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Active Starter vs Stepped up Overpitch

So I normally use a yeast pitch calculator and build a starter that’s appropriately sized, even oversized in most cases. Sometimes this requires multi step starters built days prior to brew day and allowed to ferment out prior to cold crashing and decanting then pitching.

Even with this process I’ve seen lag times of 24 hours plus. I keep hearing other brewers in this forum talk about just making a 2L starter and pitching it at high krauesen. So for brewing 5 gals of IPA today I built a starter yesterday. I used about 250ml of 1272 slurry saved from a March fermentation, about 44% viable according to brewers friend calcultor. The calculator said a 2L starter would be sufficient for this slurry to ferment 5.25 gals of 1.064 wort. So I made a 1.036 2L starter and pitched the yeast to it. It kicked off in a few hours and I swirled it about 6 times yesterday evening and a few times this morning as I brewed. Got a nice big foam cap on it each time I swirled. I pitched it once I’d chilled the wort to 64F. The only aerating I did was pumping the wort and letting it splash into the fermenter and it had a good 1 1/2 of foam on the surface when done.

So this is a new process experiment for me. How does my process as outlined above compare to you guys who normally pitch active starters? Would you change the process or starter volume for a lager?

I’ve been exclusively using the shaken not stirred method and pitching at high krausen. I don’t even swirl the starter. The thought is this reduces shear stress on the yeast, which might be more common than what Brewers once thought. My experience has been shorter lag times, as you noticed.

For lagers, you might as well get the most benefit. Stepped up starters are a total waste. Pitch more active yeast or brew a smaller batch as a “Stepped up starter.” If I’m using wyeast 2124 I just pitch a couple packets of 34/70. If I’m using a different Lager strain that I can’t get dry yeast for I make a decent sized starter and a 3gal batch (for 5gal) or a 5gal batch (for 10gal).

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I typically use 1l starters for 3-5 gallon batches…no matter the age of the yeast…ill go bigger if my gravity is over 1…make some wort…pour into your vessel…shake the absolute F out of it until its all foam and then pitch your yeast. I have had them at high krausen in 6 hours or so…so ill typically just start them right before brewing and wait a little while after if need be to pitch. Lagers and ales with great success…plus alot less wasted time :grinning:

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Pretty happy with the results so far. LIght layer of foam on the surface before I went to bed last night and about 1/4 inch of krauesen this morning at 61F.

I too like to pitch at high, or close about, krausen… The only time I will do step starters is too build up enough yeast, so I can stow some away for a later date… and be able to use some for a new brew too! Lately, I haven’t done much, “culturing” as my brews have been close enough in style to pitch on the previous yeast cake… Sneezles61

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