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Old 12-23-2012, 05:46 PM   #1
TarVolon
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Default At what point do I worry about dead yeast

Making a steam beer, my first with Wyeast 2124. So I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is normal for lager yeast or whether it's something I should be concerned about. But here's what I have so far.

*Bought smack pack. Smacked it. Did not inflate. Pitched into starter anyways.
*Made 1 L starter. Shook it periodically. Over 24 hours, showed no bubbles or krausen.
*Pitched starter into 1.056 OG wort at 74 degrees. Chilled overnight down to 63 degrees. After 18 hours, not a damn thing. (I have a clear glass carboy. Never been used, so I can see if there was once krausen stuck to the side. There isn't, and it's dead still)

I know there's the "wait 72 hours" thread, but I'll be in Colorado in 72 hours. I'll be gone for two weeks. Should I be worried now about dead yeast? Or is this just me expecting ale things from lager yeast? Or is it too early to tell and I should check back in two weeks and repitch if necessary?

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Old 12-23-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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Our yeast friends typically work in spite of us, good call on the lager while you are gone. Anyway, sometimes you don't see activity in a starter, sometimes lagers take longer to show signs, all the "symptoms" you sight could be normal. Use your hydrometer. Yeast is a beastly survivor, the only time I would worry about yeast survivability is if it got to over 140 degrees F. Personally I would forget about the brew for about 4 weeks then decide what to do, it will probably be ready for the next step at that time.

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Old 12-23-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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I am having a similar problem. Pitched yeast for a brown ale well over 24 hours ago and its quieter than a mill pond in there. But I'm not worried, and neither should you. In fact, I haven't had a fermentation that I would call "typical" yet. So relax, its probably fine.

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Old 12-23-2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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Lo and behold, I just went and checked it and I saw an airlock bubble and a meager krausen is beginning to form.

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Old 01-17-2013, 10:28 PM   #5
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The answer, as it usually is, was "be patient." Got back from Colorado and saw signs that fermentation had happened. Hydrometer reading 1.015 after an OG of 1.056, so I'd say we're good here.

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:23 PM   #6
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Mmmmmmmm, steam beer.

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Old 01-18-2013, 02:35 AM   #7
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If I see no activity in my starter, I will check gravity on the starter. I won't pitch into the wort until I absolutely know it is working. If the pack didn't rise, and the starter never showed any signs of krausen (stir plates sometimes don't), I would have made sure to check the gravity. If you are still around 1.040 on your starter, it's too soon, live or not. Even if it is alive, I would rather pitch a starter that is getting after it, then one that will have to stress out to multiply.

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