Author Topic: lager starters?  (Read 918 times)

Offline surfin_mikeg

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 140
    • View Profile
lager starters?
« on: October 20, 2013, 08:18:38 PM »
How do you put together a strong stater for lager yeast?

The background to this question is that I recently did a 2L starter of Wyeast 2206, bavarian lager.  My first lager where I've had good temp control (6 gallons of doppelbock, ~1.080).  From what I'm reading, the starter should have been a yeast cake of 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness that corresponds to 5L of starter. 

That's a big starter for me.  If I understand correctly, the process for building that would be something like so:

2L starter:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
add 2L more of wort:  65 degrees, 2 days
cold-crash and decant: 1-2 days
brew, pitch at 50+ degrees

Am I over thinking this? I'm at day 8 after pitching, 53 degrees, and the batch still has krausen with a full flocculation.  Not that there is a problem, just curious as to what people do for a stater in the context of colder fermentation.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2648
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 09:30:39 PM »
I'd start with a smaller beer (1.035-45) and repitch from that to the 1.080 monster

Offline surfin_mikeg

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 140
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 10:12:49 PM »
That's so obvious, thanks!  I didn't see it.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2648
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 10:29:43 PM »
No prob. Someone here pointed the same thing out to me.
The longer version, I'd make a 2000ml starter on a stir plate. Toss that in a five gallon 1.040 beer. Then plan my 1.080 brew day for the day after I rack the little one. I'd pitch about three cups of the reused slurry. Skip trying to "wash" it.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4540
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 05:33:28 AM »
I have 5 liter flasks for lager starters.

As Jim says you can also do small gravity to big gravity step.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Online mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2884
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 05:37:20 AM »
I'd start with a smaller beer (1.035-45) and repitch from that to the 1.080 monster
Good answer.
 
The third step in your first idea won't grow much yeast because the cell density will be too high. It will be higher than ideal at step 2 even. I've seen recommendations for stepped starters that each step should be an order of magnitude larger - so the yeast from a 2L starter would be pitched into 10-20L for proper cell growth. - and what do you know - 20L is 5G!!
 
If you had two vessels, I'd make a 2L starter and split the yeast into two 2L starters for step 2. That would get you better cell growth.
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 912
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 07:27:10 AM »
I have 5 liter flasks for lager starters.

Those are the size of my one gallon lager batches. Toss it in a wine jug and put it in the back of the kitchen fridge to ferment.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline surfin_mikeg

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 140
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 11:42:28 AM »
This yeast (Wyeast 2206) just seems too slow at temps below 52, so I figure the starter should not ferment in a fridge but be at room temp. 

Making a 5G batch for the purpose of yeast harvesting will be a new milestone, thanks again for everyone's feedback.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11670
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 12:17:00 PM »
This yeast (Wyeast 2206) just seems too slow at temps below 52, so I figure the starter should not ferment in a fridge but be at room temp. 

Making a 5G batch for the purpose of yeast harvesting will be a new milestone, thanks again for everyone's feedback.

Lager yeast starters should always be made at room temp.  You're growing yeast, not making beer, and yeast grows better at warmer temps.  You'll be decanting all that nasty starter wort, anyway.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline redbeerman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1713
  • On the banks of the mighty Susquehanna
    • View Profile
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2013, 12:06:09 PM »
This yeast (Wyeast 2206) just seems too slow at temps below 52, so I figure the starter should not ferment in a fridge but be at room temp. 

Making a 5G batch for the purpose of yeast harvesting will be a new milestone, thanks again for everyone's feedback.

Lager yeast starters should always be made at room temp.  You're growing yeast, not making beer, and yeast grows better at warmer temps.  You'll be decanting all that nasty starter wort, anyway.

+1 and it can get pretty nasty depending on the strain :o
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1163
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: lager starters?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2013, 12:10:18 PM »
This yeast (Wyeast 2206) just seems too slow at temps below 52, so I figure the starter should not ferment in a fridge but be at room temp. 

Making a 5G batch for the purpose of yeast harvesting will be a new milestone, thanks again for everyone's feedback.

Lager yeast starters should always be made at room temp.  You're growing yeast, not making beer, and yeast grows better at warmer temps.  You'll be decanting all that nasty starter wort, anyway.

That's what the Yeast book says.

It doesn't take many 5L batches of DME to equal the price of a stir plate...
@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/