Author Topic: No lager activity  (Read 3990 times)

Offline DW

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No lager activity
« on: January 14, 2013, 05:55:59 PM »
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.....

Offline a10t2

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 06:21:37 PM »
Did you aerate/oxygenate? It sounds like you did everything else right, so all you can do is wait it out.
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Offline DW

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 06:33:56 PM »
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. 

Offline davidgzach

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 05:27:04 AM »
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
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 06:11:24 AM by davidgzach »
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 06:35:31 AM »
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.

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Offline davidgzach

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 06:49:15 AM »
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
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Offline a10t2

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 08:30:40 AM »
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.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 08:50:56 AM »
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. 
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Offline a10t2

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 09:16:33 AM »
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.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 09:28:24 AM »
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
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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 09:36:54 AM »
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.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 09:43:57 AM »
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
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Offline DW

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 11:19:48 AM »
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. 

Offline davidgzach

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 11:23:19 AM »
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
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Offline bluesman

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Re: No lager activity
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 12:43:34 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.  :)
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