Help! New to Liquid Yeast
Getting ready to ferment a Pilsner 2 nights ago, and smacked a WYeast 2278 (Czech Pils) and let it set for about 5 hours. I didnt have very much expansion in the bag. Pitched the yeast anyway, and waited 24 hours, Nothing. Waited another 12 and Nothing. 36 hours and starting to worry if I got a bum batch of yeast. I noticed that there was a slight amount of fermentation after about 40 hours. My temp might have been about 10 deg F too high, as I have just found from the WYeast website (was at 68, should have been 57). I have since adjusted the temp.
1) Is the brew in danger / possilby ruined?
2) At the 36 hour mark (before any noticible fermentation had taken place), my local brew store advised that repitching another yeast may kickstart the WYeast, does this sould reasonable?
2a) If a repitch, will this cause a problem with flavor?
3) Did I have a bad WYeast, or just my inexperience?
How old was the Wyeast package? If it was several months old, it may just be that it took a while for the yeast to get to a decent population before you saw signs of fermentation.
The real test, though, is to take a specific gravity reading to see if fermentation has started and how much has been fermented.
The brew is not in danger unless fermentation has not started, but that's probably not likely. You could pitch another package of yeast, but it may not be necessary. It wouldn't hurt the flavor.
There are many factors affecting how fast fermentation starts, most importantly the health of the yeast you pitch. If the Wyeast package was old, then that would be the primary reason for a slow start to fermentation.
Again, I suggest taking a specific gravity reading to see where you really are with the fermentation, then taking (or not taking) your next step based on that information.
Thanks Steve, you set my mind at ease, the date of the packet was July 09, so only a couple of months old.
I will recheck the SG and monitor.
Keep in mind that lager yeast ferments in the 50-58 degree range. Because of the low fermentation temperatures, it's especially important to use a starter for lagers and usually a very, very large starter. Consult the mrmalty.com pitching calculator for exact amounts, but a 4L starter wouldn't be unusual for a lager. Without a starter, pitching just a smack pack is seriously underpitching and it's going to take a long while to get going.
Once it starts, keep the temperature UNDER 58 degrees, as that is the maximum optimal temperature for that yeast. You may have to do a diacetyl rest, because of the underpitching and keeping at a higher temperature for a while. After the diacetyl rest, you can rack and then lager the beer. It might take 14-16 days for primary to finish up.
An update and progress report.
After approximately 4 days with minimal fermentation (OG 1.052, SG 1.0.50), I aerated the brew thoroughly, then transferred the primary into a sealed carboy with a blow off. I then waited another day to see if aerating the brew would reactivate any yeast that may have fallen.
This produced little to no fermentation, I then pitched a dry yeast pack and called it a day. I had some vigorous fermentation for about 3 days.
It has been about two weeks since the start of this whole process and I will wait a couple of more days to check the SG / hopefully FG, before moving to a keg for conditioning.
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