Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oktoberfest Smack Packs

Given the warm weather, the RocketScience brew team has had yeast shipping problems.  Lager yeast has proven itself more sensitive to the warm weather, which has consistently turned 100% of our live lager yeast into dead lager yeast despite any number of ice packs that get sent along for the ride.  Our excursion into lagering has been a learning experience for us, as we've never had problems with ale yeast even during the warmest weather.

We're trying a new tactic.  This weekend, we're planning to brew a bunch of uncrushed grain into ten gallons of Märzen/Oktoberfest wort.  To compensate for potentially dead yeast, we had five packs of Wyeast 2633 - Octoberfest Lager Blend rush shipped a few days ago.  I pulled the activator packs out of the fridge and have just broken the internal yeast nutrient pouches. I'm letting the yeast proof at room temperature for a few days to see which are still alive.

I figure: at least one of those suckers must have survived.   If they all prove viable, they'll be divided between two five-gallon fermenting buckets.  If only some of them are still kicking, they'll contribute to a yeast starter (lagers should be pitched with more yeast than ales.) If none of them survive, we're brewing a porter or a brown ale and holding out for lagers until it gets cooler.

Further news as events warrant.

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