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Need some yeast help. Oktoberfest

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Fingers

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So I brewed up Yooper's Marzen/Oktoberfest yesterday. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing to do it on Sunday so I hadn't made my starter. I figured I'd just save some of the wort from the boil, make the starter and pitch it in the pails that were already in the keezer. Unfortunately my Wyeast 2633 Octoberfst smack pack was not viable. It didn't swell but I pitched it into the starter and now, over 24 hours later, not even a bubble.

As nasty as this sounds, it wasn't that bad. We had already planned a trip to the city and I was going to pick up supplies from my HBS anyway, so I picked up another smack pack of the same yeast. Just to make sure I'd be good to go, I asked the cashier for a pack of dry lager yeast.

So I smack the pack right in the store so that it will be properly swelled and ready to go by the time I get home. Nothing. It looks like I got another dud.

So now I eye up that contingency dry lager yeast I got. Turns out he gave me a pack of Danstar Windsor yeast. I suppose the rationale is that I bought Danstar Nottingham for my ale recipe, so the Windsor must be for lager right? F$^%

So what do I do with this batch? Do I take it out of the keezer, pitch the Windsor and call it a pale ale? I may have another pack of Nottingham in the basement, but it hasn't been stored properly. I could try that I suppose. I have a fresh pack of Nottingham I bough for the next brew, but if I use that them I'm short.

Here's Yooper's recipe:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=37476
 
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Fingers

Fingers

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I'm surprised nobody posted any comments on this. It certainly can't be a new occurance but if it is, here's what finally happened.

I left the second smack pack out all night on my dresser. By morning there was just the slightest amount of swelling. Even so, that little bit of swelling told me that there was at least a little bit of viable yeast remaining and any zymurgist worth his/her salt should be able to run with that. So run I did.

As you might imagine, the starter is taking awhile but it's looking good now. I may be able to finally pitch tomorrow. I have had 10 gallons of proto-Octoberfest sitting in my keezer without yeast since Sunday. Let's hope my sanitary practices are sound. Maybe I'll call this one Novemberfest.
 

malkore

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24 hours and no starter...that is NOT the time to panic. 72 hours is a general rule of thumb for re-pitching. If the airlock isn't bubbling and the fermenter has no krausen or signs of activity, re-pitch then.

assuming you're using a lager yeast, you really must make a starter. most of the time when i see someone brewing a lager, they are pitching a quart or two of yeast slurry.
 
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Fingers

Fingers

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malkore said:
24 hours and no starter...that is NOT the time to panic. 72 hours is a general rule of thumb for re-pitching. If the airlock isn't bubbling and the fermenter has no krausen or signs of activity, re-pitch then.

assuming you're using a lager yeast, you really must make a starter. most of the time when i see someone brewing a lager, they are pitching a quart or two of yeast slurry.
I'm talking about a starter, not direct pitch. I always make a starter for my liquid yeasts. Wyeast says that you should typically see swelling of the package within when the nutrient rouses the yeast. That's consistent with my previous experience.

I can't see 72 hours before getting worried about seeing activity. We're talking about a couple of pints of wort in a clear jar here. The smallest activity would appear as small bubbles on the surface within hours. The second smack pack had only the smallest expansion, but when I pitched it there were signs of fermentation within 8 hours.

I'll be stepping it up so that I have close to a gallon before I pitch it into the pails. By then the stress of massive replication should be over and I'll have a high enough cell count to inoculate the wort successfully.
 
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Fingers

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Not that anyone (other than Malkore) gives a damn, but I managed to get half a gallon of very healthy starter to pitch into my wort. I was going to go for a full gallon, but by the time I got halfway there and saw the activity in my starter jar I was pretty convinced that I have enough to get this batch underway.

You know, I set my keezer for 50º for the lager and I kind of like the higher temperature for my Old Speckeled Hen clone. Previously I had my temps at around 40º but I think that was killing the flavor a bit. Unfortunately, I'll have to drink my upcoming chocolate oatmeal stout at lagering temps in a few weeks.
 

Yooper

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Well, fingers, I care, but didn't have anything the least bit helpful to say! I've been reading the thread and following along, though. Let us know how this works out for you. I think you're right- if the sanitization was good, you should be fine!
 
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