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Old 01-24-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Cold Start with S-04

Hello everyone,

I recently brewed a batch of my Chocolate Honey Smoked Porter, a house favorite, and pitched in a package of non-rehydrated S-04 as I always do into my glass 6 gallon carboy and swirled the wort around.

The package of the S-04 was slowly brought up to room temperature (68 Degrees F) and the wort was reading between 68-70 degrees when the yeast was pitched. (I got the wort cooled so low because I cooled it in a waterbath outside in -2 Degree F weather which only took 15 mins to go from boiling to 70 Deg F)

I put the sanitized bung and airlock in after aerating and put it in a room that was 58 Deg F and let it go. I have never brewed or fermented this recipe in the winter only in the summer where I average a temp of about 65-68 deg F. When I have pitched this yeast for this recipe in the past I usually get rapid airlock activity within 12 hours.

It's been about 24 hours now and I have no airlock activity, a bunch of trub/yeast cake at the bottom of the carboy, and the batch is 58 deg F.

I understand that you should expect airlock activity as long as 48 to 72 hours after pitching with dry yeast but I have never experienced this before.

I also understand that 58 deg F is pretty low for an ale strain (S-04 recommends fermentation no lower than 60 deg F.)

Because the wort was still pretty cool I have put it in a room that is holding around 68-70 def F and I am hoping that will start fermentation.

My questions and concerns are:

Will fermentation start? I would assume it would because we keep our dry yeast packets in the fridge as homebrewers to keep them 'fresh' which can range from 33-40 deg F.

I heard Jamil Z. say once on a Brew Strong podcast that once yeast have flocculated out of suspension (as seen by the yeast cake* at the bottom of the fermenter) they are unlikely to resuspend and start fermenting again. Should I shake the carboy and manually put the yeast back in suspension in hopes of trying to get the yeast to reactivate in the warmed up wort?

*When I say yeast cake I don't mean the thick one you get after a good fermentation, rather a thin layer of cream colored yeast cells atop the trub in the bottom of the carboy. I'd be worried if I got a massive yeast cake (indicating cell division in cold wort without airlock activity nor krausen).

If this wort does warm up and start fermenting at this relatively low temperature will I have to worry about off flavors or will this brew just be crisper and cleaner than that of one fermented warmer? I would assume that the later of this question is unfeasible considering the stress the yeast have endured. (Or have they endured very little stress because there was no huge fluctuations in temperature, rather gradual one albeit cold?)

Also, I'm not too willing to run out and get another packet of yeast as stingy as that sounds. I'd almost be more willing to buy a commercial brew that is bottle conditioned and dump that in, in hopes of re-engineering the yeast for this wort.

If worst comes to worst I will more than likely bite the bullet and grab another packet of S-04, rehydrate it, and pitch it in.

Thanks everyone in advance for your advice,

Helper

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Old 01-24-2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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Anyone use S-04 at 58-60 deg? I have 6 gallons in my sanke fermenter at 60 the last ten days and I have my fingers crossed.

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Old 01-24-2013, 10:03 PM   #3
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I ferment 04 and 05 at 54 deg ambient all the time. At that temp don't expect the krausen to fall for 2 weeks.

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Old 01-25-2013, 02:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cburgbrew View Post
I ferment 04 and 05 at 54 deg ambient all the time. At that temp don't expect the krausen to fall for 2 weeks.
How big of a krausen do you get and how long does it take for your brew to start fermenting?

I'm going on 36+ hours and I still only have a thin film of bubbles at the top of the wort with no airlock activity after warming it up to 67 deg F.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:44 AM   #5
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I go that temp with Notty and let it go for a week or 10 days before warming it up. Saying that,its easy for me to warm it,I just take it out of the fridge

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Old 01-25-2013, 02:58 AM   #6
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At these cooler temps everything is slower but worth it to me. I usually warm up to 65 to finish after the krausen has fallen. 67 is plenty warm for good activity. I say give it a swirl and wait.

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Old 01-26-2013, 01:33 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone!
I just got airlock activity and krausen formation a few hours ago, I hope all turns out well! I'll post an update later on.

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Old 01-26-2013, 01:44 AM   #8
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Isis an IIPA on Monday, cooled the wort to 68 and pitched two packets of SA-04. I let them come to room temp in the kitchen (~68) but did not rehydrate. I theft itin the basement which is 60-62 ambient. I started seeing blow-off activity in 12 hours, but it has been going very slowly - just as I wanted. I'll probably bring it upstairs tomorrow to help it finish fermenting so I can dry hop. I don't think either of you have anything to worry about. That's a very robust yeast.

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Old 12-11-2013, 02:16 AM   #9
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Thought I would bump this thread and add to it as I'm experiencing a similar dilemna. Pitched on 11.5g packet of dry s-04 into my chocolate stout (extract recipe) last night.....almost 24 hours later and all I have is a thin layer of foam and no airlock activity. I heard s-04 takes off so I am concerned. Where's my big dirty krausen?!

Pitching temp was low 60's, the fermenter got chilly over night and read 58 in the morning, it is now 64 at 7pm after I tried warming it up this morning by placing it in a little bit of warm water in a big bucket. The OG was 1.065.

Any thoughts on this? I'm crossing my fingers it shows more signs of life tomorrow morning, otherwise I'm thinking I will re-pitch another packet after 36 hours..

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Old 12-11-2013, 02:21 AM   #10
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Patience grasshopper. Patience. You pitched dry so the yeast need more time to colonize and reproduce.

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