Issues With First Lager - Munich Helles/WLP830
I have had number of different problems with the first lager, none of which I have ever experienced with ales. I understand the brewing process, yeast starters, and wort aeration; sanitation hasn't been an issue; fermentation temps under control.
It is a Munich Helles with WLP830. I was using an older pack of the yeast. Maybe a couple months past prime at most. But this never caused problems in the past with the help of a starter. (I just made a starter for Ringwood and Kolsch from the same time frame with no issue.) I stepped it up three times at room temp (1.020 for the first time and 2L of 1.040 for the second and third) and then crashed/decanted. There was visible yeast growth in the starter after each step, but was very slow to ferment out. I pitched at 51f, and after the first week I noticed little to no activity in carboy. So even at the 7-day mark, the samples pulled for gravity readings showed barely any fermentation, and the wort still tasted as fresh as the day I brewed it, with no off flavors, or signs of fermentation. I gave it a couple more days, while waiting on a new second vial of 830, with no change. I just assumed the older yeast had quit after fermenting the starters. Made another starter/crashed/decanted and then pulled the wort off the original yeast cake and then pitched the new. Within 8 hours there was quite a bit of visible activity. Over the course of the next 2 weeks, it dropped to 1.024 (originally from 1.051). I raised it for a d-rest to 59f per Jamil's suggest. 3 days later. Nothing. 1.024. Roused the yeast. Dropped to 1.023 over a couple more days. Raised to 68f, which I saw on a couple posts here on HBT suggesting that temp for a d-rest. 2 days later, 1.022. As of this morning, it's hovering around 1.021. It would be nice to start lagering soon, but it has stalled and still needs to drop another another .010. Should I leave it or go ahead and lager. I'm in no rush with it, been 5 weeks thus far. Just would be nice to have the ferm chamber back for a couple ales.
But here is another set of problems. It smells like pot roast; not a raw beef smell, but pot roast--more aromatic. It has that umami character to it. It also has that same taste. I haven't found much in terms of this problem, but what I have found leans towards yeast autolysis. I wouldn't think this is the problem since the first pack of yeast seemed to revive in the starter but then flaked in the wort. I haven't started lagering yet, so this could very well dissipate over time. But I certainly would not classify it as sulfurous at all. I’ve left the gravity samples in the fridge overnight and the aroma seems to dissipate somewhat, but the flavor still seems to remain.
So if anyone has any suggestions or input for the stalled yeast issue, or better yet this aroma/taste issue, please let me know. Wasn't sure if the two problems could be related. I guess the worst thing I have is 5 gallons of pot roast flavored beer to start braising a whole lot of beef this summer. :D
Here's the recipe:
1.25oz Tettang (60 min)
90 min mash
90 min boil
Thats weird. Ive only used 830 once, but i did notice some off flavors. The good news is that they went away over time for me. Hopefully it will for you too.
Best i can tell is that maybe the flavors are a result of unhealthy yeast or under pitching? Under pitching seems unlikely, since you used what sounds like a healthy amount of starter.
Did you offer a sacrifice to the brewing gods during the mash? if not, that's probably the problem. Next time, offer them a beer.
man im making a helles on monday. im using a 34/70 saflager yeast and everyone says that is a good yeast. What were the temps on the yeast. what did you pitch the yeast at??? everyone tells me it is actually better to pitch the yeast cold like 50 degrees. i would look at the yeast, i made an o'fest and i pitched at 50 and kept it there and it is still fermanting at 50 degrees!!! Dont know sounds like you might have killed the yeast!! I would try the safelager 34/70 or a slap pack. I could be totally wrong too!!! im a very new brewer!!! lol!!!
@SouthBay: You know...I didn't offer to the beer gods after I pitched the yeast for the 2nd time! That must be it! :D Ironically, enough I do everytime.......except for the 2nd pitching of yeast. *Tops, bottoms, knees, to the Gods*
@brockettbrews: I cooled the wort around 55f and pitched the yeast, which was around 55-60f. It wasn't a slap pack, but rather a vial of yeast. Then again if I have a SlapPack, I slap the pack and an hour later pitch the yeast/nutrient into the starter wort...never had a problem...
I certainly won't argue with the fact of dead yeast; but the first vial worked through the starters and the second vial worked through the starter and the wort to a certain point.
sounds like you did everything right. Dont know then???
How much yeast slurry did you actually pitch and did you areate well? It sounds like not enough healthy yeast.
Also what temp did you mash at?
A full accounting of your procedure would enable us to help you better.
It sounds like your starter was big enough and the yeast were still active. Did you oxygenate your wort with O2? I also pitch my starter into the wort at or around 52-55 and then set my temp for the lager chamber at 49. The key ingredient that IMO gets fermentation moving is O2. I would say that you can start to bring down your temp 1 deg per day down to your target temp by now.
Boil Size: 7.31 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Estimated Color: 3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 18.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 88.6 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8 lbs 4.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) UK (1.0 SRM) Grain 1 90.2 %
6.4 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 4.4 %
1.25 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 18.6 IBUs
1.0 pkg German Lager (White Labs #WLP830) [35.49 Yeast 6 -
5.0 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 3 3.4 %
3.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.1 %
Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 2.4 oz
Name Description Step Temperatur Step Time
Protein Rest Add 2.31 gal of water at 145.7 F 131.0 F 5 min
Saccharification Add 1.81 gal of water at 180.7 F 150.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Add 2.29 gal of water at 209.1 F 169.0 F 10 min
Sparge: Fly sparge with 2.25 gal water at 168.0 F
I used RO water and added 1/2t CaCl2, for soft water according to the Brewing Water Chemistry Primer thread.
I read a few reviews of the 830 yeast, and some of them pointed to off flavors prior to lagering. Most indicated that after 6 weeks lagering, the flavors stabilized, and the off flavors were gone. So, theres hope!
Ive got a lager going right now using 34/70, which according to mr. malty, is the same yeast as wlp830. I didnt experience anything like what you're talking about, and it was practically drinkable prior to lagering.... so who knows.
do you like 34/70 that is what im going to use im lager.
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