I'm doing back to back hefeweizen brews using the same trub. My first batch was at almost two weeks in primary, no noticeable airlock activity and a gravity of 1.010. The OG was 1.047 so I think I'm there. There WAS a full head of krausen on the top when I took the gravity.
I started my boil for the 2nd batch, then fetched the first pail to rack to secondary. When I popped the lid off the second time, the krausen was gone and there were a few yeast clumps floating. I must have had over 5.5 gals in the primary because I put all I wanted in the carboy and still had 1/4 inch of beer left. I siphoned off the rest of the beer into a vat, so I could steal a few vials of yeast for later, but was surprised to find very little. I think less than 1/4 inch of trub and that was not with complete coverage. This is a simple extract brew, no grains and I use hop-socks so I didn't expect much, but was hoping for 1/2 inch or so. I *think* the jostling about carrying the pail downstairs and previous krausen on top has much of the yeast suspended in the carboy. I don't know how much I needed for the new batch so gave up on harvesting and put the beer back on the trub.
From reading I know I'm supposed to pour the new wort into the pail and don't worry about the nasty looking ring around the top but it just didn't feel right. I topped off to 5.5 gals, and aireated like hell, wincing every time I thought about that stuff mixing with my clean wort.
Given the very little trub, could I still have harvested a vial or two?
The ring of nastiness - thats OK, right?
I'm using a blow-off for the first time expecting quicker and more violent activity - should I expect a faster ferment?
Any other comments?
Thanks in advance,