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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: theoman on February 20, 2013, 08:54:30 AM

Title: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 20, 2013, 08:54:30 AM
It's been 2 1/2 days since I pitched Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager yeast into my CAP and there is still no airlock activity. I pitched at around 9.5 (celsius) and let it cool to and held steady at 9. I've given the fermenter a good shake a couple times a day to no avail. I'm now letting it warm up a couple degrees to see what happens. The smack-pack was slow to act, but there was activity. Any thoughts? Be patient? Pitch a pack of SA-05 for a light corn ale?
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: tygo on February 20, 2013, 11:47:44 AM
One smack pack?  What was the OG?
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: davidgzach on February 20, 2013, 12:42:10 PM
One smack pack?  What was the OG?

+1.  If it was one smack pack, you drastically underpitched, especially if it was a month or two old.   
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: mmitchem on February 20, 2013, 12:52:05 PM
You need more yeast my friend. Head over to mrmalty.com and use the pitch rate calculator there.

On a side note, lager fermentations are always slower. The lag phase takes a while as well as the growth phase - it ALL takes longer. The only thing I trust my airlock to do is keep bad stuff out of my fermenting wort, it is never an indicator of fermentation.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 20, 2013, 12:53:35 PM
One smack pack?  What was the OG?

+1.  If it was one smack pack, you drastically underpitched, especially if it was a month or two old.

Really? Even with the oversize smack packs? I did a batch with a single pack of Bohemian lager and it was excellent. It's true the pack was about 4 months old, so maybe that's the issue.

This morning I put the fermenter in my 12-ish degree cellar. I ran home at lunch and it looks like there is maybe something happening. It might not be as crisp and clean as I was hoping, but maybe I'll at least get beer.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 20, 2013, 12:55:01 PM
You need more yeast my friend. Head over to mrmalty.com and use the pitch rate calculator there.

On a side note, lager fermentations are always slower. The lag phase takes a while as well as the growth phase - it ALL takes longer. The only thing I trust my airlock to do is keep bad stuff out of my fermenting wort, it is never an indicator of fermentation.

Good stuff. Thanks. So maybe I shouldn't have jacked up the temp just yet.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: davidgzach on February 21, 2013, 12:26:01 AM
Go to mrmalty.com or yeastcalc.com.  For 5.25G of a 1.050 lager you need about 368B cells for a proper pitch.  If you pitch one smack pack, you are pitching <100B cells and if it's 4 months old it can be as low as 10B cells.  Granted you can get away with this at times, especially with longer lagering periods.  But your results and time to consumption will dramatically improve and become more consistent by following the pitching rates on the websites.

Dave
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: phillamb168 on February 21, 2013, 09:59:51 AM
Now you understand why I gave up on getting fresh yeast into Europe about a year ago. I've never gotten a fresh wyeast or white labs delivery, so it's better (for me anyway) to just get the dried stuff and do a couple starters.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 21, 2013, 01:43:07 PM
I have a packet of 34/70 I'm thinking of chucking in. Opinions?
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: phillamb168 on February 21, 2013, 02:05:17 PM
I have a packet of 34/70 I'm thinking of chucking in. Opinions?

I'd say do it. If your other pitched yeast can recover in time it should overpower the dried stuff, otherwise the dried stuff will rehydrate and at least be able to keep anything less desirable from getting in.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: davidgzach on February 21, 2013, 07:03:40 PM
I have a packet of 34/70 I'm thinking of chucking in. Opinions?

I'd say do it. If your other pitched yeast can recover in time it should overpower the dried stuff, otherwise the dried stuff will rehydrate and at least be able to keep anything less desirable from getting in.

+1.  Don't forget to rehydrate!
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 22, 2013, 07:13:59 AM
I have a packet of 34/70 I'm thinking of chucking in. Opinions?

I'd say do it. If your other pitched yeast can recover in time it should overpower the dried stuff, otherwise the dried stuff will rehydrate and at least be able to keep anything less desirable from getting in.

+1.  Don't forget to rehydrate!

So I went home after work, dumped in the yeast and then thought, "Hm, I probably should've rehydrated that." Sigh...
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: phillamb168 on February 22, 2013, 09:34:40 AM
RDWHAHB
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: davidgzach on February 22, 2013, 06:32:47 PM
RDWHAHB

LOL, +1. 
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 25, 2013, 08:19:56 AM
I'm trying to relax.

Here's the latest:
So yesterday, one week after my first pitch, I checked the gravity. The beer smells and tastes like good hopped wort, but the gravity hasn't changed. Also, it foams up with barely a bump and there's a layer of stuff on top (see pic). What's the consensus? Continue to be patient or raise the temp and throw in a packet of SA-05? Oh, the wort is resting at just above 51 degrees F.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v78adpPDg8I/USsczEXHDrI/AAAAAAAAAnY/cstIhk6PRg0/s640/ferment.jpg)
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: phillamb168 on February 25, 2013, 09:47:44 AM
I'm trying to relax.

Here's the latest:
So yesterday, one week after my first pitch, I checked the gravity. The beer smells and tastes like good hopped wort, but the gravity hasn't changed. Also, it foams up with barely a bump and there's a layer of stuff on top (see pic). What's the consensus? Continue to be patient or raise the temp and throw in a packet of SA-05? Oh, the wort is resting at just above 51 degrees F.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v78adpPDg8I/USsczEXHDrI/AAAAAAAAAnY/cstIhk6PRg0/s640/ferment.jpg)

That looks like kreusen to me. Is this your first lager? Every time I do one it takes fooooorever to get booted up.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/lager-yeast-question-141965/
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 25, 2013, 12:00:54 PM
Yeah, it's my first "proper" lager (I once used Bohemian yeast at a higher temp and basically treated it like an ale). Patience it is.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: phillamb168 on February 25, 2013, 01:31:06 PM
Yeah, it's my first "proper" lager (I once used Bohemian yeast at a higher temp and basically treated it like an ale). Patience it is.

Think it'll be ready in time for the Toer? Save me some.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: Kaiser on February 25, 2013, 01:46:21 PM
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v78adpPDg8I/USsczEXHDrI/AAAAAAAAAnY/cstIhk6PRg0/s640/ferment.jpg)

Make sure you skim that gunk off the top. You don't want this to fall back into the beer.

Kai
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: phillamb168 on February 25, 2013, 02:17:34 PM
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v78adpPDg8I/USsczEXHDrI/AAAAAAAAAnY/cstIhk6PRg0/s640/ferment.jpg)

Make sure you skim that gunk off the top. You don't want this to fall back into the beer.

Kai

Kai, is that not krausen? Do you skim lager krausen then?
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: Kaiser on February 25, 2013, 02:39:54 PM
Kai, is that not krausen? Do you skim lager krausen then?

Yes, when I ferment in a bucket I skim the kraeusen. when I ferment in a carboy I let it blow off. Others may have different opinions on this, though.

Kai
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: hubie on February 25, 2013, 06:38:02 PM
Yes, when I ferment in a bucket I skim the kraeusen. when I ferment in a carboy I let it blow off. Others may have different opinions on this, though.

Is that what you do on all beers?  Do you harvest this stuff, or just dump it down the drain?  I was thinking about that meringue-like kraeusen posted earlier (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14544.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14544.0)); would you skim all that off?
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: morticaixavier on February 25, 2013, 07:12:54 PM
Yes, when I ferment in a bucket I skim the kraeusen. when I ferment in a carboy I let it blow off. Others may have different opinions on this, though.

Is that what you do on all beers?  Do you harvest this stuff, or just dump it down the drain?  I was thinking about that meringue-like kraeusen posted earlier (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14544.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14544.0)); would you skim all that off?

I think he is more refering to the gunky brown stuff on top which is made up mostly of harsh bitter hop compounds, trub and gross dead yeast. If you were top cropping you would still skim off and discard that portion, letting fresh clean krausen form again for harvest.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: davidgzach on February 25, 2013, 11:03:21 PM
So I checked my Hefeweisen to see if there was any brown Krausen.  I figure off-flavors would come through a Hefe if any beer.  There was only pure white foam with a hint of brown on the sides of the fermenter.  Should I consider it clean?

Dave
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: erockrph on February 26, 2013, 04:30:52 AM
I am not a skimmer, and I certainly have not done a side-by-side comparison to back up my suspicions, but I must admit that I am a bit skeptical about the potential benefits of krausen-skimming. If the nasty bits that you are removing are going to end up in your finished beer, then it stands to reason that they must be dissolved in the beer. But it looks to me like this gunk is dispersed on top of the krausen and not actually dissolved. If that is the case, then I would expect it to fall out and not make it into the final beer. Especially so in a lager that gets extended cold-conditioning.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 26, 2013, 09:43:50 AM
Think it'll be ready in time for the Toer? Save me some.

Jeez, I hope so. At this rate, though, it's hard to tell.
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 26, 2013, 12:48:00 PM
For lighter lagers, I will skim as it approaches the boil and then drain the boil kettle more slowly, running the wort through a double colander - the beer clears very well this way and I can easily harvest yeast post-fermentation without the need for further skimming.  If I had that much gunk (as pictured), I would be very tempted to skim the "braun hefe".  YMMV, of course
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: theoman on February 28, 2013, 07:47:21 AM
An update:
I checked the beer last night and something seems to be happening at last! The gravity is dropping and it's starting to smell and taste beery. Patience seems to have been the right decision.

I also decided to go against my own instinct and follow the advice here to skim. I say against my instinct because I prefer not to touch a beer any more than absolutely necessary. I haven't lost a batch to infection yet and I prefer to keep it that way. RDWHAHB, right?
Title: Re: Lager Woes
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 28, 2013, 09:36:59 PM
An update:
I checked the beer last night and something seems to be happening at last! The gravity is dropping and it's starting to smell and taste beery. Patience seems to have been the right decision.

I also decided to go against my own instinct and follow the advice here to skim. I say against my instinct because I prefer not to touch a beer any more than absolutely necessary. I haven't lost a batch to infection yet and I prefer to keep it that way. RDWHAHB, right?

Absolutely.  Your beer will likely be wonderful.