Author Topic: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation  (Read 1028 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« on: February 10, 2013, 06:39:48 AM »
This has happened twice, once on a CAP with WLP833, and now with a Munich Helles with the WLP835 X strain. The wort has been chilled to 45F, pumped into the conical, O2 added and the yeast pitched. On the Helles I waited for about 5 hours for the trub to settle, dumped a pint, and then shot the O2 and pitched the yeast from 6L of starter. The lag time was getting to be long, no signs of activity.

So after about 40 hours I put 2 PSI of CO2 on the bottom port, and cracked the valve to blow the Yeast off the bottom. Fermentation was evident, and it has kept going at an active rate for a lager.

I assume that the yeast were all on the bottom. They had been going through the lag phase, but were not dispersed in the wort. What does everyone think?

The CAP last year turned out fine. I think the Helles will be OK to.

Jeff Rankert
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 07:43:08 AM »
Jeff,

Sounds like you have it figured out.  They were active, just not dispersed.  I'd be happy to test the Helles out for you to make sure it's OK.... ;)

Dave
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Offline jackhorzempa

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Re: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 12:42:20 PM »
“They were active, just not dispersed.” I just can’t wrap my head around this.

How can a yeast be active but not dispersed?

I have made many batches of lagers (70+) and they have all started in less than 24 hours; a typical lager show signs of fermentation in about 8-10 hours.

I should provide a caveat that I do not follow the ‘traditional’ method of yeast pitching for a lager:

•   I pitch the entire content of the yeast starter at high krausen
•   I pitch at temperature greater than 45°F; for my last lager (a CAP) I pitched at 57°F. Over an 18 - 24 hour period I had the primary down to 50°F.

I should also mention that I grow my lager starters at cool temperatures: 58-60°F.

My overall philosophy for yeast pitching (both ales and lagers) is to pitch plenty of healthy and growing yeast cells. It is my opinion that healthy, growing yeast cells are just as important to getting a healthy fermentation going as the metric of yeast cell count.

Cheers!

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 01:03:43 PM »
“They were active, just not dispersed.” I just can’t wrap my head around this.

How can a yeast be active but not dispersed?

I have made many batches of lagers (70+) and they have all started in less than 24 hours; a typical lager show signs of fermentation in about 8-10 hours.

I should provide a caveat that I do not follow the ‘traditional’ method of yeast pitching for a lager:

•   I pitch the entire content of the yeast starter at high krausen
•   I pitch at temperature greater than 45°F; for my last lager (a CAP) I pitched at 57°F. Over an 18 - 24 hour period I had the primary down to 50°F.

I should also mention that I grow my lager starters at cool temperatures: 58-60°F.

My overall philosophy for yeast pitching (both ales and lagers) is to pitch plenty of healthy and growing yeast cells. It is my opinion that healthy, growing yeast cells are just as important to getting a healthy fermentation going as the metric of yeast cell count.

Cheers!

Pitching from a crash cooled and decated starter is definitely going to be different than your experience.  The thought is that the yeast were all on the bottom, in lag phase.  They were actively reproducing but not dispersed in the beer as in high Krausen.

Jeff, correct me if I am mistaken.

Dave
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 01:13:45 PM »
Dave, That, and the yeast can get caught up with the trub. Have read that the Germans will let the trub settle out in a settling tank for 24, rack of the trub to the primary fermenter, and then pitch.

Jack. I do the starters in the basement, about 60-62F. If you think about 6L for 10 gallons, that is a lot of liquid that is not the same as the beer you are making going in. I pitch cold to minimize the VDK production. The yeast fired off immediately after they were blown off the bottom with CO2, with a bubble going through the airlock every second, and are still going along nicely at ~49F.

Yeah, my lagers usually get going fairly quick. This has happened twice. I think next time I will wait 24 hours, dump the trub, and then add theO2 and pitch the yeast.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline jackhorzempa

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Re: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 01:52:39 PM »
“I pitch cold to minimize the VDK production.”

Jeff, I am fully cognizant of the rationale for pitching cold (what I referred to as the ‘traditional’ method in my prior post).

I also recognize that for a starter size of 6 L there is indeed a motivation for not pitching the contents of 6 L of starter beer. An alternative that you might want to consider is performing a crash cool and decant of your 6 Liters but then add just a bit of wort prior to pitching to awaken the yeast just prior to the pitch.

I know that you like to brew in in the ‘traditional’ manner but my method results in fast starts to fermentation with no noticeable flavors from VDK production. The resulting beers also have non-detectable esters or higher alcohols.

As the old saying goes: there is more than one way to skin a rabbit.

I hope that your Helles turns out great!

Cheers!

Jack

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Unusual Lager Start of Fermentation
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 03:09:40 PM »
“I pitch cold to minimize the VDK production.”

Jeff, I am fully cognizant of the rationale for pitching cold (what I referred to as the ‘traditional’ method in my prior post).

I also recognize that for a starter size of 6 L there is indeed a motivation for not pitching the contents of 6 L of starter beer. An alternative that you might want to consider is performing a crash cool and decant of your 6 Liters but then add just a bit of wort prior to pitching to awaken the yeast just prior to the pitch.

I know that you like to brew in in the ‘traditional’ manner but my method results in fast starts to fermentation with no noticeable flavors from VDK production. The resulting beers also have non-detectable esters or higher alcohols.

As the old saying goes: there is more than one way to skin a rabbit.

I hope that your Helles turns out great!

Cheers!

Jack
Often I decant and pump wort into the flask(s) while pumping to the conical. This time I forgot.

I do remember some talking about the yeast getting caught up with the cold break and trub, and rousing was required. That may have been the HBD a long time ago.

Blew the yeast off the bottom Saturday afternoon. Today I checked the gravity, a little less than 1.020, so time for the D-rest after 3 days. The usual lager that does not take 2 weeks to ferment out. Yeast was ready, just held back.

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!