I'm still digesting this. This is the kind of information I'm into.
So a good plan of attack for say, a large belgian like I enjoy brewing, would be to pitch a good size starter at high krausen and just get to saturation using shaking?
Why did people get away from this? I hear a lot of people who, through homebrew dogma it would seem, seem to let the starters finish and decant the beer before pitching. Your post indicates that this is more stressful to yeast once pitched than the high gravity environment.
Pitching at high krausen makes total sense from a yeast health standpoint. I wonder why people got away from it?
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I can give you my reasons...I care more about flavor than yeast health, basically. I found that when I pitched full starters at high krausen I could taste the starter wort and didn't enjoy it. By decanting the starter, I didn't get that and I continyed to get healthy fermentations and great tasting beer. So I decided that was the way I was gonna go.
For many years I just did the shaking. worked well, but sometimes kinda slow. I was given an old, beat to crap stir plate and started using it. I found that my starters finished in a couple days that way (I make 2-3 qt. starters most of the time). I was aware of the cell shearing argument from many years ago, but found that if it was happening, it just didn't matter.
I reached both of these conclusions the same way...empirically, after studying the science. Mark provides us with a lot of good science, and we all appreciate and benefit from it. But my method has always been to collect info and test it to see how it works for me. After starting out the way Mark recommends, I found that my current practices do a better job for me. It was evidence, not the internet, that made me reach these conclusion.