Author Topic: Dead Yeast Mulligan  (Read 1313 times)

Offline Kirk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 175
  • Sparks, NV
Dead Yeast Mulligan
« on: April 16, 2011, 01:13:46 pm »
Yesterday, I brewed a 5 gal. Dunkel, and pitched at least a quart of thick slurry, and nothing happened.  The yeast was saved from about 2 months ago.  I should have taken the clue from when it didn't generate any action on the stir plate with the starter wort.  I thought the yeast had the sugar so outnumbered already that maybe I had just "missed it".  And, it smelled OK.
So I have a new starter going with fresh yeast.  I was either going to just pitch the new yeast in, or rack the wort into a brew pot, boil it, cool it, and then pitch.  I chose the latter.  I didn't want to worry about what all that dead yeast would do over a month's time sitting at the bottom.  So, I've got the wort coming to a boil now.  What do you think?  Did I overreact?  Or would you have done the same?
Kirk Howell

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8198
  • Redmond, WA
Re: Dead Yeast Mulligan
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 01:26:55 pm »
I think you over reacted.  Boiling it didn't eliminate the "dead" yeast, it just killed what might have been alive.  I would have just added more yeast, at the most racked and then added more yeast.

It's really unlikely that all of the yeast you initially added was dead, some of it would still be viable and just slow to get going since you underpitched.

Next time if you're worried about it taste the starter - you should be able to tell if it is fermented or not.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Kirk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 175
  • Sparks, NV
Re: Dead Yeast Mulligan
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 01:43:39 pm »
Thanks Tom, but underpitched surprises me, as the quantity was way more than I usually pitch after making a 1500 ml starter with the vial or smack pack, and that has always been plenty to get my lagers going within 12 hours.
Anyway, I see what you mean about now I have dead yeast.  I tried to keep the yeast out of it, but some got in there.  As the boil progresses, the smell improves, but ...  Do boiled yeast cells present a threat for autolysis?
Kirk Howell

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8198
  • Redmond, WA
Re: Dead Yeast Mulligan
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011, 01:48:18 pm »
Boiled yeast = yeast nutrient.

I'm saying you underpitched because the 2 month old cake wasn't 100% viable, but it wasn't 100% dead either.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Kirk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 175
  • Sparks, NV
Re: Dead Yeast Mulligan
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2011, 02:06:29 pm »
Thanks a bunch Tom.  I really appreciate it, and I learned a lot.  Well, it's too late to enter it into the NHC.... ;D
Kirk Howell

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8198
  • Redmond, WA
Re: Dead Yeast Mulligan
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2011, 02:07:55 pm »
No worries, there are lots of other competitions you can enter it in ;)
Tom Schmidlin