Stinky Fermentation

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Michael311

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I'm having an unusual fermentation using WLP001. I've been brewing for for two years and this is batch #30 for me. I've used WLP001 probably 20+ times.



I'm brewing an IPA, OG 1.071. I ordered the yeast through More Beer and it shipped via FedEx. I forgot to order an ice pack but the high temps in SoCal were in the high 60's to low 70's. As soon as I received the package, I placed the vial in the refrigerator.



I made a starter the night before brew day and it changed from brown to a creamy color as usual. The smell was typically yeasty. I pitched the starter approximately 20 hours after making it. I cooled the wort to 72*, added about 70 seconds of pure oxygen and I placed the fermenter in a chest freezer with a controller set at 65*.



I use a stainless steel fermenter with four clamps on the lid so I can depend on airlock/blow off activity as a reliable indicator of fermentation. Normally, I get small bubbles at the six to eight hour mark and by 14-16 hours, it's going strong.



On this occasion, there was no activity for the first 36 hours and I was considering pitching a packet of backup dry yeast. Then, I noticed the first signs of activity. After 48 hours, it was going strong.



Now I'm getting a very strong sulfur smell which seems unusual for WLP001. I've never noticed it before with this yeast and looking online, I don't find many examples of others experiencing it either. I thought maybe I ordered California Ale V by mistake because I noticed chatter about suffer smells and that yeast but I checked my order and it was 001. It's possible they sent me the wrong vial and I didn't notice but that seems like a long shot.



Anyway, I'm wondering if I had a bad vial or if this is just something that happens on occasion.



Any advice would be appreciated.
 

ZeMadMonkey

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What was the Best Buy date of the yeast vial you received?

The past few times I have gotten yeast from my LHBS it has been over a month old. I have always pitched according to the Mr.Malty calculator, so I pitched two vial of yeast...but I wonder the age of your yeast. All the vials of yeast I have purchased are a creamy color.

I thought the peanut butter color yeast is past it's prime. I don't know if you can compensate for that by pitching more vials.

I am still reading the Yeast book to get a better handle on viability vs vitality. My question is whether the vial of yeast you received has a high viability (number of dead cells vs live cells). I assume anything bought from White Labs has a high vitality (good yeast health).
 

ZeMadMonkey

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FYI - All the yeast starters I make, I give 48 hours before I end up pitching them in chilled wort.

I have heard Sulfur smell is common to a lot of yeast, but will blow-off during active fermentation with a nice blow-off tube.
 
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Michael311

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FYI - All the yeast starters I make, I give 48 hours before I end up pitching them in chilled wort.

I have heard Sulfur smell is common to a lot of yeast, but will blow-off during active fermentation with a nice blow-off tube.
I used to make starters a few days before brew day and cold crash/decant but I read somewhere that having a starter go longer than 24 hours is "beating up your yeast." Also learned that high krausen is the ideal time to pitch the starter. That all made sense to me so now that's what I do.
 
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Michael311

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What was the Best Buy date of the yeast vial you received?



The past few times I have gotten yeast from my LHBS it has been over a month old. I have always pitched according to the Mr.Malty calculator, so I pitched two vial of yeast...but I wonder the age of your yeast. All the vials of yeast I have purchased are a creamy color.



I thought the peanut butter color yeast is past it's prime. I don't know if you can compensate for that by pitching more vials.



I am still reading the Yeast book to get a better handle on viability vs vitality. My question is whether the vial of yeast you received has a high viability (number of dead cells vs live cells). I assume anything bought from White Labs has a high vitality (good yeast health).

I didn't look at the best by date to be honest. I trust my supplier not to sell old yeast.
I use starters rather than pitching multiple vials.
 

ZeMadMonkey

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Depending on the Best Buy date of the vial you buy, according to the Mr.Malty calculator, you may need more than a single vial, based on it's creation date.

I make starters for every beer I brew, but I always check the Mr.Malty calculator to determine the number of vials I need in my starter to pitch the proper amount of yeast.
 

Subdivisions

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Sulphur is a common by-product of fermentation. It's not as common in beer fermentation as it is in wine but it can happen. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
 

Subdivisions

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Depending on the Best Buy date of the vial you buy, according to the Mr.Malty calculator, you may need more than a single vial, based on it's creation date.

I make starters for every beer I brew, but I always check the Mr.Malty calculator to determine the number of vials I need in my starter to pitch the proper amount of yeast.
You can just step up your starter a few times to get the right amount of yeast instead of buying multiple vials. It's a little cheaper.
 
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Michael311

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Depending on the Best Buy date of the vial you buy, according to the Mr.Malty calculator, you may need more than a single vial, based on it's creation date.

I make starters for every beer I brew, but I always check the Mr.Malty calculator to determine the number of vials I need in my starter to pitch the proper amount of yeast.
I pitched the proper amount, using a starter close to 2 liters.
 
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Michael311

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Sulphur is a common by-product of fermentation. It's not as common in beer fermentation as it is in wine but it can happen. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Yes, I've heard that. Especially in concert halls and shopping malls.
 
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