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Old 02-10-2011, 01:45 PM   #1
msmylie
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Default Robust Porter needs help!

Made a fairly big Robust Porter yesterday and pitched a vial of California
Ale Yeast, WLP001. As of this morning there is no activity yet. Worried that I under pitched with an OG of 1.07....I have a smackpack of Bel Abbey 1214 and wondering if I should use that to ensure fermentation. Grain bill on this brew was about 60 bucks so not really wanting to lose this batch. Any ideas out there?

Thanks,

mfs


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Old 02-10-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
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I would give it time. Did you do a starter?

My general rule is, if I don't see yeast in suspension on day 2-3 I go buy some more yeast and pitch on day 4-5. Are any suspension? If you shine a bright flashlight you should be able to see some (if you are using a glass carboy).

To make you feel better - I pitched yeast (from a starter) onto a big IPA recently and didn't see any activity for several days. I was like... wtf - ha. But I saw the yeast in suspension (burton ale yeast) and next thing you know, it took off wickedly. It was like a torrent.


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Old 02-10-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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I've made two batches of porter. Both of them have taken longer for the fermentation to start (using Wyeast's London Ale yeast smack pack) than others that I've made. If it hasn't started after 3 days, then maybe another shot of yeast would be the way to go.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
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Looks like I should give it some time then. How long can it go without active fermentation before bacterial infection becomes a concern? I did not use a starter, just the liquid vial. Should you always use a starter if the beer is above 1.06? If so, what is the best way to produce a starter if all you have is the vial or smack pack?
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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I've pitched rehydrated dry yeast into beers nearing 1.08 without any ill effect, so a starter is not really required. Wait at least 72 hours before starting to worry.

While you're waiting, what's the temp where you're fermenting?

Are you judging activity by the airlock? Maybe you have a seal leak somewhere that the co2 is escaping from.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmylie View Post
Looks like I should give it some time then. How long can it go without active fermentation before bacterial infection becomes a concern? I did not use a starter, just the liquid vial. Should you always use a starter if the beer is above 1.06? If so, what is the best way to produce a starter if all you have is the vial or smack pack?
mfs
I would say, always use a starter with liquid yeast and bigger beers (1.060). That is just a good rule of thumb, not a requirement. Even if that means that you make a starter, then start making your beer, then pitch the starter at whatever point it is at. Even 2-3 hours on a starter will help get it up and suspended and encourage a faster start. If you can, make the starter 4-5 hours in front and pitch when it is foaming.

Bacteria won't start unless bacteria are present. So hopefully you sanitized everything well.


Simple starter:
2 cups water
1/2 cup DME

1. Add DME and boil the water for 10 minutes (reduce to simmer - no rapid boil needed)
2. Cool water to 75F +/-5F
3. Add yeast into a sterilized or sanitized quart jar and whisk with a spoon until foamy (to aerate). Repeat this for the next 3 hours, once an hour or so (if you finish beer before this then that is ok). Cover with tin foil to keep debris out in between your fork whisking.

be sure to sanitize or sterilize the quart jar and fork initially.

if you are doing a smack pack - smack the pack then start your process above - get yeast to about room temp before you pitch. If you are using white labs or similar, just be sure the yeast is at about room temp - then pitch to starter.

if you can the goal is to match the yeast temp to starter temp, don't have to be perfect, but helps so the yeast don't get "shocked" with a big temp change.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:41 PM   #7
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If using a liquid yeast, I'd make a starter for any beer over about 1.040. One pack of rehydrated dry yeast is probably fine up to around 1.070 or so. Give it time, you underpitched and there will be a bit more of a lag. At 48 hours with no activity, I'd start prepping for a possible repitch and, if hydro still hasn't changed by 72 hours, I would repitch.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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Yeast manufacturers recc you make a starter or double pitch when 1.060 or higher. They are also trying to sell more yeast. I mostly do it, because it is easy, and it preps your batch for a highly viable pitch. It starts a ferment quicker. Both positive things.

that said, I don't usually do a step up starter and let it go 24hrs. I think 2-3+ to when it starts foaming (4-5+hrs) is optimal. Pitch when foaming for high gravity beers
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:44 PM   #9
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Its chugging away now so lag time to fermentation was about 20 hours. Good thing I had blow off tube in place, otherwise it would have been messy. Thanks for all the comments. I just read on the vial of yeast that it is recommended to use a starter if the beer has an OG over 1.07, don't know if that is specific to that strain of yeast or if it is for all their strains. Can't wait to try this one.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmylie View Post
I did not use a starter, just the liquid vial. Should you always use a starter if the beer is above 1.06?
Always use a starter. You don't know how healthy/viable the yeast is. A starter gives a bigger pitch and assures you the yeast are healthy.

Additionally, low pitch rates can cause fusel alcohols, proper pitching rates reduce these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HexKrak View Post
I've pitched rehydrated dry yeast into beers nearing 1.08 without any ill effect, so a starter is not really required.
He is using liquid yeast. You don't want to make a starter with dry yeast.


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