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Old 08-31-2010, 06:01 PM   #1
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Default Czech Pilsner - Not Fermenting.

Let me preface this by saying in hindsight I think the yeast wasn't activated when I pitched it. I'm just looking for direction, rather than me blindly guessing what to do.
1- Used a WYeast Smack pack(2278). (no starter)
this was my first lager and I noticed it wasn't as swollen as the Ale smackpacks, but I assumed maybe it was just a lager thing.
So 4 days later, the wort is holding at 55 degrees as designed, but I have no action in the lock, and the hygrometer is reading no change.

Question, Is there a way to get it started with whats already in place? take it out of 55? Get new Yeast, start it and repitch? Ideas? Thanks.

Lesson learned on starters I guess...

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Old 08-31-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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First, From the horse's mouth.

Quote:
From the Wyeast FAQ website:

3. Does the package need to be fully swollen before pitching?

No, The package can be pitched before activating, or at anytime during the activation process. The activation process "jump starts" the culture's metabolism, minimizing the lag phase.
So really you didn't need to have it swelled.

Your biggest mistake was not using a starter. That cuts down lag time AND makes sure you have enough yeast to do the job.

BUT one thing to realize is that with lagers everything seems to take longer. Airlocks (which aren't a good indicator of activity) may blip even less.

Since it's sealed an in your fridge or fermentation chamber (and in a relatively safe environment), I would get fresh yeast and make a starter, even if the starter were only going overnight, just to get it going and then pitch some more.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:07 PM   #3
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Is there a krausen forming at all? If not, you might think about buying new yeast AND making a starter. After 72 hours you should generally see some signs of fermentation.

If there is a krausen, just sit back and let it go.

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Old 08-31-2010, 06:09 PM   #4
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Give it some more time. Lagers are slower starters and less active than ales given the lower fermentation temperature. You have underpitched significantly so expect a long lag phase as the yeast are busy reproducing and not fermenting as yet. Even with an appropriate pitch of yeast I have seen it take up to 48 hours before signs of activity occur - and that is just little islands of foam, not a krausen or bubbling airlock.

Oh and welcome to the forum.

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Old 08-31-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replys, no Krausen either. I think I'm going to get a starter going for sake of sanity. While keeping conditions constant in the hope that it just takes off on its own.

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Old 09-02-2010, 02:53 PM   #6
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Ok, my new starter is bubbling away. Plan to pitch it tomorrow, thanks for the input. The starter is such a simple thing, not sure why I never did them before.

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Old 09-02-2010, 03:12 PM   #7
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I'm thinking of making pilsner soon. At what temperature should the starter be maintained while the yeasts are propagating?

Since lager starters are much bigger 3L+, I was thinking that any off flavors may show up in the main batch.

I've considered running my stir plate in the fermentation freezer at 60 deg F but maybe I'm over thinking this.

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Old 09-02-2010, 04:15 PM   #8
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I make 1L starters on a stir plate at ambient temperature. Normally 78-82F. I try to cool them down slowly before pitching them.

I ferment at 48F with a D-Rest at ambient temps for about 48 hours whether it needs it or not. I almost never open the fermentation tank to check anything before 4 weeks.

The nice thing about the D-Rest is I a move the tank from one room to another and the flocculation yeast get re-suspended and kick back into overdrive.

Somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks I rack (closed system via CO2) to a lagering tank and forget about it for another 3 or 4 weeks when I move it from the lagering tank to a serving keg.

The beers come out super super clean. Almost too clean and crystal clear. No chill haze and no off flavors that I can detect.

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Old 09-10-2010, 02:22 PM   #9
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Just an update here. It appears the starter did the trick, the batch is bubbling away. Lesson learned, thanks.

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Old 09-10-2010, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerkstore View Post
Just an update here. It appears the starter did the trick, the batch is bubbling away. Lesson learned, thanks.
Good to hear!!!
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