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Old 01-27-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
Mechphisto
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Default Dead yeast; should I 2ndary ferment?

So, a year ago, I got my first brew kit (a black lager) from my local brew store. I only recently got all the parts together to actually make it, last Monday.

I followed the directions exactly, and I was obsessive over sanitization. But once I was done, 2 days later in the 55-degree garage, no activity. So I moved the fermenter inside and 2 more days in 70-degree, no activity. I took a gravity reading: no change. So I figure bacterial infection or dead yeast.

I went to the local brew supply store and picked up a packet of dry lager yeast (51-75-degree) and instead of making a pitch like I did the first time, I just sprinkled it in and stirred the heck out of it (hoping that might help re-airate it). Within 6 hours, bubbles! 12 hours later, very active bubbles! I moved it back out to the garage where it's continued bubbling actively.

So, my plan was to let it sit in the fermenter for 2 weeks, then rack it to the bottling bucket, add the sugar, bottle, etc. I used a kit with pre-packaged ground (?) grains and everything, so I figure there won't really be much of a trub for it to sit atop.

But now I'm reading in Palmer's HOW TO BREW, about how dead yeast can cause really off flavors. So I wonder, should I go ahead and once the bubbling stops, rack it to the bottling bucket and let it rest in there for a couple weeks? Or, if the prior dead yeast was an issue, the damage is already done?

I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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I've had a report from another brewer that he left an ale (at ale temperatures which are warmer) in his primary fermenter for 8 months and still didn't get the yeast to autolyze. Not a problem at the quantities that homebrewers do.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:51 PM   #3
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8 months?! How does that not go bad?
Beside the point.
Thanks for the reply! I figured HOW TO BREW would only mention it if it was a threat for homebrew size, but I guess he wants to play it safe and tell of all possibilities to warn about. (Makes the book bigger that way, too.)
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