One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

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One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby lexuschris on Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:18 pm

Hey all,

Recently, I brewed up my Weizenbock recipe with WLP351, their Mar/April Platinum yeast. It was really tasty, so I had the forsight to order an another vial when I found it online recently.

Unfortunately, I did not factor in that I am now on a 10-gal brewing system, and 1 vial with a 2-litre starter is just not enough yeast cells for this 1.081 OG wort.

Does anyone have a spare WLP351 in their fridge? :D

I've never tried stepping-up a starter, and I'm not sure if it would be enough to help be brew 10-gal of Weizen bock this weekend. I am guessing the process would be something like:

- 1 vial WLP351 in my usual 1700 ml starter and stir-plate for 2 days.
- Put in fridge 1 day and let yeast fall out.
- Carefully decant clear liquid off top of yeast.
- Use remaining slurry with another 1700 ml of fresh wort
- Stir-plate another 2 days.
- Fridge, decant and ready to pitch the slurry...

Sound about right?

Any other thoughts?

Thanks,
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby DrDually on Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:44 pm

Sounds right to me. That should yield about 400B cells
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby lexuschris on Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:55 pm

Been reading up on 'stepping up starters' and it looks like a lot of work to get my 1 vial (3 months old) up to 600B cells. I'd have to take the 1 vial up to 200B in a 2L flask, then decant and take that up to 400B in a 4L flask. Then decant and take that to 600B again in a 4L flask.

I would consider under-pitching a tad (10% or so?) as I hear that stresses the phenolic notes more...? But it would be a week of carefully working this baby up there.

My other thought is to mix with WLP380 (Hefe IV) as it is also in the spicy phenolic rather than banana esters category of yeasts. They might pair well, although 380 has some citrus & apricot notes, which 351 does not.

Or, just put this baby on the backshelf until next year... and brew up something else this weekend.

Hrrmmm... :?:
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby maltbarley on Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:07 am

I think the club should buy a propagator.
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby DrDually on Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:54 am

maltbarley wrote:I think the club should buy a propagator.


Any idea on cost and manufacturer?
If anyone is interested, I have designed a non-magnetic sitr plate that will accomodate two 2-L flasks
Should be ready to test next week
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby Greywolf on Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:13 pm

Just finished reading Jamil and Chris White's Yeast book a couple of weeks ago

They state that when stepping up your yeast, each step should be larger by no more then a factor of 10.

1 l step up to 10 l would be max for first step up. I don't believe there would be an issue with going from 1 l up to 2, 3, 5 or 9. You will just have to increae your fermentables accordingly.

The main focus is to step up the same factor each time, so as not to over stress the yeast.... in your case, 1 vial up to 200B, up to 400B, then up to 600 would be the best way to go. I imagine you could give it a bit more fermentable (high gravity) to get some extra cell counts, though with an older vial... you might not even be getting a full 200B on your first step up.
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby brahn on Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:47 pm

Do the step up to 400B in the 4L flask, then brew a batch of hefeweizen/dunkelweizen/roggenbier and pitch the slurry into your weizenbock. Problem solved and you get 2 batches for the price of one (yeast-wise).

Between myself and bwarbiany we've brewed 5 batches - 50+ gallons on the vial of WLP090 that I bought.

EDIT: To clarify, do the two steps you mentioned: 2L, 4L. Then brew a smaller beer with that. Way easier than using starters to get enough yeast for a 1.080 beer.
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby jward on Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:43 am

Greywolf wrote:Just finished reading Jamil and Chris White's Yeast book a couple of weeks ago

They state that when stepping up your yeast, each step should be larger by no more then a factor of 10.

Which means one gallon starters for a 10 gallon batch. Just sayin'.
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby lexuschris on Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:59 pm

I'm going to give this a try. I might be a bit under pitching, but for some yeasts it helps them produce more of the phenolic flavors... so I've read..

I checked my notes from my last version of the Weizenbock, and I was pitching about 20% less than I should have ... so hopefully, I'll have simliar results on this one. :)
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby oc eric on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:55 pm

lexuschris wrote: Does anyone have a spare WLP351 in their fridge? :D


AHP has WLP351 in stock... :)
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby lexuschris on Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:50 am

Beautiful! I will be stopping to get it and my grains & hops!
:happybeer:
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby Greywolf on Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:38 am

jward wrote:
Greywolf wrote:Just finished reading Jamil and Chris White's Yeast book a couple of weeks ago

They state that when stepping up your yeast, each step should be larger by no more then a factor of 10.

Which means one gallon starters for a 10 gallon batch. Just sayin'.


This comes from Chris White... the guy knows yeast... You don't have to do this, but it is optimal.
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby lexuschris on Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:01 pm

Just thought I'd post up the link that I found interesting in my research on this..

http://billybrew.com/stepping-up-a-yeast-starter

I believe the yeast starter volume vs. yeast count vs. # vials chart is from Jamil's "Yeast" book..

I took my 2L flask with 1 vial, and it should bring me up to 200B cells, which is around 2 vials. When I pitch it with the 2 extra vials I got from Addison's today, in a 4L starter, I should get to 600B cells.. which is recommended for this 1.080 beer.

I'm sure I'll be a bit shy of that due to viability & other issues, but should be within 20% of my target counts... And yes, this started is now over 1 gallon.

I like Brent's suggestion for next time... just brew up a small beer and use the slurry for the big beer.. I will need to plan better next time! :)

Thanks for the suggestions all! Will let you know how it turns out!
:happybeer:
--LexusChris

p.s. I really did like WLP351 on my last Weizenbock .... a very nice wheat yeast!
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Re: One vial short, or how do I step-up a starter?

Postby lexuschris on Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:00 pm

Update:

I have brought this Weizenbock to a few meetings, and given out a few bottles here & there. The yeast performed as I had hoped! Thanks again for all the suggestions!

On another note, I have read some posts elsewhere suggeesting that WLP351 is the same strain as Danstar Munich Wheat yeast. Not sure if that is true, but is nice to think there may be a more readily available version of this yeast.

:cheers:
--LexusChris
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