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Over pitch worry, underpitch fear

Been harvesting my yeast for 4-5 months now and making starters each time. I thought I was being cleaver by starting to plan my brewing so that if I brewed a new batch using the same yeast that I just harvested (within a week of racking to secondary) that I could save the starter step.

Original batches used 1056 and were brewed on 9/7/11 and racked to secondary on 9/30. There was airlock activity and foam as recently as 9/27. (these were much slower to ferment than normal) Yeast was harvested and each yeast cake was divided between two quart jars. Each was washed once and moved to pint jars on Saturday. By Sunday each had 3 distinct layers - 3/8" trub, 1/4" + of white fluffy yeast that would go into suspension with the slightest movement and a layer of thin beer.

I brewed Sunday, decanted the beer and swirled the remaining mixture and poured into 60* frothy wort. So essentially, each batch had 1/2 the yeast from a recently harvested yeast cake. 36 hours later, nothing, not a bubble out of either one.

Based on what I had read on this forum, I was a little worried about over pitching as I think someone said to use 1/3 of a “fresh” yeast cake. I was using a half, but they were pretty big beers (1.06 and 1.072). Now I am worried that I may have way under pitched and should have made a starter. And it is way to early to relax and have a home brew :shock:

Is there such a thing as slow yeast within a strain? Both of these were harvested from batches that were both equally slow to ferment originally. Those were from different origins but the same strain (1056). See this thread viewtopic.php?f=26&t=104901.

If 1056 starts slow once and takes 3+ weeks to ferment, could it do that again?? BTW, I am in a controlled environment of low 60’s and the two batches I brewed Friday also using 1056 are going like crazy in the same environment.

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