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Weird yeast chunks in yeast 1968 pack

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fatnoah

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So I brewed my first all-grain batch yesterday. It was a 2.5 gal BIAB oatmeal stout based on the recipe in BCS. OG was 1.052 and it was 2.5 gal batch so I calculated that just the wyeast 1968 (London ESB) pack would be sufficient to get the job done. I smacked it and it inflated like you would expect. But when I went to pitch it the liquid was not that creamy yeasty mix that I am used to. Instead it looked like wort and in that little inner pouch were what I think were chunks of yeast. So I tried to shake those out into the fermenter, but it definitely had me worried. Today it is fermenting, but the krausen seems a little thin and I am a little worried that there were significantly fewer live yeast cells than I thought. I guess make a starter no matter what next time.
 

MachineShopBrewing

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Don't worry. English yeasts are supposed to look like that. They look more like a yeast gelatin than a yeast slurry.
 
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fatnoah

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Thanks for the reassurance. Is that strain typically a fast fermenter? Definitely slowing down today.
 
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fatnoah

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Just an update. It's been 2 weeks since brew day. Took a gravity reading today and it was 1.022. With an OG of 1.052 I definitely want to get that down a few more points. Hydrometer sample tasted great actually and the beer is reasonably clear. I decided to rack to a secondary (which I usually don't do) in the hopes that the yeast that make it over to the new vessel will wake up a bit and get me those last few points. The two lessons I am taking away from this experience are: always make a starter with liquid yeast no matter what, and all grain is awesome.
 

MachineShopBrewing

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1968 can be a picky yeast. I have had it drop completely out of suspension and stall with only a 1 degree temperature drop. It is really important with that yeast to maintain a steady temp, or better yet, a slowly warming ferment. I usually pitch that one around 65-67 and ramp it up to 70 or so over 7 days. I would try warming it up to 70-75F to try to get it to finish out.

Or, you can use 1098 next time, which will give you a similar flavor profile without being as finicky. The 1098 will ferment out drier though, so you have to account for it in recipe and process formulation.
 
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