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Yeast fail?

I brewed a Vienna Lager on 2/22. My hydrometer was broken but I followed my usual recipe and process for this beer. The last time I brewed it OG was 1.054. I figure it was within a point or 2 of that.

For yeast, I racked a plis off the yeast cake, poured half the cake into a 2nd bucket and pumped 5.5 gals well aerated 54f vienna into each bucket. Put them in swamp coolers and maintianed 54 degrees. Peaked under the lids daily over the next few days and no signs of fermentation. No krauesen, no foam…nada…flat looking wort.

2/26 I let the temp rise a little overnight to 56 then 58 today…still no signs of fermentation. I don’t mean no bubbles in the airlock. I mean I looked under the lid…nothing happening.

Took a gravity reading just now to confirm suspicions. 1.054

The yeast started out as wy2001 smack pack, really fresh, I did a shaken 3L starter followed by a shaken 6L starter per brewersfriend for 5.5 gals of 1.058 pilsner Jan 11. It fermented to 1.011 and I’m drinking it now. It’s quite good if I do say so myself.

The yeast cake got another 5.5 gals of 1.058 pilsner Feb 1 when I kegged the one I’m now drinking. 3 weeks later I racked that pils, now 1.012 off and split the yeast cake for the above mentioned vienna lager. It looked like pretty clean yeast and smelled fine. The 2nd pils tasted fine out of the fermenter.

I’m stumped. I dont’ get why the yeast apparently just crapped out. I ran this scenario through brewers friend and I should have had 1811B cells for a beer that required 833B. Massive overpitch. Seems like it should have kicked off fermenting in minutes and chewed through that beer with no problem.

There does not seem to be any reason the yeast would quit working on the new wort. Let the temperature rise a little higher and then hold it to see if anything starts up.

I would be inclined to pull them out, very gently swirl them and leave a room temp. Just as tho your doing a force ferment. Once/if activity starts then back to the swamp cooler quickly… I wasn’t very happy using a negative variable… if… sorry about that. Sneezles61

Light krauesen on one this morning and lighter signs on the other. 59f. I put a small frozen water bottle in each to try and keep them level until the afternoon…then I may try to lower the temp back into range. I don’t think I’ve ever fermented it higher than about 54. Optimal range is 48-56. I thought it would be interesting to do a vienna with this yeast. I didn’t intend for it to be this…interesting…

Whenever I’ve had this much lag time in the past it didn’t end well.

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Yeah I’m pretty laid back but 4 days would freak me out. Not out anything by waiting to see, other than your fermenters being tied up.

Actually 6 days today. I’m not encouraged.

I have plenty of buckets but only 2 swamp coolers. I was planning to brew tomorrow but will have to hold off now.

yeah that has to be frustrating. Must have been some substantially dormant(or worse) yeast…?Considering a salvage repitch of a fast SNS yeast starter with fresh 2001? or let this play out as is?

I think I’ll just let it run now. See what happens.

I’d be sniffing the locker just in case… I like the blow off hose, you can get a big whiff!!:astonished: Sneezles61

I’ll usually get a snort when I pop the lid open. Funny I knew the other day when I opened it for the gravity reading it hadn’t fermented at all. It smelled just like sugary wort.

It smells fine right now. No off odors or anything, no excessive sulfur. The krauesen has lightened up this afternoon since I dropped the temperature to 55-56F. Hoping it won’t stall out.

hopefully it will get into a nice lager ferment for you… just rambling about… Sneezles61

Krauesen seems to be falling back a little tonight. I’ll let the temp start to rise slowly. It’s been about 54 the last 48 hrs or so. Nice clean krausen, good aroma. Seems like a normal ferment at this point.

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So I saved the slurry from one of the 5 gal batches of this. Ended up with about 2 qt mason jars. Once it settled there was about 400ml in each jar.

According to brewersfriend plenty of yeast even taking viability into account. I was hesitant but I used it for 10 more gallons of pils since the vienna turned out good.

Well…I pitched it on Wednesday afternoon to very well aerated wort. Still waiting…Friday there was some bubbling in the airlock on both buckets so I figured we had action…popped the lid open Sat AM to check…the surface was flat and quiet…no krauesen…not even any bubbles on the surface…

This yeast is really annoying…won’t subject myself to this again…

Some lessons are harder to learn than others… :wink:

But it’s ALWAYS better to learn from other’s hard learned lessons! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Looper, I disagree… sometimes some of the best lessons in life are lived… I don’t wish Dannyboy any ill fate with his brews, yet, you can’t learn by reading alone… put your hands on your task!! Sneezles61

Stupid lager yeast. I hear some are fikled. Where your temp

54F. I pitch at 52-53, ferment at 54 for a week or so then let it rise.

I’ve used this yeast for pilsners for a couple years now. Never had any issues until I tried it in the vienna referenced above.

That’s odd. I’m not a biologist but maybe it mutated some how.

I’d say, the Checz didn’t want to mingle with Austrian! Borders, gotta mind them… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: Sneezles61

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You may be on to something @sneezles61

I let temp rise to 57ish today and now have krauesen in both fermenters. Day 5 since brewing. So it started a day earlier than it did with the Vienna.

I won’t be harvesting this yeast even if the pils turns out great.

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