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Oktoberfest/Cali Lager Yeast

Hey,

Newbie brewer here, I’ve done a few batches and they have all turned out great. On Saturday evening I brewed the Oktoberfest Extract. I used the Wyeast Cali Lager yeast, which said it would be a higher temp. lager yeast. I followed the instructions and pitched the yeast at 58F, two days later, no signs of fermentation. I had the carboy sitting on the basement floor thinking that I would want it to stay a bit cooler than my ale carboy. Still nothing. Today I figured maybe it’s too cold and moved it up to a table off of the floor and shook it up to hopefully get things moving. Is there any other suggestions, or maybe just a batch for the drain? OG was 1.058. Any info is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Did you only pitch one pack of yeast? How much did you aerate? Lagers need a lot of O2 and yeast.

Personally I could not imagine a scenario where I dumped a beer at this stage unless…

  1. It clearly got an infection before you could get fermentation started

  2. Something happened and the wort was just nasty tasting

Fix the yeast problem and you should be fine. At this point the safest thing might be to pitch a dry yeast.

[quote=“560sdl”]Personally I could not imagine a scenario where I dumped a beer at this stage unless…

  1. It clearly got an infection before you could get fermentation started

  2. Something happened and the wort was just nasty tasting

Fix the yeast problem and you should be fine. At this point the safest thing might be to pitch a dry yeast.[/quote]
Solid advice.
Give it another day and then pitch some US-05 or something if it doesn’t show any signs of fermentation. Sometimes yeast just takes time.

Thanks for replying. To answer your questions, I did only pitch one pack of yeast. I aerated for at least 3 minutes and shook the hell out of the carboy, so I assume that it was aerated to a decent degree. As for pitching more yeast I live in Canada and don’t have a store to just go and buy yeast at. I order all of my supplies from Northern Brewer and have it delivered to the US border which is only about 45 minutes away. The only store in town that sells brewing supplies is a bulk foods store, and they only have very limited basic brewing supplies. I may be able to find some kind of generic dry yeast though. Otherwise I’d have to make an order and make a special trip to the border to get some yeast, and that would be at least 3 days until I get it. Can I just get some generic brewers yeast and try that if I get no action in the next few days?

Thanks again, all input is helpful!

Based on your situation, I would definitely order a couple pack each of S-04 and S-05 dry yeast to keep on hand at all times. It is cheap insurance and good all around yeast if you ever need it for situations like yours.

Hopefully yours will take off soon, but in the meantime, read up on making starters. I pretty much do it every time now.

Did the Wyeast pack swell like normal when you smacked it? ie, was the yeast good?

Not for the drain yet, wait it out. You are correct to warm a bit and swirl, but when fermentation starts, return to cold basement floor. I like that yeast at 58.

Let us know when she starts.

No activity yet. And to answer about the smack pack, it did swell, but not as much as other packs I have done in the past, so I don’t know if that was/is the problem??? I did go to the local bulk store that sells some limited brewing supplies, and I found some brewing yeast. The only yeast that they have is Coopers. It is in a small gold package with no instructions or specs. Would this be worth a shot trying?

Thanks again.

Probably not. You’ll need lager yeast or at least a yeast that you KNOW will ferment at cooler temps. One smack pack is about one-fourth the amount of yeast you need. Since you don’t have time for a starter, my suggestion is to get some dry lager yeast (34/70) and pitch 2 packets of that. In the future, make a big starter (4L or 1gal) if you plan to use liquid yeast in a lager.

[quote=“CDN Brew”]No activity yet. And to answer about the smack pack, it did swell, but not as much as other packs I have done in the past, so I don’t know if that was/is the problem??? I did go to the local bulk store that sells some limited brewing supplies, and I found some brewing yeast. The only yeast that they have is Coopers. It is in a small gold package with no instructions or specs. Would this be worth a shot trying?

Thanks again.[/quote]
Shucks. No telling on what made it not start yet. Are you using a bucket and are you sure it is not fermenting? Sorry to ask, but sometimes fermentation is happening but a leaky seal on the bucket lid makes folks think it is not.

FWIW, I have pitched a 2112 smackpack in that gravity wort quite a few times in the past and have had no troubles.

I would definately try the Coopers, since that is all you can get in the limited time frame you have to work with.
You can find some specs here in the Norther Brewer store section. I bet that yeast would ferment around 60-65 just fine.

This beer was already not going to be a “true lager” with the Cali lager yeast, and I think salvaging your 5 gallons of wort in a mocktoberfest is worth the $3 for a packet of Coopers.

Best of luck. I bet it will turn out to be a nice ale.

I just checked on the carboy, and i’ve got some action going on. This is 4 days since I brewed it, but I’ve got a small krausen on the top and some airlock activity. I had just ordered some SA-05 from Northern Brewer, which I probably won’t get until Friday, as well, I was thinking of pitching that Coopers yeast today to see if I could get it started. Oh well, patience sometimes works. I will see what happens in the next few days I guess. I will post with any more developments.

I also just ordered the Phat Tyre kit from NB. I hope to get that brewed this weekend. Hopefully it is a good kit.

Thanks to you all for your help.

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