Jim is there a thread where you describe your process in more detail? Do you decant for your lagers or just go ahead and pitch the starter wort since you're not oxygenating it with the "vortex of doom"? I saw a few references to the SnS method but I never got the full run-down and searching for the right thread has lead me down some rabbit holes.
I know that S. Cerevisiae was adamant that the same process would work for both ales and lagers.This is the way I do it all the time. Right now I have two 6 gallon batches in the same chest, temp probe on one of them. They are relatively same gravity, one is 1.048 the other 1.055. Both lagers. Both chilled to 48F and oxygenated. Both pitched with 1L oxygenated non-stir active starters. Works like a charm every time.
That being said, I do plan on altering the process slightly, as I mentioned above. I'll keep the starter at whatever my initial fermentation temp will be, and pitch them into same-temperature wort at high krausen.
What I'm also wondering is if I should stick to a 5 gallon batch, or make this also be my inaugural 10-gallon batch. Or maybe do some sort of double brew day, run two lagers in the chest freezer at the same time? Would it even be feasible to tie two separate beers to the same fermentation/lagering schedule?
Here is what I do. The day before brewday I set my chest freezer temp control to the temp I'm going to ferment at. So usually 65F ales 50F lagers, and I place my starter wort in there to get it to the desired temp by brewday. I premake my starter wort by pressure canning in 2qt jars.
On the morning of brewday, I sanize a 2L flask and pour in starter wort to 1000ml sometimes 1200ml. I then oxygenate with pure O2 at a mederate rate that makes fine bubbles, until the bubbles nearly fill the flask. Then add the yeast. I cover in foil and give it a little shake, then set it back in the temp control chest.
Then I brew. At about 8hrs I pitch ales, in about 12hrs I pitch lagers. I pitch the whole shebang, gently swirling the last little bit to get the layer of yeast that has settled. But most of the yeast is always still in suspension. I call this High Krausen, but its probably more like Low Krausen. Whatever the term, the yeast are well into exponential growth phase and thats all I care about.
I do a version of the quick ferment, so at 50% apparent degree of fermentation, I increase temp. Ales go from 65F to 72F. Lagers go from 50F to 68F. I pull a hydrometer sample at day 3 and always I have reached 50% by that time, with the exception of these last lagers which the yeast was 5 months old and at day 3 there was absolutely no change in gravity.
The keys are healthy yeast, oxygenation of the starter and the main wort. By the way, this is not MY method, and pitching active yeast is not a new idea. The main worry seems to be from folks who think the 1L is diluting the beer. I suppose on some laboratory level it is, but I have not been able to detect it nor have many people who have tasted my beer, including folks like the Director and Assistant Director of Ed from the BJCP.
I do this because its easy, and it works like a champ. I'm not sharing this to try to get others to do what I do. I'd be just fine if I was the only one.