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Schnitzengiggle 03-03-2009 03:59 PM

Need Advice...Agitating Yeast in Fermenter?
I am currently brewing my first Belgian Wit, using WLP400 for the first time as well, and some of my research has brought me across information stating that swirling the yeast in the fermenter can improve overall fermentation. It is only on its third day of fermenting (~69-70) and still bubbling away . Is this a practice anyone has tried with success? I plan on leaving this in the primary for about 3 weeks and bottle conditioning for at least 2 weeks and wanted to know if I should kick up the yeast during fermentation. It has a low to medium flocculation rate anyhow? Can this be done with all fermentations, better yet should this be done???

rsmith179 03-03-2009 04:10 PM

I have done this in the past with no problems. Just make sure that you aren't introducing too much oxygen to the beer at this point. I have one of those wine degassers that I use with an electric drill. This works perfectly for bringing up the yeast from the bottom and getting them back into susension. If your fermentation is going well though and is not stalled, I wouldn't recommend doing this as it is really not needed.

DuckAssassin 03-03-2009 04:13 PM

My first inclination would be to leave it alone. You probably wouldn't hurt anything by giving it a swirl, but if it is bubbling away, odds are that your yeasties are happy and making beer. I have seen the warm up a swirl advice when people are experiencing a stuck or sluggish fermentation, and getting some co2 out of suspension can aid a healty fermentation, but unless you have taken some gravity readings that tell you there is a problem, it sounds like things are fine. I am not suggesting that you need to run and check the gravity either, because it sounds like you are making beer to me. From what I have read even though you feel the need to do something, doing nothing is often better.

Did you make a starter? Was your OG really high?

Schnitzengiggle 03-03-2009 06:21 PM

Yes I made a starter in a growler w/foil cap , 1 cup wheat DME to 1 Litre of water boiled for 15 minutes, cooled to ~75 (gravity of the satrter should've been about 1.040 according to the recipe but I did not actually take an SG for starter) I pitched the yeast and about 12 hours later had a real nice krausen I swirled as often as possible,. SG of Belgian Wit wort was exactly 1.046 after temperature adjustment which was exactly what it should've been. Once the yeast starter was pitched I had an almost nil lag time, I pitched say 10pm got up around 6am and had lots o'bubbles in my airlock so I would say ~5 hours give or take for fermentation to take off. I know that it is doing well, I just read some info from other brewers that swirl their primarys to "improve" fermentation, and was wondering if there was anyone who practiced this technique regularly and had "better" results.

jds 03-03-2009 06:51 PM

I've found some information that corroborates my own experience with WLP400: Gentle rousing helps this yeast. Here's what's said by users on White Labs' site: White Labs - WLP400

When rousing, I don't even take the airlock off the carboy. I just give it a gentle swirl until I see the beer getting up to the krausen ring. That should be sufficient to wash any beached yeast off the shoulders of the fermenter and rouse some of the flocculated yeast off the bottom.

Hammy71 03-03-2009 09:18 PM

There's been alot of posts about WLP400 and how sloooooooooow it is. I believe one poster labeled it the "Homer Simpson" of yeast. Shake it if you must....but I'd just let it go on it's merry way..... On my Hoegaarden clone it took 2 weeks for the primary fermentation to finish at 66 degrees..... Now that's a little low for the temp but.....wow...it is slow.....

mkade 03-04-2009 03:20 AM

I've had good luck with 400, though the yeast do like to stick up on the top of the carboy. I would usually swirl the carboy with the blowoff still on to get the yeast back into solution. Room temperature was 66 during fermentation, with a reading of 70-72 during the high activity times on the fermometer. I got from 1.050 to 1.012 in a week, and the beer was quite delicious.

Schnitzengiggle 03-04-2009 08:26 PM

It's only day four for my Wit, but it is still bubbling away, I'm in AZ and we've had somewhat of a heatwave lately, it was about 89 degrees day before yesterday. I have my primary in the ice chest with water, it has been holding at about 68-69 degrees but still bubbling away. I think I'll just let this one sit in there for about 3 weeks before taking a gravity reading and bottling. I was a little premature with my first brew bottled only 12 days after fermentation (5 days primary, 7 days secondary) it's been about a week and a half and I couldn't resist so I popped one in the fridge and drank it a few hours later quite twangy, and more bitter than I was hoping for. I know these flavors will meld and mellow in the next couple of weeks, but I'm beginning to get impatient. O'come to me sweet elixer of the gods! It's soooo goooood once it hits your lips!

Saccharomyces 03-05-2009 05:23 AM

I like to swirl the Belgian yeasts including this one when fermentation slows. It helps ensure full attenuation.

As for this yeast, I prefer to ferment it warmer. At 68*F it doesn't produce enough yeast character IMO. When I used it at 72-74*F it was spot on.

Piotr 03-05-2009 08:03 AM

Agitating yeast encourages ester production

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