Lager yeast, stuck fermentation????

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spleefy42

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Hi everyone!

I built a keezer recently, and decided to give a go at lagering. I pitched with Wyeast Pilsner Urquell strain. Nothing unusual about the brew, batch sparge, dry hopped, cooled the wort and pitched. I should note, however, that I couldn't find my hydrometer due to my wife's 'organization' recently, so I sadly don't have an OG. I left the carboy out at room temp for about 24 hours, and after seeing no activity I thought it best to chill and moved it to the keezer. The keezer is running about 58-59 at the moment. A few days go by, and still no tell tale signs of fermentation. I ran out to my LHBS and bought another packet, this time making a yeast starter. I did it a little differently this time, and after pitching, put it directly into the keezer to get it to the same temp as the existing wort. There was a bit of sediment on the bottom the next day, but during my periodic checks, no apparent airlock activity. On a whim, I bought some bohemian lager yeast and made a starter following the first method I used, and I'm seeing a decent amount of activity. Since this is my first attempt at lager, I'm hoping someone can give me some advice on proper technique for pitching. I've got a couple of pictures of the growth on the top of the carboy, hopefully some one more experienced can give me some direction! Thanks!

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Copbrew133

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I don't think there was an OG reading taken. Probably could take the recipe and expected efficiency of the system and come up with something close, but there is no way now to know exactly what it was. Can you take a gravity reading now? It might give some idea of whether the numbers are budging or not.
 
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spleefy42

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Yopper, as I said, I couldn't find my hydrometer. I'm going to head to my LHBS tomorrow and pick up another. I was just hoping someone could give me a rundown of the proper way to pitch lager yeast.
 

jdauria

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Sounds like this was your first lager? If so, you do not see the same signs of the yeast going to work like you do when using an ale yeast. Where lager yeast are bottom fermenting, you don't get a larger krausen forming at the top and lager yeasts, since usually at a lower starting temp will take a little longer to get going. Many times all you will see on the top of the wort is what you showed in your pictures.
 

helibrewer

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Pitching the proper amount of yeast is key. Go to www.yeastcalc.com to figure out what size starter/number of steps will be required.

It sounds like your first pitch did not use a starter, that is way under-pitched. Using a starter with your second round MIGHT have gotten you closer but probably still shy.

Assuming an OG around 45-50 (Bo Pils) you probably needed a 2-step starter of 1.5 to 2 liters or a single 4 liter starter.

If your SG is not changing you need to get a good starter going and pitch it at high krausen....oxygenation would be ideal as long as you haven't started fermenting yet.

Are you using FermAid K or another yeast nutrient?
 
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