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Old 04-22-2007, 07:25 PM   #1
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Default Mixed signals...

This is a bit of a mystery... Anybody have experience with WhiteLabs European Ale Yeast? It's got an exceptionally low attentuation, around about 70%, IIRC.

Friday night, I brewed a sweet stout, OG 1.059. I used my CFC for the first time, wort was transferred and chilled within about 15-20 minutes. I aerated using medical oxygen and an aeration stone for 90 seconds until the foam was blowing out the top of the carboy. I pitched the yeast (no starter). Then I left to go to work and then visited SWMBO, and then came back home 36 hours later and this is what I found...

A slight amount of residual bubbling covering the surface. This was not krausen, I know what krausen looks like. This was bubbles. It wasn't bubbles upon bubbles, just a single layer, as if it were left from the aeration. Uh oh. No fermentation? There was no indication of any krausen ever having been in the carboy. This is 36 hours after pitching the yeast.

It seems on my last 2 infected batches, this happened, the ferment was stuck for awhile before the nasties got hold of it and then the yeast seemed to ferment the beer right alongside the nasties.. but not until after a holding period of about 2-4 days. So... infection, right?

But...

I'm using better bottles, so I squeezed one and sniffed the airlock. It smelled like beer. So....

I checked the temp, the carboy is sitting at 67F. Could it really have finished that quickly without a starter?

I pulled it up off the floor, that should warm it up a couple degrees. I swirled the carboy to get all the yeast back into suspension, there seemed to be a layer on the bottom, as you would expect if they had indeed reproduced and done their thing. But it wasn't a huge layer... just a quarter inch maybe.

Is there something weird about this yeast I'm using? Or should I pull out a packet of Safale and prepare an emergency starter just in case? Or should I just quit obsessing and take a damned gravity sample already? Like I said, it smells like beer...


For what it's worth, I have bottles of Special Orange Bitter, Orfy's Hob Goblin Clone, and a Maibock... so RDWHAHB is noooo problem for me.


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Old 04-22-2007, 07:48 PM   #2
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Nevermind. I broke down and took a sample. It's still at the OG. The weird thing is though that even the wort is DAMN tasty!!!!!

I could drink it carbed with a shot of vodka and be happy. It's some tasty wort!!!


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Old 04-22-2007, 08:00 PM   #3
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You're worrying after 36 hours? Leave it alone!
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Old 04-22-2007, 09:04 PM   #4
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There should be bubbles by now. I even tried explaining that to the wort, but I'm not sure it heard me....
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:51 PM   #5
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probably hasn't started yet, but i'd probably repitch
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Old 04-23-2007, 10:34 AM   #6
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Ok. It's fermenting. The damn thing took 48 hours to start. Now, I didn't make a starter as I pledged I was going to from now on.... and I did use pure O2 to aerate and that keeps the yeast in aerobic reproduction for a longer time and lead to a slower initial fermentation. But doesn't it still seem uncommonly long?
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:13 AM   #7
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Dude, without a starter, I didn't see any action AT ALL for 65 hours. Can't worry til 3 days have gone by really. Especially without a starter
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:14 AM   #8
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I'm gonna make a starter right now for my batch on Wednesday...
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Old 04-23-2007, 02:59 PM   #9
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For my batches, preparing a starter has trumped all else as far as positively affecting the outcome of my beer.
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poguemahone
For my batches, preparing a starter has trumped all else as far as positively affecting the outcome of my beer.
I second that. Since I've been making starters, it seems that my attenuation is always at the top range of the strain. I even got 82% AA from WLP001 a couple of times. Plus more importantly, at least for me, is the ease of mind seeing fermentation start within a couple of hours of pitching. Yes, I'm a paranoid freak, so it's important to me...


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