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Old 11-13-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
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Default Trouble with Bohemian Lager 2124

I brewed a 2.5 gallon batch of Pilsner yesterday and have yet to see any fermentation signs.

I know, I know...wait 72 hours before taking a hydrometer and repitching if necessary.

My question is this: I pitched at 65F because this yeast is supposed to be fine in the mid 60F range and someone at the LHBS told me starting at a warmer temperature and moving it into the fridge after fermentation starts would help my beer 'take off better'. Do you think this was good advice or should I just go ahead and pop it in the fridge at 50F?

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
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how much yeast did you pitch?

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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1 package of WyEast 2124 Bohemian Lager...it did not swell much.

I've made several ales but this is my first lager and frankly the first time I have had this slow of a start up. Usually my beers go nuts within 12 hours.

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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1 package of WyEast 2124 Bohemian Lager...it did not swell much.

I've made several ales but this is my first lager and frankly the first time I have had this slow of a start up. Usually my beers go nuts within 12 hours.
With a 2.5 gallon batch, one package of yeast for a lager is not enough yeast. You're in for a long wait.

Normally, you use a pretty big yeast starter (far more than you'd guess, but consult mrmalty.com's pitching calculator for the amount) and pitch at under about 50 degrees.

It's true that if you pitch warmer, it'll help the yeast get going faster. That's to try to compensate for not using enough yeast in the first place! The same thing happens with ales- if you pitch at 85 degrees, it'll get going faster. It won't make the best tasting beer, but pitching too warm will encourage yeast reproduction.

The other thing to remember is that yeast don't like being chilled- but they love being warmed. So pitching warm and then chilling the wort may put the yeast to sleep for a while too, but it's better to get the proper temperature ASAP.

I'd get it at the right temperature and either add another package of yeast or wait it out. But I wouldn't let it sit at 65 degrees.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply! That's what I was wondering.

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Old 11-13-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
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FYI, Saflager W-34/70 is the same strain in dry form. One pack is solid for a 2.5 gallon batch.

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Old 11-13-2012, 08:51 PM   #7
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I did the same thing with the same yeast, and I too was freaking out- although mine was an Oktoberfest. But fear not! Mine took almost a week to show strong fermentation. I kept it at a low temp (my temp was 50 deg), and the whole fermentation took way longer than I expected, but every one of my friends say that this is the best beer that I have ever made, and I would have to agree.

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:23 PM   #8
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Next time make a starter or better yet pitch some of the yeast slurry from this batch. When I do a lager beer I normally do a 4ltr starter that I step up from 2ltrs. You don't want to pitch the spent wort from the start though. Chill the starter in the fridge and then decant the spent beer off the slurry. Add some fresh wort from your batch swirl and pitch. Also O2 is critical also make sure you aerate your beer well.

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Old 01-18-2014, 04:20 AM   #9
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Default Slow Starter?

Glad I ran across this thread...I'm getting ready to brew up a 5 gal batch of Bohemian Pilsner tomorrow using BIAB. I bought one smack pack of 2124 last week & started a 2 liter starter in a 5 liter flask on a stir plate at 55F for 32 hrs. Put in fridge for 10 hrs, decanted, warmed to 55F once again & added 4 liters of 55F canned wort on stir plate for another 24 hrs. In both cases it didn't do squat!. By that I mean...compared to some of the ale starters I've done. I didn't give up although I gave it some thought. I let it chill for another 10 hrs or so then decanted it once again. Washed it with 2 liters of canned 55F water. Chilled once again, & decanted. That is where I'm at tonight. The yeast cake has increased with each step, so I guess I won't know if all this work is going to pay off until I pitch it into 5 gal of wort profiled for a pilsner.

I've got a LOT to learn about starting/fermenting lagers; but that's the direction I'm headed. The question I have has to do with my starter as explained above. I'm used to seeing some foam indicating some activity in all my ale starters. This starter to date turned a nice smooth milky color, but showed no signs of activity. I'm going to assume everything will be fine; but some insight from some of you more familiar with lager starters would be appreciated.

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Old 01-19-2014, 01:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GREM View Post
Glad I ran across this thread...I'm getting ready to brew up a 5 gal batch of Bohemian Pilsner tomorrow using BIAB. I bought one smack pack of 2124 last week & started a 2 liter starter in a 5 liter flask on a stir plate at 55F for 32 hrs. Put in fridge for 10 hrs, decanted, warmed to 55F once again & added 4 liters of 55F canned wort on stir plate for another 24 hrs. In both cases it didn't do squat!. By that I mean...compared to some of the ale starters I've done. I didn't give up although I gave it some thought. I let it chill for another 10 hrs or so then decanted it once again. Washed it with 2 liters of canned 55F water. Chilled once again, & decanted. That is where I'm at tonight. The yeast cake has increased with each step, so I guess I won't know if all this work is going to pay off until I pitch it into 5 gal of wort profiled for a pilsner.

I've got a LOT to learn about starting/fermenting lagers; but that's the direction I'm headed. The question I have has to do with my starter as explained above. I'm used to seeing some foam indicating some activity in all my ale starters. This starter to date turned a nice smooth milky color, but showed no signs of activity. I'm going to assume everything will be fine; but some insight from some of you more familiar with lager starters would be appreciated.
A lager starter on a stir plate may show very little outward indication that it's doing anything. When I'm having doubts about this, I take piece of sanitized cling wrap, put it over the top of the flask and secure with a rubber band. Watch to see if the cling wrap starts to bulge. If it does, you've got activity.
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