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The yeast done let me down....

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andre the giant

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So I'm brewing a Strong Spiced English Ale. I got a Smackpack of London ESB yeast and smacked it. Over the next two days, it swelled up, but not as much as most smackpacks I've used. I made a starter and pitched it in. The starter showed sluggish activity for two days. I put off brewing an extra day waiting on the yeast, and it still seemed sluggish. Finally I went ahead, brewed the beer and pitched the yeast. The fermentation has been about as sluggish as the starter was. A thin krausen formed, then dissappeared. The starting Gravity was 1.070. At about 1 week, airlock activity stopped. I took a gravity reading and it read 1.050. 1-2 weeks later the gravity is still around 1.048. The beer smelled a bit funky, and I was getting worried. So I pitched more yeast. Now a layer of Krausen is starting to form and airlock activity is moderate. What's up with my yeast?

I'm going to proceed like there's nothing wrong with the batch, and hope it's drinkable when I reach bottling time. I'd hate to think that this 5 gallons of relatively high gravity brew is going to become dumperbrau, but all that time without active yeast and the funky smell are making me think that it may have a infection. :(
 

SwAMi75

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That ESB yeast is highly flocculant. I've read that it's not uncommon to have to swirl it a few times to keep it roused. I used it once, and I think I'll go with something different if I do a similar recipe again. I definitely wouldn't use it for anything bigger than your average bitter. I like to put them in the fermenter and forget about them!

Hopefully things didn't get too funky before you pitched the second time!
 

Sir Sudster

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If your talking about Wyeast 1968 I use that in my ESB's all the time. My ESB's are in the 1.056 - 1.063 OG range and ferment out at about 70 - 75%.I have never had a problem with it slow starting. Like SAM said it will fall out quick and towards the end of the fermentation they do get a bit lazy. I must have read the same article as SAM because I always have to wake um up occasionally towards the end. Mine have never smelled funky though.

Why did you use an ESB yeast for a strong ale? Just curious.
 

SwAMi75

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andre the giant said:
The recipe called for ESB. I figured that the individual who created the recipe knew something that I don't. I was wrong. :rolleyes: :mad: :(
By no means am I a pro, but sometimes I see a recipe and I have to wonder if the author ever actually brewed it.
 
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andre the giant

andre the giant

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Just to clarify, I don't think that the strain of yeast is the problem, I think this PACKAGE of yeast is the problem. Maybe it was too old, (about 4 months old) maybe it was exposed to excessive heat in shipping... I don't know. I'll give ESB a try again sometime.
 
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