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Lager Yeast Starter

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dicko

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I was wondering what the accepted procedure is for building a lager yeast starter.
I have done a few now and I have maintained 20 deg c while the starter is building from a small yeast sample to the required size.
I have then reduced the temp slowly to the recommended range and pitched.
My observation until now has been that it takes the starter a lot longer to get to the required size at the lager temps.
My question is;
Should the lager yeast be grown at the lager temp or am I ok doing what I have done so far?
Cheers
 

Snow

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Dicko, definitely do your lager starters at high temps (18-22C). If you can, bring it down slowly to pitching temp for a few days before brewday, then pitch the slurry only (the starter wort will have off flavours in it).

Cheers - Snow
 

warrenlw63

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dicko said:
Should the lager yeast be grown at the lager temp or am I ok doing what I have done so far?
Cheers
[post="62757"][/post]​
All depends Dicko. Are the resultant beers tasting OK?

If so no worries. I do pretty much the same thing. Step up the starters at Ale temps. Then the day before brewday I step it up once more (3 litre starter for 40 litres wort). Then I put it in the fridge at just over lager fermentation temps. (about 12-15c). The important part is to try and equalize your unpitched wort and starter. So when the fermenters are full I'll sit the whole lot in the fridge at about 10c for a couple of hours then pitch the yeast.

All seems to work well from there.

Warren -
 

Wax

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I've only done two largers before, I moved my starter from kegging fridge (0'ish deg) to brewing fridge (10'ish deg) a few days before brew day. So the started never gets above brewing temp. Is this bad practice?
 

Green Iguana

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Maintaing a constant ferment temp is a good practice. Although it not really going to have a large impact. Any diacetyl / off flavours will be conditioned out during the diacetyl rest most people do after the primary has wound down. I have been making heaps of lager lately using the following;

Make a starter wort. Crash cool over night to 12 C . Grab liquid yeast straight out of the fridge and add to the cooled starter wort. back n the fridge at 12 C.Usually the starter is kicking in 12 hours or less if well aerated.Add this starter to cooled brew wort (again at 12 C).

I found that my lagers done this way were more crisp and clean than those that were not.

Cheers
 

dicko

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Thanks all,
So the general consensus is to cool finished starter to wort temp and correct yeast temp prior to pitching, but it may be started and grown at ale temps.
At this stage I haven't noticed any off flavours in the lagers that I have done but it is that "crispness" that I am after.
I think I will only pitch the slurry from now on just in case I do get an odd flavour.
Cheers
 

Asher

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Not sure there is a right answer to your question. this is where a bit of alchemy come it to brewing I recon
Personally, I Start and grow my yeasts at ale temps. (you get a larger yeast population this way). My methods differs slightly as I pitch (the whole starter as its at high krausen) into a lager wort at ale temps, then reduce to lager fermenting temp over the first 24 hours.
Whatever works for you really for me its a compromise between time, cleaning and fridge space.

Asher for now
 

Trough Lolly

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Asher said:
for me its a compromise between time, cleaning and fridge space.

Asher for now
[post="62782"][/post]​
Good point there Asher,
I have only one fridge dedicated to brewing and so it's either a chilling / serving fridge, or a lagering fridge, depending on what's happening. I don't have a fancy temperature controller other than my finger on the dial - 5 for chilling and 1 for fermenting lagers!
Mind you, we've had sub zero nights and mornings here in Canberra, and during the day we swelter in 16C heat, so perhaps the garage or workshop is a good lagering area anyway?! :ph34r:
TL
 

warrenlw63

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dicko said:
At this stage I haven't noticed any off flavours in the lagers that I have done but it is that "crispness" that I am after.
[post="62779"][/post]​

Dicko,

The crispness you're speaking of is more a result (to my tastes) of the lagering/conditioning period. I find it starts to develop after about 5-6 weeks cold conditioning. I let them gas up (naturally) in the keg during this period. About half-way through this period I will start adding Co2 from the tank gradually to get it up to the final serving pressure.

I find that lagers that have had good time to lager and gas up taste better than the ones that are lagered for say 3-4 weeks then force carbed at 300 kPa and served the next day. Don't like to undo all the good work taking shortcuts. Always seems relative to dissolved carbon dioxide to me.

Warren -
 

dicko

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Thanks for that Warren,

I will eventually have a fridge with a dual guage regulator (thanks to Dave Goliath) set up so that I may slowly carbonate my kegs.

This hobby is never ending. :D

Cheers
 

dicko

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dicko said:
Thanks for that Warren,

I will eventually have a fridge with a dual guage regulator (thanks to Dave Goliath) set up so that I may slowly carbonate my kegs.

This hobby is never ending. :D

Cheers
[post="62821"][/post]​
BTW that should read " dual outlet regulator"

Cheers
 

Batz

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Asher said:
Not sure there is a right answer to your question…. this is where a bit of alchemy come it to brewing I recon…
Personally, I Start and grow my yeasts at ale temps. (you get a larger yeast population this way). My methods differs slightly as I pitch (the whole starter as its at high krausen) into a lager wort at ale temps, then reduce to lager fermenting temp over the first 24 hours….
Whatever works for you really… for me it’s a compromise between time, cleaning and fridge space….

Asher for now
[post="62782"][/post]​

That is the way I do it as well , I suppose this maybe because I never could get my wort below ale temp. from the chiller.
Pitch and the fermenter goes in the brewing fridge , gives the yeast a good start as the temp. drops over 12 hours to true lagering temp.

Batz
 

sosman

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I don't very often brew lagers but for ales I have taken to cold pitching, that is, taking the slurry from the fridge (say 2C) and dump it straight into the wort which is more like 20C (or even higher in the summer). I wouldn't hesitate to do that with a lager either, I seem to be getting very healthy fermentations with this method.

My brewing fridge can drop the wort temperature a couple of degrees an hour and for a lager I would probably pitch at whatever temperature it came out of the chiller at and crash cool it to fermentation temperatures.

As far as I can tell, I have never observed the dreaded "temperature shock" and I have done some pretty extreme manouvers with yeast starters.
 

sluggerdog

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Snow said:
Dicko, definitely do your lager starters at high temps (18-22C). If you can, bring it down slowly to pitching temp for a few days before brewday, then pitch the slurry only (the starter wort will have off flavours in it).

Cheers - Snow
[post="62758"][/post]​

So when pitching your lager starter, you are making a big slurry basically? (2-3 litres) dumping the wort on top and just pitching this slurry at the bottom?

if so this makes a little more sence to me now, have just smacked a lager yeast and will be building my 6 starters probably tomorrow for a sunday brew.

When I have my 2-3 starter ready, should I keep it in the fridge at 10C and pitch into my wort when ready at the same temp? would this give optimum results?

:D
 

warrenlw63

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Slugger,

I think that SOS is talking about the slurry (or some of) from a previous batch.

If you're doing a 2-3 litre stepped-up starter, pitching at 10c will be OK. So long as your wort and starter are at roughly the same temps and your yeast is healthy.

Don't panic if you don't see any signs of krausen for 24-36 hours. It will all happen in slow motion at these lower temps. I pitched a Pils at 11 degrees on Monday afternoon and didn't have high-krausen until 48 hours later.

Contrary to what others say about pitching warm and bringing your temps down. This is OK if you can "closely" monitor your temps. However if you've got the nerve/patience pitching and fermenting cold is a "far" safer way to avoid accidential esters and excessive diacetyl which may not be totally removed on a diacetyl rest.

Choice is yours.

Warren -
 

Trough Lolly

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Ok, here's a bit of info based on actual brewing rather than browsing ;)

I made a starter of DCL Saflager S-189 last week; stepped it up to 1.5L. Pitched it into a chilled Czech pils wort, along with two stubbies of home ranched and chilled Wyeast 2633 Oktoberfest blend that I added as insurance.

It's currently at day 5 of primary and the krausen is still on top, with all the yeast bottom fermenting at 16C. Good strong fermentation in the airlock with no sulphur apparent. The below ground cellar is 16C ambient - and it stays that way for much of the year, here in Canberra!

I made the S-189 with a boiled and cooled water / DME mix to 1.020 at about 21C. It did look sluggish in the starter flask and was fermenting but no visible krausen (hence the insurance added, as mentioned earlier). The starter had aeration thanks to shaking the flask whenever I walked past it!

Based on my results, I would agree that a warm starter (20 to 21C) is good for the lager yeast and there is an exponential increase in yeast cells in the bottom of the 23L fermenter compared to the modest film of yeast cells that lived in the starter flask.

I intend to re-use the slurry on a Bohemian Pils next weekend when I rack the Czech Pils into the fridge for a few weeks of lagering.

TL
 

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