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High gravity and a 2 step starter

According to a couple yeast calculators I need around 400 billion cells for my next brew which is planned to be an OG of 1.090. According to the calculator this would require a two step starter using the “shake” method.

Just curious what that means. Do I create a 2L starter with 1.036 OG wort, let it fully ferment (how long?) then cold crash, decant, then add some more cooled wort, cold crash, decant again and add that to the wort of my 1.090 beer?

Have never made a starter so all this is foreign to me.

[quote=“mattnaik”]According to a couple yeast calculators I need around 400 billion cells for my next brew which is planned to be an OG of 1.090. According to the calculator this would require a two step starter using the “shake” method.

Just curious what that means. Do I create a 2L starter with 1.036 OG wort, let it fully ferment (how long?) then cold crash, decant, then add some more cooled wort, cold crash, decant again and add that to the wort of my 1.090 beer?

Have never made a starter so all this is foreign to me.[/quote]

You’ve got it!

How do I know when each stage of the fermentation is complete? Do I just assume a set amount of days per step?

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.

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?

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.

Its not that easy. If you make a 2 L starter and Let it ferment for 48 hours the growth phase is done. Then you can decant But you will have to pour in 4 l of wort on Top of that yeast and ferment for an extra 48 hours. If you have a lower innoculation rate the yeast will get stressed and they can even get in worse shape than you began with. That is ALOT of yeast and if you want good and healthy yeast in the adequate numbers there are no shortcuts. And btw all this info comes from the yeast book by J. Zainasheff and C. White.

Use YeastCalc and the information on their site to make your two step starter.

Brew a low gravity 5 gallon batch, after a week or so transfer to secondary and use 1/2 or 3/4 of the yeast cake in the new brew. Save the rest in a mason jar, when you brew again make a starter with some of the yeast you have saved.

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