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Question Regarding Stepped Starters...

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grimpanda

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I am planning to brew 36 litres of Witbier at 1.054.
Yeastcalc tells me that I need 360 billion cells for this batch.

My Wyeast smackpack contains 100 billion cells, adjusted down to around 76 billion for viability.

If I step this up, starting with a 1.5L starter (which would give me the recommended inoculation rate of 50 million cells/ml) I end up with 236 billion cells.

However, If I want to end up with somewhere close to 360 billion cells rather than massively overshooting, my next step would be into a smaller quantity of wort - just 1L. This would give me 365 billion cells, but my inoculation rate for this step skyrockets up to 236 million/ml.

My question is: am I doing any harm to the yeasties by cramming them into the smaller second step starter and letting them fight it out amongst themselves to get to my target cell count? (I realise the biological reality is far from the above analogy...)

Would I be better off creating a larger initial starter (of say 4 litres) with a much lower inoculation rate of 18.7 million cells/ml, which would give me my target cell count in one hit?

Chris White says on the matter: "Too high an inoculation rate, and you get very little growth. If you use too low an inoculation rate, then you are not really making a starter, you are fermenting beer."

I understand this, but what I can't seem to find an answer to is whether higher or lower inoculation rates will affect the health of the yeast in other ways.

Any experience appreciated :)
 

Malted

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If you like the banana esters you could pitch the 263 billion cells into the wort and brew at about 22-24oC.

Wyeast say of Weihenstephan Weizen 3068
"The classic and most popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide. This yeast strain produces a beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics. The balance can be manipulated towards ester production through increasing the fermentation temperature, increasing the wort density, and decreasing the pitch rate. Over pitching can result in a near complete loss of banana character. Decreasing the ester level will allow a higher clove character to be perceived."

Then again, it depends on which yeast you're using.
 

mckenry

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I am planning to brew 36 litres of Witbier at 1.054.
Yeastcalc tells me that I need 360 billion cells for this batch.

My Wyeast smackpack contains 100 billion cells, adjusted down to around 76 billion for viability.

If I step this up, starting with a 1.5L starter (which would give me the recommended inoculation rate of 50 million cells/ml) I end up with 236 billion cells.

However, If I want to end up with somewhere close to 360 billion cells rather than massively overshooting, my next step would be into a smaller quantity of wort - just 1L. This would give me 365 billion cells, but my inoculation rate for this step skyrockets up to 236 million/ml.

My question is: am I doing any harm to the yeasties by cramming them into the smaller second step starter and letting them fight it out amongst themselves to get to my target cell count? (I realise the biological reality is far from the above analogy...)

Would I be better off creating a larger initial starter (of say 4 litres) with a much lower inoculation rate of 18.7 million cells/ml, which would give me my target cell count in one hit?

Chris White says on the matter: "Too high an inoculation rate, and you get very little growth. If you use too low an inoculation rate, then you are not really making a starter, you are fermenting beer."

I understand this, but what I can't seem to find an answer to is whether higher or lower inoculation rates will affect the health of the yeast in other ways.

Any experience appreciated :)
I would certainly start with a 1L starter then add another 1.5L. Will get you at the mark.

What I would REALLY do is split that pack at least in half, but probably 3 ways then set (1 or 2) aside for later, and step those 25b (1/3 of your 76) yeasties up on their own. I would go 0.4L then 0.8L then finally 1.5L - basically doubling each time.
 

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