When your starter has completed fermentation it will not form a krausen when you shake it. How long a starter takes is variable. The more often it is shaken/aerated the faster the yeast can use up the fermentables. I would allow at least three days for each step. Allow some extra days and keep the starter refrigerated until brew day.[/quote]
So starting a week before the brew day for 2 steps would be reasonable or would you suggest more just in case it’s slow to ferment?
Also looking into buying an Erlenmeyer flask for this, is there any reason to get a stopper for this or would some sanitized foil or plastic wrap be fine.
Edit: also looked at the size of a 2L flask and i dont think it will fit in my fridge for cold crashing/decanting. Is there an easy way to split this into 2x1L flasks?[/quote]
You could begin your starter two weeks in advance. Make sure it is large enough to withstand up to 5% loss of viablility. Most likely will not lose that much, but why worry.
You can use any type of container for an intermittent shake starter. The flask is nice because it is easy to grab the neck and shake it. You may also get some overflow of yeast at high activity in the two liter size . Get the two liter if you plan on using stirplate some day. Three liters would prevent overflow. I like the gallon and larger pickle jars. I use sanitized foil on all my starter containers.
These flasks are tall, but you can pour the finished starter into sanitized quart mason jars for cold crashing. Cold crashing in the frig I will use the lid and ring to seal mason jars.