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Lager starter

Hello experienced starter makers. I’m planning my first lager as I now have a dedicated fermentation fridge in the garage. It’s an all-grain schwarzbier with about a 1.060 OG. Beyond the starter just being larger, is there any other considerations specific to starters for lagers? Room temperature is usually about 78 in my house (Florida), is that too warm? The fridge is currently 68 with a hef in secondary; should I put it in there? Do the lager starters take longer?
I’ve read up on it some but just wanted to get some opinions from folks who’ve done it. Thanks!

I personally try to do my starters at the same temp I am going to ferment at. Due to this I will make them 4 days in advance as there is lag there.

If that is not an option try to keep it as cool as possible and make sure you decant any liquid and just pitch the yeast.

Lagers are a little bit more difficult. Take your time and you will be rewarded.

That’s the hope, thanks. I’m using WY 2206 Bavarian Lager and planning to ferment at about 52. I certainly can’t pitch that low though, not right away anyhow. Would you chill to 52 in the fridge before piching or pitch right after chilling (my system chills to about 75) and then put it in the fridge to drop to 52 aling with the yeast?

I’ve done all my lager starters at room temp before pitching and they’ve come out great! I understand the argument for lower temps not stressing the yeast and teaching them their proper ferm temp. IMHO I’m just trying to make as much yeast as quickly as possible.

Do you also pich at room temp or chill the wort all the way down to fermentation temp first?

I get the wort down to below fermentation temp, 50F then pitch and put it in a freezer with temp controller set to 52. I also make sure that my yeast are cold, from the fridge so that they warm up and not cool down. I’m not sure that matters though.

You got the right idea. Yeast will happily reproduce at higher temperatures than what makes good beer.

If you decide to go cold, you can stick your wort in the lagering fridge to lower those temps. Make sure you check to see if it is down to 52* before pitching or you will shock your yeast. If you go this route make sure your sanitation is good.

I got tired of waiting over night so I bought a utility pump (about $40.00) (NOT a pond pump, the just don’t move enough water) and chill my wort as low as I can with my IC. I then place the pump in an ice water bath and hook it up to my IC and drop it that way. This works fantastically and if you don’t pay attention you can drop it so low that it has to warm up!

Either way you will be fine. Like I said, take your time, be patient, and you will see results.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]If you decide to go cold, you can stick your wort in the lagering fridge to lower those temps. Make sure you check to see if it is down to 52* before pitching or you will shock your yeast. If you go this route make sure your sanitation is good.

I got tired of waiting over night so I bought a utility pump (about $40.00) (NOT a pond pump, the just don’t move enough water) and chill my wort as low as I can with my IC. I then place the pump in an ice water bath and hook it up to my IC and drop it that way. This works fantastically and if you don’t pay attention you can drop it so low that it has to warm up!

Either way you will be fine. Like I said, take your time, be patient, and you will see results.[/quote]

So it’s like a sump pump? Where’d you get it? It’s a cool idea, especially for me with my 78 degree Florida ground water. I use a plate chiller but could recirculate using my immersion chiller and two 5-gallon buckets of ice water for the supply water and just keep recirculating the wort through the plate right back into the kettle…

+1 to room temps for starters. I’ve always done it that way with no ill effects. I always make sure to cold crash and decant though. Congrats on moving into lagers! Ales are great, but there’s something about putting all that time and energy into making a nice cold, crisp lager… cracking the first one open and really tasting a well made home brew. Be patient with the lagering stage. 8-12 weeks would be my recommendation. The longer it sits the smoother it will be.

:cheers:

[quote=“Demus”]So it’s like a sump pump? Where’d you get it? It’s a cool idea, especially for me with my 78 degree Florida ground water.[/quote]Get a 260 gph pond pump from Harbor Freight for $20 and you’ll be able to push more than enough water for chilling - mine has eight feet of head, works great with a bucket of ice water on the ground and the IC inlet at about 5’. Texas ground water is around 90F, but with 40 lbs of ice I can get 16 gallons of wort down to sub-60F in about 30 minutes from flameout with a whirlpool IC setup.

And +3 (or whatever it is) on making yeast starters at room temp, even as high as 85F, and on pitching yeast into wort that’s a couple degrees cooler than your target fermentation temp. If you chill and decant the spent beer from the starter, you’ll always be pitching into wort that’s warmer than the yeast, so there’s no fear of shocking them into sleep mode.

Demus, got it at Menards. Its rated at 1000 gph and I believe a 26’ head. Best part is it came with an adapter to hook the standard size hose fittings to.

You could also use this to move other water if needed.

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