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Old 12-02-2010, 11:51 AM   #1
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Default lager yeast starter... no starter

Hmmm,
I'm on day three of no visible activity here.
Pitched Rasenmaher lager yeast from Wyeast into half-gallon wort at 50 degrees, didn't see anything after 36 hours or so, so I slowly brought it up to room temp and added half-gallon at room temp. Now, still no activity.
What's the deal?
I've only made one lager before and it was before and I can't remember how that yeast acted.
Any ideas?
Thanks



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Old 12-02-2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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I've had wyeast take 48 hours a couple of times before it took off, but never 3 days. What temp was the yeast at when you pitched it to the starter? Did the smack pack swell at all before you pitched it in the starter?



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Old 12-02-2010, 01:18 PM   #3
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The yeast was 45 or so, the water was 50 or so. It was a little swollen, but not as much as I'm used to with ale packs. When I shook it before cutting it open, it sounded like it was fizzing inside, but...alas, no start.
Do you think I should pitch it anyway and see if maybe it'll come around?

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:23 PM   #4
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With lagers everything is slow and there is often little visible "actvity." Besides the only "activity" that really matters is a drop in gravity, as calculated by a hydromter reading. If you are going by airlock activity, whether it's an ale or a lager, then you really don't know what's going on at all. Your beer may be fermenting just fine and you're stressing out about something cosmetic and superficial like a bubbling airlock.

Take a hydrometer reading if you are concerned.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:48 PM   #5
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what was the manufactures date on the smack pack?
How are you building your starters, stir plate, oxygen/shake method?

If there wasn't any activity the first time, why did you feed it more food?

Did you take a gravity sample to see if there was activity you may not have noticed with the first 1/2 gallon starter. What was the OG of the starter base you were using?

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Old 12-02-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
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OG was around 1.040. Now it's right around .020.
Don't know why I didn't think to take a gravity...
As for no visible activity, can anyone tell me what's going on with the yeast?
I was thinking that even during their aerobic metabolism of sugars, nutrients, etc. they would still be producing CO2, but apparently this isn't the case.
Thanks for the help/suggestions!

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Old 12-02-2010, 02:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomycetaceae View Post
OG was around 1.040. Now it's right around .020.
Don't know why I didn't think to take a gravity...
As for no visible activity, can anyone tell me what's going on with the yeast?
I was thinking that even during their aerobic metabolism of sugars, nutrients, etc. they would still be producing CO2, but apparently this isn't the case.
Thanks for the help/suggestions!
A starter ferments out really quickly, due to the amount of fermentables. Your goal is to reproduce yeast, not make beer, so as long as it fermented out it's fine! They do produce co2, of course, but not all that much compared to 5 gallons of beer. It's common to not see much activity in a starter except for the "creaminess" of it, as well as more yeast on the bottom.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomycetaceae View Post
OG was around 1.040. Now it's right around .020.
Don't know why I didn't think to take a gravity...
As for no visible activity, can anyone tell me what's going on with the yeast?
I was thinking that even during their aerobic metabolism of sugars, nutrients, etc. they would still be producing CO2, but apparently this isn't the case.
Thanks for the help/suggestions!
It's not that there's anything wrong with your yeast (obviously, now that you took a gravity) it's that your relience on an airlock is faulty.

If your airlock was bubbling and stopped---It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped.

If you airlock isn't bubbling, it doesn't mean your fermentation hasn't started....

If your airlock starts bubbling, it really doesn't matter.

If your airlock NEVER bubbles, it doesn't mean anything is wrong or right.

Your airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it is a VALVE to release excess co2. And the peak of fermentation has already wound down, so there's simply no need to vent off any excess co2. Or it is getting out elsewhere, which is nothing to worry about either.

The only answer that is accurate or consistant, are the numbers on the little stick. I have had every airlock bubbling/non bubbling/slow bubbling/fast bubbling/little krausen/big krausen/slow forming krausen/krausen staying 3 weeks after the hydro showed terminal gravity scenario imaginable in nearly 1,000 gallons of beer, and none of that stuff is as sccurate as 30 seconds with a hydrometer.

NOT go by airlocks, or size of krausen, or a calendar, the horoscope or the phases of the moon (those things in my mind are equally accurate).

Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Thinking about "doing anything" like repitching, or bottling, or racking, without first taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on?

And as you can see, there was absolutely nothing wrong with your yeasts at all.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:13 PM   #9
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Haha. You've convinced me, I'll throw out my lunar brewing calendar today!
But really, thanks to all of you for taking my question seriously and giving me thoughtful replies.



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