variable and the only way to know this number is to actually analyze it. If you must plug in a number, I would use 75%, though I will not guarantee this is the actual viability.
Does that make sense?
Please let me know if you have questions."
Wyeast Laboratories, Inc.
P.O. Box 146
Odell, OR 97044 USA
Phone: 541-354-1335 Fax: 541-354-3449