I am a HUGE German Lager fan. So when White Labs introduced WLP835 German Lager X, I had to try it. White Labs describes this strain as “…Classic yeast from a famous Bavarian monastery. This strain develops a creamy, malty beer profile with low sulfur production and low esters” on their YeastBuddy Blog. This is right up my alley!
The brewing season got away from me and I found myself brewing for various club events, brewery test batches and all sorts of time consuming tasks. The four vials lay dormant in the fridge for months as their viability diminished.
When I finally got around to pulling these out of the fridge, an estimated 10% viability was all that was left. Time to breath new life into this fading strain. Time for a multi-step starter to propagate a pitchable amount of these little malt-hungry assasins…
I use a couple of different tools to propagate enough yeast to pitch. In most cases I find Mr. Malty’s Yeast Calculator (link below) to be just what I need. When I find myself in need of more options than a single 2000mL Erlenmeyer flask can handle, I hit up the YeastCalc Yeast Calculator (link also below). Here I can calculate my starters in steps to maximize my yeast growing capabilities. Plug in your initial cell count, plug in your multiple starter sizes and the site will calculate how many cells you have grown. Easy stuff.
So here is are the steps to growing yeast with a multi-step starter:
1. Make a normal starter with 1.040 OG. Cool to pitching temperature and add yeast.
2. Allow the yeast to eat all the sugar in the starter.
3. Let all the yeast settle out of suspension. A night in the fridge will help this process.
4. Make a fresh batch of starter wort.
5. Decant the old beer off the starter that has been settling. Be careful not to dump yeast down the drain while doing so. You will have a nice yeast cake in the starter vessel.
6. Once the new wort is cooled to pitching temperature, add it to the yeast the starter vessel and let that yeast go to town on the new wort.
7. Repeat as necessary and always use proper sanitation practices.
I will need a few steps in my multi-step starter to get where I am going. Michael Dawson of BrewingTV fame is doing the same thing with the same yeast by coincidence. We will be brewing a couple of Doppelbocks with this great yeast and notes will be exchanged. Until next time – Cheers!