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WLP800 Pilsner Lager Slow Start

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michael.berta

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I brewed a lager (10 gallons) on tuesday evening and split into two yeasts. One fermenter got 3 vials of WLP830 and that started seeing some activity Friday morning a little over 48 hours after pitching. The second batch got two vials of WLP800 and still nothing. I understand two vials is an underpitch but by LHBS didn't have enough of the desired strain when I needed it. The fermenter that got three vials seems to be going fine.

I'm just wondering if others have seen longer than 72 hours lag time with WLP800. I'd hate to maybe raise the temp or make/pitch a starter or do anything that could be detrimental to beer flavor if this thing is going to pick up any moment now.

Some background:
-Malt bill is 100% pale malt mashed at 147 to an OG of 1.043
-Pitched at 50 degrees F and maintained that temp since
-I've been hitting each fermenter with pure O2 every 12 hours until signs of activity.
-I've taken a gravity reading and confirmed no drop in gravity.
 

shelly_belly

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I recently made 2 1 gallon lagers and pitched 1 vial each of WLP800 and WLP830. The 830 took off in 1.5 days but the 800 didn't get busy for about 5-6 days. Both fermented vigorously once they got going.
 

el_caro

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This highlights the importance of making starters for lagers. As you have pointed out you did significantly under-pitch even if the yeast was of high viability. However you really do not know how viable those vials were - for all you know some of the vials may have been nearly DOA.

Your concern about off flavor if you now pitch additional yeast needs to be balanced against the possibility of off flavor from yeast stressed by under-pitching.
 
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michael.berta

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yeah good point. it's now been 6 days since brew day. I'm making a starter right now and am hoping to pitch it into the wort at high krausen. Not really left with any other options. Obviously pitch the right amount of yeast next time.
 
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michael.berta

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So I grabbed the carboy out of the fermentation chamber just before making a starter and by the time I was finished with the starter there were obvious signs of fermentation. So I didn't pitch the starter. It appears that with the lower cell count all I really needed to do was warm it up for a few hours to get everything going.
 
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