first lager brewed yesterday, today: still no fermentation

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pennisim

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Hello,
I brewed my first all grain lager yesterday. I ended up with a 1.056 OG (Target: 1.058). 4 days ago, I started a Wyeast Bavarian Lager starter. I used a stirplate for 2 days, poured off 90% of the yeast into a sterile beer bottle (stored at 40'F), then added more cooled wort, and fermented grew out the yeast for another 2 days. This equals about 4L of wort which is what mrmalty recommended.

On brew days, I cooled my wort to 50-54'F, shook the ale pale for 10 min, and pitched. I then stuck it in my keezer at 50'F. This was at around 3pm yesterday. Today, at nearly 10am: There is still no sign of fermentation!

So, should I wait longer (??) - I know that Lag phase usually lasts 0-15 hours after pitching the yeast. Should I go out this afternoon to the LHBS and buy 2 more packets of the Wyeast smack packs and pitch them directly in? Should I pick up a pack and make a starter and pitch tomorrow?

Thank you for all the help in advance. Also - if you can tell what I did wrong at any step please comment and let me know! I can provide more information if necessary. This was only my second starter on a stir plate and the first time I poured off some yeast then added more wort. I used to do tissue culture in a laboratory so I assumed this method would work. Thank you for your time.

-Matt
 

zgoda

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When i was making my first lager Wyeast Munich Lager took ~20hrs to take off after cold pitching from 2qt starter. The beer is fine.

Then i racked 2nd batch (Vienna Lager) on the fresh yeast cake and the lag was not much shorter, ~16 hours.

Perhaps these yeast are "just that".

BTW, Wyeast Bohemian Lager started fermentation in my pilsner in ~6hrs.
 
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pennisim

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Thank you for your input. I guess I will give it another day. However, I might go buy the yeast today and get a starter going just in case?
If there are no signs of fermentation, I can pitch tomorrow. If there is fermentation, I can just put the yeast in mason jars and save it for my next lager. I can brew many types of lager with bohemian yeast I assume (doing Dortmunder Export this time). Opinions? Thanks again!

-Matt
 

zgoda

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Dry Saflager W34/70 is more convenient form of Wyeast Bohemian Lager. Easier to use, no need for starter - just pitch 2 packs. Can be safely mixed with liquid yeast of the same strain.

Anyway, the common opinion is that "bock" strains (Bavarian Lager, Munich Lager etc) are slow to start. And i can confirm that. ;)
 

DrawTap88

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Lager yeast take longer to get going (usually around 36 hours). The only thing that may be wrong with your process is that you may have shocked the yeast if you pitched a starter at 32 degrees into your wort that's 50+ degrees. Doing that will increase the lag time.
 
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pennisim

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DrawTap88: Thank you for the reply. I did warm up the wort from 32'F to 50'F before pitching. I guess I will wait another day or so then pick up the yeast. Thanks again! I'll post an update if there are any bubbles soon.

-Matt
 

DrawTap88

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Very welcome. Hope it gets going for you. Another thing that may be going on is that it's fermenting, but without producing a krausen (unlikely), but be sure to check the gravity to make sure it's not going without giving you visual evidence.
 
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pennisim

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I was always under the assumption that glucose+2adp+2P==>2EtOH+2CO2+2ATP

Other than CO2 dissolving in the wort, how would alcohol be converted if it were not producing CO2? I could see the exponential growth phase not releasing CO2 but not the production of alcohol. Could you please explain? Thank you!

-Matt
 

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I was always under the assumption that glucose+2adp+2P==>2EtOH+2CO2+2ATP

Other than CO2 dissolving in the wort, how would alcohol be converted if it were not producing CO2? I could see the exponential growth phase not releasing CO2 but not the production of alcohol. Could you please explain? Thank you!

-Matt
Well, of course co2 is released. But with lagers, sometimes the fermentation is so gentle that you don't see much airlock activity (or there is a slight gap around the airlock hole, so co2 is escaping without airlock activity), plus lagers are bottom fermenting so you may not see much of a krausen.
 
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pennisim

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Thanks to everyone that replied to me in the thread. Seems like I just need to be a bit more patient. I am going to my LHBS today to pick up a March pump (I need to figure out how to wire it myself still... hurt my back yesterday brewing) so I might pick up another packet of yeast if it is fresh enough.

Thanks again everyone.
-Matt
 
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pennisim

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Brewed on Tuesday. Today is Friday, still no fermentation. I am going to go to the LHBS and buy a new packet of yeast and an O2 kit. I will take a portion of the wort from the fermenter to make the starter. I accidentally dropped my stirplate in the lager, but I will let the yeast go overnight and then pitch tomorrow. I won't decant since I am using the wort from my lager. This will also give me the opportunity to check the gravity to make sure no fermentation has taken place.

There was not much head space in my ale pale since I made a 6gall batch I believe. I shook the pale for 10 minutes only. I have decided to move on to O2 so I can also do 10gall batches.

Any other suggestions? Should I switch to dry yeast possibly? Thanks in advance.

-Matt
 

SpanishCastleAle

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FWIW, you can pitch cold yeast into warmer wort (to a point of course) and it will take-off/ferment just fine. Pitching warmer yeast into significantly cooler wort is where you can run into problems.

Here is a thread I found on it.

I wouldn't be surprised if sometime after you make your new starter but before you add it the beer starts to ferment.:p
 
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pennisim

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I could live with that! I want to start a yeast bank so that would work out well for me still! I wish I hadn't chosen to ferment in an ale pale. I can't see what is going on in there - I am going to check the gravity now. The good thing is that it has a spigot so I don't even have to lift the lid.

If the gravity has changed, should I definitely NOT add oxygen to it?
-Matt
 

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Def check it out. Seems likely that it has started and you aren't seeing bubbles (it happens). Maybe pop the top and take a whiff. If your nose burns, you're good to go!
 
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pennisim

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Ok so I took a gravity reading -
OG was 1.056
It is now 1.043 about after 3 days. No airlock activity.
Is there no point at making a starter now?
Would oxygenating now hurt the wort??
Thanks

-Matt
 

Stimulus

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I'd leave it. Especially if it's an older bucket sometimes gas escapes around the ring. I definately wouldn't aerate it either
 
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pennisim

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Thanks for the advice. Learning patience sucks. I am still going to american brewmaster to pick up an oxygen stone today. Brewing an IPA on my old porter yeast cake Sunday so I am sure that will give me the satisfying fermentation bubbles.
 
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pennisim

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FWIW, you can pitch cold yeast into warmer wort (to a point of course) and it will take-off/ferment just fine. Pitching warmer yeast into significantly cooler wort is where you can run into problems.

Here is a thread I found on it.

I wouldn't be surprised if sometime after you make your new starter but before you add it the beer starts to ferment.:p
So I bought a new starter and oxygen kit from LHBS (American Brewmaster in Raleigh is a great brew store), smacked the smack pack when I got home, chilled it after it inflated, and then... noticed my lager bubbling away. Oh well, I'm pitching it anyway and I'll harvest all that live yeast for future brews that I can use my O2 kit for. Thanks again.
Lesson learned.

My next lager will be a Maibock... I am excited. But I can't brew that until this is done lagering since I only have one keezer/refrigerator to use for lagering.

-Matt
 

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So I bought a new starter and oxygen kit from LHBS (American Brewmaster in Raleigh is a great brew store), smacked the smack pack when I got home, chilled it after it inflated, and then... noticed my lager bubbling away. Oh well, I'm pitching it anyway and I'll harvest all that live yeast for future brews that I can use my O2 kit for. Thanks again.
Lesson learned.

My next lager will be a Maibock... I am excited. But I can't brew that until this is done lagering since I only have one keezer/refrigerator to use for lagering.

-Matt
Why not just cover the yeast starter and stick it in the fridge and use it for the lager?
 
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pennisim

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Because I posted that, then pitched, then learned another lesson. Thanks.
-Matt
 
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pennisim

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So just finished 2 days @ 60-65'F doing a D-rest. However, the gravity is still 1.018 - 1.020. The final gravity should be ~ 1.013. Should I hold off lagering until the gravity drops down?? Thanks,
-Matt
 

SpanishCastleAle

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I'd leave it at 65*-ish and check again in a few days.

Since we need lager yeasts to work at reduced temps and we need them to work slowly over a much longer period of time, I believe yeast health (including aeration) are even more important in lagers than in ales (where fermentation is typ done in a few days).

FWIW, it's difficult to make a big enough starter for a big lager like a Maibock with just one vial/smackpack of yeast. Something that works for me is to just brew a low gravity lager (but still make a fairly big starter for it) and then use some/most of the cake for the big lager. I pretty much follow all lower gravity beers (ales and lagers) with a big beer pitched on (most of) the cake.
 
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