Lager fermentation problems. Help!

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roosmur

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I have just made a lager recipe (5 gallon, og 1058) and I pitched 2 packs of wyeast 2278 into it last Monday (7 days ago) at 12 degrees C. I see no active fermentation yet and the gravity has not budged. I smacked the packs and they started to swell, the yeast was manufactured on 15 June so is not too old. Any idea why I am not getting action? I raised my temp to 15c yesterday to try to induce some action with a slightly warmer temp but still nothing. Any ideas, or shall I just be patient and wait for the critters to multiply enough to get critical mass? I didn't make a starter and my og is high so perhaps I should have.
 

grainbill

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Just did two lagers myself, an Alt and a Vienna Lager. Although I used starters I pitched at around 21c. Once it got going, two days tops, then I lowered the temp gradually to 16c for a week. Now it is on it's way down to 3.5 - 4c.

Based on that, I would say warm it up a bit more until it really starts going, then bring it back down.

With two smack packs I would not think a started would be needed.
 
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roosmur

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Thanks. I have read that fermenting lagers too hot causes diacetyl and off flavours. If I raise to ale temps like 21c and get active fermentation, then wait days at this temp and then drop 1c a day for a week or two, do you think I will get off flavours?


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Weezy

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I think it was underpitched, which could explain the lack of visible activity especially at lager temps. Mr. Malty recommends pitching 5 vials of that age. I'd pitch a dry pack of 34/70. Or you could hold temp and wait it out. Bumping temps is just asking the yeast to kick out esters you don't want.

Got a thief? Take an SG reading,
 

duboman

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Your temp is fine but you severly underpitched your beer. With a production date of June your yeast is only about 27% or 27B cells out of a total of 100B cells, so you pitched only 54B cells into a beer that requires about 427B cells

Lagers require a lot of yeast compared to ales and are less forgiving as they ferment cold. Next time refer to a pitching calculator like: http://http://www.yeastcalc.co/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator to ensure proper pitch rate.
 

Yooper

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Also, remember that lagers are "bottom fermenting", so while they generally develop some sort of krausen, it may not be noticeable.

Check the SG and see where you're at, or if already have I missed it, and we can see if there is something to do to help it finish up if needed.

You could try warming it up just a tad (not too much) to get it going.
 
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roosmur

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Many thanks guys. I realise i under pitched now. I usually make ale. I raised temp a little but will slowly drop it back and just wait. Eventually they will get cracking I guess...!


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helibrewer

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There's no harm in getting a starter going now. One technique for a diacetyl rest is to krausen, that is to pitch an actively fermenting yeast in the beer after about 75% attenuation, so in either case there is no harm in adding more yeast. If you use your existing wort for the starter you will significantly reduce the lag time when it is added back to the main wort.
 

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