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Starter Process Modification

I’ve always been pretty diligent about making “properly sized” starters. Letting them ferment out. Then decant and pitch but I wanted to brew today and didn’t have a starter made.

So I sized a starter for the brew based on 4 month old slurry I had saved. I made the starter yesterday evening and pitched the yeast. It’s almost at high krauesen this morning. I just mashed in for 5 gals of pilsner.

The plan is to pitch it at high krauesen rather than letting the starter complete, then decanting as per my usual MO.

I know this is standard MO for some of you guys but it’s new to me.


I have used the same method. I found I get a better fermentation when I pay attention to the temperature of the wort when pitching. Quite often my wort is around 52° when pitching. I think this shocks an active yeast starter and limits growth of new cells. Pitching when the wort is in the low 60° range seems to result in a faster active fermentation with a more typical healthy looking krausen.


So you pitch low 60s and slowly bring it down to your standard lager yeast ferm temp?

Thread moved from “lounge” to “yeast and fermentation” per @flars suggestion.

Oops. I didn’t read too well. 60°+ wort temperature is my process brewing ales when pitching a starter at high krausen.

I think it would work for a lager also since the purpose is to get some more yeast growth before alcohol content reaches 3.5%. I haven’t brew any lagers though so this may not be something to try.

I try to get the starter cooled to within 5 degrees of the lager fermentation temp. As you know I pitch at high krauesen with SNSYS.
I just heard a podcast(Denny’s) where he stated he tries to pitch with wort(and presumably the starter) a few degrees below target lager fermentation temp. That would be a bit difficult with my system and would prolong my brew day a bit…I guess I should try. My concern would be lengthening the time before pitching and potentially increasing the risk of contamination during that vulnerable period.

I had to go look for information I read a while ago but never bookmarked since I’m not set up for lagers.

White Labs on pitching into a warm lager wort.

Brulosophy on pitching to a warm lager wort. The 80°F wort was quite different than pitching 10° to 15° above the fermentation temperature.

Both hint at growing more cells in the warmer wort before dropping to lager fermentation temperatures.


This has always been my MO. It does lengthen the brew day. My plate chiller will chill the wort to my well water temp which is usually 54-56F. Then it takes my swamp coolers the rest of the evening to level off around 48-50 with a couple frozen liter water bottles. I usually pitch at 50ish with the intent to ferment in the 52-54 range. That’s about as precise as I can get with swamp coolers and stick on fermometer technology but it’s worked out pretty well in the past.

There is a “lager school of thought” that says pitch at 60 for less yeast shock and chill to desired ferm temp.

Good info @flars. I’m going to quote the info here. My MO has been a process like B. I have seen those kind of lag times. Even longer in a few isolated cases.

That lag time, if I’m honest, has made me consider something more like A but I couldn’t start that high and bring the temp down in 12 hours without some sort of refrigeration unit. I can however chill to about 60 very quickly and then get into the mid 50s overnight. That’s what I’m going for today.

Quoted from White Labs wesite posted above by @flars

What temperature should I pitch a lager yeast?

“Question: What temperature should I pitch a lager yeast?
Answer: There
are two different methods of pitching lagers. Brewers use each method
with success, but every brewer has their preference.
The easiest method is (A).
A) Start the yeast warm and lower to 50-55°F after the start of
fermentation. The yeast should be pitched at 66-70°F. Once you see
active fermentation, bring the temperature of the wort down 10° per 12
hours until the desired temperature is reached. This method works well
without forming high amounts of esters because most esters are produced
after the first 12 hours.
B) Pitch the yeast at the desired fermentation temperature
(48-55°F). Lager yeast ferment well at this temperature, but they grow
very slowly. If you are using this method, understand that you may not
see signs of activity for 48-72 hours. If starting the fermentation
cold, we recommend you make a 1-2 liter starter per 5 gallons, or if a
commercial brewery, pitching the next size up (a 21BBL pitchable for
15BBLs, for instance).”

My last 3 batches I’ve switched to no cold crash, no decanting, and 24 hr starter time. So far so good, very vigorous growth within a few hours of pitching. These are ales, 1.5 liters made at similar OG to batch, 1 liter pitched and .5 liters put aside. The .5 that is put aside is decanted at the time of making the next starter.

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With my first time I receive some yeast and want to employ it… Thats very close to my practice too^^^^… Now since I have stainless steel buckets, its so easy to top crop ale yeast, thats what I’ve tried a few times with great results…
Its amazing how my brewing day has morphed through the years… I’m very content with my brew day now, and have great results… My mission is to tweak the 6 regular brews to my liking and find some new ones to play with! Sneezles61


Very light krauesen forming this morning and some CO2 bubbling through the airlock with temperature down to 52. Definitely earlier signs of fermentation than with my usual MO.

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Usually my lagers are going within 24 hours and i dont bother to chill my starter down to wort temp…maybe i should try that.

My starters are usually colder than my wort because I’ve chilled and decanted. This time because I pitched at high krauesen the starter was room temp of 70ish and wort was60ish.

Mine arent far off…my groundwater can get my wort to 54ish currently…starters sit in my basement around 65 degrees…so i pitch and then put carboy in fridge to drop it down to 50 degrees. The pils i just brewed took about 36 hours to get going.

Just thinking about a Brulosophy XBment… Didn’t they have a lager cooled to about 68*, pitched the yeast, then, once it started to bubble, put into a controlled chamber? .hhhmmmm… Sneezles61

I just wanted to add that once I started using Fermcap my Krauesens in my starters virtually disappeared but they still worked fine.

Don’t feel the need for it. Lager yeasts don’t tend to have over the top krauesen and since I use buckets bloweffs are seldom an issue with ales since I use a few yeast strais I’m familiar with and keep temperature well in check.

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