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Making frst Lager.....needs clarifications

Brewing the Sustainor 2 kit this weekend. Loved the first one so Id give this one a try! This is my first attempt at lagering and there are a couple of things to get cleared up before I get started.

  1. The OG of this beer is 1.064. I made a 1000 ML yeast starter using 3/4c of DME. “How to Brew” says beer of this OG will need 180-240 billion yeast cells. Will this starter produce enough yeast cells to allow a healthy fermentation? How can I make it produce enough cells?

  2. The starter wort got too cool (38 DC) and i didnt have time to let it warm back up so I yeast anyway. Will this shock the cells or just delay the mini fermentation? Should it be fermented at the primary fermentation temperature?

  3. How long should a starter for lagers typically take to ferment?

  4. What should the ambient air temperature be during the primary fermentation? I have a mini freezer with a temp override.

What’s the batch size? Typical lager pitching rate is 1.5 million/mL°P, which would be about 1.52016 = 480 billion cells for 5.5 gal of 1.064 lager. The MrMalty calculator
http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
says that a 1 L starter using “intermittent shaking” (I’m assuming you don’t have a stir plate) will grow to about 180 billion cells. So you’d have, at most, about half of what you should be pitching.

To get to 480 billion cells you could crash and decant the 1 L starter, then add another 4 L of wort. If you’re using a stir plate you’d only need another 2 L of wort.

[quote=“Nelsoj12”]2. The starter wort got too cool (38 DC) and i didnt have time to let it warm back up so I yeast anyway. Will this shock the cells or just delay the mini fermentation? Should it be fermented at the primary fermentation temperature?
3. How long should a starter for lagers typically take to ferment? [/quote]
I’m not sure what you mean by “38 DC”. 38°C? If so that’s already warmer than you want to ferment a starter, and is on the verge of being warm enough to harm the yeast. Ale or lager, you can ferment the starter at 20-30°C. If you’re starting with reasonably fresh yeast, it should finish out in <3 days at those temperatures.

The beer temperature should be about 50-54°F (10-12°C), so I’d set the ambient to about 48°F (9°C). Once fermentation begins to slow down, you can bring it up to room temperature if you like.

The best way to make lagers is to harvest the yeast from the last one and brew one every 2-3 weeks. This way you don’t have the hassle and expense of making big starters.

IMO making a big lager for your first lager is probably not the way to go, but that’s your choice. A lager is more demanding in many ways like yeast, aeration, temperature control, etc, and making a big one ramps up the difficulty more so.

I have read mixed Opinions about the yeast cell count. Mr malty seems to me that he requires way more yeast than other sources.

Anywhoo after letting this yeast sit for a few hours, it seems to be grayer in color than previous strains. It is the wyeast hellabock strain. Anybody ever used this strain befor? There also was a blackish sediment on the top, what could that be? I know I was very diligent in my sanitation, plus I boiled the wort inside the flask.

Are you looking at the chart on p. 101 of How to Brew? That’s an error - it’s just a duplicate of the ale chart on p. 68.

I’d smell and taste the starter. As long as it isn’t downright nasty I’m sure it’s fine. Starters never taste great though.

http://www.brew-wineforum.com/viewtopic ... b79b7ff0cc

a10t2, what are your thoughts on Bryan’s lager procedures?

I’ll be in a position in a couple months to get some lagers going and plan to follow his lead.

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