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Old 08-09-2013, 03:35 PM   #1
philbert119
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Default Sluggish Yeast question

I purchased a smack pack of Wyeast Czech Pils 2278 and made my 3L starter per usual. I noticed that the pack did not fully expand like it usually does, but my LHBS said it was a slow starter and would eventually come around. After 24 hours there was no activity. After 36 hours there was some bubbling and a tiny bit of foam, but not the thick krausen I'm used to. I have to brew on Sunday, so I'm thinking of just purchasing another pack of lager yeast. My question is to add this yeast to the already sluggish starter or to throw it all out and start again. I know there are concerns with overpitching, such as weaker yeast cells that crap out early and do not fully attentuate. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 08-30-2013, 10:44 PM   #2
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I'm going through this now with the same yeast. I didn't do a starter, but rather pitched the smack=pack straight to the wort. After 36 hours, no signs of life. So I visited my LHBS and bought a fresh smackpack. Smacked it, waited the requisite 3 hours. It had swelled a little, but not ready to burst like many other yeast strains I've used. I could hear it fizzing when I put my ear up to the pack, so I went ahead and pitched it to the wort. 24 hours later and nothing.

I've always had success with this method before, and the Bohemian Pilsner I brewed only had a 1.057 OG so I didn't think a starter would be necessary. I'm starting to wonder if Viagara might help!

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Old 08-31-2013, 01:54 AM   #3
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Any idea what the OG of your starter wort was? The current gravity?

Is this a stir plate starter or an occasional swirl type? Have you checked for CO2 production by putting a piece of cling wrap over the top and securing it with a rubber band?

If you can confirm to your satisfaction that the starter didn't ferment, I'd pitch the second pack in the current starter on top of the first.


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Originally Posted by fxdrider View Post
I'm going through this now with the same yeast. I didn't do a starter, but rather pitched the smack=pack straight to the wort. After 36 hours, no signs of life. So I visited my LHBS and bought a fresh smackpack. Smacked it, waited the requisite 3 hours. It had swelled a little, but not ready to burst like many other yeast strains I've used. I could hear it fizzing when I put my ear up to the pack, so I went ahead and pitched it to the wort. 24 hours later and nothing.

I've always had success with this method before, and the Bohemian Pilsner I brewed only had a 1.057 OG so I didn't think a starter would be necessary. I'm starting to wonder if Viagara might help!
Lagers generally need 2x the cell count of a comparable ale. Not doing a starter with a lager smack pack is a severe under-pitch. Sounds like you got really lucky on previous batches.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Lagers generally need 2x the cell count of a comparable ale. Not doing a starter with a lager smack pack is a severe under-pitch. Sounds like you got really lucky on previous batches.
Thanks BigFloyd. Duly noted. I think I may need to pitch a third smackpack - this time with a starter!
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:29 AM   #5
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Default UPDATE: There IS hope!

At about 8:00 this morning (36 hours into the 2nd smackpack), I took the fermenter out of the fermentation freezer(where it was kept at 50 degrees), and let it warm up to room temp (73). By 1:00pm, she was a -bubblin' away! So I put it back in the fermentation chamber and slowly lowered the temp back to 52 (over a 4 hour period). Here it is, 10:30pm and the airlock is roaring with bubbles. I hope it didn't pick up any off flavors. At least...there's hope.

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Old 09-08-2013, 01:08 AM   #6
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Default Update 2

My Bohemian Pilsner has been vigorously fermenting for 7 days now, and just started to slow this evening. It's down to a bubble every 15 seconds.

And to think I was worried!

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