A Little Concerned, Not Much Krausen

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zentr

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Usually I buy 1 vial of yeast and make a starter. Jamil's book says use 2 vials or make appropriate starter. So I thought, well, to save time, I'll just buy 2 vials.

This time I made a Belgian Pale Ale. I bought 2 vials of White Labs' WLP500 Belgian Ale Yeast. I pitched around 65 degrees. Put fermenter in chamber and set at 62F, expecting it to get warm during vigorous fermentation.

The lag time was at around 24 hours, which, obviously is a lot longer than the 3 or 4 hours I can get with a starter. It got going pretty good, bubbling away, but I did not see much more than a half inch of krausen. Maybe an inch in places.

As I saw it slowing, about 3 days out, I raised temperature up to 66 (fermometer shows ~68), which is what the recipe calls for. The beer is bubbling very slow now, and never got that big foamy head of krausen I'm used to.

Should I worry? Is this normal for a yeast like WLP500? Thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
 

Onlooker

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I wouldn't be concerned. You're going to get different results with different beers/yeasts. I don't know what would be "normal" for that beer/yeast/temp combination (I haven't used that yeast), but you obviously got fermentation in a pretty normal manner, so you're making beer, and I'd say it's likely to be good beer. At the lower ferm temp you're generally less likely to get a really vigorous fermentation (that's a generalization, as stated).

One thing about using 2 packs. Did you mail order them? Just wondering as they could have had their viability suffer from heat, if so. And so even though using 2 packs you might have ended up underpitching. I'd use a starter for mail order yeast at this time of year no matter what. That ensures you have a healthy population and good pitching rate. IMO
 

ShackNasty

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Something similar happened to me two batches ago. I pitched Nottingham in a porter, could clearly see some fermentation occurring due to bubbling of the airlock, but there was no krausen at all. Fermentation only lasted for approx 2 days and my FG was 1.034 (!?!?!). Anyways, I chalked it up to my high mash temperature. It's a porter though, and it still tastes pretty good.
 

Gartywood

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Different beers/yeast ferment differently. I don't think I've ever had a huge head of krausen when fermenting in the low 60s though I'm probably always under pitching. Some beers get a thin white krausen some get a thick krausen with lots of proteins floating on top and some blow the airlock out. They all come out good.
 

petree3

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The yeast have to wake up since you are not doing a starter. The 24 hour lag is perfectly normal and perfectly healthy.
 

BrewinHooligan

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Even the same yeast can act differently in different beers. I use US-05 a lot for a neutral yeast and sometimes I get a huge krausen that threatens blowoff and sometimes I don't get much at all.
 
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zentr

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Thanks all!

As Onlooker mentioned, this time of year, I should make a starter when getting liquid yeast through the mail. I think that is the lesson here. Buying 2 vials is fine, but better during cooler months.

I think it will be alright. I'll know better in a week or so when I check the gravity and have a taste.
 
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