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Stepped Up Starter With Old Yeast

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jeremys

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I have bought a Wyeast smack pack of 2206, but forgot to check the date on the pack. It is nearly 6 months old, and I am planning to make a starter with it to use in a batch of Marzen next weekend. I've never used yeast close to this old before, and Mr Malty's pitching rate calculator suggests that viability is only 10% and I need 6 packages in 10L of starter to reach the required volume. But I only have one package.

I am thinking my best option (other than trying to find some newer yeast) is to do a stepped up starter. I've never done this before and would appreciate any advice on how to do this. Also, any advice from anyone who has stepped up old yeast would be much appreciated.
 

manticle

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I'm sometimes a little bit dubious about the amount of yeast mr malty suggests is required, especially for older yeast.

My personal experience is that getting it fired up and active in a good size starter should give you a good result.

First, smack it and leave it for 1/2 a day for each month since manufacture. If it swells up, it contains viable yeast. Then pitch it into 2-4 litres of wort, agitate till you see krausen form (not continuously - just when you walk past and remember, don't agitiate once you see krausen) then stick the whole lot in.

You may pitch a few million cells less than optimum but 6 packs in 10 L is silly. Did you include the decimal point in your wort gravity calculation?
 

jeremys

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I'm sometimes a little bit dubious about the amount of yeast mr malty suggests is required, especially for older yeast.

My personal experience is that getting it fired up and active in a good size starter should give you a good result.

First, smack it and leave it for 1/2 a day for each month since manufacture. If it swells up, it contains viable yeast. Then pitch it into 2-4 litres of wort, agitate till you see krausen form (not continuously - just when you walk past and remember, don't agitiate once you see krausen) then stick the whole lot in.

You may pitch a few million cells less than optimum but 6 packs in 10 L is silly. Did you include the decimal point in your wort gravity calculation?
Yes! It suggests I would need 3.5 fresh packs, 1 fresh pack in a 9L starter, or 2 fresh packs in a 4L starter. I'd rather slightly overpitch than under, which is why I'm thinking a 2-3 step starter would make sense. I've done plenty of starters before, just never multi-step starters and never with old yeast.
 

Nick JD

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Mr Malty has shares in Wyeast.
 

jeremys

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Have a read through this thread http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=52586
plenty of great info on stepping yeast.

I find following Mr malty pitching rates to give great results, no need for more than one pack of yeast!
This calculator will help you calculate your stepped stater - http://www.yeastcalc.com/
Works on the same calculations as Mr Malty.
That calculator is gold! I've entered in my data, plans are now to let the yeast pack swell (or not) for 3 days at 20C, then put it into a 1L starter on Tuesday, the yeast from that into a 2L starter on Wednesday, then that yeast into a 4L starter in my better bottle on Thursday. After 24 hours I'll chill it down and on the weekend I'll decant off the starter beer and pitch onto the yeast cake, which hopefully should have the required number of cells!
 

Steve@PMF82

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That calculator is gold! I've entered in my data, plans are now to let the yeast pack swell (or not) for 3 days at 20C, then put it into a 1L starter on Tuesday, the yeast from that into a 2L starter on Wednesday, then that yeast into a 4L starter in my better bottle on Thursday. After 24 hours I'll chill it down and on the weekend I'll decant off the starter beer and pitch onto the yeast cake, which hopefully should have the required number of cells!
Dont get to distracted by the numbers, concentrate on sanitation and providing an ideal environment for growing healthy yeast, taking notes on YOUR process. When you decant spent wort make sure to smell / taste
 

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