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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Archive through December 21, 2004 * Dilemma, fermentation not on my schedule... < Previous Next >

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J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 293
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 08:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've got 10gallons of pilsner fermenting primarily at 48-52F. I wanted to reuse both yeast cakes today for 5 gallons of a Samichlaus-like recipe, but last night when I checked, they still had full heads and were actively bubbling, so I decided to delay. Undoubtedly, they will be ready for diacetyl rest, rack and lager this week, but what do you think the best way to go for keeping the yeast for reuse is, since I may not have time again to brew until Monday, December 20?

Should I delay the diacetyl rest until I'm ready, or should I proceed with that, start to lager and simply delay racking, or should I proceed as normal with the pilsner, and just keep the yeast cakes cool under a very thin layer of beer?

It's really annoying that yeasts are so poor at keeping a schedule.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 1418
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 08:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I believe Denny said brew on the yeast's schedule, not your own. Inconvenient as that may be, I think it's sound advice. Harvest the yeast sediment from your pils when you rack the beer to secondary after the diacetyl rest. If that occurs on a brew day (and you may be able to juggle operations somewhat), so much the better.

If not, it's no big deal to refrigerate the sediment covered with beer in a loosely capped gallon jug or small carboy. It will store for several weeks without a problem. On the morning of your brew day, take it out of the fridge, pour off the liquid and feed it a quart or two of fresh starter wort. It should be very happy and ready to go when it comes time to pitch the yeast into your wort.
 

J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 294
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 10:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, I concur with Denny, but like Peter, my employer is a tyrant, and I don't think I can take Wednesday off to brew.

So I know racking won't occur on brew day, now. It was, as I said, supposed to be today. It's 10 days out now, but both are still active. It's two different lager yeasts, too, so they might not even be ready at the same time. I figure Monday or Tuesday is likely, so it will only have to be refrigerated for 5 days at most. Since it's only a few days, I might just keep it in the fermenter, so I can run the new wort on top of it. I'll have to decide that when it's time to rack.
 

Dave Witt
Advanced Member
Username: Davew

Post Number: 601
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 02:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Why not just let the beer sit in primary until, say, Friday night/Sat morn, then proceed with the diacetyl rest and rack on Monday? I've let lagers sit for 3 + weeks in primary with no ill effects. I don't know when you brewed this batch, though.

Otherwise, to store a yeast cake, after racking, I take a can of BMC and pour into the carboy and swish around to stir up sediment, then pour into a gallon jug. Then I top it with another can of beer and airlock it. Its a great use for a can of Bud.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 1427
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 05:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I probably should amend my paraphrasing of Denny, who is not around on weekends (hopefully he's brewing) to defend himself.

I believe he actually said to let the beer rather than the calendar determine when it is ready to rack, bottle, etc.

At any rate, this is why I have never placed much stock in estimates of the time between the various steps in the brewing process. Specific gravity readings are far and away the best method of determining when the beer is ready.

But Dave W. is correct; waiting a few days or even a week or two is hardly going to harm the beer. The effects of racking, bottling, kegging, etc. too early are much more pronounced than when these activities are postponed. Beer is quite patient, usually far more so than the brewer.

(Message edited by BillPierce on December 12, 2004)
 

J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 298
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 05:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No harm done Bill. I understood what you meant. Beer seldom keeps to my schedule, which is why there was no brewing here this weekend. I am, if nothing else, a patient brewer.

Since I don't like to brew on Saturdays and Sundays, because those are the only days I have with my wife, and I get enough weekdays free where I am home alone, I will probably delay everything to coincide with brewing on Monday the 20th, as I said above.

I still have decades until I can really keep to the beer's schedule. My original question was really in regard to what was the best for the beer which is fermenting now, while trying to maintain maximum viability of the yeast cakes. Racking at the earliest appropriate time and storing or racking a few days late and using immediately.

These are just fine details that aren't addressed in books and magazines, and are best answered by those with more experience.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 3928
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 06:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, Bill, you were close enough the first time, but right on the second!
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 2563
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 04:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For a lager, I would just let the beer rest in the primary until you are able to brew. Then transfer it to the secondary and immediately pour the chilled wort on top of the yeast cake in the original primary.

Its that simple. I have brewed lagers that way for years, and have let them sit in the primary for as long as five weeks with no off effects. And, I have never done a diacytel rest ever in brewing lagers - I always measure the gravity before racking to a secondary, and if I don't taste excessive butterscotch (I like a little in a bo-pils) in the hydrometer sample, then no need for a diacytel rest.
 

Ken Anderson
Advanced Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 517
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 05:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, that is nice to hear, because I agree totally. You can ferment a lager for a couple of weeks, crash cool it in the primary, and transfer a few weeks later. By then it may well be clear enough to go straight to the keg, or you can go to glass if need be. You know, in reading the boards, so many of us just get too frigging complicated and anal about brewing. At least for me, it's crucial to keep things simple. And I'll be damned, it works!
Ken
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 3931
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 07:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like simple, but I also like good beer.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Ken Anderson
Advanced Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 518
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 10:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmmm... I'm sensing an implication here!
 

J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 299
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 11:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not much is simpler than clicking the temperature controller a few times so it says 65, instead of 50.
 

J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 301
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 02:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Alright, the dilemma has changed.

I stopped by the LHBS (liquor store with a few HB things) to get some Belgian yeasts last night, and they had an outdated tube of Zurich yeast. I bought it anyway. Now I need to decide, for 5 gallons of OG 1.137 predicted, would I be better off pitching on a combined yeast cake of WLP Czech and Pilsner yeasts from the previous 10 gallon batch, or would I be better served by growing a 1 gallon starter of Zurich yeast, which I know tolerates higher EtOH? This would of course change the brewing date. That is no problem, though, since I spent the week reviving some two-year-old slants of WLP007 and 025, and I could make something else in the meantime.

Or, I could pitch on my yeast cakes, see how far it goes, then pitch a starter of Zurich, if it stalls.

What do you think?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 1492
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would use the yeast cake (size matters with a beer this big) from the previous batch, followed by the yeast from a 1 gallon starter of the Zurich lager when fermentation subsides. I think you'll have a fighting chance of achieving decent attenuation.
 

Flobey
New Member
Username: Flobey

Post Number: 16
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 04:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BTW, this is exactly what we're doing with our Samiclones. I pitched Wyeast Munich lager from a big starter two weeks ago, and the yeast are still munching away. We used the second runnings to make a much smaller (1.050) lager and pitched 3 tubes of slightly out of date Zurich lager yeast. When the Munich lager slows we'll be pitching the entire Zurich lager yeast cake plus about another 3lbs of DME to boost a slightly low OG. Also, I've read that multiple feedings are a way to keep the yeast going. We'll see!

Colby
 

J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 304
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, December 17, 2004 - 08:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's tremendous. I will do that with the second runnings. I had not thought of that. I was planning on collecting most of the runnings for one batch and boiling forever, but that is a much better idea.

Unfortunately, it is now looking like I will have to come to the office on Monday, so I will have to put off the brewing until Tuesday. I hate when you get weird stuff at the last minute. It will give me time to make a starter with the Zurich, though.
 

J. Steinhauer
Intermediate Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 307
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 01:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It might not be so good. The way I figure it, to hit my target gravity with a two hour boil based on a no-sparge technique (to collect second runnings later) I would have to use 44 pounds of grain. If this doesn't make sense, let me know a different way of figuring this. Otherwise I'll keep with my 12kg recipe and boil for 4 hours.

I may get around to brewing this tomorrow. Just massed out my 11kg of pilsner malt and put a bigger aquarium heater in my stock tank full of brewing liquor. It was frozen over, and it's only getting colder. I'd use the pond heater, but the temp controller for that is on the heater for the fermenting room. It was OF this morning, and tomorrow night going to -12F. Not the Red River Valley, but still cold.