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technical details on a starter for 10gal lager

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Happy Weekend All,

Need some advice from people who make starters for 10-12gal lagers.  I am well-informed on the basic practices of making starters, but my experience is limited to 5gal batches. Mostly I would do 1 Activator pack in a 3L or 4L starter on a stirplate, with good results. 

Lately I've been brewing some 10gal lagers using dry yeast, but want to try some liquid yeast strains too, in an effort to come closer to the lagers I'm trying to clone.

But it seems a little daunting: for a 11 gals of a 1.060 lager, using my stirplate, Mr Malty calls for a 6 liter starter using 3 Activator packs, or 4 liters using 4 packs, or 10 liters using 2 packs.... what do you guys usually do??? I have a 5L flask.. do you guys buy 4 activator packs (pretty pricey!) and make a 5L starter? or do you go with a 3 gallon carboy and make a 10L starter with 2 packs? or what... maybe two just separate starters, the same way I did it before?

Or what is the two-stage stepped-up starter I've heard about? Is that an option, and if so, what does it involve?


Mark G:
You may want to consider brewing a 5-gal batch of a smaller beer, and then harvesting the yeast for your 10-gal batch. Considering how much DME you'll be using for such a huge starter, the cost may not be much more, and you'll have another batch of beer to drink!


--- Quote from: redzim on February 19, 2011, 06:38:37 AM ---Or what is the two-stage stepped-up starter I've heard about? Is that an option, and if so, what does it involve?
--- End quote ---

Basically, make a starter as normal, but after you've crashed and decanted, add more wort instead of pitching it into the beer. In this case, MrMalty says you could do a 2.5 L, then 5 L (on a plate). I'm with Mark though: making two gallons of wort, just to dump it, seems a little wasteful.

Ignore mrmalty's starter calculator, you can do fine in a 4L vessel.   In fact I use a 2L flask for my 10 gallon starters, I just start at least 10 days before and replace the wort 3 times.   Then on brewday I take some first runnings, boiled/cooled and replace the starter wort.  This gets the yeast really going strong and it's with the wort I'm using for the beer.  By the time I've finished boiling and chilling the wort, the starter is at high krausen and the yeast is ready to eat sugar.

Corky, are you diluting the first running at all or are you using it at full strength?


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