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Nottingham weak batch?

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william_shakes_beer

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I have been using Nottingham for several years on many brews, without issue. Last week I did a starter that karusened and flocculated very quickly (overnight) was a 800 ML starter in a 2L flask on a stir plate. Cold crashed, decanted and stepped it up. Same thing. Now I have pitched it to a Guiness Stout and am stuck at 1.035. Is there any known issue recently regarding weak strains of Nottingham, or is this just a fluke? I am debating whether to get a fresh strain of Nottingham from the LHBS and repitch at high krausen or select a different strain for this batch. Before you go all sideways on me, I have been brewing for quite a while, I know what a normal Nottingham fermentation looks sounds and smells like. This is different.
 

TrustyOlJohnson

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That is odd behaviour for the Notty. I always have a dry packet and several jars of washed on hand and just this weekend took a jar of washed Notty and ran it in a stir plate for 24 hours in a quart of 1.040 wort, then pitched in a pumpkin ale. True to form, the blowoff tube had a heartbeat in 4 hours. No drop in specific gravity? Maybe hydrate a pkg of Notty in a cup of bouled/cooled water and add nutrient into the stout and splash the hell out of it!! Jus a thought. Maybe taste a sample too to see if its gone bad??
 
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william_shakes_beer

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I know, vigorous ferments is what I have always experienced as well. Double concerned because the first step was used to collect a sample for my library. The batch krausened slightly ( 1" on a 5 gallon bucket) and then receded immediately. I think I'll repitch if there is no drop in the next 3 days ( I have never been one of those " test daily" brewers)
 

BigFloyd

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Was this harvested Notty? If so, what generation? Had it been used previously on any high gravity beers?

As you have been seeing, Notty is normally a beast that tends to finish the job. I'd wonder about your mash temp and the amounts of unfermentables, but I can't see that hanging you up at 1.035. And, since it's a Guiness, I'm guessing that it has no lactose.

At this point, I'd be tempted to simply rehydrate a new packet of Notty, attemperate and pitch.
 
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william_shakes_beer

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It was from a packet I purchased from the LHBS 2 months ago and stored in th frige. Bought a fresh packet this afternoon and will do a starter to pich in a couple days. Guess its just me. Don't think the wort was the problem, because I saw the same behavior in the starter, which was prepared from Pilsen DME. No, there was no lactose in the recipie. Why do you ask?
 

BigFloyd

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It was from a packet I purchased from the LHBS 2 months ago and stored in th frige. Bought a fresh packet this afternoon and will do a starter to pich in a couple days. Guess its just me. Don't think the wort was the problem, because I saw the same behavior in the starter, which was prepared from Pilsen DME. No, there was no lactose in the recipie. Why do you ask?
I only mentioned lactose since it doesn't ferment and will bump your FG up about .007 for each pound added to the batch. It's not uncommon for a milk/sweet stout to finish at 1.022 or so.

Are you sprinkling dry yeast into starter wort or rehydrating first (in warm tap water) and then doing a starter with that slurry? You may want to take a look at this if you haven't already seen it - http://koehlerbeer.com/2008/06/07/rehydrating-dry-yeast-with-dr-clayton-cone/ I never make a starter with a packet of dry yeast. Most often I rehydrate w/ water, sometimes I'll sprinkle dry into a low gravity wort.
 

LovesIPA

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From what I understand, you should not be making a starter with dry yeast. One yeast packet contains about 220 billion cells, which is plenty to ferment 5 gallons of wort without a starter. Dry yeast is not just dry yeast - it's also nutrients that will help the yeast perform better. If you make a starter, you use those nutrients up.

You also shouldn't sprinkle dry yeast directly onto the wort. You should always rehydrate in water and then pitch.
 
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william_shakes_beer

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Yes, I understand that dry yeast does not require a starter. I do it because I prefer to propogate from a "clean" pilsen starter rather than top cropping or harvesting from a yeast cake.

Update: I re-ran another starter yesterday from a fresh packet of Nottingham. Same result. Thought perhaps I had some soap residue in the flask, so I dumped the starter, ran clean hot water into the flask and shook it vigorously, expecting to see bubbles. Nothing. The only other thing I can think of is that the Pilsen DME i used in the previous 2 starters had caked up in the oxo cannister I keep it in. Perhaps that is the problem? I doubt it, since maltose is maltose once it is boiled and dissolved in water, but I'm quickly running out of options. One more trip to the LHBS today, and if it doesn't work, perhaps I shoud put the beer into malta goya bottles :mug:
 
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