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BeerAg

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So, I recently upgraded to 10 gallon batches.

However, I ferment in 5 gallon buckets.

For the second time in a row, I have one bucket chugging away and one bucket standing still.

I had a white labs vial with a 3/8 gallon starter.

I have been shaking up the starter real well, then pouring half into each bucket. Yet for some reason, no action in one bucket.

Last go round, the fermentation on the slow bucket stuck after 2 weeks. I racked into a carboy, and the yeastcake was very, very thin. I had to finish off with some nottingham.

Any tips?
 
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Have you noticed if it's the first or second bucket you pour the yeast into each time? Could be all the yeast coming out first into one bucket or staying behind for the second each time. Try 2 separate starters? Or Is it the same bucket each time? "What is the common variable between the multiple instances of batches not fermenting?" is basically what I'm getting at here.
 
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BeerAg

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Hrmm.

This time it was the second bucket that isn't working yet, but I'm not sure about last time.

Since it was an ale yeast, do you think all the active beasties congregated at the top?
 

TexLaw

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I've never split a starter like that, so I don't know. You would think that mixing the starter well would homogenize it enough, but the evidence suggests the contrary.


TL
 
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BeerAg

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Okay, say you have to split one vial of yeast between two primary buckets.

How would the Brewtalk gurus do it? My method is obviously not working that great.
 
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BeerAg

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So, the beer that had trouble starting wound up tasting terrible. It has an astringent, medicinal taste to it that I have not been able to age away as of yet. I'll give it another week, and let it hit the drain to free up the keg space.

Question 1) Do you think the off flavors were caused by the strained yeast, or do you think I might have had an infection which impacted the fermentation process. I am leaning towards the former, because a packet of nottingham finished the fermentation up quickly.

I have since started using one vial of yeast in two seperate starters. I just shake up the yeast, split it between two half gallons of DME water, and proceed as normal. This has worked flawlessly the last two times.

Question 2) any potential drawbacks in splitting a vial of yeast into 2 starters?
 

hal simmons

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I had a similar issue last batch. Split 7 gallons into two carboys, pitched half the yeast starter into each. One batch fermented out in 3 days, the other took 9 days.

When I pitched I swirled the starter, poured a bit into one carboy, swirled again, poured some into the other, etc... I went back and forth and each carboy got about 3 pours. I thought this would avoid the issue, but apparently not.

Is there anything else that could cause this other than the yeast?
 

RegionalChaos

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Might be worth splitting the starter up, and letting it settle out to make sure there is approximately the same amount of yeast in each...
 

Gordie

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I don't think it would have much to do with your yeast strain if you starter is viable. One issue may be in the composition of the wort you're pitching on to. There may be more yeast nutrients in one fermenter than another, depending on how they're in suspension when you split your wort. See if throwing some nutirent in helps and check to make sure you're airating both fermenters equally.
 
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Gordie said:
I don't think it would have much to do with your yeast strain if you starter is viable. One issue may be in the composition of the wort you're pitching on to. There may be more yeast nutrients in one fermenter than another, depending on how they're in suspension when you split your wort. See if throwing some nutirent in helps and check to make sure you're airating both fermenters equally.

Depending on how the OP split his wort, there could be a chance that one fermenter might have more of a starting OG than the other but that would not mean less nutrients. It would just mean the lower one would finish faster.

Nutrients are more used for wine making.
 

hal simmons

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This is something I had thought about too. In my case the carboy that fermented slower was the one I ran wort into first, and the one that finished in a couple days was the last half of the batch with most of the trub.
 

Fingers

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Your method is exactly how I do it and I've never had a problem. I have noticed uneven fermentation but I attributed that to differences in the amount of yeast pitched. It would only effect the rate of fermentation, not the finished product. The yeast will multiply in the carboy to consume the fermentables.

Do you whirlpool and aerate before you dump into your carboys? If so, you should have a fairly even distribution of wort. I use an immersion chiller followed by a whirlpool so I'm pretty confident with my mix.

You may want to look at the location of your carboys. Is one next to a vent or a draft? You could try moving your fermentors and see if the problem repeats. It might also be a sanitizing issue if one batch is astringent like you say. Try a better scrub and sanitize really well.
 
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BeerAg

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I doubt that I had an areation issue, and I whirlpool when I drain the wort.

I'm starting to lean towards infection, but I still find it strange that one yeast strain pooped out but nottingham finished it in less than 2 days.

Either way, I have my new process set up, and I don't forsee any problems with pitching in the future.
 

EvilTOJ

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Infection isn't going to cause slow fermentation, it causes mold and sour beers. What about trying this next time you split the batch into carboys? Siphon into part of one carboy, say, about a gallon, then switch to the other carboy. Keep alternating like that until you fill them up. That could help divvy up the trub and fermentables better.
 

jdoiv

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^ +1... This is what I do when I have to split a 10 gallon batch into two fermenters.
 

Fingers

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EvilTOJ said:
Infection isn't going to cause slow fermentation, it causes mold and sour beers.
I suspect the causal effect is the other way around. The slow fermentation allowed an infection to creep in. That's especially true if the sanitary conditions weren't up to par. A vigorous fermenation can out compete the micro-nasties and overwhelm them.
 

Donasay

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are these all grain or extract batches? the two buckets might have a slightly different gravety prior to you pitching the yeast....
 

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