Author Topic: Fermentation problems  (Read 446 times)

Offline trevor62

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Fermentation problems
« on: July 21, 2014, 01:28:09 PM »

I mixed together my first lager, pitched my pilsner lager yeast when my wort was at 70 degrees. That was at 9:00pm. 18 hours later, no fermentation activity. I put the carboy in an ice bath to get the temp down, thinking that was the problem. Did that at 15 hours. Temp now reads 50 degrees. Still nothing. Any suggestions?

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 01:33:24 PM »
patience.

did you use dry yeast or liquid? did you make a starter? if so how big a starter? it's possible the yeast was bad but more likely there simply wasn't enough and it's taking a while to get through the 'lag' phase. give it another 6-12 hours before you worry. and keep that temp down.

a point. pitching lager yeast at 70 degrees is a bad idea. you will get a lot of fruity esters and other yeasty character that way. always try to chill your wort below your desired fermentation temp before pitching. I aim for ~60-65 for ales 45-50 for lagers. then hold it there for the first couple days as best as you can.

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Offline trevor62

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 01:45:10 PM »
I used a liquid yeast but no starter.

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2014, 01:56:15 PM »
I used a liquid yeast but no starter.

okay, then you pitched about 25% of the ideal number of cells. it's going to take a while for them to grow up to enough to get going.

Another important factor is how much oxygen you provided them. o2 is required for proper yeast reproduction. did you aerate the wort well? Many advocate pure o2. personally I have good luck with whipping the beejeesus out of the wort with a balloon whisk but that is hard to do in a carboy.

still, if you wait it out things will work out. it won't be the best beer in the world but it'll be beer and beer that you made at that.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline trevor62

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 02:15:56 PM »
I appreciate the help, is there any chance I could have damaged the yeast by pitching it at 70?

Offline alestateyall

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 02:34:35 PM »
Yeast love 70F. Lager yeast are just going to make a lot of unwanted esters, diacetyl, and other unwanted compounds at that temp.

You might want to add a krausen beer to clean it up after fermentation finishes.

I am not sure how much off flavors you will have. But, it can't hurt (IMHO).

http://byo.com/lagering/item/966-kr%C3%A4usening-techniques
Tommy M.
Starkville, MS

Offline trevor62

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 02:36:14 PM »
Thanks for the info.

Offline alestateyall

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 02:45:29 PM »
By the way when I have krausened I took yeast from the fermenter then built a 2L starter with that. I used a bottling cane.  I stick it in the beer to the bottom then put my thumb over the end and bring up the contents of the cane and release it into my starter. I repeat 10 times. Then wait 1-2 days for the starter to hit high krausen and dump the whole thing in the fermenter. Place the starter in the same environment at the fermenter so they are the same temp.

Making a bigger starter may give better results.

The article says 10-17%. 2L is just over 10% of a 5 gallon batch.
Tommy M.
Starkville, MS

Offline CroceBrewing

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Re: Fermentation problems
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 02:29:20 PM »
Before we caught on to how important is it to pitch enough yeast and control fermentation temperature, we were making really inconsistent beer. But for our last two batches, not only did we make 1 liter starters, but we also used a fermentation chamber. The first batch, a stout, fermented out really clean, and the second batch (an IPA) got going less than 7 hours after we pitched.

In both cases, we used WLP001 and set the fermentation chamber temp at 64 degrees. We have an old fridge that we've fitted with a Johnson Controls thermostat. For the stout, we made a starter without a stir plate, agitating it by hand as much as we could. With the IPA we used a stir plate, and got much better results when it came to growing yeast cells.

If you can buy an old fridge and set it up in a garage or basement (I think I've seen some on Craigslist for as cheap at $50), invest in a plug in thermostat (about $75), and use a stir plate for your starters (about $45), I feel the quality of your beer will greatly improve.

We've definitely learned through trial and error that two of the most-important keys to making great beer is pitching enough yeast, and then controlling fermentation temp.
"You've never really had a beer until you've had your first homebrew."