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Old 01-10-2010, 09:09 PM   #1
jfrostp
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Default Dead Yeast?

So, I think I actually have a dead batch of yeast.

A few days ago I got a vial of White Labs WLP500 in the mail, and I stuck it in the fridge until I was ready to make a starter out of it. So yesterday morning I made my usual starter for the yeast, 1 liter of 1.035 gravity wort using extra light DME, and then I let my yeast go for a spin on my stirplate for 24 hours. Then I stuck the starter in the fridge for a couple hours to help the yeast flocculate, but when I took it out of the fridge, nothing had flocculated at all. In fact, if I didn't know for sure that I had added yeast to the flask, I would've sworn it was just a flask of wort and that I had forgotten to add the yeast to it. But the flask definitely smelled like that delicious, bready trappist yeast. So I took a hydrometer reading to see if any activity had occurred, and the starter was still sitting at 1.035.

So just now I went ahead and pitched the whole starter into the wort I brewed up today in the hopes that maybe the yeast will come back to life frankenstein-style and make me some beer. But because I didn't decant the starter, I'm sure I'll end up with some twang in the beer when it's finished.

Do you all think there's any hope for the yeast, or should I pick up a fresh batch of yeast at my LHBS tomorrow? I'm not too eager to wait more than 24 hours of lag time to see if this yeast will have any activity, because the nasties in the air might claim the wort as their own by then.



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Old 01-10-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
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If I were you, I would pick up some us-05 ale yeast for backup. In this situation, I would pick up another pack of yeast. If nothing is happening by tomorrow night go on and pitch again.

Generally i wait for my starter to reach high krausen before pitching for future advice.



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Old 01-10-2010, 10:06 PM   #3
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I;m sorry, but before you cold crashed your starter how did you even know if it had started? Sometimes even starters can have a 72 hour lag time. If you didn't see any signs at 24 hours, why did you crash (and put your yeast to sleep) if perhaps it hadn't even begun working?

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:23 PM   #4
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Over the new year, I had a vial of WLP002 that I made a starter with, and put on the stir plate. It took over 3 days for there to be any noticeable sign of fermentation, and I left on the plate for nearly 48 hours after I could see that the fermentation had started (total of 5 days). I pitched it into an ESB last Sunday evening. When I woke up on Monday morning there was a good krausen, and the fermentation appeared to be complete by Friday morning. It won't be the first time I've had starters that took several days to start, but I've never had any problems with the resulting brews.

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:27 PM   #5
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Alright, thank you all for the advice. I'll give it more time.

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:27 PM   #6
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More than likely you will simply still have a 72 hour lagtime, so you might just want to wait til it's been 72 hours since yeat pitch, to take a hydro reading...then you can consider re-pitching. But since it's doubtful that your yeast was truly dead, it may be ok...

If not, then pitch some us-05.

And read this as well, Why the idea of "dead yeast" is mostly bunk.



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