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Old 02-02-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
rschega
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Default Help with Inactive Yeast

I brewed a batch German Lager 10 days ago and used Wyeast 2038 Munich Lager in a slap pack. After breaking the nutrients pouch inside the bag never began to swell, and after the brewing process had to pitch the yeast anyway. Kept the wort in the upper 40's for laggering but never did get any activity from the yeast. After three days we finally got some bubbling, but never developed the full on krausen. The last seven days my airlock has been steady to bubble on once every two to three seconds and still only have a small level of krausen less than half and inch thick. I have moved my wort inside to temperatures in the low to mid 60's for several days and still nothing.

I have an extra package of Wyeast Munich Lager showing up today, but what should I do to salvage the beer???? Should I activate and pitch the new yeast on top of the old???? My initial gravity measurement was 1.042. I have not taken another one yet, was going to let two full weeks passed....

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Old 02-02-2009, 03:17 PM   #2
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My advice is to relax...everything sounds normal. Remember not every fermentation is the same. If it makes you feel better go ahead and pull a sample and check your gravity.

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Old 02-02-2009, 07:19 PM   #3
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I think you're beer will be alright in the sense that it will be beer. It sounds as if the yeast you pitched is doing its thing. You might consider raising the temperature a bit. At this point you want fermentation, not lagering. Lagering refers to conditioning the beer at cold temps for an extended period of time once fermentation is complete/nearly complete.

One issue you might want to address in future lager attempts is to make a starter. If you only pitched one smack pack into 5 gals you way underpitched for a lager.

Another advantage of a starter is that you "wake up" the yeast and know its active before pitching it into wort you were so careful to prepare.

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Old 02-02-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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Should I pitch the other bag of yeast I have, or just standby and let this batch roll??

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Old 02-02-2009, 09:02 PM   #5
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Since this is a lager, I'd definitely stop changing the temperature. Check the SG, though, and see where you are. I wouldn't pitch more yeast, if fermentation is going on. Without a starter, a lager will take a LONG time to get going.

Here's the specs on that yeast:
A unique strain, capable of producing fine lagers. Very smooth, well-rounded and full-bodied. Benefits from temperature rise for diacetyl rest at the end of primary fermentation.

Origin:
Flocculation: medium
Attenuation: 70-74%
Temperature Range: 48-56° F (9-13° C)
Alcohol Tolerance: approximately 9% ABV


So, keep it between 48 and 56 degrees, and check the SG and see where you're at.

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Old 02-02-2009, 09:04 PM   #6
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If you are seeing bubbles in the airlock, then you have fermentation happening. It will be slower at the lower lager temperature. Leave it alone and don't pitch the other yeast. I would leave it for at least 4 weeks before doing anything.

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Old 02-03-2009, 05:39 AM   #7
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I agree with the above to leave it alone and check an SG after about 2 weeks.

Also as mentioned you should make a starter for lagers in order to pitch sufficient yeast - it will also give you time to sort out if you have an old or abused yeast pack that needs an extra day to get going.

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:24 AM   #8
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Lagered a Munich Dunkel with Wyeast 2038 yeast. I was a long strange ride. Bottled and held at 46-50 for a week, dropped to 38-42 for three months...still flat... in frustration, took it out and kept it at 70 for three weeks, chilled it down again and, voila, finally carbonation and a nice thick foamy head. NOW I can enter it in the upcoming competition. Thought it was a lost cause.

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Old 09-08-2012, 02:50 PM   #9
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Don't forget that lager yeasts are called "bottom-fermenting" for a reason. You will never see a proper krausen on a lager, that is just how the yeast work.

I make a bock recipe every fall with Wyeast 2308, and your experiences sound very similar to what I see every year. Nothing to worry about.

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