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Starter with Wyeast 1968

I have Northern Brewer’s ESB Extract Kit in the primary. I used the Wyeast 1968 with a starter. I was not sure what to expect from the starter as this is only my second starter application, the first being with Wyeast 3522 Belgian - which worked to great results. I am a novice still. This current starter after about 24 hours (and at brew time) had all seemed to settle to a cake at the bottom. I agitated this some and it seemed to settle again. Regardless, I pitched this starter, cake and all, into well agitated wort and roused it up a bit. I has been about 2 1/2 days and there has been little sign of activity, with some intermittent mild agitation. The water from the blowoff tube does have a slight discoloration, but I have neither seen or heard any bubbling. There is no evidence of krausen from my slight vantage point through the port hole of the bucket.

I did not take an original gravity reading, but it now reads 1015/1016ish, so I have to assume that some fermentation has taken place. What would be my target? Is 1968 typically mild mannered in fermentation with little or no krausen? I have seen online some statements to the contrary. My most successful brews to date have been much more aggressively outgoing in their fermentation personality, and other than with the 3522 Wyeast, have been from dry yeast rehydrated.

What should I be expecting? I am anxious to know, as my next brew in line is an English Strong Ale with much more gravity and with this same yeast. I will not have been able to sample the ESB by the time that batch is underway.


Relax don’t worry have a brew. If the gravity is at 1.015 fermentation definitely happened. What was the OG? To me it sounds like it fermented. Never judge fermentation by how it looks, gravity readings are the only way to know for sure. And a 1.015 gravity sounds about right, let it sit for 2 weeks and take another reading

What has been the temperature of the wort/beer? Is there any krausen ring on the carboy/pail?

The temp has been around 70 degrees. I can see no krausen ring, but I am only looking through the tiny port hole on a bucket, so it is hard to tell.

I did not take an OG reading, but the recipe says 1053. Not so worried about this brew since the gravity reading is OK. More worried about the next batch using this same yeast, which will have a much higher O.G at 1064.


How did you get a gravity reading? Are you fermenting in a bottling bucket? (not that that is a bad idea!)

Yea, I use a bottling bucket all the time. Makes transfering to a carboy secondary all the easier and less disruptive.

Consider fermenting a 3-4 degrees cooler next time. To me 70F is too high when I use this yeast. I always shoot for the lower third of this yeasts recommended temperature range. Check out the Wyeast site for the recommended temperature range or the NB site has it as well.


shoot for the low end of the recommended temperature range. fermentation will increase the temperature, so if you fermented in a 70 degree room, it was warmer inside your fermenter sometimes 5+ degrees warmer

Thanks for the advice. I need some additional retrofits to my basement brewery to be able to fine tune the temp without throwing the rest of the house off. So far I have had good results with balancing the house and the fermentation temps (the needs of the wife and of the brew) but the weather is changing!

search the web or this forum for something called a “swamp cooler”

basically a bucket of water that you place your fermenting bucket into. then you can regulate the surrounding water temperature by adding frozen water bottles. thus controlling your fermentation temperature in a cheap and easy way

good luck :cheers:

Thats easy! Bigger and bigger buckets!



This link has some photos I pulled together of what some have used to keep there beer at a cooler temp.

I’ve had the same experience with this yeast, no real krausen but it fermented out just fine. It was on the 3rd generation of use for me. Other beers with the yeast had normal krausen, not sure what dictates how it looks but all beers using the yeast have turned out great despite what it looked like during fermentation so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

I use 1968 a lot. I usually let it go 10 days and that takes care of the diacetyl that this yeast sometimes produces. I would not let it sit in primary for more than that if the coolest you can get is 70. I had some autolosys in an IPA I made with this yeast, and primary was only 3 weeks on a 1.065 gravity. I think my cool garage warmed up since we had a warm March.

If your ESB tastes good, you can probably just drop your next beer right on top of the primary. I often pitch this yeast 4-5 times when I have time to take care of it. I also recommend keeping this yeast at 65-68 for primary.

I like this yeast around 65-70F. I find 60 is too cold for this yeast and it’s produced off flavors for me in the past when fermenting that low.

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