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Consequences Of Long Lag Time

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pbrosnan

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My brew from a couple of weeks ago is going
on the garden. It has an off flavour that's hard to describe (maybe
medicinal?) but I was wondering if it might be due to a very slow yeast
start up. I smacked the yeast pack (Wyeast 1275) Saturday morning and it
had swelled no more than inch by the time I pitched it on Monday morning (that wa as long as I was preapred to wait).
This has happened on a couple of other occasions and I have had the same off
flavour a couple of times before as well although I can't say for certain
that the 2 events coincided. Anyway I'm taking no chances this time and
making a starter. Any thoughts, especially as to the flavour consequences of
underpitching?
 

RobW

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I've had the same problem with that yeast. Last year I bought a pack & used it to make an English bitter which was fine. I stored about 10 aliquots of yeast direct from the smack pack under sterile water, which is my normal practice. I used one of these to make an IPA which had the taste you describe so strongly it was undrinkable & I tossed the lot (after bottling & leaving for 6 weeks to see if the taste cleared). Then after reappraising my sanitation technique and being really carefull I made another bitter which was drinkable but still had a suggestion of the same taste. This was followed by a porter. Again OK but just didn't quite taste right. Then another bitter - same thing, drinkable but tasted a bit metallic/medicinal. Three weeks ago I did another bitter and the starter smelled so strongly of the same thing that I didn't pitch it and went with the emergency Safale instead. That one has turned out OK so I am pretty confident the problem lies with the yeast.
My first thought was that the cultures were contaminated but I plated them out on different media at work & there was no sign of contaminants just pure yeast growth. I'll make another starter straight off the agar this time but if the problem is still there I think I'll have to chuck the lot. The only other thing I can think off is that the yeast has mutated but that seems unlikely. I'd be interested to know if anybody else has had similiar experience with this yeast (Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley).
 

warrenlw63

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Not my favourite yeast either Rob,

Wasn't the fact that it had off-flavours per-se. More the fact that the yeast basically kept wanting to climb out of the fermenter. Very vigorous top-cropper. Pitched at 16c and fermented at same still did not avert this.

Finished beer would not clear. Even with the additon of isinglass. Character of the beer was very yeasty with an almost chalky character that was not pleasant at all.

Certainly would not encourage it's use in a glass carboy with minimal headspace (as I did <_< ). Think this yeast would be at it's best in an open-fermentation environment. Had similar experiences with Wyeast 1318 (London Ale III).

Whenever I make English Ales now. It's a case of better the devil you know. I always use Wyeast 1968 (ESB) or 1028 London Ale. Both great yeasts.

Warren -
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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I have never had trouble with that yeast.

If the lag phase is over 24 hours I re-aerate and the yeast then starts working properly. If the yeast sachet has not swollen properly I aerate the beer twice a day for the first 3 days after pitching. I have fermented and fully attenuated beers into which I pitched just a little 50ml smack pack with this ra-aeration.

Jovial Monk
 

RobW

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warrenlw63 said:
Not my favourite yeast either Rob,

Wasn't the fact that it had off-flavours per-se. More the fact that the yeast basically kept wanting to climb out of the fermenter. Very vigorous top-cropper. Pitched at 16c and fermented at same still did not avert this.

Finished beer would not clear. Even with the additon of isinglass. Character of the beer was very yeasty with an almost chalky character that was not pleasant at all.

Certainly would not encourage it's use in a glass carboy with minimal headspace (as I did <_< ). Think this yeast would be at it's best in an open-fermentation environment. Had similar experiences with Wyeast 1318 (London Ale III).

Whenever I make English Ales now. It's a case of better the devil you know. I always use Wyeast 1968 (ESB) or 1028 London Ale. Both great yeasts.

Warren -
[post="59664"][/post]​
I didn't find it over vigorous. I used a 1 litre starter but don't aerate after pitching.
Fermentation was at the recommended top end of 20-22oC.
PBrosnan - what was your fermentation temperature?
 

warrenlw63

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Pbrosnan something I forgot to add ,

Never hurts to make a starter. Even though large smack packs are ready to pitch. Starters at least allow you to guage the yeast's performance and build up pitching amounts. Also if you step up say twice, you at least can taste the starter and check for anything suspect.

Warren -
 

MAH

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pbrosnan said:
My brew from a couple of weeks ago is going
on the garden. It has an off flavour that's hard to describe (maybe
medicinal?) but I was wondering if it might be due to a very slow yeast
start up.
Maybe, maybe not. It could be that this particular yeast produces lots of phenols. It could be that the phenols are reacting with a chlorine based sanitiser or highly chlorinated water to produce chlorophenols. It could be a wild yeast infection in your brewery.

Eliminate one thing at a time and you will work out what it is.

MAH
 

Guest Lurker

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Ive used 1275 lots of times without any nasty tastes. But I did have a problem for a while with a very slight medicinal taste in some other brews, as MAH suggests I suspected chlorophenols, and now use camden tablets to treat my chlorine rich Perth tap water and havent noticed it since.
 

warrenlw63

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Chlorophenols are a fairly noticeable and very unpleasant thing.

Guess this should be one to put in the stupid brewer's tricks section. :huh:

I once racked from a fermenter that had a blowoff hose and a bottle with a fairly strong bleach solution attached due to a pretty vigorous fermentation. I was stupid enough not to take the hose out. Must have had a good seal and the action of opening the tap more or less syphoned about 300-400mls of the bleach solution straight into the fermenter of finished beer.

The beer was a rye-wit and the resultant flavour was like sucking on band-aids. Also the head retention was nil. <_<

Warren -
 

pbrosnan

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Hi all,

Thanks for the replies, lots of info to go on. Guest Lurker, when do you add the Camden tablets? I'm going to take a trip to TWOC Saturday morning so I'll try and pick some up there. Interestingly I smacked a pack of Belgian Ale this evening to put in the starter and guess what? I'm bloody sure I could smell the same thing. And this is sniffing the empty yeast sachet. What are we to make of that? The yeast was manufactured in August last year. BTW fermentation temp of bad batch was around 18-20.
 

jaytee

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I had a problem batch with the W1275 last year.

But, in hindsight it was one of my first batches of extract/grains with liquid yeast

The starter probably wasn't at it's healthy best when pitched and I stirred the shit out of the wort when hot in an attempt to help cool it.

I got a medicinal smell in the fermenter and cardboard taste in the bottle - that didn't age out.

No problems since with that yeast - or any others - maybe I learned something from the experience !
 

Vlad the Pale Aler

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I have used 1275 in my last 2 brews and am happy with the results, I filter my brewing water which removes the chlorine etc. and I fermented at 16-18c. I think I would be looking past the yeast to find the problem.

p brosnan - if you are coming to the Perth brewday tomorrow you can taste these 2 beers, an IPA and a stout.

By the way, how long exactly was the lag time. Lag time being the time the yeast takes to show signs of activity after pitching into the wort. And how long was the wort sitting without any yeast in it.
 
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