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Lager fermentation problem?

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malt81

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Hello

I have a question should I repitch or not.

I have followed the same procedure every time but first time it seems that maybe something is not right. Brewed 3 days ago on Saturday.
Beer type - lager, yeast W-34/70 two packages, wort 25 litres.
OG 1,046/11,2
Redydrating with water @ 71 F.
Pitching to wort @ 58 F.
Room temp 54 F.
No aeration (like always) but also forgot to stir after pitching. I just shaked the vessel a little bit. When I transferred the wort from kettel to vessel I squealed quite properly.

Now three days later I don't see active fermenting, there is a minor krausen. No bubbles, vessel is tight.
SG is 10,2 now, so something is going on but seems way too passive according to my previous experiences? Wort's taste is sweet of course, almost like in brew day.

So should I repitch or wait a few days more? How long? When it's time to repitch is it ok to pitch dry yeast directly to the wort @ 54-58 F?
Or any other recommendations?

Thanks,
Alvin
 
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I am not familiar with this yeast other than its the Weihenstephan strain. From some research, it can have quite some lag time. But, you said you see some krausen and you said the current SG is 10.2°P. So it has dropped six gravity points. It is working, just a bit slow, but that makes sense since the temperature is low(but in the correct range).
 
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McKnuckle

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You shouldn't be worrying about gravity testing this beer for at least a week. Presence of a krausen is indicative of fermentation, and it's a lager yeast fermenting in the 50s - it's doing exactly what is expected. Don't pitch more and try to keep your hands off of it entirely.

Are you accustomed to brewing lager or is this your first one?
 
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malt81

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Thanks for the responses.
It is my 11th lager with same yeast and it is the most passive so far but yes, lets wait :) Other times the wort temp maybe has been a little higher.
 

cactusgarrett

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Typically, people pitch when the wort is lower than their target fermentation temp, let it rise naturally, and hold at the target. For example, I pitch at 45F and let rise to 50F, then hold there until the d-rest. I think if you pitch warmer and it cools off, there is more chance (I don't know how good those chances are though) for the fermentation to start off slower than "normal". With more touchy strains (ex some Belgian ales), a slight drop in temp can even stall fermentation altogether.

You should be good, but you will need to give it more time. If you don't see steady gravity drop after a week, you might need to raise the temp maybe 5F.
 

Dland

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Hello

I have a question should I repitch or not.

I have followed the same procedure every time but first time it seems that maybe something is not right. Brewed 3 days ago on Saturday.
Beer type - lager, yeast W-34/70 two packages, wort 25 litres.
OG 1,046/11,2
Redydrating with water @ 71 F.
Pitching to wort @ 58 F.
Room temp 54 F.
No aeration (like always) but also forgot to stir after pitching. I just shaked the vessel a little bit. When I ........
So should I repitch or wait a few days more? How long? When it's time to repitch is it ok to pitch dry yeast directly to the wort @ 54-58 F?
That does seem like a slow start, it will probably get going, but if you are worried about it, it is OK to direct pitch, in fact, that is what Fermentis recommends in the outset, to quote package; "sprinkle into wort".

So if you do decide to pitch more, just put it in w/o starter. There is no downside to adding another pack, except the cost of yeast. And it is not necessary to stir it either, I never do and have made dozens of lagers w this yeast.

2 packs for that batch size is good however, and it is perfectly fine not to oxygenate for initial pitch of 34/70. In the past (before I made glycol chiller) I have direct pitched this yeast into wort as warm as 70F, and cooled to mid 50's F, and it has not set yeast back in the least. Normally it would be going pretty well after 24 Hrs.

Assuming your yeast packs were not really old and were stored well, the only other I can think of is there was something about the warm water starter or the way it was handled that removed or denatured the nutrients that Fermentis adds to help get the yeast going, direct pitched w no oxygenation.
 
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malt81

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Thank you all for thoughts.
I'll take another SG reading today (through faucet) and lets see what is going on. After that I consider to repitch or not.
Is it ok to repitch @ 54 F without redydrating? Or should I warm it up?

From SafLager leaflet I reat that:

Alternatively, pitch the yeast directly in the fermentation vessel providing the temperature of the wort is above 20°C (68°F).
 

Dland

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OK to direct pitch into wort. That is a good temp, no need to warm or stir. That is about the temp I direct pitch all of my lagers now I have good temp control.
 
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malt81

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So SG now, 5 day later after brewing is 7.6 °Bx. So seems like it is fermenting nicely. It's weird that still no bubbles although if I press the lid then the water level in airlock changes...

Probably it is time to move fermenter to warmer room tomorrow for d-rest and to wait for FG?
 

Dland

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I'd let it get down lower than that. If expected finished gravity is 1.012 for example, I'd ramp up for D rest around 1.020-22. You definitely don't want to wait until it is done, but usually lager brewers like to have bulk of fermentation at lower temp for flavor reasons.

That being said, especially since you are using 34/70, the go to yeast for warmer fermented lagers, you would still likely get good beer if you let temp go up now. And if you want to ease worries, might be worth it. If you are worried about fermentation progress, higher temp will speed things up of course.

I realize you are adjusting temp by moving FV around (I sympathize, as I used to have to resort to this too), but try to have temp change happen as gradually as is convenient, and try to keep temp at or below mid 60sF.
 
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malt81

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eFG is 1,010.
If OG was 1,046/11,2 and now SG is 7.6 then brewersfriend.com calculator says it is about 1.021.... After 24-48 it should be OK for d-rest....? I can only move my fermenter to warmer room @ 68 F waiting for FG... That has been my practice so far with other brews, maybe not the good one :)
 

cactusgarrett

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Should be fine to do that, but at 1.021 you should do it sooner rather than later. My rule of thumb is d-rest at the 75% complete mark. For example, if my OG was 1.050 and I'm expecting 1.012, then with 25% remaining (~1.023) hit the d-rest. You are basically trying to give the yeast fermentation momentum to achieve the expected/calculated FG.
 
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malt81

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Thank you all.
Everything went well - bottled today. FG 1,010/5,4.
So one experience more - things can be slower than used to :)
 

cactusgarrett

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So you were at 1.021 on thursday, completed a diacetyl rest, AND are at 1.010 today (tuesday)? That seems like a compressed timeline on the back end.

I just want to ensure you're taking consecutive FG readings and didn't just bottle once you hit 1.010. To prevent overcarbonation one typically ensures multiple days of stable readings before bottling. Also, people typically make a d-rest last at least 3 days (I believe).
 
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malt81

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On saturday, a day after I moved fermenter to the warm room for d-rest, SG was also 1.010/5,4. So I believe I bottled in right time. D-rest 4 days.
So the fermentation was completed in 7 days - thats not long but first 2-3 days were so passive which I haven't seen before...just slow start?
Taste was good!
 
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