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Old 07-27-2011, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Yet Another "Lager won't start" thread

I've read a few of these threads and while I'm pretty sure I know what I should be doing, I wanted some opinioins/thoughts from here.

I'm doing my first lager where I actually can control the temperature, I've done a few in the past but they've always fermented above 65 in my house. I brewed Sunday (7/24) and pitched two (probably damaged) packets of liquid yeast. I know I underpitched this a bit, and i KNOW I should have made a starter. Question is, its been more than 3 full days and I checked gravity and I am still at OG. I pitched at probably 70 and then cooled to 50 after that. I've shaken the bucket a bit with no results. Fed up, I moved the fermenter into the house to see if warming it up would bring it back to life.

If this doesn't work after a day or so, what more can I do? I have a packet of ale yeast, but I don't really want to pitch that into my lager. The closest LHBS is over 2.5 hours away.

Any serious thoughts are appreciated.

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Old 07-27-2011, 01:24 PM   #2
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Not really much you can do at this point except either wait, or pitch the ale yeast.

Lagers do require more stringent temperature control, and I usually pitch a LOT of yeast in them. Often, a 3 GALLON starter isn't out of line! So, you probably underpitched by quite a lot. If your sanitation was good, and the yeast was viable, it should get going eventually without too much trouble.

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Old 07-27-2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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Often, a 3 GALLON starter isn't out of line!
Holy crap. For how big a batch? Is that a Mr. Malty calculation?
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:49 PM   #4
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Holy crap. For how big a batch? Is that a Mr. Malty calculation?
Yep! A 5 gallon batch. OG was 1.070, I believe.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:59 PM   #5
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I'm in the same boat this week. Brewed my Victory Prima clone this weekend, and since I didn't have time to make a starter, I pitched 3 vials of Czech Bud after I got it down to 50F. I smell some CO2 coming out of the carboy, but otherwise there is no evidence of fermentation.

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Old 07-27-2011, 02:32 PM   #6
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Yep! A 5 gallon batch. OG was 1.070, I believe.
Wow. At that point one really has to consider dry yeast unless you are getting DME for free. I don't think I've done a starter bigger than 4.5 litres.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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Bring it inside and give it a good shake. The yeast just need help getting started. I bet you can get it going without needing to repitch!

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Old 07-27-2011, 07:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Not really much you can do at this point except either wait, or pitch the ale yeast.

Lagers do require more stringent temperature control, and I usually pitch a LOT of yeast in them. Often, a 3 GALLON starter isn't out of line! So, you probably underpitched by quite a lot. If your sanitation was good, and the yeast was viable, it should get going eventually without too much trouble.
This is why I started using Saflager W-34/70 almost exclusively. I re-hydrate two (or three if needed) packs on my stir-plate at slow speed for an hour and then pitch cold (50ish). Fermentation usually starts in less then 4 hours.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:24 PM   #9
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This is why I started using Saflager W-34/70 almost exclusively...
I love this strain.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies folks. Got home from work today and it still hadn't started. Sitting in the mid 60s. I gave it another shake and we'll see what happens. If nothing is going by tommorrow AM, I may pitch the ale and see what happens.

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