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Old 11-16-2011, 12:01 AM   #1
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Default Lager Ferment not taking off (at all) 48+ hours now

Hi All,

I recently made a Munich Helles on Sunday and made a 2L starter with Munich Lager yeast (Wyeast).

Zero activity on the surface etc. after 48 hours. Yeast was dated 8/2/11 so I figured 25% or so viable, hence the starter. Obviously I needed a lot bigger starter, but I chose to do only the 2L starter.

Pitched at 68 dropped to 50 in temp controlled keezer, and 48 hours later nothing.

I'm guessing the yeast pack was either frozen somehow in my fridge, OR that I got a bad pack of yeast.

I am a decent brewer and have never had a ferment start out like this.

Any suggestions?

BTW, I can't get to the LHBS until Thursday, and the only yeast I have left is 1968 ESB ale yeast.

What would you do here ??

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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Double check the SG to make sure it hasn't changed. Lager yeast are sneaky- they can be bottom fermenting for a while and you'd never even know it was started.

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Old 11-16-2011, 12:37 AM   #3
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How long did you let the starter go for? The reason I ask is I bought a bunch of 6 month old Wyeast (10% viable) from ApexBrewWares and it has been taking at least thee to four days on my stir plate for the yeast to start acting like a fresh pack of Wyeast would. I tried one after 24hours of stir plate action, even though it didn't act like any other yeast I put on my stir plate. In the end it took 72hours for signs of fermentation to show in the carboy.

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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Thanks Yooper,

I did some checking of SG tonight and I am getting 1.037, OG was 1.051.

I used a refractometer and the conversion calculators on line for fermenting wort. It gave me 10.9 brix which I plugged in along with the OG and it tells me that gives me 1.037 SG currently. Hard to believe but it seems to actually be fermenting.

Unless my refractometer or calculation is off, but I doubt it.

Great News !! Whew.......

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atoyot View Post
How long did you let the starter go for? The reason I ask is I bought a bunch of 6 month old Wyeast (10% viable) from ApexBrewWares and it has been taking at least thee to four days on my stir plate for the yeast to start acting like a fresh pack of Wyeast would. I tried one after 24hours of stir plate action, even though it didn't act like any other yeast I put on my stir plate. In the end it took 72hours for signs of fermentation to show in the carboy.
Atoyot,

I let it go about 18 hours or so on the stir-plate. Like you said, mine also did not look right at the end. Seemed to dark grey and not white enough (the sludge at the bottom was more dark than I have ever seen in a yeast starter. I also thought that was weird. I will be at 72 hours tomorrow about 3pm, so today I took it out of the 50 deg keezer and put it in my 66 degree basement for 24 hours trying to jump start the fermentation. I will put it back in the keezer when I see the basics of some krausen, hopefully tomorrow morning.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:26 AM   #6
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Well, refractometers aren't reliable for SG readings once alcohol is in the mix, calculators or no. BUT, if it's lower than it was, then it's fermenting. So, leave it alone for a few more days.

I'd check (with a hydrometer) at about day 7, to see if it's near time for a diaceytl rest.

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Old 11-16-2011, 01:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Atoyot,

I let it go about 18 hours or so on the stir-plate. Like you said, mine also did not look right at the end. Seemed to dark grey and not white enough (the sludge at the bottom was more dark than I have ever seen in a yeast starter. I also thought that was weird. I will be at 72 hours tomorrow about 3pm, so today I took it out of the 50 deg keezer and put it in my 66 degree basement for 24 hours trying to jump start the fermentation. I will put it back in the keezer when I see the basics of some krausen, hopefully tomorrow morning.
I didn't realize you had it at 66 degrees! Ouch. Since lager yeast are bottom fermenting, if you wait until you see krausen, the fermentation may be over before you ever put it at the right temperature. Just a thought!
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:59 AM   #8
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No I had it at 50 deg for the first 48 hours +.

Then I took it out of the temp controlled keezer and put it in my basement (ambient temp) of about 66 or so. I'm just going to leave it there about 24 hours to see if I can see anything happening, then back to 50 deg.

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Old 11-16-2011, 04:34 AM   #9
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I just brewed Oktoberfest last week, made a 1 gal starter from washed 34/70 and pitched at high krausen the whole thing since it was made from real wort and fermented starter @ 50F. It was so slow to start, like 3 full days, but its going good now, so don't worry

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Old 11-16-2011, 11:25 AM   #10
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Update:

After leaving it at 60 deg for about 8 hours when I got up this morning it had about 3/4" of krausen in the carboy ! Whew! Now she goes back in the 50 deg keezer to finish up.

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