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Old 01-12-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
solidsolo
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Default Preparing Yeast

HI all.
I'm doing my second brew (Belgian Wit) with added citrus zest. I'm also using Belgian Wit yeast (liquid) but added a vial that was about a month of out date.

It's been in the fermentor for close to 48 hours and I'm don't believe I'm getting much fermenting action thus far. Not sure if it's the yeast or the temp (currently at 64-65 degrees)

I opened it up last night and did a grav reading and it's at 1.050 which is still in the range of pre-ferment if I'm not mistaken.

I did not do a starter for my first vial of yeast... I let it get to room temp and added to my brew when during the cool-down process when it was around 76-79 degrees.

I'm thinking of running by the shop to pick up another vial of yeast to add to the brew. Can someone please advise the recommended way to prepare a starter this time around before I add? Should I do anything special?

Thank you

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Old 01-12-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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HI all.
I'm doing my second brew (Belgian Wit) with added citrus zest. I'm also using Belgian Wit yeast (liquid) but added a vial that was about a month of out date.

It's been in the fermentor for close to 48 hours and I'm don't believe I'm getting much fermenting action thus far. Not sure if it's the yeast or the temp (currently at 64-65 degrees)

I opened it up last night and did a grav reading and it's at 1.050 which is still in the range of pre-ferment if I'm not mistaken.

I did not do a starter for my first vial of yeast... I let it get to room temp and added to my brew when during the cool-down process when it was around 76-79 degrees.

I'm thinking of running by the shop to pick up another vial of yeast to add to the brew. Can someone please advise the recommended way to prepare a starter this time around before I add? Should I do anything special?

Thank you
Making a starter takes a few days. I would just buy a second tube (check the date to make sure it's fresh) and pitch that asap. Or better yet would be to get some dry yeast. Dry yeast does not need a starter. safbrew WB-06 would probably work well for a wit beer. Hydrate the dry yeast properly before pitching
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:41 PM   #3
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First, and foremost fermentation can take up to 72 hours for the yeasties to start, it's called lag time. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/

But by visible signs they DON'T mean airlock activity.

Your airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it is a VALVE to release excess co2.


If your airlock was bubbling and stopped---It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped.

If you airlock isn't bubbling, it doesn't mean your fermentation hasn't started....

If your airlock starts bubbling, it really doesn't matter.

If your airlock NEVER bubbles, it doesn't mean anything is wrong or right.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Thinking about "doing anything" without taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on. It's exactly the same thing when you try to go by airlock....And that means pitching more yeast.

Wait til it's been 72 hours and check gravity before you do anything.

Bobby M recently did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes. I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

Same with jarred yeast.

With any stored, old yeast you just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine. The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

If yeast can be grown from a tiny amount that has been encased in amber for 45 million years, 45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale we really don't need to sweat too much about yeast viability....

we just need to think in terms of making starters. Viability isn't really an issue if you are reproducing a lot of healthy cells. Which is what you are doing when you make a starter.....

Since it appears you didn't make a starter you will have lag time, probably even longer than the 72 hours we talk about here.

If you are interested, read this as well, Why the idea of "dead yeast" is mostly bunk.

relax

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Old 01-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #4
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I personally have never had a batch take 24 hours to start fermenting. Even with a month old vial of White Labs, the longest lag I have experienced is maybe 15-18 hours. I'm sure Revvy is right and that it is possible that it may take longer, but if you are experiencing 24-72 hour lags in fermentation, you need to evaluate your process. (temperature, aeration, cell count)

Obviously, making a starter and pitching the proper cell count will help reduce lag time, and stressing the yeast out will not help. Personally, I cool my yeast down to fermentation temp before I pitch. You say you pitched at 79 and now it's at 65. I can't imagine dropping the temp 15 degrees on the yeast while they're getting acclimated will make them very happy.

I would probably swirl the carboy to get the yeast back in suspension, and see if that jump starts it. If that doesn't work by tomorrow, I would pitch a new vial of yeast.

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Old 01-12-2010, 07:04 PM   #5
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I personally have never had a batch take 24 hours to start fermenting. Even with a month old vial of White Labs, the longest lag I have experienced is maybe 15-18 hours. I'm sure Revvy is right and that it is possible that it may take longer, but if you are experiencing 24-72 hour lags in fermentation, you need to evaluate your process. (temperature, aeration, cell count)
Well, that may be your experience, BUT we didn't create that sticky because there wasn't hundreds of folks having a totally different experiences. And our experience with new brewers is that when they check after 3 days they find either a sign of a krausen or take a reading and see a decrease in gravity, that's why we repeatedly urge folks to wait before doing anything OR declaring a problem.

I personally have had several need about that time to take off, and were beautiful fermentations and beers after.

But YMMW.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:11 PM   #6
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properly aerating the wort is also very important to help the yeast grow to the levels necessary to ferment the wort. I aerate my wort with pure O2.

With dry yeast it's not necessary to make a starter. Dry yeast is cheap and you can easily buy enough to properly ferment your wort. Hydrate the dry yeast prior to pitching

When using liquid I always make a starter. I use a stir plate with my starters to increase the cell growth. Making starters and pitching the right amount of yeast has made a HUGE impact on the quality of my brew.

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Old 01-12-2010, 07:18 PM   #7
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Well, that may be your experience, BUT we didn't create that sticky because there wasn't hundreds of folks having a totally different experiences. And our experience with new brewers is that when they check after 3 days they find either a sign of a krausen or take a reading and see a decrease in gravity, that's why we repeatedly urge folks to wait before doing anything OR declaring a problem.
Don't get me wrong. I think the advice that fermentations can often take this long is great for new brewers who are freaking out when they're airlock is not bubbling the morning after brew day.

However, if fermentation takes 48+ hours to start, I think the better advice is to evaluate their process (temp, aeration, cell count) for next time, so they don't experience the same thing again.

I think that by implying that a 24-72 hour lag is "normal", it could be interpreted as being "desireable", which I think you would agree, is not the case.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:19 PM   #8
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Well, that may be your experience, BUT we didn't create that sticky because there wasn't hundreds of folks having a totally different experiences. And our experience with new brewers is that when they check after 3 days they find either a sign of a krausen or take a reading and see a decrease in gravity, that's why we repeatedly urge folks to wait before doing anything OR declaring a problem.

I personally have had several need about that time to take off, and were beautiful fermentations and beers after.

But YMMW.
Yes, I agree but the OP has obviously under pitched from the start. One vial with no starter in a 1.050 batch was under pitching. Even if the vial was fresh out of white labs he under pitched. A month out of date and that vial has very few viable cells. Knowing all that, it's probably a good idea to throw some more yeast in there ASAP.

next time make a starter.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:34 PM   #9
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Yes I'll definitely do a starter next time around. To be honest I stopped paying attention to my Stopper. I'm just going to use the hydrometer on this one to see what the activity is doing. Every few days I'll do a reading.

I'm sure I shocked the heck out of the yeast when I pitched plus it's pretty cold in my basement this time of year so it may be a bit too cold for em.

I know I aerated pretty good the first time around and I'll do the same thing again. I shook it up pretty good and for a pretty good amount of time.

I'm going to get another vial of Belgian Wit and pitch it tonight (at a more acceptable temp). I'm also going to try and bring it up to upper 60's - 70 degree range. A local shop in my area suggested this.

Thank you all for your input. When all this is finished.. this will make my brew all the more delicious

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