Help with lager yeast--not fermenting

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Hopheader

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Hi there. First true lager, (Brewhouse Pilsner) with Wyeast 2007 Pilsen Lager yeast. It was old when I got it (June 08 on the package), I shouldn't have taken it but---haha, it was on sale that day so figured Sure!.

Dumb move.

I think the yeast is knackered and I pitched it (direct from package after a 12 hour room-temp existence which didn't show a whole lot of "puff-up") on Thursday last week. Still showing no activity.

In my storage room in basement at 14C (um...57 F?). Should be very safe for that yeast (3-9C).

Any hints for using something (another yeast perhaps? Safale 05?) to get it going?

Thanks.
First post and definitely not the last.


:mug:
 

brewmasterpa

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NOOOOOOO!!! dont pitch another type of yeast. it will start but its going to take awhile. whenever i use liquid yeast, i make a starter. if you used old yeast, you should have made a massive starter. without it, you have massive lag time. it will start, but its going to be a few days. if after 7 days, you have no fermentation (and do not go by airlock activity, take a hydrometer reading) pitch another pack of VIABLE wyeast 2007. if when you take a reading, and you have a lower gravity than you started, let it go for 21 days, take another reading and go from there. if your gravity has not changed, pitch another pack of the same strain, except make sure its good.
 

menschmaschine

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Welcome to the forum. I'd use a dry lager yeast if you can get it. Saflager W34/70 comes to mind, but any dry lager yeast would be OK. Pitch two packs per 5 gallons. But 14°C might be a tad too high. I'd try to stay under 12.5°C. If you can't, Nottingham dry yeast might be a viable option, but then your beer is no longer a lager.

For future reference, lagers need a lot of yeast (big starter) to get going and are best fermented around 10°C. Your lager would probably take off eventually with your old yeast, but would probably have a lot of off-flavors with the high temperature and the low pitch-rate. The older the liquid yeast is, the less viable yeast cells it has.

Are you Irish or British? ("knackered") :)
 
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Hopheader

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Thanks, guys. Yeah, I know (now) I should have done a starter. I'm just happy to be using liquid yeasts these days and figured it would be fine (NOT!). Unfortunately, in my area--despite having some excellent brew suppliers--, there are no Safale nor Saflager in town at the moment. Next order April 19. Nottingham and Windsor are available and I was just going to toss a Nottingham on top and walk away.

I'll take advice and let it sit, but it is coming on 7 days pretty soon. All good things to those who wait; we shall see.

I was using a carboy and blow-off tube then realized "it is a cool temp brew, probably not going to be too active"--but it is still air-sealed so no worries there.

And haha, the moment I typed "knackered", I thought 'someone's gonna call me on that'. It was either that or pooped or spent. I chose knackered 'cause that's how I feel today after 4 hours of sleep.

Canadian! (thus, British by way of water originally I suppose)

-J
 

menschmaschine

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7 days is a long time for fermentation not to start. There is a high risk of contamination at this point. I'm not saying your beer is infected, I'm just saying the risk is great and that's why it is important to get some viable yeast in there. The rule of thumb is about 72 hours... if there are no signs of fermentation by then, it's best to pitch more yeast.

So, that's why I think your best chance of having drinkable beer at this point is to get some kind of yeast in there.
 

Tonedef131

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That was so incredibly underpitched that there really are no words for it.

I am saying get yourself another pack or two of fresh 2007 and get them in there as quickly as you can.
 

brewmasterpa

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yeah, i kind of figured 7 days was a while too, but i think he should take a gravity reading to see if it has actually started first, dont you think??? if it has, and its really really slow, id pitch another pack of 2007. mensch is right about the risk of infection and the off flavors from low viability. id check the gravity tonight, careful not to contaminate. then if its really slow, or not at all, get one, maybe 2 viable packs of 2007 from your local brew shop tomorrow and pitch pronto.
 

Revvy

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How do you know fermentation is not taking place??? Are you going by airlock activity, or did you take a gravity reading...if you are soley going by airlock then you may have fermentation going and not even know it..an airlock is a vent, not an accurate, calibrated instrument.


Read this, and let us know what your hydrometer is saying...

Revvy's Blog-Think Evaluation Before Action

99% of the people who start one of these stuck or dead fermentation threads and doesn't have a reading mentioned in his initial post...more than likely never took one before posting....and usually when they take one, they realize that that is the only way to diagnose a problem...or get relief.
 
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Hopheader

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Ok folks--tested SG. It is 1.060. I measured on brew day at 1.062 (my apologies for not listing prior---please note the amount of posts made at this point). So... absolutely NO bubbles of any sort anywhere, all the particulate matter is sitting on the bottom of the carboy, top of the wort is flat, undisturbed liquid. So---wait and measure in a few more days or pitch another yeast. That's the choices it looks like.

Risk contamination by letting it sit and waiting it out, or possibly have it maybe be contaminated already and toss in another $10 worth of yeast. Either way; I would say I'm better off TO pitch another yeast and go for it?

I lucked out at a store today that had ONE 2007 yeast in stock (Feb 28 date) so perhaps this is a sign?

So quickly looking at something like Mr Malty's pitch rate calc---I should be making about 4.7L starter or about 6 packs of yeast? Yowch. Seriously? The things you learn when home brewing. Thanks for the "holy underpitched" post.




Here's the question, then: adding another 2007 smack-pack. Just toss it in (that is the 'get it in there as soon as possible' route), do a starter, and aerate/stir or not? I would assume yes?

Thanks, pro's!

-J
 

brewmasterpa

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i would take that pack of yeast, make a starter with 1 quart of water, 1 cup dme, boil for 20 mins, cool, then add yeast to starter wort, let it go for 12 hours, then during starter fermentation, swirl slurry and pitch into your beer. your hydrometer readings suggest stuck fermentation, so its ok to pitch with a starter asap.
 
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Hopheader

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Thanks, folks, for the advice. I was able to find another 2007 yeast and it puffed up IMMENSELY only 4.5 hours after smacking, so I dumped it in directly. Was away for 4 days and there is nice activity and a healthy layer of sludge in the blowoff tube and on the carboy interior above the liquid, which means it saw healthy (in terms of level of activity anyway) kreusen activity after the new yeast was introduced. Looking forward to trying it to see if all is well.
 
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