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Old 11-11-2012, 11:06 PM   #1
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Default 1st Lager Yeast Starter

So I have a smack pack that if from Feb 2012. Bavarian Lager. It has been on the stirplate, at 70 degrees, for 24hours now with no visible signs that it is fermenting, but it does have a green apple smell underneath the malt extract smell. Is it typical for lager yeast to start slow? Is the yeast too old? Should I just relax and go with it? I was going to add it to a stalled old ale to help it finish out.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:23 PM   #2
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So I have a smack pack that if from Feb 2012. Bavarian Lager. It has been on the stirplate, at 70 degrees, for 24hours now with no visible signs that it is fermenting, but it does have a green apple smell underneath the malt extract smell. Is it typical for lager yeast to start slow? Is the yeast too old? Should I just relax and go with it? I was going to add it to a stalled old ale to help it finish out.
Thanks
Should be no reason for a lager yeast to take longer as it's at 70F. But it's not unheard of for a good starter to show little to no visible signs of fermenting. 9 months is a little old for a smack pack, but as long as it has been stored well, there should be enough viable yeast to start. Unfortunately you may not know how well it was handled/stored. If you have a refractometer you could see if any attentuation is happening.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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Just let it go and it will be fine. It will be slow getting started because yeast that old will have a very low viability but it will be fine. I actually have a lager starter going now from yeast about as old and it took two full days to show any signs of life but is going like crazy now!

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:31 PM   #4
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Just let it go and it will be fine. It will be slow getting started because yeast that old will have a very low viability but it will be fine. I actually have a lager starter going now from yeast about as old and it took two full days to show any signs of life but is going like crazy now!
I agree with this. Reminded me of a time I harvested bottle dregs (obviously low viability) and it took about 3 days to see any initial bloom of yeast. Once it did it took off like mad.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:55 PM   #5
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Google to hear. Thanks. It has been in my fridge most of the time. The refractometer idea is good.

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Old 11-13-2012, 10:28 AM   #6
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I'm glad I posted. On day three it was bubbling away nicely. Thanks.

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Old 11-13-2012, 11:15 AM   #7
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Glad to hear that everything worked out for you! Patients is definitely required when using older yeast especially if you pitch to a larger volume like 1-1.5 L. They just need to spend some time reproducing to get into that happy place where the numbers are sufficient for fermentation.

I have found the most effective way to get them going again is to start off small and step your way up. I have a yeast bank in my freezer in 1.5mL tubes. I thaw one and pitch it into 25-50mL of starter wort, then step it up to 125mL, then 250mL and so on. Works like a charm!

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