Liquid Wyeast didn't start after three days...added some dry

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Fat Duck Brewery, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Fat Duck Brewery

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    Hi All,

    Well I brewed a lager at the weekend, and to try something different I used a packet of liquid wyeast, (which was 6 months old)
    Now I noticed the smack pack didn't really expand after a few hours, but I poured it in and set the fermentation temp to 12c and left it to do its thing.

    Now three days on I see no signs of any yeasty life or activity, so I've now added 2x packets of Saflager W-34/70 dry lager yeast, of course a different yeast type, but what do you think? Bad idea, will the lager be already spoiled ? or fingers cross and see what happens?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Did you take a gravity reading before adding the yeast? There's a chance it had already fermented through. The second yeast addition probably won't hurt unless there was already active fermentation and the oxygen in the wort was gone, in which case you might get a "stressed yeast" fermentation - diacetyl. Here you can use that refractometer during the fermentation without having to do the maths - all you're looking for is change, to see that the fermentation was really stuck before doing something to "unstick" it.
     
  3. Fat Duck Brewery

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    Hi There

    Upon my review no fermentation had started after three days, there was also no krausen or activity within the wort itself.
    I've added the new dry yeast now and I might put this down to a lesson learnt in not to use packets of liquid Wyeast. As my previous 12 brews I've done I've never had such a problem using dry.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I've never had the problem using the liquid yeast. Six months shouldn't have been a problem, although I'd never use a smack pack that old without making a starter. BTW, I'm starting to really like dry yeast myself, I find I'm using it more and more often, although my reason is that for the size brews I like to make (3 gallons), dry yeast is adequate to pitch without rehydrating, appealing to my fundamental sense of laziness. Without a gravity reading, you don't know fermentation hadn't started, what you know is you haven't seen any signs of fermentation. Not all fermentations throw a fluffy krauesen and carboys have been known to leak gas, meaning no jiggles in the airlock. But I would be willing to bet it had started, unless some catastrophe had killed all the yeast in the smack pack (maybe stored in direct sunlight, heating it to the point where the yeast cooked). Bottom line is you haven't ruined your beer by pitching more yeast on top of what you had, you may end up with some off-flavors though.
     
  5. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I have a bunch of dry yeast around, but I keep starters of even BRY-97 in the fridge so I have something ready to go for next time. My fermonsters leak gas like a sieve so I don't worry about that.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I pitched a lager recently with a bunch of trub from a couple of different batches and I know the yeast was viable and abundant. It was dormant, but I expected some lag time. I pitched at midnight on brew day and well into day 2 there wasn't the least sign of activity. I did a quick gravity and found that there had indeed been enough activity to take it down a few points. I let it sit for another day and finally by afternoon of day 3 there was very flimsy krausen starting. By 6:00 on day 3 there was a thin krausen but it had definitely taken off. There was a ton of yeast in there and by the time it all got going, the fermentation went relatively quickly and when I took a sample at day 8 it was a couple of points from finished and ready for a diacetyl rest. With lagers, lot can happen when it seems like nothing is.
    That being said, I'd never expect much from a single packet of 6-month old Wyeast, as viability is hovering near zero. In the end, your 2 packs of dry yeast was probably about the right pitch, so all should be fine.
     
  7. Aub

    Aub Active Member

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    I haven't used dry yeast........do you notice much difference, if any, from liquid yeast ?
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Not really. Would be interesting to do a side-by-side of 34/70 and the actual Weihenstephan liquid yeast.
     
  9. Aub

    Aub Active Member

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    It would be interesting, I must give them a try.
     
  10. Fat Duck Brewery

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    Well all, the lager eventually took off after 4 days and went nuts fermenting for a good week. I just took a sample gravity reading and its moved, but its still off the target so I shall leave it.
    However the strong chemical smell and strange similar sourish taste is rather awful coming off the larger, so I think this one is dead in the water. continue or just bin it now...
     
  11. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Lagers can produce a lot of sulfur which stinks like rotten eggs. You may just want to let it sit a while and see what happens.
     
  12. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    A lager that I brewed on Monday finally today hit full krausen. I pitched it cold and kept it pretty low in the range for the yeast I used - WLP810 - and it was a pitch of trub from a batch about 6 weeks ago so it was pretty dormant. Even at that, I expected that it should be more active sooner. It's going gangbusters now, though. Lag time can be as long as it needs to be, apparently. ;)
     
    Craigerrr likes this.

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