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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Barley Wine fermentation
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:04 AM   #1
Amanofbeer
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Default Barley Wine fermentation

Hey guys, just wondering how long I should expect a barley wine to start fermenting...with a 2 liter starter og at 1.050 36 hours in advance, I thought this would have been a quicker start. This vial is newish, but it was exposed to heat in the 80s at times for 5 straight days, so I'm slightly worried about the viability. 24 hours after pitching on the yeast starter, it only smells like it's trying to ferment (you know what I mean) but there is little visible evidence of fermentation. Is it normal for barley wines to start off this slow and then go wild as I have read? At what point should I consider to re-pitch yeast? Also, og of the barley wine (including starter) was about 1.100.

Here are the details:

Malts:
11 lb 2 row pale
.8 lb caramel 90
.8 lb caramel 40
1 lb honey @flameout
1 lb table sugar @60 mins

Starter: 1 lb extra light malt extract

Starting Gravity: 1.100

yeast: WLP001

Only took 6 gallons of first runnings, boiled down to a useable 3.5, never mind later runnings.

total starting volume: 4 ish gallons

Have been aerating periodically, but maybe not all that aerated considering the strength?

Thoughts?


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Old 07-21-2011, 04:21 AM   #2
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RDWHAHB. It'll take off all too soon. Your concern shouldn't be will the yeast begin fermentation; your concern should be will the yeast finish fermentation. You severely underpitched on this batch. Check out the pitching rate calculator on Mr. Malty.com, there's a bunch of threads on here that thoroughly explain how to use the site to calculate the volume of yeast starter you'll need in various yeasty situations. Given the less than optimal storage of the yeast tube, your viability was probably less than ideal. Assuming 75% viability (which is generous), you'd need 1 vial of yeast grown up in 5.5 liters of starter medium. 1.050 is a little high for your starter gravity BTW, shoot for around 1.040 to optimize yeast growth without challenging them too much.

You need to be proactive with this batch to make sure it doesn't stall at 1.040 on you. The table sugar will help things a bit, but take out some extra assurance and pitch a rehydrated packet or two of Nottingham ale yeast as soon as you can. It attenuates well and is dirt cheap.


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Old 07-21-2011, 04:53 AM   #3
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24 hours after pitching? With a beer this big and a starter of that size, I wouldn't be shocked at all about a 24+ hr lag time -- especially if you're keeping the temps low to minimize the sorts of off flavors you can get in a beer this big during reproduction phase at higher temps.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:02 AM   #4
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You should put some yeast nutrient in for the first few days too, especially since it's underpitched.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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I usually try to pitch a starter within 18-24 hours. I've found that with 36 hours or more there is a more significant lag time.

It sounds like you technically underpitched your yeast as well, but all I have used for OGs ranging from 1.045 to 1.080 is the single vile, 1800mL starter and have had great success.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:25 PM   #6
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I'd love to hear a vote for people who say pitch now, or wait to pitch. Let me clarify.

It's going now. Actually, I checked the size of my starter, and I thought it was a gallon pot I had used, but it is apparently 6 quarts, so it was really closer to a gallon at 1.050, though there is still the viability to be considered (Am I really underestimating how fragile it is?). At any rate, figure 1 lb of dme in a solution that comes to that sg, and that's the amount of fermentables. How big of a starter should this batch have required do you guys think? I was pretty sure the one I had would have been good for only a 4 gallon batch.

In the case that this does not finish out, however, would SO-5 be an appropriate late addition yeast? I really want to stick with the primary yeast as long as possible, as I have found some dry yeasts don't have the complexity I want. Perhaps the complexity comes from things other than the yeast in this case?

This is my first big boy (never brewed over 1.080 or so before), and I'm hoping to not make any compromises.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masonsjax View Post
You should put some yeast nutrient in for the first few days too, especially since it's underpitched.
Would you boil that first? I always tell myself to do so, but in such cases as bottling tabs, where it defeats the purpose to boil them, as well as things that don't say to add to the boil, I always wonder.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbeergeek View Post
RDWHAHB. It'll take off all too soon. Your concern shouldn't be will the yeast begin fermentation; your concern should be will the yeast finish fermentation. You severely underpitched on this batch. Check out the pitching rate calculator on Mr. Malty.com, there's a bunch of threads on here that thoroughly explain how to use the site to calculate the volume of yeast starter you'll need in various yeasty situations. Given the less than optimal storage of the yeast tube, your viability was probably less than ideal. Assuming 75% viability (which is generous), you'd need 1 vial of yeast grown up in 5.5 liters of starter medium. 1.050 is a little high for your starter gravity BTW, shoot for around 1.040 to optimize yeast growth without challenging them too much.

You need to be proactive with this batch to make sure it doesn't stall at 1.040 on you. The table sugar will help things a bit, but take out some extra assurance and pitch a rehydrated packet or two of Nottingham ale yeast as soon as you can. It attenuates well and is dirt cheap.
My first response was supposed to be in reference to your response...just so you get notified.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSteele View Post
I usually try to pitch a starter within 18-24 hours. I've found that with 36 hours or more there is a more significant lag time.

It sounds like you technically underpitched your yeast as well, but all I have used for OGs ranging from 1.045 to 1.080 is the single vile, 1800mL starter and have had great success.
Yes, I have had good luck with that too. I should probably have oxidized the starter a bit more vigorously though.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanofbeer View Post
In the case that this does not finish out, however, would SO-5 be an appropriate late addition yeast? I really want to stick with the primary yeast as long as possible, as I have found some dry yeasts don't have the complexity I want. Perhaps the complexity comes from things other than the yeast in this case?
S-05 would be fine, its the same strain as 001. just tossing in a pack isn't ideal and may not do anything tho. you'd be throwing it into a very harsh environment and likely most of the cells would die and thered be no oxygen left for them to replicate. ideally you should make a starter and pitch it while active for a stuck ferment of this size.


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