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Old 04-21-2011, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default WLP300 in my hefe never really took off

I brewed an all extract bavarian hefe on Monday afternoon. Had made a starter (about 1700ml) using WLP300. Had it in the flask for a bit more than 24 hrs, then I put it in the fridge for a couple nights as I wasn't going to get to brew on Sat or Sun as I had hoped. Took it out a few hours ahead of pitching, decanted, and let it sit at room temp.

Did my first full boil, new pot, chiller, etc. Briess wheat DME and Muntons wheat LME. Everything in the boil went smoothly. All the LME was late addition. Chilled, whirlpooled, siphoned to the fermenting bucket. Had the wort pouring against the side of the bucket so as to spread wide and thin and get as much surface area open to the air as possible. Got it into the mid/low 60s, pitched the starter, shook it up, and set it in a larger bucket with a water bath to help keep the temp in the low-mid 60s. On the Jamil Show on this style, Jamil stressed a big improvement in the clove and banana by fermenting at 62°. Mine is around 63 and has been since Monday night.

I set the bucket up with a blow-off tube into a large plastic jug containing a sanitizer solution. By Tues morning I heard it bubbling slowly (once every 12 secs or so). when I got home from work Tu evening, it was more like every 5 seconds, holding at 63°. Great!

Wed night I get home from work and it's slowed back to the once every 10-12 seconds, and TH morning it was 15 sec between burps.

From all I've read, Hefe's tend to give a pretty intense ferment, no? I was expecting a lot more activity, even if only for 2-3 days.

I have not opened the bucket to take a gravity reading yet (OG was 1.052). Is that the next step? I'm concerned something ain't right, that perhaps my starter wasn't all that great (being the first starter I've made, I really don't know, but it appeared that I have increased my yeast amount when I chilled it and saw what had accumulated at the bottom). Picking up another vile of WLP300 isn't going to be easy during the weekdays given where I'd have to go to find it.

Is fermenting at the lower temp going to make for a less volatile fermentation simply needing more time in the bucket?

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Old 04-21-2011, 06:31 PM   #2
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There's tons of factors for why you didn't see a intense fermentation, none of them are reasons to worry. Stick to your normal schedule, everything is probably fine.

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Old 04-21-2011, 06:45 PM   #3
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It sounds like you did everything right. I do my hefs at about 63 and that temp is fine. WLP300 does frequently get a hefty ferment going for a couple days, but like warped said there can be many factors involved.

On your starter, did you see evidence that you definitely grew the yeast colony? Things like a small krausen, or a very milky solution, or a large volume of yeast on the bottom when you decanted.

Also what was the original gravity of your hef? If you used a stir plate, then 1700ml is a pretty hefty starter for standard gravitiy hefs. I find 1000ml is usually plenty for a hef in the 1.050 to 1.055 range. Sometimes if you pitch heavy fermentation can go quickly.

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Old 04-21-2011, 07:03 PM   #4
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It sounds like you did everything right. I do my hefs at about 63 and that temp is fine. WLP300 does frequently get a hefty ferment going for a couple days, but like warped said there can be many factors involved.

On your starter, did you see evidence that you definitely grew the yeast colony? Things like a small krausen, or a very milky solution, or a large volume of yeast on the bottom when you decanted.

Also what was the original gravity of your hef? If you used a stir plate, then 1700ml is a pretty hefty starter for standard gravitiy hefs. I find 1000ml is usually plenty for a hef in the 1.050 to 1.055 range. Sometimes if you pitch heavy fermentation can go quickly.
I honestly don't think I got a lot of additional yeast growth from the starter. Some, but again, first time making one, so I'm not positive. My OG was 1.052. Oh no stir plate.. just random swirling of the flask

Someone on another forum suggested it may be hanging out at the top and perhaps I should give it a gently swirl... anything to that theory? I've only brewed with Safale 05 dry yeast up until this batch.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:22 PM   #5
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Even with intermittent shaking that starter was a bit larger than you needed. It won't do any real harm though so don't sweat it.

WLP300 is a top fermenting yeast, but you should not need to swirl it to get it going. It gets going just fine on it's own.

Since your pitch was a bit on the heavy side, and it has been a few days, I would go ahead and take a gravity sample. I bet your going to find it is almost done. Even if it is down to your anticipated FG, give it at least another 4 or 5 days for the yeast to clean up after itself. Hefs are best when they are young and I usually have them in the primary for 10-14 days and then into the keg.

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Old 04-21-2011, 11:33 PM   #6
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Did you shake/oxygenate enough when you pitched? I splash my wort from the kettle to the carboy and use an oxygen stone for about a minute right after I pitch. I did not make a starter for this batch of WLP300 because I heard not to overpitch on hefes, and it was the most voltile fermentation I ever had...

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Old 04-22-2011, 12:34 AM   #7
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I just recently did a basic Hefe using WLP-300 and fermented at around 68, no starter. S.G was 1.050, Fermented in the closet of main floor, we usually keep the house between 66 and 69 at all times. Let me tell you how aggresive this yeast was... blew the lid off twice and it was the most intense fermenting I have ever witnessed, it must have been spewing through the air lock before it blew because the walls were covered with dried up yeast.
The fermenting was vigorous to say the least for 2-3 days and then suddenly it was dead, not even a bubble - took a reading it was 1.028 and no action visible but a heavy Krause on top. I left it for another 10 days, the Krause settled and my reading was 1.010 and I was relieved. I waited another few days, the reading was the same so I proceeded to bottle.
Long story short, it turned out amazing so just leave it for another 10-14 days and you'll be fine.

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Old 04-22-2011, 12:42 AM   #8
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I didn't aerate really. I typically have only used pouring from the pot to the bucket to produce a lot of splashing in the past. This time, being the first full boil, I siphoned. Forgot to give it a big shake or splash until after I pitched. I picked it up tonight and gave it a good swirl. it's now bubbling every 8 second, when it was about every 20 second before I swirled it tonight. So I don't know. Will let it go. If it slows again, I may give it another swirl. Might take a reading this weekend (about 5-6 days in) and see where it stands.. or just let it sit and go a good 10 days and see.

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Old 04-25-2011, 11:50 PM   #9
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day 7: just took a gravity reading... only down to 1.020. Smells AWESOME. Just that banana and clove I was hoping for, but not done by any means. So I covered it back up and gave it a good swirl. Had been a few days since the last swirl. I just hope the yeast will kick into gear again enough to finish it up. I suppose I could pick up another vial of WLP300, but I'd rather not if I don't have to (the LHBS is distance and hard for me to get to during the week). I do have some fermentis WB06 (or whatever their wheat beer dry yeast is) which I could toss in I supposed, but I guess I will wait to see if it does any more work now that I've swirled it up again. The krausen was high and bubbly when I just opened the top to take the reading.

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Old 04-26-2011, 04:38 PM   #10
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day 7: just took a gravity reading... only down to 1.020. Smells AWESOME. Just that banana and clove I was hoping for, but not done by any means. So I covered it back up and gave it a good swirl. Had been a few days since the last swirl. I just hope the yeast will kick into gear again enough to finish it up. I suppose I could pick up another vial of WLP300, but I'd rather not if I don't have to (the LHBS is distance and hard for me to get to during the week). I do have some fermentis WB06 (or whatever their wheat beer dry yeast is) which I could toss in I supposed, but I guess I will wait to see if it does any more work now that I've swirled it up again. The krausen was high and bubbly when I just opened the top to take the reading.
Dude...It is still fermenting. Don't go talking about adding yeast to it. Every beer is different, and every brew session is different. Just be patient and let it go...Only add more yeasties if you have multiple gravity readings of the same gravity over a decent period of time. If you are taking gravity readings and there is a krausen.....just be patient...Just because you aren't haven't a "violent" fermentation, doesn't mean things aren't happening correctly.
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