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Liquid Yeast Starter Lag Time

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O-beer-wan-kenobi

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This is the first time I have made a liquid yeast starter. Im using a Wyeast 2124 Bohemian lager yeast to put into a Pilsner all grain (second time I have done an all grain)

The issue at the moment is there has been no action after nearly 24hrs at 18 degrees in the starter. Maybe I am worrying about nothing and this will come good but I don't want to throw this in the wort (which I have not brewed yet) and waste it all.

So below is the process and possibly the mistakes I have made.

As soon as I got the yeast I activated it strait away without allowing it to warm up.
I have sanitized my equipment and boiled 200g of DME in 2l of water for 15min
Wyeast pack had a made date of April 2012 so only 3 months or so old. 2hrs after activating the wyeast it was emptied into the cooled starter in a 2.4l sanitized juice bottle
The Wyeast pack had not swelled up. I did read that it was not necessary to wait for this if it was being used for a starter although waiting for this to swell would indicate the yeast viability
The starter was shaken and put on my kitchen work top so I could shake it regularly
I didnt take a hydrometer reading at this point
After nearly 24hrs at 18 degrees SG is 1.042 and no sign of action

Maybe I need to be more patient but I was hoping to see something by now?

Another concern I have is, would a 2l starter be enough for a 21l batch of lager fermented at 10 degrees?
 

bigfridge

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The Wyeast pack had not swelled up. I did read that it was not necessary to wait for this if it was being used for a starter although waiting for this to swell would indicate the yeast viability
Why did you not wait for it to swell ? I guess that you were worried that you would be 'wasting time' getting your starter up to speed.

Activating it in the smack pack allows your yeast to wake-up and start to grow on the ideal nutrient mix inside a sterile environment ! Sounds pretty good to me.

Far better to let it activate properly, put it in a warm place (20-30C) and give it a shake every few hours. Only when the pack looks like it is ready to burst should you pitch it into your starter to grow the cell count.

HTH,
Dave
 

Ross

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Why did you not wait for it to swell ? I guess that you were worried that you would be 'wasting time' getting your starter up to speed.

Activating it in the smack pack allows your yeast to wake-up and start to grow on the ideal nutrient mix inside a sterile environment ! Sounds pretty good to me.

Far better to let it activate properly, put it in a warm place (20-30C) and give it a shake every few hours. Only when the pack looks like it is ready to burst should you pitch it into your starter to grow the cell count.

HTH,
Dave

Wise words indeed....

+++

with regards to the question... patience.... if you're yeast handling practises are sanitary all should be good....
 

Wolfy

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As the two retailers above have said, while it is not essential that you wait for the smack-pack to swell, it is a very good indication that your yeast is viable, and so letting it swell would have answered most of your questions, it would not have hurt and is usually something that is recommended.

Starters do not often behave like yeast fermenting a full batch of beer, so if your procedures were sanitary and you've not some-how managed to kill all your yeast, the most probable thing is that the yeast is just taking a while to wake up and you just need to give it more time and be more patient. If after 3-5 days you have no activity and the gravity is still the same, that is when you should start to worry a little.

It is unlikely that a 2L starter is sufficient for 21L of standard gravity lager, check the MrMalty calculator: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
 

O-beer-wan-kenobi

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Thanks for the comments.

I was thinking it would save time by putting it straight into the starter, and this was because I read somewhere that this was OK.
In hindsight leaving it in the sterile pack now seems obvious. Well you learn from your mistakes.

I have checked out the MrMalty calculator and it seems I need about a 5l starter. Hopefully this one will eventually start and I will need to step it up.
 

manticle

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Wyeast state that it is not absolutely necessary to smack the pack which may be where you read it.

Anything that requires yeast growth though (high gravity, lagers, old yeast packs)would not be the best place to take shortcuts. I've got a couple of litres of starter wort ready for a currently swelling Oktoberfest pack. An advantage of no-chill - I won't be pitching until it's ready.
 

O-beer-wan-kenobi

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You don't need to swell the smack pack if you are making a starter, the only advantage of doing so is to verify the yeasties are alive. I would pitch the yeast as soon as your starter wort is at desired temp.

A general question i have is what temps do people do their lager starters at? Lager ferment temp or around 18 c like an ale?
This is the thread with the comment http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=63246
 

Nick JD

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2124 is Fermentis 34/70 - buy 2 packs of it dried and fageddaboutit.
 

np1962

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Agree with all comments bar Nicks.
I'd also suggest it's not a bad idea to start a little smaller with your starter, say 500ml and step up after 24hrs.
Will give the yeast a little time to aclimatise to the wort and build up numbers.
3 month old smackpack of lager yeast with unknown storage history may need a slowly slowly approach.
All should be good though given sanitary conditions and a little time.
 

Nick JD

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3 month old smackpack of lager yeast with unknown storage history may need a slowly slowly approach.
10 bucks and it's got **** all viability so it requires a starter. Yey!

That's great value when for the same price you can pitch two packs of rehydrated 34/70; the same yeast, the correct pitch.
 

O-beer-wan-kenobi

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Is Fermentis 34/70 really Wyeast 2124?
If that really is the case and not another misleading post like I have fallen for before, I think Nicks comments are valid. Why bother with a big starter and all that effort when 2 dry yeast packs will do the job?

I didn't realise a 3 month old liquid yeast has lost a lot of its viability and would need extra effort.
 

cam89brewer

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10 bucks and it's got **** all viability so it requires a starter. Yey!

That's great value when for the same price you can pitch two packs of rehydrated 34/70; the same yeast, the correct pitch.
I know that the 34/70 and the 2124 are very similar in many aspects but are you sure that they are the same strain? not that it matters in this thread as the 34/70 nearly costs as much as the wyeast anyway...

Your starter wouldn't have happened to be warmer than your wort would it? in that case it could cause some lag time.....
 

Thefatdoghead

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You used these two yeasts in the same beer and came up with the same results then Nick? I have been looking for a dried yeast that compares with a liquid but so far iv'e only tried us05 with it's liquid counterpart and saflager S-23,also WB_06 compared with weinstafan weizen but all the dried seem to be inferior to the liquid. The dry S-23 was clean and made nice beer but compared to Bohemian lager didn't really bring out the malt as much.
 

Brewman_

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That's great value when for the same price you can pitch two packs of rehydrated 34/70; the same yeast, the correct pitch.
Hey, I have no problem with dry lager yeasts - use them all the time. Using one right now in fact, and love it, produces very nice beers.

I ferment at 9 Deg.C for lagers, it's just how I do it, not saying this is the brew school.

I normally pitch yeast lower, maybe at 6 or 7 Deg.C and let it rise to fermentation temperature of 9. And at that temperature I have had indifferent results with a double pitch of any dry yeast. And, oh I have tried some. And to be fair results are pretty poor in my opinion at that temperature without a decent volume of healthy yeast, either sourced from a vial, smack pack or dry yeast satchel, or some slurry. I don't think 2 satchels of dry yeast is enough at low temperatures from my experience. I am not advocating extra satchels of yeast either, rather a starter.

On the OP. Agree with Bigfridge, let it puff right up and then give it a crack! I have found the Wyeast I have been getting lately from the LHBS is fully expanded in under 24Hrs, and even as little as 12 hrs.

Cheers Fear
 

Wolfy

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The "Yeast" book suggests that while it is not essential to wait for the smack pack to activate, it's usually the best practice to do so.
I'd also suggest it's not a bad idea to start a little smaller with your starter, say 500ml and step up after 24hrs.
Will give the yeast a little time to aclimatise to the wort and build up numbers.
3 month old smackpack of lager yeast with unknown storage history may need a slowly slowly approach.
All should be good though given sanitary conditions and a little time.
While I agree with the slowly-slowly approach (according to some of the yeast-experts on the TBN pod-casts) a small sized starter (1L or less out of a smack pack) can actually harm the yeast (if the nutrients and food source is inadequate) - but of course that depends on the conditions of both the wort and the yeast.
 

Screwtop

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Ref: Yeast, The Practical Guide To Beer Fermentation (Chris White, Jamil Zainasheff) Page 139 paragraph 2. "What Is the Best Starter Size"
 

O-beer-wan-kenobi

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Thanks for the comments and info guys!

Just for the record the 2l starter finally kicked off after 48hrs. I stepped this up last night to about 4l and this morning it was bulbing along nicely. Not sure why it took that long, it could be because of my process, the fact that the yeast was 3 or 4 months old, this type of yeast strain characteristics or a combination of them all.

With a starter of this size is it best to wait for the yeast to settle and decant the beer off the top and then pitch or is better to decant, add say 1l of wort, wait until krausen then pitch?
 

Steve@PMF82

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Thanks for the comments and info guys!

Just for the record the 2l starter finally kicked off after 48hrs. I stepped this up last night to about 4l and this morning it was bulbing along nicely. Not sure why it took that long, it could be because of my process, the fact that the yeast was 3 or 4 months old, this type of yeast strain characteristics or a combination of them all.

With a starter of this size is it best to wait for the yeast to settle and decant the beer off the top and then pitch or is better to decant, add say 1l of wort, wait until krausen then pitch?
If its already bubbling away nicely after that amount of time, chances are it has started fermenting, in which case your yeast growth phase has finished.
You can let it ferment out and wait for the yeast to drop in their own time (my preferred method - less stress on the yeast) then just pitch the slurry.
Or you can force them to go sleepy time by sticking it in the fridge overnight, then decant and let the slurry warm back up to what ever you pitching temp will be.

IMO i definitely would not be pitching your entire current starter, especially into a lager which generally have little in the way to hide potential off flavours you may have created with your first large starter step.
 

Wolfy

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With a starter of this size is it best to wait for the yeast to settle and decant the beer off the top and then pitch or is better to decant, add say 1l of wort, wait until krausen then pitch?
The yeast from your starter should be fresh and healthy, so the procedure I use is to let it settle then decant the spent-starter-beer and pitch only the yeast.
Others pitch the entire starter and others again use the same wort as their beer in the starter then pitch the entire thing.

However, as I suggested above, I'd be very hesitant to using a small volume (1L wort) with that much yeast. You should have an abundance of fresh healthy yeast and the volume of wort may not supply an adequate nutrient supply for them.
 

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