Slow ferments with 1056

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jjyoung

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I've brewed 3 pale ales with SGs of 1.050, 1.048, and 1.061. The first 2 were AG and the 3rd was a extract with adjuncts tea bagged. In all three cases I got a strong krausen. The AGs had a lag time of about 6 hours, the extract, which had a smaller started, had a lag time of about 12 hours.

In all three cases the krausen was very strong and subsided in about 3 days as usual, but the attenuation rates have been pathetic.

Batch #1 AG
8.5lb 2-row
0.5lb Crystal 40
0.5lb Munich
0.5lb Wheat

Mash temp 151F. Starch conversion complete
4/25: 1.050 SG
5/5: 1.025 Added dry champagne yeast
5/14: 1.020
5/22: 1.020 FG --> bottled
Ferment temps varied from 68F to 74F. However, most ferment time was around 68-70F

Batch #2 AG
8.5lb 2-row
0.5lb Crystal 40
0.5lb Munich
0.5lb Wheat

Mash temp 154F. Starch conversion complete
5/8: 1.048 SG
5/13: 1.028
5/23: 1.028
Ferment temps have been 66-72F

Batch 3: Extract with grains
5.5lbs Light DME
0.5lbs Crystal 40
0.5lbs Munich
0.5lbs Wheat

5/8: 1.061 SG
5/14: 1.033
5/23: 1.032
Ferment temps have been 66-72F

I've never had this much trouble with Wyeast 1056 before. But then this was a long time ago and I used to keep my fermenters in the basement (when I was living at my old place) where the temperature didn't vary as much. All of the starters were made from the same pop pack of yeast. I was kinda concerned about fermenting at 70F, but that's really not significantly out of the temperature band. Do you thing this poor rate could be due to the varying temperatures? Any suggestions would be very appreciated.
 

tamoore

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That's odd. The second generation 1056 I used on a beer 3 weeks ago took the FG down to 1.001. They worked too well!

When you say 'all of the starters were made from the same pack of yeast', I assume you divided the original pack between three starters? How did you determine how much yeast was in each starter at the time of pitching? Did you crash them, and could you see the cake?
 
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jjyoung

jjyoung

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When you say 'all of the starters were made from the same pack of yeast', I assume you divided the original pack between three starters?
I did an initial starter for the first batch and built it up significantly over the week prior to pitching. Then before I pitched I put some of that starter into a second starter and built it up. In both cases I'm talking over a liter of starter. The extract batch had a smaller starter because my buddy who was going to brew it only gave me 2 days notice. That starter was spawned from the starter for batch 2 and was only about 500ml (hence the longer lag time).
 

mithion

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Something similar happened to me with a pack of 1968. I made three beers with one pack and all of them underattenuated. It could just be that the pack was mishandled at one point to the point where the yeast got unhealthy but didn't die. When you're starting off with unhealthy yeast, you just end up propagating more unhealthy yeast that won't do their job to the end. Nowadays, when I start a new pack of yeast, I make sure I sample the first beer I make with it before starting on a second to make sure it turned out as expected.
 
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jjyoung

jjyoung

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Well, except for it being a little sweet, batch #1 tasted decent going into the bottles. I didn't notice any significant off flavors. It just didn't attenuate enough. I initially thought it was a problem with my mash, but since the same thing is happening with the extract batch I consider that possibility to be fairly slim. Even with the slower pitching rate the extract batch is fermenting down way too slow. It should be down around 1.014 by now.
 
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