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First time re-using yeast

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Thirdeye

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Hi. I brewed the following batch yesterdy:

7# Pale LME
.75# Corn Sugar

1# Maris Otter
.125# Aromatic
.75# British LT Xstal

1oz. Northdown @boil
1oz Challanger @30
1oz Progressive @50

The yeast I used was harvested from secondary a week ago. White Labs British Ale yeast.

The problem is that its been 17 hrs since I pitched and there is absolutely no sign of activity at all. I was under the impression that recycled yeast would have a shorter lag time bc there's so many more yeast cells in the beginning. When I pitched the same yeast the very first time I used it, I had airlock activity the next day.

Should I wait, or head to the LHBS for some fresh yeast? The problem is that the brew shop is closed on Monday, so if I dont get it today, it will be Tuesday before I can get it.
 

Chriso

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Well, harvesting from secondary will unfortunately give you a weak yeast culture. It's somewhat "do-able", but involves making a starter and ramping it up to get a respectable culture built back up. Ideally, you would wash and harvest the yeast out of the primary instead.

That being said, 17 hours is not very long. I would let it go a full 48 hours, sealed and undisturbed, to see if the yeast is still reproducing now so that it can chew through the sugars soon.

Also double-check that your airlock and lid are both sealed air-tight. After all, if CO2 is slowly leaking out of the vessel through some other opening, then you are not going to see airlock movement. CO2 leaking is usually caused by either lid not on all the way, or airlock grommet out of whack.

Keep us posted. If it still doesn't have activity by Tuesday, it may be time to buy a pack of backup yeast. If you do have to get this far, Fermentis Safale S-04 or Danstar Nottingham will give you similar (not identical) tastes as the British Ale yeast you used, both are dry yeasts at a value price.
 

Bernie Brewer

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Ok, I'll ask it: Did you make a starter from your harvested yeast, or did you just dump it in the brew??? You need to make a starter, or you'll be waiting a loooong time for activity.
 
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Thirdeye

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chriso said:
Well, harvesting from secondary will unfortunately give you a weak yeast culture. It's somewhat "do-able", but involves making a starter and ramping it up to get a respectable culture built back up. Ideally, you would wash and harvest the yeast out of the primary instead.

That being said, 17 hours is not very long. I would let it go a full 48 hours, sealed and undisturbed, to see if the yeast is still reproducing now so that it can chew through the sugars soon.

Also double-check that your airlock and lid are both sealed air-tight. After all, if CO2 is slowly leaking out of the vessel through some other opening, then you are not going to see airlock movement. CO2 leaking is usually caused by either lid not on all the way, or airlock grommet out of whack.

Keep us posted. If it still doesn't have activity by Tuesday, it may be time to buy a pack of backup yeast. If you do have to get this far, Fermentis Safale S-04 or Danstar Nottingham will give you similar (not identical) tastes as the British Ale yeast you used, both are dry yeasts at a value price.
Thanks. Yeah I guess waiting it out is probably the best course of action here. Its interesting though, I have been warned by several people about harvesting from secondary. However, John Palmer writes that he almost always harvests from secondary. He says that the first two or three times, its just as good as primary yeast.
 
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Thirdeye

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Bernie Brewer said:
Ok, I'll ask it: Did you make a starter from your harvested yeast, or did you just dump it in the brew??? You need to make a starter, or you'll be waiting a loooong time for activity.
No sir, I just threw it in there per the advice of the guy at the brew shop. So how long is "loooong"?:confused: Isnt the wort itself a "starter"? Just a real big one?
 

Bernie Brewer

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Thirdeye said:
No sir, I just threw it in there per the advice of the guy at the brew shop. So how long is "loooong"?:confused: Isnt the wort itself a "starter"? Just a real big one?

It's hard to say how long, since I don't know how big of a sample you pitched. with liquid yeast it is always better to make a starter, even if you are using "pitchables". I have to disagree with your brew shop guy on this one.
 

Dave the Brewer

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Thirdeye said:
Isnt the wort itself a "starter"? Just a real big one?
The significance of a starter is you have a much smaller container and the yeast can run through the sugars in the small container much much faster. In result, doubles or triples the amount of yeast you have to throw in your wort in a very short time. The bigger the starter, the more yeast you need to get it started. Last night I switched my Belgian Strong to the primary, and washed the yeast from the bottom, filled up a jar put it in the fridge and dumped the remaining yeast from the bottom of the primary into the amber ale wort I brewed up. I had bubble action with in the hour.
 

Chriso

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Thirdeye said:
Thanks. Yeah I guess waiting it out is probably the best course of action here. Its interesting though, I have been warned by several people about harvesting from secondary. However, John Palmer writes that he almost always harvests from secondary. He says that the first two or three times, its just as good as primary yeast.
I do not know. Sorry. I have always harvested from primary, because that's what people on here have usually said to do, and that's what the Yeast Washing sticky I read said to do. I did not know Palmer held the opposite opinion.

Diagnostically, I think the lack of yeast starter is the "correct" cause of lag here; the primary vs secondary harvesting debate, while interesting, shouldn't make a difference in this case.
 
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Thirdeye

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Bump. Well its almost been 40hrs since I pitched this yeast and there is still no air lock activity. Should I go ahead and pick up some more yeast this evening?

Is there a dried yeast I could use in place of the British Ale yeast on this one? My HBS has Nottingham usually.
 

daryk77

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yeah, without a starter not sure how long it will take to get going. Also, how did you store the yeast? After being in the fridge for a week it will take a while just for the yeast to "wake up", another reason to start them off small with a starter. You can also tell how viable your saved yeast is by making a starter, if it doesn't start then the yeast didn't make it.

I would probably pitch fresh yeast, liquid or dry, your choice.
 

daryk77

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After looking at the sticky at the top of this forum, maybe wait another 24 hours, ya never know, give it a little aeration since fermentation hasn't started yet, that may help.
 

Bernie Brewer

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Are you fermenting in a bucket or a carboy?? If you are fermenting in a bucket, perhaps the seal for the lid is leaking. Take a gravity reading, and if the gravity hasn't changed since you first pitched, toss in some Nottingham.
 

Jonnio

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chriso said:
I do not know. Sorry. I have always harvested from primary, because that's what people on here have usually said to do, and that's what the Yeast Washing sticky I read said to do. I did not know Palmer held the opposite opinion.

Diagnostically, I think the lack of yeast starter is the "correct" cause of lag here; the primary vs secondary harvesting debate, while interesting, shouldn't make a difference in this case.
I re-read because I have been harvesting form the secondary since I read the sticky and I thought maybe I had screwed up. It says you can harvest from either the primary or the secondary and that the yeast from the secondary will likely be more flocculant.

I would think washing from the primary would be much more difficult because of the large amount of trub at the bottom.
 
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Thirdeye

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Bernie Brewer said:
Are you fermenting in a bucket or a carboy?? If you are fermenting in a bucket, perhaps the seal for the lid is leaking. Take a gravity reading, and if the gravity hasn't changed since you first pitched, toss in some Nottingham.
Bump.

Well I checked the gravity and it was at 1.032. OG was 1.060 (3 days ago) so it must be doing something. Its very strange. There is no airlock activity but I verified that the lid is indeed sealed. When I press down on the lid, the liquid level in the airlock moves.
 

Bernie Brewer

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Thirdeye said:
Bump.

Well I checked the gravity and it was at 1.032. OG was 1.060 (3 days ago) so it must be doing something. Its very strange. There is no airlock activity but I verified that the lid is indeed sealed. When I press down on the lid, the liquid level in the airlock moves.

Just because the lid seems to be on tightly does not mean it is sealed. My first fermenting bucket stopped sealing correctly after just a few brews, and I still have one that doesn't. That's nothing to worry about- you may not see the airlock bubling, but the beer is still fermenting with a blanket of co2 over it. Good to hear that your beer has finally taken off.:mug:
 
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