BRY-97 Slow starter

I have to say, this yeast sort of had me worrying. I pitched yeast on Thursday morning. The wort was 68 degrees which I thought would give a quick start. By Thursday night there was no bubbling and I was not concerned. I got up Friday morning and there was no bubbling. Still I was not concerned. Not only was there no bubbling but the bubbler was not even showing signs of movement. The temp was starting to drop into the low 60’s so I put a heating pad into my fermenting freezer. The temp inside went up to the mid 70’s and over the next day the wort temp increased back to the high 60’s. Saturday morning I got up and STILL NOTHING! Now I am worrying. Just a few minutes ago I opened up the cover to the bucket and I can see that I am just starting to see a thin layer of krausen. I think this is the longest lag time I have experiences so far in my short brewing career. Anyone else have that with this yeast? I hope the slow start is a sign of an awesome tasting beer.

BRY97 makes phenomenally good brew. It was the yeast that Ballantine in Newark NJ used for all of their ales (not BRY96/Chico as is commonly thought).
Are you using the dry version or one of the liquid versions like WY1272 or ECY "Old Newark?
The dry definitely should be rehydrated, and the wet (whatever the source) definitely works best with a starter, but as long as your process is clean I wouldn’t worry about the lag time. It’s a great strain, very flocculent, alcohol tolerant, and clears beautifully. It’s remarkably similar to the ‘house’ strain that was given to me years ago and have been keeping alive since the mid '80s, which leads me to suspect that it may actually be descended from BRY 97.
In any case, I’ve also had great results repitching slurry of 97 into successive batches; I’ll generally take it through around 7 generations before staring anew.
When the bew has finished, post your comments on the results…I’ll be curious to hear your impressions.

Well, today is day 4 and I still see no airlock activity. I know I have a good seal and just assume that the yeast is going very slow. Professor, I am glad to hear your opinion. It gives me hope. I used the dry yeast and did not re-hydrate. I have been pitching dry for 2 years and always had great results with Nottingham, US-05, S-04 and Windsor, as well as a few other types that I cannot remember. I will report after this brew is done.

Sorry to slightly veer this off course, and You may have answered this before, Professor, but what do you think of the Ballantine product(s) made elsewhere these days?

LOL…yes, I’ve commented on the Bally products many times. By now, it invites eye rolls (and in a few cases, downright mockery).
But, in a bag of nutshells as it were, here’s my take, based on my experience with the original Newark brewed products:

–The current version of regular Ballantine XXX (as brewed under contract for Pabst by Miller) remains a shadow of the original. It’s actually kind of sad for those of us who remember the original product. Although Ballantine was, in it’s time, a very big company, their standard XXX Ale was every bit as characterful as any “craft” American Pale Ale made today. The current version of Bally XXX is, unfortunately, not even close.

–The recent re-boot of their India Pale Ale is pretty decent, though it bears only a passing resemblance to the BIPA I enjoyed so much 47 years ago, since the current version lacks the year-long aging (which a true IPA should have to begin with) and lacks the intense aromatics which were an essential part of the Ballantine’s original version. Still, the ‘new’ Ballantine IPA is fairly well made and stands on it’s own merits. It’s certainly as good as most modern day ‘craft’ American IPAs, and a good measure better than quite a few of them.

The 2015 re-introduction of Ballantine Burton Ale was very good. It was not a 10 to 20 year solera like the original, but in character it probably comes fairly close to what the Bally Burton was like (even though at 12% ABV it is likely a good bit stronger than the original product ever was). I did a side-by-side comparison with a well kept 52 year old bottle of the original and age effects aside, the new version evoked the old quite impressively. If nothing else, it proved beyond any doubt that the big companies are perfectly capable of brewing a true ‘craft’ product (that in fact actually outclasses many small brewery products). The current Pabst ownership seems committed to an honest attempt at restoring some respect to the Ballantine brand. I’ve heard that a revival of Ballantine Porter may be in the offing.

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After your detailed post(Thanks!) I was able to track down the BIPA and bought a sixer. I believe it is a nice IPA, definitely leaning toward the East coast IPA style(and even some English IPA character). I’ll look for the Burton Ale when it comes around again…a winter seasonal?

Well I know this is probably too late to help but I brewed my first batch on Sunday and my kit came with BRY 97 dry. I rehydrate it and pitched and after a day I wasn’t getting any action either. I gave it a good shaking around to aerate and after that it seemed to come to life. I might have also just had a leaky seal on my bucket though. But it’s alive and bubbling now. I’m quite exited to see how it turns out though.