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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: DW on January 15, 2013, 12:55:59 AM

Title: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 15, 2013, 12:55:59 AM
It's been 72 hours and no bubbling or krausen yet.  It's a 1.04 light lager based on the recipe in Brewing Classic Styles.  I pitched the recommend 3 Wyeast packages at 44 degrees, and slowly brought the temp up to 50, where it is now.  NO activity at all.  The smack packs did not swell very much initially.  I wonder if the yeast were inactive.  The package said Sep of 2012, so they had been stored in a cold fridge for 4 months.  Any help?  Not sure what to do.....
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 15, 2013, 01:21:37 AM
Did you aerate/oxygenate? It sounds like you did everything else right, so all you can do is wait it out.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 15, 2013, 01:33:56 AM
Did you aerate/oxygenate? It sounds like you did everything else right, so all you can do is wait it out.

I aerated with an aquarium pump for about 30minutes. 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 12:27:04 PM
I think you forgot to switch from ale to lager in Mr Malty and looked at the "# of packs needed with starter" line.  It's 5 packs if you switch it to lager and 14.8 packs if you look at "# of packs needed without starter". 

I think at this point you just need to wait out the lag phase for another day or two and then lager it for a while......

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: theDarkSide on January 15, 2013, 01:35:31 PM
I agree with Dave on waiting.  Even with a starter, it takes a couple days for krausen on mine to show.  Only problem is that it is going to be severely underpitched.

Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 01:49:15 PM
I agree with Dave on waiting.  Even with a starter, it takes a couple days for krausen on mine to show.  Only problem is that it is going to be severely underpitched.

DarkSide reminded me that I would definitely perform a diacetyl rest for 2-3 days at 68F when the beer gets a few points above FG and then lager on the cake for at least 4 weeks to allow the yeast to finish cleaning up the beer.

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 15, 2013, 03:30:40 PM
Only problem is that it is going to be severely underpitched.

I don't see how. At four months old, the smack packs were probably 80-90% viable. 3 * 80 billion / (19 L * 10°P) = 1.3 million/mL-°P.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: theDarkSide on January 15, 2013, 03:50:56 PM
Only problem is that it is going to be severely underpitched.

I don't see how. At four months old, the smack packs were probably 80-90% viable. 3 * 80 billion / (19 L * 10°P) = 1.3 million/mL-°P.
I'm not sure I can agree with the 80-90% viability after 4 months since they leave the plant at 95%, even though Wyeast guarantees it for 6 months.  And not knowing how it was handled getting to the store and into their fridge, as well as the package not swelling too much.  I think Mr. Malty putting it at 10% is a little extreme however. 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 15, 2013, 04:16:33 PM
Yeah, the MrMalty/YeastCalc viability estimates are reasonable (though still low, IME) for stored slurry, but for a sealed, refrigerated, smack pack they're just ludicrous. Notice that it never drops *below* 10% either; a 4-year old pack/vial has the same viability as a 4-month old.

At any rate, even if you call it 65 billion cells per pack (10% loss/month) that's still over 1 million/mL-°P, which is fine for a low-gravity lager IMHO.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 04:28:24 PM
a10,

I thought it was you that told me in another thread that yeast loses viability at 20%/month?  That would make it an underpitch, however not a dramatic underpitch.  But it would lend to no activity in 3 days starting at 48F.

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 15, 2013, 04:36:54 PM
My rule of thumb is 25%/month, but that's for slurry that's been harvested from a fermenter and stored under beer. Even then it's a little conservative. For yeast that hasn't undergone any fermentation, and has been stored in a low-alcohol, inert gas-flushed package, I think even 10%/month is probably conservative.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 04:43:57 PM
My rule of thumb is 25%/month, but that's for slurry that's been harvested from a fermenter and stored under beer. Even then it's a little conservative. For yeast that hasn't undergone any fermentation, and has been stored in a low-alcohol, inert gas-flushed package, I think even 10%/month is probably conservative.

Ah, I think it was for slurry.  That makes sense.....

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 15, 2013, 06:19:48 PM
I think you forgot to switch from ale to lager in Mr Malty and looked at the "# of packs needed with starter" line.  It's 5 packs if you switch it to lager and 14.8 packs if you look at "# of packs needed without starter". 

I think at this point you just need to wait out the lag phase for another day or two and then lager it for a while......

Dave

I figured I'd wait at least another week or two before lagering.  I'm afraid if I drop the temp down into the thirties, there will be even less yeast activity.  I'll probably get a hydrometer reading in a few days as well. 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 06:23:19 PM
I think you forgot to switch from ale to lager in Mr Malty and looked at the "# of packs needed with starter" line.  It's 5 packs if you switch it to lager and 14.8 packs if you look at "# of packs needed without starter". 

I think at this point you just need to wait out the lag phase for another day or two and then lager it for a while......

Dave

I figured I'd wait at least another week or two before lagering.  I'm afraid if I drop the temp down into the thirties, there will be even less yeast activity.  I'll probably get a hydrometer reading in a few days as well.

I was not clear in that post.  Let it ferment to a point or two above FG, bring it up to 65F for 3 days for a diacetyl rest and then gradually bring it down to 34-38F and lager.

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: bluesman on January 15, 2013, 07:43:34 PM
Take a hydrometer reading now and report back. Did the yeast packs swell at all? In the future, I recommend making a starter as a general rule, because that should ensure a healthy and viable pitch of yeast cells. An adequate amount of viable yeast is key to a healthy fermentation and a quality beer. 

Keep us posted.  :)
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: weithman5 on January 15, 2013, 09:05:45 PM
just wait. i brew lagers mostly.  ive used single packs and starters. fundamentally i get very little krausen and nor do i see any significant activity in my air lock.  what you will see a few weeks out is the settling of the yeast on the bottom of your fermentor.  this is less obvious if you allowed the cold break to form in the fermentor but otherwise it is easily noticable.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 15, 2013, 11:28:44 PM
Take a hydrometer reading now and report back. Did the yeast packs swell at all? In the future, I recommend making a starter as a general rule, because that should ensure a healthy and viable pitch of yeast cells. An adequate amount of viable yeast is key to a healthy fermentation and a quality beer. 

Keep us posted.  :)

1.040 Gravity reading today, which is approximately 96 hours from initially pitching the yeast.  I was hoping to be suprised...unfortunately not the case. 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 11:33:47 PM
Take a hydrometer reading now and report back. Did the yeast packs swell at all? In the future, I recommend making a starter as a general rule, because that should ensure a healthy and viable pitch of yeast cells. An adequate amount of viable yeast is key to a healthy fermentation and a quality beer. 

Keep us posted.  :)

1.040 Gravity reading today, which is approximately 96 hours from initially pitching the yeast.  I was hoping to be suprised...unfortunately not the case.

I'd bring it up to 52-53 and give it another day or two.  Do you have the means to make a starter?

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 15, 2013, 11:47:21 PM
Take a hydrometer reading now and report back. Did the yeast packs swell at all? In the future, I recommend making a starter as a general rule, because that should ensure a healthy and viable pitch of yeast cells. An adequate amount of viable yeast is key to a healthy fermentation and a quality beer. 

Keep us posted.  :)

1.040 Gravity reading today, which is approximately 96 hours from initially pitching the yeast.  I was hoping to be suprised...unfortunately not the case.

I'd bring it up to 52-53 and give it another day or two.  Do you have the means to make a starter?

Dave

Should I swirl the beer up at all?  I'll increase the temp a few degrees. 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 11:55:28 PM
What type of yeast?  I would bring it up as high as the recommended temp says for the strain and give it a good swirl when it gets there. 

At 6 days you may have to cut your losses.  However, the yeasties could be fighting hard to replicate and get fermenting! They are hearty suckers......

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 16, 2013, 12:13:00 AM
Have you calibrated the thermometer you're using?
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: weithman5 on January 16, 2013, 12:15:27 AM
i still don't see this as a problem was the og also exactly 1040?  i wouldn't even worry about taking another gravity reading till at least a week. i ferment for four weeks my lagers.  assuming it takes only twenty days to get to final gravity (nothing to base this on)  i would expect to be around half way give or take about 10 percent at day 10.  so if you fg is around 1016.  this means a total drop of 24 points or only about 12 at day 10.  most of this will NOT be occurring in the first few of those days i would only expect a drop from 1040 to 1037 or 8 after 3-4 days and i can't even see that fine on my hydrometer.  i personally don't check till the end.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: bluesman on January 16, 2013, 03:32:08 AM
Take a hydrometer reading now and report back. Did the yeast packs swell at all? In the future, I recommend making a starter as a general rule, because that should ensure a healthy and viable pitch of yeast cells. An adequate amount of viable yeast is key to a healthy fermentation and a quality beer. 

Keep us posted.  :)

1.040 Gravity reading today, which is approximately 96 hours from initially pitching the yeast.  I was hoping to be suprised...unfortunately not the case.

I recommend calibrating your hydrometer and thermometer then measure gravity and temp again. You say it's been about 96hrs, so go ahead and raise the temp slowly to 55F then gently rouse the yeast.

Did the smack packs swell up?
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: bboy9000 on January 16, 2013, 05:43:36 AM
I think thistles copper sulfate but even so it's not soluble in ethanol.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 18, 2013, 01:13:53 AM
What type of yeast?  I would bring it up as high as the recommended temp says for the strain and give it a good swirl when it gets there. 

At 6 days you may have to cut your losses.  However, the yeasties could be fighting hard to replicate and get fermenting! They are hearty suckers......

Dave

I used Wyeast 2007 Pilsen....Would you guys recommend repitching?  Should I throw some dry yeast in and see if that will do the job?  Or is it too late.....is my beer likely contaminated from bacteria that have not been outcompeted by the yeast? 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 18, 2013, 01:34:14 AM
Seriously, have you verified the temperature? I can't think of anything else that could be wrong. You did say that the packs swelled *somewhat*, right?

At any rate, if there hasn't been a drop in gravity, then nothing is fermenting, yeast or otherwise.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 18, 2013, 03:49:52 AM
Seriously, have you verified the temperature? I can't think of anything else that could be wrong. You did say that the packs swelled *somewhat*, right?

At any rate, if there hasn't been a drop in gravity, then nothing is fermenting, yeast or otherwise.

I use one of the digital thermostats, and it is consistent with the other digital thermostat that I have as well as the stick on thermometer that is stuck to the primary fermenter.  Otherwise, I'm not sure how to calibrate.....and honestly, the packs really did not swell much if at all(not like I'm used to seeing)
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 18, 2013, 12:32:22 PM
This is day 6 right?  I would go to the LHBS and see if they have any S-23 or similar and toss in a packet.

Dave

Edit:  After rehydrating of course!
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 19, 2013, 11:32:28 PM
First of all, thanks for everyone's advice!  I really appreciate it!  NExt, and lastly (I think), I see mold growing on the top of the chilled wort...........Should I dump it? 
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: Mark G on January 20, 2013, 12:25:33 AM
Got a picture? Sure it's not yeast?
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 20, 2013, 12:53:03 AM
Having a little trouble uploading the picture from my camera.  It's massive when I try to put it in.  Any suggestions?
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: a10t2 on January 20, 2013, 01:11:57 AM
Where are you uploading it to? Any of the major sites (Flickr, imgur, etc.) should be able to handle a full-res JPEG.
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 21, 2013, 09:32:44 PM
Wow.....!.....It's fermenting.  It's not mold.  Now there is a fine layer of krausen...."Never give in" were the words of Winston Churchill during the German air invasion of England.....I must say I'm really suprised.  I had given up......Would you guys drop the temperature back closer to 50, or just leave it where it's at and do a diacetyl rest at the end?  It's around 53 now as I raised it to get the yeast going
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: davidgzach on January 21, 2013, 09:37:19 PM
Wow.....!.....It's fermenting.  It's not mold.  Now there is a fine layer of krausen...."Never give in" were the words of Winston Churchill during the German air invasion of England.....I must say I'm really suprised.  I had given up......Would you guys drop the temperature back closer to 50, or just leave it where it's at and do a diacetyl rest at the end?  It's around 53 now as I raised it to get the yeast going

If it's starting to ferment, leave it be!  Enough messing with this beer!   :D

Dave
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: garc_mall on January 21, 2013, 09:54:06 PM
Wow.....!.....It's fermenting.  It's not mold.  Now there is a fine layer of krausen...."Never give in" were the words of Winston Churchill during the German air invasion of England.....I must say I'm really suprised.  I had given up......Would you guys drop the temperature back closer to 50, or just leave it where it's at and do a diacetyl rest at the end?  It's around 53 now as I raised it to get the yeast going

If it's starting to ferment, leave it be!  Enough messing with this beer!   :D

Dave

Dave whispers words of wisdom, Let it Be!  8)
Title: Re: No lager activity
Post by: DW on January 21, 2013, 10:18:10 PM
Fair enough.  Thanks!