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Old 02-15-2014, 03:40 PM   #1
Chadwick
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Default My yeast is dead! WLP500 starter not taking off.

I put the 2 liter starter together yesterday morning. My WLP500 yeast has been in the refrigerator since Dec. It's dated good until March 14. I expected to see some CO2 activity by now. It has been 24 hours. So far, nothing. I'm not using a stir plate, but I have been giving the bottle a good shake every hour. I did this all day yesterday until I went to bed at around midnight. 7am this morning I get up and shake it some more, and have been continuing this.

I beginning to worry. I think my little yeasts are dead.

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Old 02-15-2014, 03:53 PM   #2
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Unless the yeast was heated and frozen repeatedly there should be viable healthy cells.
Activity should begin soon as long as your starter is a at room temperature.
Are you using an airlock? If so remove it and cover your container with sanitized foil. (Added this because you said CO2 activity, which often equates to airlock.)
When the yeast become active you will see an instant krausen form the moment you shake and swirl the container.

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Old 02-15-2014, 03:54 PM   #3
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Dont give up so soon ... Yeast are hardy little buggers and might just need a bit more time to snap out of dormancy. I had some harvested yeast out in my beer fridge that froze when our temps got down to 20 below. I thawed it, tossed it into a starter and a couple days later they were up and runnin. Used it to make a tasty amber that started at 1.063 and finished at 1.014.

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Old 02-15-2014, 04:01 PM   #4
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What are you fermenting in? If it's a bucket there is a very, very good chance that the lid is not sealing. Happens to me all the time. In that case lift the lid and check for some krausen which would indicate fermentation activity. Don't rely on your bubbler to indicate activity.

If it is a carboy, the seal is much better and you should be able to see some krausen activity.

If no activity in either instance is apparent after ± 36 hrs, prepare to pitch another batch of yeast smartly. You may want to use a dry yeast equivalent for convenience and speed.

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Old 02-15-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Ok, I'll postpone my brew day to tomorrow, maybe later. I just really expected to see some activity by now.

I don't have an airlock on the bottle. I simply have the cap just sitting on top of it. When I shake the bottle, I do it by squeezing the bottle a bit and then tighten the cap. A couple good shakes and then loosen the cap immediately so pressure doesn't build up and stress the yeast. However, no point in it the last 24hrs. There has been no pressure to release. Not even a little. I have always done this method. Once the yeasts do start producing CO2 I switch to simply stirring the bottle with a rotational motion.

This is the first time I haven't had any activity in 24hrs when using White Labs yeast.

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Old 02-15-2014, 06:06 PM   #6
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Had one last year which did the same thing. I semi-freaked as I unwisely went ahead with the brew day and then had to make an emergency run down to get another yeast. I had to let the wort sit for 24 hours until that one took off to pitch. I was sure I was screwed (by me), but it began fermenting by the next day and the beer turned out well in the end. With you postponing the brew day, I'd say you have the bases pretty well covered. Hang in there.

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