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Old 03-11-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
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Default WLP004 Slow to Start?

I brewed up a 2.5 gallon batch of a chocolate stout yesterday and upon recommendation from the original recipe used WLP004 for my yeast.

I pitched about 3/4 of the vile as it says to use 1 vile for a 5-gallon batch. The yeast had been stored in my fridge for the week and then was taken out the morning of brewing and allowed to get to room temperature. I pitched the yeast at 66° and aerated my wort and today (18 hours later), I am JUST starting to see bubbles on top of my wort.

Is WLP004 just slow to start or could I end up with a stuck fermentation?

Thanks!

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:56 PM   #2
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Not sure if it is a slow starter...but amount of yeast pitched is not based a "1 vial per 5 gallon basis". It depends on the starting gravity, age of the yeast, and how many gallons you are brewing. For example, without a starter, a 2.5 gallon batch with a 1.050 OG and yeast date of 2/18 would need 1.1 vials of yeast.

White Labs dates on their vials are "best by" so you have to go back four months from that date, so even if the date on it was yesterday, it was actually 4 months old and then again with a OG of 1.050 and no starter, you would have had to pitch 2.6 vials! Of course if your OG is higher than that, then you would need more. MrMalty.com is a great site for yeast pitch calculator.

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
Not sure if it is a slow starter...but amount of yeast pitched is not based a "1 vial per 5 gallon basis". It depends on the starting gravity, age of the yeast, and how many gallons you are brewing. For example, without a starter, a 2.5 gallon batch with a 1.050 OG and yeast date of 2/18 would need 1.1 vials of yeast.

White Labs dates on their vials are "best by" so you have to go back four months from that date, so even if the date on it was yesterday, it was actually 4 months old and then again with a OG of 1.050 and no starter, you would have had to pitch 2.6 vials! Of course if your OG is higher than that, then you would need more. MrMalty.com is a great site for yeast pitch calculator.
Thank you - I will definitely look into MrMalty.com tonight and use it for future calculations. My OG was 1.056 so just above that middle ground so technically I should be fine, but I will check for activity tonight and then determine my course of action.

IF I don't see any action or I end up at a stuck fermentation, is pitching some dry yeast into there a good option, or should I go with another vial (or half) of the same strain?
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:41 AM   #4
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My experience with that yeast is that its a quick and aggressive starter - it can ferment a batch out within a few days with excellent results. You may have underpitched a bit but just leave it alone and let it do its thing. It will be fine. If you go back in a week or two and you are still close to your OG, then you can start worrying about pitching dry yeast or whatever.

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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I've always had a hard time getting the FG below 1.020 with this yeast.

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Old 03-12-2013, 12:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
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My experience with that yeast is that its a quick and aggressive starter - it can ferment a batch out within a few days with excellent results. You may have underpitched a bit but just leave it alone and let it do its thing. It will be fine. If you go back in a week or two and you are still close to your OG, then you can start worrying about pitching dry yeast or whatever.
What would I use as dry yeast for an alternative if this doesn't finish up. I checked it before I went to bed last night and it was just starting to form a TINY layer of krausen on top.

S-05? S-04?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:44 PM   #7
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Checked it this morning and there are still very small bubbles on top and very little trub down below. I am going to take a gravity reading today, but I have a feeling this should have started doing its thing a while ago.

If the gravity reading I take today is close to my OG, what yeast would you recommend I pitch to get this thing going again. What is similar to this yeast so I can have a good chocolate stout to drink in a few weeks?

Thank you in advance!

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:02 PM   #8
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I never use dry yeast, but I understand that S-04 is an english yeast so that is the direction I'd go on a stout. Maybe someone with more experience with these strains can chime in. That said, I wouldn't be so quick to judge the fermentation based on how it looks, if there are bubbles and krausen, there is fermentation. Let us know what the gravity readings tell you.

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackGoat View Post
I never use dry yeast, but I understand that S-04 is an english yeast so that is the direction I'd go on a stout. Maybe someone with more experience with these strains can chime in. That said, I wouldn't be so quick to judge the fermentation based on how it looks, if there are bubbles and krausen, there is fermentation. Let us know what the gravity readings tell you.
Yeah I learned never to go by the actual look of the beer, but rather the actual numbers.

I will test tonight and report back. I do have S-04 at home in case the numbers are low and that is the recommended yeast strain to use.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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So its been 3 days since I brewed and its down to 1.022 - looks like I worried for no reason. Guess I just didn't see the activity although it doesn't look like much trub on the bottom of the LBK.

Oh well the numbers don't lie. I'll let this go for the full three weeks and bottle it up.

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