Yet another yeast question

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MrBulldogg

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I did a batch last night, thinking I'm starting to get the hang of this homebrewing thing ... This time I went with a Munich Helles Lager. Being a lager, I know temps must be kept low so I cooled it to about 73 before pitching the yeast (White Labs liquid #WLP800) and put it in room temp of about 62-63 overnight. I didn't use a starter but I kept the yeast out of the fridge for several hours before pitching and wedged the vial inside my belt while doing the boil so that it would warm up further.

It has now been 12 hours and there's no activity whatsoever whereas I usually have a forceful fermentation going on the following morning. There seems to be no pressure whatsoever -- poking the plastic lid a little would make the airlock gurgle if there was something going on in there, but now it's dead silent.

I realize I'm probably just fussing about my baby here, but did I make a mistake cooling it too much before pitching? I guess I'll tough it out until tomorrow morning, but if I still see no fermentation, should I gently heat up the fermenting bucket with an electric blanket or something until I see some action?
 

Lou

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check the seal on your bucket... if pressing down on the lid doesn't force a bubble through, you don't have an airtight seal somewhere...
 
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MrBulldogg

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The seal is tight ... Double checked. I probably squeezed the "surplus" air out when sealing the bucket last night.
 

sonvolt

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You should have made a starter 2-3 days before pitching. If you are using vials of liquid yeast (White Labs), you will definitely need a starter. I am guessing that you underpitched and you are experiencing a long lag time. This may result in some off flavors as the battle rages right now in your wort between the good guys (yeasties) and the bad guys (nasties). If your yeast works too hard, it may produce some bad flavors.

You have two options - 1) wait patiently, relax, and have a homebrew, 2) pitch a packet of dried yeast from your homebrew emergency kit . . . .


. . . .er. . . .you do have an emergency kit, don't you . . . :p

I am guessing that your beer will be fine. You are just in a long lag time after pitching so little yeast.
 

Lou

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sonvolt said:
I am guessing that your beer will be fine. You are just in a long lag time after pitching so little yeast.
i agree with sonvolt.
and it's only been 12 hours.....? relax.
 
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MrBulldogg

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Lou said:
it's only been 12 hours.....? relax.
I know, it's just I've used White Lab's liquid yeast before and it was kicking like a mule within 8-10 hours ... My primary concern is that I may have cooled it down too much, too soon, but I also keep reading about how vital it is to keep lagers cool throughout fermentation. I find myself thinking I got this backwards -- that I should have gone with the usual keep-above-70-until-action-starts, THEN start the cooling off ...
 

Lou

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MrBulldogg said:
I find myself thinking I got this backwards -- that I should have gone with the usual keep-above-70-until-action-starts, THEN start the cooling off ...
this is true... you definitely should have kept it around 70 until you saw action since you didn't use a starter. pitching at lager fermenting temps require a good-sized starter to get fermenationg started quickly...
i'm sure Kaiser has more intelligent things to say about pitching at lager-fermenting temps.....
 
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MrBulldogg

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Ok, I don't have a working electric blanket so I've put the fermentation bucket in a bigger bucket and filled it with hot water ... Changing the water every 30 mins or so for the next six hours or so to keep it warm & cozy. Hopefully that'll help the yeast do its thang...
 
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