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1.043 OG, starter needed?

Hi,
Thanks for sharing. That experiment is great and very informative. I have not done extensive research or much reading on the phases of yeast, and I’m only going on recommendations and my own experiences. To challenge some of what you are saying regarding when the flavor is developed, unless I understand you incorrectly, the White Labs site contradicts what you are saying about the lag phase, and actually suggests a longer phase to strengthen the yeast:

"The lag phase can be carried out at a higher temperature than the rest of fermentation because very little flavor compounds are produced.

If the wort is overpitched, this will decrease the lag phase, and each individual cell will not be as healthy at the end of fermentation. Although it may feel reassuring to a homebrewer to see fermentation activity within one hour of pitching yeast, it is not best for the yeast."

Thoughts?

Mike

OK Sean, I thought I remembered you were the one who did the blind test. I apparently misinterpretted the results when I said people couldn’t tell the difference. Not the strongest of statistical associations, and the descriptions further muddy the waters in terms of determining whether underpitching has serious consequences. And of course it was all specific to that beer style and yeast choice.

I’d concur with those who say that better beer is generally made with starters. I do reserve the right to believe that good beer can be made without one, in some cases.

i read seans study a while back and the results seemed to be sorta in conclusive as far as some people couldnt tell a difference in the beers. but the head retention and lacing part seemed very conclusive and measurable. and my experience echos that enough that i wont brew a beer any more if i cant pitch the right amount of yeast.

lots of people out there throw and old smack pack in a 1.050 5 gal batch and love the beer they make. i guess its their beer and their hobby. thats what is cool about this hobby it can be as simple as you wanna make it or as involved as you want it to be.

i make starters but i dont really understand water chemistry. maybe some day ill go down that road. :cheers:

I found that PDF
http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/Yeast_Life_Cycle.pdf
, and in it Mike White is defining the lag phase as the house-keeping tasks prior to cellular respiration picking up. When I said “lag phase”, I meant the period prior to visible fermentation beginning, which would also include some aerobic respiration and cellular reproduction. I think that most brewers would be more familiar with that definition, but it’s hardly worth debating.

So, yes, he’s absolutely correct that temperature control during the true lag phase isn’t critical. Most brewers aren’t going to be able/willing to pull samples and check them under a microscope periodically in order to determine when reproduction begins in earnest. And even if you did, it would take time for the glycol system or whatever you’re using to begin to drop the temperature. So my recommendation would always be to pitch at or slightly below the desired fermentation temperature, and then begin to ramp up only after high krausen.

I’m 100% on board with that summary. I would argue that a 20°P beer is not one of those cases, though.

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