Author Topic: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?  (Read 4665 times)

Offline mpietropaoli

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Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« on: August 09, 2012, 10:04:10 AM »
Made a starter with one cup of pale DME, 1.5 qts of water, boiled for 10 minutes, cooled to 75 degrees.  Pitched one package of Wyeast 2206 - Bavarian Lager at 7pm last night.  Do lager yeasts take longer to grow than ale yeasts?  Was planning on trying to decant/step this up tonight for a brew on saturday. 

If one pound of DME = 40 gravity points, and a pound is about 2 cups.  Wouldn't one cup in 1.5 quarts give me a gravity of (something really high)?   After some evap, there is only about 200ml of starter wort in my flask.  No white stuff on the bottom, stir plate has been stirring for ~18 hours....

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Offline hokerer

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2012, 10:13:30 AM »
How are you deciding that the starter didn't start?  Very often, there's no to very little visible evidence that a starter did anything.
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Offline mpietropaoli

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2012, 10:20:21 AM »
I thought that you would at least see a white line of yeast on the bottom...though I guess I can't make that assumption if the stir plate is still on...is a gravity reading the only way, or will the yeast throw that measurement off?
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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2012, 10:37:37 AM »
You should have seem some Kraeusen development. But that may have happened while you are asleep. A pack of yeast contains a lot of cells for just 1.5 qt of wort.

How does the yeasy look when it is stirred. Does lit look like small flocks of egg drop soup swirling around or do you simply have very hazy looking wort.

If it is the former, the yeast is done. It ate the sugars it was able to eat and flocculated. Most German lager yeasts tend to be strong flocculators. In the latter case the wort still has fermentable sugars that inhibit flocculation.

If the Kraeusen happened overnight, you may also see a think Kraeusen ring on the flask.

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2012, 11:24:09 AM »
I just went through this with a pack of Wyeast 2124 ( see "What are you paying for your yeast post?").  Mine went on a stir plate at room temp for 36 hours and nothing.  The yeast was older ( March 6th ) but I expect to see something. 

I did smell the starter and it smelled like wort...no yeast or sulfur compounds.  I didn't take a gravity reading because I was a little frustrated with the yeast ( and the shop that charged me $11.75 for the smack pack ), so I dumped it.

How old was the yeast and how was it handled before getting to you ( i.e. shipped from online store in 95 degree heat) ?
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Offline beersk

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2012, 11:38:12 AM »
I just went through this with a pack of Wyeast 2124 ( see "What are you paying for your yeast post?").  Mine went on a stir plate at room temp for 36 hours and nothing.  The yeast was older ( March 6th ) but I expect to see something. 

I did smell the starter and it smelled like wort...no yeast or sulfur compounds.  I didn't take a gravity reading because I was a little frustrated with the yeast ( and the shop that charged me $11.75 for the smack pack ), so I dumped it.

How old was the yeast and how was it handled before getting to you ( i.e. shipped from online store in 95 degree heat) ?
Man, you should talk to the homebrew shop about that, that's just lame.
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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2012, 11:47:45 AM »
I just went through this with a pack of Wyeast 2124 ( see "What are you paying for your yeast post?").  Mine went on a stir plate at room temp for 36 hours and nothing.  The yeast was older ( March 6th ) but I expect to see something. 

I did smell the starter and it smelled like wort...no yeast or sulfur compounds.  I didn't take a gravity reading because I was a little frustrated with the yeast ( and the shop that charged me $11.75 for the smack pack ), so I dumped it.

How old was the yeast and how was it handled before getting to you ( i.e. shipped from online store in 95 degree heat) ?
Man, you should talk to the homebrew shop about that, that's just lame.

Agreed.  They should make it right.  Wyeast will reimburse them.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2012, 12:29:42 PM »
I just went through this with a pack of Wyeast 2124 ( see "What are you paying for your yeast post?").  Mine went on a stir plate at room temp for 36 hours and nothing.  The yeast was older ( March 6th ) but I expect to see something. 

I did smell the starter and it smelled like wort...no yeast or sulfur compounds.  I didn't take a gravity reading because I was a little frustrated with the yeast ( and the shop that charged me $11.75 for the smack pack ), so I dumped it.

How old was the yeast and how was it handled before getting to you ( i.e. shipped from online store in 95 degree heat) ?
Man, you should talk to the homebrew shop about that, that's just lame.

Agreed.  They should make it right.  Wyeast will reimburse them.

I took a smack pack back years ago when it did not rise.  They exchanged it with no questions asked.

I would definitely complain.  You have nothing to lose.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 11:20:09 AM »
I thought that you would at least see a white line of yeast on the bottom...though I guess I can't make that assumption if the stir plate is still on...is a gravity reading the only way, or will the yeast throw that measurement off?

Can you turn the stir plate off to see if you have a white layer of yeast? If it's grey, then your little yeasties are dead.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2012, 02:09:06 PM »
Made a starter with one cup of pale DME, 1.5 qts of water, boiled for 10 minutes, cooled to 75 degrees.  Pitched one package of Wyeast 2206 - Bavarian Lager at 7pm last night.  Do lager yeasts take longer to grow than ale yeasts?  Was planning on trying to decant/step this up tonight for a brew on saturday. 

If one pound of DME = 40 gravity points, and a pound is about 2 cups.  Wouldn't one cup in 1.5 quarts give me a gravity of (something really high)?   After some evap, there is only about 200ml of starter wort in my flask. [...]

Did you mean 2000ml? 1.5 qt is ~1400 ml. 1 cup DME in 1.5 at should give you about 1.045 OG.
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2012, 04:15:51 PM »
The yeast was older ( March 6th ) but I expect to see something. 

I did smell the starter and it smelled like wort...no yeast or sulfur compounds.  I didn't take a gravity reading because I was a little frustrated with the yeast ( and the shop that charged me $11.75 for the smack pack ), so I dumped it.
You paid $11.75 for 5 month old yeast?  ???
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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2012, 05:10:09 AM »
You paid $11.75 for 5 month old yeast?  ???

I know, I know.  It was one of those situations where I have to step it up a couple times and if I didn't get it that day, my schedule would be pushed back.  Trust me, it's not something I do on a regular basis.
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2012, 07:25:58 AM »
You paid $11.75 for 5 month old yeast?  ???

I know, I know.  It was one of those situations where I have to step it up a couple times and if I didn't get it that day, my schedule would be pushed back.  Trust me, it's not something I do on a regular basis.

No judgement here, we've all been there.  I was just wondering if a supply shop shipped it to you that old.
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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2012, 05:24:39 AM »
No judgement here, we've all been there.  I was just wondering if a supply shop shipped it to you that old.

Local shop and I kept it in a cooler until I got home.  I'm guessing it was dead before I got my hands on it.

I got another pack from a different shop, not as old and less money.  Started my first step on Saturday and by Monday night it had fermented out.  I put it in the fridge on Monday night and made my second step last night.  After decanting and adding new wort, I put it on the stirplate and sat down to watch "Beerfest".  By the time the movie was over, it was chugging along with visible CO2 rising up and a small krausen ring on the top.  Less than 2 hours lag time!!!  Awesome!

One more step to do before brewing early next week!
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Offline musseldoc

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Re: Starter not starting - Do lager yeasts take longer to grow?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2012, 04:39:59 AM »
There should still be a higher partial pressure of CO2 in the solution than in the atmosphere.  If you shake the starter, does it release bubbles (like bubbles rising in your pint glass)?  Do you see foaming?  If not, then the yeast did not take off. 
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