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Whats the best sign that a starter is working/yeast is activ

Plan on brewing this afternoon and I got my starter ‘started’ on Wednesday evening. I do not have a stir plate but I give the flask a good hard swirl about 7-8 times a day. I was a little worried because I saw the production date on the yeast pack was 8/11/11, but on second thought that is only 4 ½ months. This morning when I gave it its first swirl of the day the solution started to foam up the neck of the flask. I have always taken this as a sign that the yeast starter is doing its thing and that it is producing additional yeast cultures. Am I off base on this??

What is the gravity of the beer you are brewing? The foam means that you have active yeast and they are currently working. But you likely have not reached maximum growth yet. Probably fine for a lower gravity beer, but a big beer, you may want to wait until the yeast starter has finished.

I am shooting for a 1.05 - 1.055 lager…I am using wyeast 2040; it’s there Danish lager. looking to do a european style lager with more of a american hop profile.

plus I did not plan to pitch till about 6pm today so it will have another 10 hours or so

Lagers need big starters or multiple packs of yeast. I think you would be grossly under pitching with yeast that old. Mr. Malty is coming up with some crazy numbers. I think you should try to get a newer pack of yeast.

No offense to mr. malty…i ran those numbers too…I think 4 month old yeast is more vialble than 10%.

10 liter starter and 4 packs of yeast will be a no go.

[quote=“vanwagmj”]No offense to mr. malty…i ran those numbers too…I think 4 month old yeast is more vialble than 10%.

10 liter starter and 4 packs of yeast will be a no go.[/quote]

I kinda agree with you. I think those viability numbers are a little off, but I still think you will be greatly under pitching. Lagers need a lot of yeast and what you have is not a lot of yeast.

Two packs of dry lager yeast would get the job done if that is an option for you. If you still plan on pitching that starter you probably better pitch it warm around 60F. As soon as you see signs of fermentation cool it down to 50F and hold it there. Next you need to pray for those overworked yeast cells :cheers:

I do also have a pack of Wyeast bavarian lager…is it stupid to pitch two diffrent strains???

I have finally gotten my recipie on paper and what i will do is take down the OG to 1.04 - 1.045. I am only going to use 3 lb base pilsner malt, 1lb maris otter, and 4lb of NB pilsner extract

You can definitely pitch 2 different yeasts. I did that with my Oktoberfest back in May. I realized I needed another pack of yeast after only buying 1 and when I went back to my LHBS they were out. So I bought a different lager yeast and pitched both. The beer was fantastic!

Yeah, it does do some atypical viability estimates. The usual rule of thumb is 25% loss per month, which works out to about 25% viability after 4.5 months.

Regardless, you aren’t going to be able to build up the pitching rate you probably want in a single stage starter. You’d need roughly a 12-fold increase in cell count. What I would do is get a starter going ASAP with the second smack pack, then pitch both tomorrow, or Sunday, or even Monday. Just keep the wort cold (~40°F) until you’re ready to pitch.

So I ended up pitching my starter along with another pouch of Wyeast without a starter. I have had a very nice activity for almost 4 days now. So, fingers crossed, the beer turns out well!!

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