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I let a lager sit for 10 weeks in a secondary until it was very clear (the cold helped with clarity), and then used the yeast slurry at the bottom as a starter for another batch. I usually make a starter, but I was brewing and bottling on the same day and tried to take a shortcut.

However, three days later, there are no signs of fermentation (bubbling airlock) in the new batch. Is it likely that the yeast is so dormant that it's taking a while to reactivate, or should I go back to the local homebrew store in a few days and get some additional known-good yeast? The new batch has a fairly low OG (~1.045), but it still should have plenty of sugar to ferment. What would you do?

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What temp is the beer at? it may just be slow taking off due to older yeast and low temp. When I reuse slurry that old, I "wake it up" first by adding maybe a qt. of wort to it. Since you didn't do that, you may be dealing with a low cell count and viabilty due to the age of the yeast. I'd guess it will start up sooner rather than later, but might have an effect on beer quality.

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10 weeks is a long time for a yeast slurry to sit. You may want to add some additional yeast.

Brew Strong: Repitching Yeast

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  • It was a pretty long time to sit, but that maibock is clear and beautiful! I had a feeling this would happen right after I asked, but I woke up this morning and there's now some slow bubbling action - looks like it just took a little while. Thanks for the link to Brew Strong episode; I missed that the first time around but I will go check it out. – Erik Kastman Apr 14 '11 at 15:25

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