Fermentation took off after 10 days but...

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tabni

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So I'm brewing my first lager, is a Doppelbock. Brew day was on Monday October 3rd. 7 days later I don't see any activity yet so I decided to do some research about the yeast. The yeast that I got was Wyeast Bavarian Lager, but after reading reviews of people having trouble with that particular strain of yeast, I decided to go to my local brew shop and buy some yeast. They only had 2 lager strains: White Labs Pilsner and White Labs Oktoberfest. I decided to go with the the Oktoberfest, that was on Tuesday October 11th. So i decided to put my temperature controller to 68 degrees, and made a starter, which I was still working on tonight.

So I went ahead to check my chest freezer, open it up, and my Doppelbock is bubbling!!! I guess my yeast felt asleep, and bringing the temp up helped it. What should I do with my Oktoberfest yeast? How can I preserve it for another beer? OR should I dump it on my Doppelbock anyways? Would it be ok having 2 different strains?

Thanks
 

pm5k00

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You can put the starter you made in a sanitized mason jar or other vessel and keep for later, and then make another starter with it, or mix the yeasts, blending yeast is not an uncommon thing todo.

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aomagman78

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If you didn't take a gravity reading on day 7 than you are basing all of this on false information. Likely your yeast were working those whole 7 days. All beers can absorb a considerable amount of CO2 into solution, and when fermenting a lager at 45-50° that amount will be even larger. So it could take several days for it to 'bubble'. Airlock is not a reliable source for whether or not your yeast is working.

And then - what pm5k00 said, sanitized mason jar or other airtight container (gatorade bottles have worked for me). Then refrigerate it.
 

stratslinger

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The flipside to what aomagman78 pointed out is that simply raising the temperature could release gases from the headspace in your fermenter - if you warmed up the fermenter and noticed only a small amount of bubbling, that's not necessarily an indication that the yeast just suddenly took off after 10 days.

Break out your hydrometer and test to be sure one way or the other!!!
 

asterix404

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This happened to me with a lager strain in particular... it was the pilsner one. The problem that you have with lager strains is the sheer amount of yeast required for an active ferment is astounding. Liquid yeast doesn't give you nearly enough and you need a huge starter, Mr. Malty said that I needed 2.5G worth without a stir plate for a 5G batch of 80GP lager (this is why I hate Mr. Malty since I didn't need half that, even decanted, for it to work but anyway...). So basically what happens is you under pitch which typically isn't a problem but if you under pitch and your temp is too low... say 45, the yeast don't move, they do nothing. I tested with a hydrometer after 3 days and there was no movement at all.

This led me to two solutions. I pitch only dry yeast, 2 packets of Saflager-23 for a <70GP beer and 3 packets for an >80GP beer. I let the wort cool in the chest freezer until it is 55deg (the temp of the freezer) which generally takes about 12h. I then pitch a huge amount of dry yeast and keep it at 55 for 24h. You will see bubbling, I know that there are more indicators etc, but if everything is normal you will see a lot of bubbling. I then drop it to 50 for 24h, then to 45 for 2 weeks. It takes quite a lot to get the yeast started and if you pitch to cold it just doesn't start or it has a VERY slow start.

Also you do need to always oxygenate the lager wort, I put mine through a strainer and mix it a lot. Apparently for beers over about 80 you really should use a stone and pump o2 through it to get enough dissolved o2. These setups are quite expensive and where I live, buying pure o2 is very hard. Anyway, I always get really clean lagers when I do this, so I do hope this helps.
 
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