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Old 01-26-2013, 02:28 AM   #1
Houdini
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Default Do I need to add more yeast??

Ok, I've made about a dozen batches of beer before without any fermentation issues. However, I tried my first lager almost 2 weeks ago and I forgot to check after 48 hours to see if it was properly fermenting.

So after almost 2 weeks I finally check and the lid on my fermentation bucket is completely flat. Normally its bulging due to all the CO2 pressure, but this time nothing. This leads me to believe that fermentation never started. So I took a sample and the SG is at 1.038. The OG was at 1.052, so apparently SOMETHING happened, but I would have expected it to be way lower by now.

Now, I haven't started the lagering phase yet, so I'm wondering: should I purchase more yeast and re-pitch and wait another 2 weeks, or is this high SG normal for lagers and will the gravity continue to lower once I start the lagering process?

- Houdini

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:37 AM   #2
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You really need to keep track of fermentation temp for lagers. The temps you want push the lower limits of the yeast, and if you fall below they get unhappy and stop working.

Beginning lagering would not be a good choice. You will ensure that fermentation does not proceed. Professional brewers are able to eke out a bit more performance even at lagering temps, but that's with great care and lowering the temp of the beer strictly and exactly by about 1 degree per day.

What's the temp of the beer now? That will help us decide whether bumping the temp up a bit, or re-pitching, would be the best course of action.

Lagers take a bit more care and monitoring than ales. I ferment my ales in ordinary buckets because I just pitch and forget them (aside from general temperature monitoring). My lagers I ferment in bottling buckets so I can take frequent samples to test temp, gravity, diacetyl, and so on.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:39 AM   #3
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Oh, and also: how did you propagate/pitch your yeast? What strain?

And another tidbit: I use stick-on thermometers for temp monitoring. Not perfectly exact, but very good for beers that I need to keep close track of. It gives you an idea for when something might be off that needs adjusting.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyforger View Post
Oh, and also: how did you propagate/pitch your yeast? What strain?

And another tidbit: I use stick-on thermometers for temp monitoring. Not perfectly exact, but very good for beers that I need to keep close track of. It gives you an idea for when something might be off that needs adjusting.
The yeast is Saflager W-34/70 Lager Yeast. I pitched dry (directions didn't say to create a starter) at high 50's (directions say pitch at 56), then fermented at 63F (directions said 60F - 72F). It's still at a steady 63F.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:37 PM   #5
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Alright! I'd go ahead and pitch more yeast. Also add some yeast nutrient and aerate the beer somewhat. Give it the best chance possible of restarting. Maybe there was something wrong with the original packet.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:55 PM   #6
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Alright! I'd go ahead and pitch more yeast. Also add some yeast nutrient and aerate the beer somewhat. Give it the best chance possible of restarting. Maybe there was something wrong with the original packet.
Sweet, thanks for the advice! I went ahead and ordered the same yeast and hopefully everything will turn out well!

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Old 01-28-2013, 07:07 PM   #7
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I think it will! Maybe try rehydrating the yeast this time. It's usually not necessary, but it's not hard and does help yeast viability considerably. If it doesn't go give a shout-out, cause then there's something weird going on and we'll have to figure out what.

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