I made my first two lagers last weekend and will make two more this weekend.

After the boil, I chilled the wort to 75*F/24*C, oxygenated it and put the carboy in my chest freezer so it could get down to 50*F/10*C, which took about 8-12 hours. I decided to take some left over wort from the kettle and "step up" my starter a third time, but placing the starter in the freezer at 50*F/10*C on a stir plate. The next morning (8-12 hours later) I pitched it instead of waiting another 12-24 for hours as normally recommended for pitching at high krausen.

I don't like the idea of my wort sitting there with some bacteria in it a long time without having to compete with yeast, which is why I pitched as soon as the wort hit 50*F.

John Palmer has a chapter on pitching at high krausen, but I couldn't tell if he only stipulated that to be necessary when the yeast starter is from malt extract as opposed to the actual wort one would be using in a beer.

Is it detrimental or otherwise a material opportunity cost to pitch a yeast starter before it hits high krausen, when the yeast starter is made from the same wort that one is pitching into?

Incidentally, with my yeast starters on a stir plate, the foam appears to be at its highest point 8-12 hours-- it's visibly its most vigorous. I'm not sure what this says about high krausen. At 24 hours, as the yeast starters I'm looking at right now, there is almost no foam at all:

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    I don't have an answer to your question, but a comment on your process. You're better off oxygenating when the beer is cold, as solubility of O2 increases as the liquid's temperature decreases. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


If you pitch before the yeast had a chance to finish fermenting, you're pitching a less than optimal amount of yeast. Also, depending on the OG of the wort you grew your starter in, you may have suboptimal cell count and health. These also look like pretty small starters for lager.

  • I step up a 1.6L starter twice for 36 hours with malt extract, and then a third time with the real wort for 8 hours before pitching. Assuming the OG of the wort is high enough, would there still be a detriment to the health of the yeast if I had stepped up twice before hand? Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 3:12
  • Maybe not. Hard to say for certain.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 15:44

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