Starter timing quandry

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by J A, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    So, before I head out for a 2-week vacation I want to get a lager into fermentation. I'll have to brew on the 23rd to get everything buttoned down before I have to start packing. I'm obviously going to need a starter and I can't decide on a strategy.
    I'll do an 11-gallon batch and what I usually do is make a 5.5 gallon batch of table beer so I have a huge pitch and slammer beer to drink as well. I can't brew tonight so I'd have to brew tomorrow night to get something going. That only leaves 5 days to ferment out a starter batch and rack off of the cake. I'm using S-23 and that usually goes pretty fast but am I pushing my luck?
    Otherwise I can take my single pack of S-23 and do a 2-stage starter which would probably take as long as the batch because I don't have a stir plate and the shake method of aeration takes a little longer.
    Worst comes to worst, I can run out and buy 3 more packets of yeast but I really hate paying as much for yeast as I'd pay for ingredients for the batch of light beer. :)
    Thoughts?
     
  2. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever tried top cropping? I've never done it but have read about it. Pretty muxh, 2-3 days in at high Krausen, you scoop (with a sanitized spoon) the yeast from the top of your fermenting beer and store it for future use. They say that what you get is good for a five gallon batch of beer.

    Anyone here ever done this?
     
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  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Id brew the table beer and rack that off then pitch onto what yeast cake you end up with.
     
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  4. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    If you use a yeast that can do well at warmer temps you can do a low gravity Cali common and have it done in time. S 23 tastes like apples at warm temps so I wouldn't use it for this method. If you have to use the s23 I would just do a big starter or use multiple packs.
     
  5. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Brew your table beer tomorrow, keeping your gravity around 1.035.
    Pitch and ferment cool but not lager temperatures. Say 64 ish.
    Rack the beer just prior to needing the yeast for the lager.
    Make sure the table beer is finished before cold crashing and or lagering.
    There should be plenty of yeast for a normal gravity lager.
    I'd be careful of cold crashing the table beer before racking it off as this may shock the yeast going into the next beer.
    I'd likely just cool the wort to the temperature of the table beer and then pitch. Then slowly cool to lagering temperatures for the ferment.
    My $.02
    Good Luck,
    Brian
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^^^^ Looks like a good plan to me.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I should note that I have a back-up plan of using some yeast from a recent brew with WLP810 San Fancisco Lager but I don't really want to experiment with that yeast at lower lager temps. I intend to hold the temp at about 52 for a couple of weeks and while I think I'd probably get a pretty good, clean beer with it, the beer that I've brew so far with it definitely has a distinct ester profile. Not quite what I want based on how good my Pre-Pro turned out last time I brewed with S-23.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I feel your pain I hate buying yeast that's why I make it ahead when I'm not lazy which is most of the time but I have so far stock piled 6 45ml tubes of pure ale yeast slurry, haven't started on lagers yet had an accident today the stir bar flew and I didnt catch it and I had a volcano of foam shooting out the top today :mad:
     
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  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'll end up brewing tomorrow and like Mentor says, keeping low 60s for a fairly quick fermentation. Won't be time to cold crash but there should be a reasonable cessation of activity and quite a bit of yeast dropping to the bottom. The table beer will be low-gravity version of a dark Mexican lager so there'll be some room for a little estery profile in it, anyway. I'll split an 11-gallon batch and use the other half to get a big starter of US-05 for a batch of the House Pale while I'm at it.
     
  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Even if table beers not done if were me id just rack it to secondary to let it finnish with what yeast is left in suspention then pitch lager onto this.
     
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