Well the Celebration Lager I brewed last month seems to have failed miserably and it’s my fault for pitching tired old lager yeast.
What happened was I pitched a smack pack of Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager with a manufacturing date of July 2009 without making a starter and without smacking the pack. I left it at 20 degrees Celsius with the intention of dropping it down to 10 once fermentation started.
3 days later I finally saw some signs of fermentation and dropped the temperature down before heading off on holiday for 8 days, upon my return I pulled out the trusty refractometer and nada, the gravity hasn’t moved. Interestingly the slants I made from the yeast smack pack show no/limited signs of life also.
Theory: Whatever started the fermentation was not the yeast but something else that stopped working at the lower temp.
Regardless I have pitched a starter of Wyeast 1335 British Ale II that I had in the fridge as a contingency plan and bumped the temp back up to 20 degrees. We’ll see what happens.
I don’t see this one being suitable for the wedding though so this weekend I’ll put down a new brew “JP’s Pale Ale” using a similar hopping schedule that should be a great substitute.
Big, healthy starters for all future lagers (and ales for that matter!)… not like I didn’t know that already but we all get disorganised sometimes. If only I didn’t have a full time job to get in the way of the brewing ;-).