WLP800 yeast: What is the recommended temperature to make a starter for Bohemian lager?

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LRAT

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Hi,
I am in the middle of making a starter for my 40 liter batch of Bohemian pils.
I added 200g of DME to a flask and topped up to two liters in total. OG is 1.028
I brought it to a gentle boil for 15 minutes and let it cool down.
Now, my question is: What should the temperature of the wort be before I add two bags of White Labs WLP800?
I know that the recommended fermentation temperature should be at 12 degrees C. So, does the starter need to be at 12 degrees C as well?
I'm confused. There is no information on the package of White Labs how to make a starter for pilsner and nothing on their website either!
Thanks for your help!
 

LRAT

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Sorry, I'd forgotten to add the link to the yeast I ordered:


I will be using 2 packets of yeast in my 2 liter starter to make a batch of 40 liters of Bohemian Pilsner with an OG of around 1.045.
I hope this will help.
 

duncbrewer

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Why not use one packet as you are growing a starter?
No need to use two as you can just build it up.
 

LRAT

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I know it's the competition (Wyeast) but this is a good basic guide
Making a starter
Mark
Thanks Mark!
It's the first time I'm using White Labs yeast (As the Wyeast was out of stock at that moment of purchase).
Normally I stick with Wyeast or Mangrove Jacks. (I don't know why as I'm not an expert in regards to yeast at all).
It's disappointing the lack of information on White Labs' website.
Anyway, I made the yeast starter at 21C and pitched this morning at 21C.
I will now move the fermenter tank into my fermentation fridge and will set the temperature at 12C for the next ten days.
Thanks for the link.
Luke
 

LRAT

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Why not use one packet as you are growing a starter?
No need to use two as you can just build it up.
Hi duncbrewer,

One packet of WLP800 yeast contains approx. 100 billion yeast cells.
According to the calculations for a batch of 42 liters of lager at 12 degrees Plato (OG 1.048) I should have 756 billion cells (Or 8 packets!).
I made a starter from 2 packets and I will not even be close to that number but I hope it will be enough.
 

NattyJ

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The yeast (lager even) can survive and thrive at much higher temperatures (i.e. for starters) the recommended temps are foe using the yeast in 'beer' to have the best 'taste'. I.e. no off flavours, unwanted esters etc. You can certainly have the starter at those lower temps if you want, it just takes longer and there's no real advantage to do that.

As the calculator said, that is nowhere near enough yeast for a lager. Rule of thumb is basically at least DOUBLE what you would use for an ale yeast.

You are probably best pitching each pkt separately into its own 2L starter. If you only have one flasks, decant and then store first lot and then and reuse flask. Two separate starters will make more yeast than pitching both or even pitching both, decanting and then adding another 2L on top. Ive got my first lager fermenting at the moment and having enough yeast is also a concern for me!

I did a 1L starter (stir plate). When that finished I split into 2 x 2.5L starters (no stir plate as I just can't get my 3L Flasks to work on my stir plate).

I pressure fermented though. It's down to 1.012 (from 1.051) in 5 days so it should be ready to keg and the lager for a bit in two days time. Its also my first time using pressure fermentation in an lager. I'll find out in a couple of weeks how it went!
 

kadmium

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Hi duncbrewer,

One packet of WLP800 yeast contains approx. 100 billion yeast cells.
According to the calculations for a batch of 42 liters of lager at 12 degrees Plato (OG 1.048) I should have 756 billion cells (Or 8 packets!).
I made a starter from 2 packets and I will not even be close to that number but I hope it will be enough.
It's not the initial pitch rate that is super critical, and you can definitely over pitch a starter. It's the final volume and pitch rate together that determine the final amount of yeast, as well as your method (aerated, stirred or stationary)

You want to keep your pitch rate between 25 and 100 million yeast / ml of starter so for 2litres you want to target 100b pitch as this falls nicely into the middle, and gives you a good growth rate. Pitching 2 packets didn't help anything, it just grew less and wasted money.

So for a 2L starter you want to target
1.037 OG which is 100g DME per 1L water then work out your total required for pitching into your beer. For 40L of beer at 1.5ml / ml of beer you need around 675b cells for a wort of 1.045 (more if higher)

You should have pitched 1 packet into 1L and then pitched that into 3L (stepping up) however you would have gotten away with pitching straight into 4L but it's a bit sketchy.

2 packets into 2L got you 490b cells or there about. I find this calculator Homebrew Dad's Online Yeast Starter Calculator great as it uses Brau Kaiser's formulas for working out growth rates etc.
 

LRAT

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Thank you Kadmium.
There's so much that I still don't know and it's hard to learn from bits of information spread all over the internet.
I will definitely do some more research in that and thanks for the link!
By the way, my Bohemian pilsner has now been fermenting in my fridge (Set at 11C) for 7 days now and it was only yesterday that the fermentation started to slow down. The fermentation has been great and steady.
It took about 4 hours after I added the yeast starter that the first bubbles appeared. Since then it has been bubbling at a constant rate.
Yesterday I bumped up the temperature by 1 degree and it's now fermenting at 12C. Today I will increase the temp by another degree, etc.
I'm glad to see that brewing beer is not an exact science and that the amount of yeast cells that were produced in the starter were able to take off.
 

Paddy Melon

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Hi Guys, pitching rates are still problematic for me. I can understand calculations when making starters from packet yeast but what about harvested yeast? I've read that some folks place their next brew straight onto the yeast/trube bed of the previous brew. My query is whether doing this would fall into the over pitching rate and would it have a detrimental effect on the beer? I guess I'm trying to understand what proportions of harvested yeast should be used, say in a two liter starter. Would a 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, of the harvested yeast be a sufficient number and what would be considered an over pitch amount.
 

mynameisrodney

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I do it all the time with beers I want clean (ie no yeast character) with no problem. I wouldnt do it with something where the yeast character is important for the style such as a hefeweizen. I'm not sure what proportion of the yeast cake you would need. Maybe plug the 1st batch into a yeast calculator and see what it tells you the final count is? Then figure out what percentage you need.
 

MHB

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Paddy Mellon, there is a bit more to than just the cell count; the health of the yeast is a big part of the equation too.

For a pure yeast slurry the rule of thumb number is 4.5 x 10^9 cells / mL
For slurry cropped from the bottom of a fermenter around 25% of the slurry is yeast. Note that this is from a commercial Lager brew, it won’t have and dry hops mixed in with it and they would have done a dump early on to get rid of a lot of break material, old yeast, trub... So 25% is probably a bit on the high side for many home brewers. But without some way to count the yeast it’s probably a lot closer than most wild arsed guesses.

Worth knowing that a brewery wouldn’t keep that yeast slurry sitting around for too long, 72 hours in a cold room at 0oC is regarded as a safe upper limit before you have to start taking the health of the yeast into account, or taking steps to feed the yeast, refresh the culture...

So if you had a fresh clean yeast cake and wanted to pitch into say 23L of 1.050 (12.5oP) wort at a typical 1.5x10^6 cells/mL/oP, you would need 1.5x10^6*23000*12.5 = 431,250,000,000 cells (4.3x10^11)
If you are using slurry at 4.5x10^9 cells/mL (4.3x10^11)/(4.5x10^9) = 95.5mL
If you slurry is 25% yeast 95.5/0.25 = 382mL
For Ale you can half the amount required.

In real terms, the damage caused by under pitching is much greater than that caused by over pitching; this is also a lot more yeast than most home brewer’s use, so there is a fair amount of latitude.
Really good temperature control is important especially as very large pitches can make a lot of heat early on. This is why a commercial Lager that was going to be fermented at 10-12oC would be pitched at 8oC and allowed to rise to fermentation temperatures. Prevents early temperature overruns churning out too many esters.
But don’t be surprised if it’s a pretty explosive ferment, a fair amount of head room in the fermenter is a good idea.
Mark
 

Paddy Melon

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Thanks LRAT and Mark.
Mark I am starting to accumulate a good folder made up from your assists, the way things are going it'll be a book soon I'll probably call it Marks rescues.
I understand the calculations but the more I read and the more videos I watch I find that your statement "this is also a lot more yeast than most home brewer’s use, so there is a fair amount of latitude." to be exactly what I seem to be finding. The reason I asked my original question in this thread was as a result of a previous conversation with you where you advised me about under pitching. So on my last batch I halved my washed yeast cake and poured it into my next batch and maintained the temp at 11.5 degrees. It was obviously healthy because (you were right again as above) it did get pretty explosive and I needed a blow off tube for the first time. Previously I would use the WL800 yeast and make a 2 litre starter and things would bubble away for two weeks or more so I went for the half yeast bed. Then I panicked because I thought I over pitched and stuffed up again, although my stuff ups haven't resulted in any bad batches. So I posted this thread. Now, and correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think I over pitched but am closer to the ball park for a lager than my original 1 pack and 2 litre starter.
Again thanks for your help
 

MHB

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Sounds like you are getting closer...
The industry rule of thumb is 400mL of fresh pure yeast /hL (100L) in standard beer, 12ºP (1.048). Again for Lager, halve it for Ale.
Talking about latitude, apparently Budvar (the Cz one) pitch 5L of fresh slurry /hL and get primary over in 3 days at 8ºC. That’s at least a dozen fresh smack packs in 23L, even assuming that their slurry is only 25% yeast.
So I doubt you’re in danger of harmful amounts of overpitching.
Mark
 
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