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re-pitch

 
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Squid



Joined: 09 Apr 2016
Posts: 33



PostLink    Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:54 pm    Post subject: re-pitch Reply with quote


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Yup - another "my bubbler isn't bubbling" post. I understand that just because the trap isn't bubbling that it doesn't mean fermentation isn't happening. I'm just very surprised:

On the 18th ( 3 days ago) I brewed a pilsner according to Kal's recipe. Pitched two vials of WLP-830, and tucked into the fridge and held at a steady 50 deg. Now I know to look for krausen, but when I aerated the wort before pitching it created such a foam that never really subsided - its hard to tell what's krausen and what's not.

I'm going to take a sample here shortly ( pita) but assuming there is no fermentation - would it be feasible to pitch some re-hydrated dry lager yeast on top. Can one mix and match yeasts? Has anyone experienced a failed White Labs yeast over two vials?!

Lastly - assuming things pick up, Kal's recipe calls for lagering at "near freezing" - I have a cool cellar that is holding as steady 37-38 deg ( hard to read without my glasses) - would that be near freezing enough?

Cheers!
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10288
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

Did you make a starter or pitch the two vials directly? If this was a roughly 1.050 beer and ~5 gallons you underpitched by about 50% so it'll be slower starting.

Did you pitch when the wort was at 50F or at room temp and then chill the wort? I recommend pitching at 50F for the cleanest fermentation for the cleanest flavour, but you have to make sure to not underpitch.

How old are the vials? (The "Use By" date is four months from manufacture.)

Kal

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Squid



Joined: 09 Apr 2016
Posts: 33



PostLink    Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kal,
It was more like 1.044 but yes - no starter ( I figured I had a high enough cell count with two vials). The vials are good till May it said on the packaging.

I did chill to 50, then pitched.

Do you think I should re- pitch ( with a different lager yeast) or give it a few days?

What do you think of 37-38 deg for lagering temos?


Last edited by Squid on Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Squid



Joined: 09 Apr 2016
Posts: 33



PostLink    Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa that's weird - I just measured and got 1.053. Seems unlikely that it would be going up. I probably misread the OG three days ago.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10288
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squid wrote:
It was more like 1.044 but yes - no starter ( I figured I had a high enough cell count with two vials). The vials are good till May it said on the packaging.

So they were recently manufactured which is good, but depending on who you want to believe, you underpitched by about 50%.
See: http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

Assuming a 1.053 wort, a lager, and 2 vials that are (say) 1 week old only, and "pro brewer 1.5" level, you had 190M yeast cells but the target is around 409M. This is why I recommend 4 vials per ~5.5 gallons.

Quote:
Do you think I should re- pitch ( with a different lager yeast) or give it a few days?

The yeast has been busy reproducing so it's probably very close to the point where you'll start to see activity. You can always pitch a couple more now if you want, but I'd say it's likely too late to have any benefit: The yeast *will* make beer, it was just stalled/stressed for the first few days as it was busy building up instead of eating/making beer. The result may be a slightly more estery (fruity) beer, not as clean had more yeast been pitched.

Quote:
What do you think of 37-38 deg for lagering temos?

I like to keep the beer near freezing (32F) once packaged (kegged) as that's easiest for me and gives good results, though many do lager at 37-38F on yeast after fermentation before packaging.

Re: The jump in gravity - You wouldn't by chance be using a refractometer would you? They do not work correctly once there is alcohol in the beer (once fermentation has started).

Kal

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Squid



Joined: 09 Apr 2016
Posts: 33



PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal - you were correct. I took a sample today ( gravity is 1.030 after almost two weeks of fermentation) and it tasted like fruit. Will this mellow out when lagering and taste like a pilsner should, or am I going to pour it onto my driveway?
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10288
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squid wrote:
Kal - you were correct. I took a sample today ( gravity is 1.030 after almost two weeks of fermentation) and it tasted like fruit. Will this mellow out when lagering and taste like a pilsner should, or am I going to pour it onto my driveway?

The gravity is still really high so expect it to taste sweet. Let it finish, package it up, leave it for a month near freezing, then taste it and decide.

That said, going from 1.053 to 1.030 in 2 weeks is pretty darned slow, even for a lager. Both times I've brewed this now (last time was August 2016) it had completely finished fermenting in ~10 days.

Did you use a refractometer to measure your gravity at 1.030? It will not work correctly due to the alcohol. Refractometer can't be used once fermentation has started.

Kal

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Squid



Joined: 09 Apr 2016
Posts: 33



PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No I used a hydrometer. It stagnated for about 4 days. I then repitched using a Starter. It really took off a short while later such that I had to use a blow-off tube. Now it's down to a bubble every 5secs or so. I'll follow your advice, but am not holding out much hope for this batch. Lesson learned : don't skimp on yeast!
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