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Old 01-01-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
carbonzx
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Default dead yeast, what now?

i also have a similar thread on the nb forum, but their forum seems to not get a ton of traffic and any advice i have gotten does not seem to be from the most experienced brewers so i bring this here.
i brewed the nb extract bavarian heffeveissen kit on the 30th using the appropriate wyeast liguid pack. this is my second ever brew and my first one turned out fine, but i am onto 36+ hours in the fermentor at this time and my yeast had fallen to form a yeast cake since the first time i checked it 12 hours in with zero airlock activity at that time. that is the point i started to get slightly worried. i then had a short period where my airlock was actually drawing air into the carboy for awhile and then it stopped again. i just now took a hydrometer reading, my og after boil and aeration was 1.048 right on the money for what the directions said, but now after 36+ hours my reading is coming out to 1.055. i am going to go ahead and assume that my yeast is dead.
i have only 3 theories that i can think of that caused this.
1. i had my yeast pack sanitizing in too warm of water, ~115f for 10-20 minutes
2. i used a slightly different process to top off my carboy. after i cooled my wort in an ice bath to being only warm to the touch, i poured in. i then boiled 3 gallons of tap water and also cooled much slower in my sink to slightly warmer than what the wort was bc at this point my wort had 30-40 minutes to further cool. when done and topped off i was at a nice warm temp for my hydro reading maybe 80-90.
3. the yeast was dead before i even got it.

anyways i now have some questions about where to go from here.
how long will my wort hold for without repitching?
should i remove my wort off the old yeast cake? maybe boil it again if necessary?

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:37 PM   #2
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Repitch the yeast, I think you killed it in the water bath @ 115 for 20mins.

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:41 PM   #3
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72 hours. wait that long before worrying. don't sanitize your yeast at extreme temps for extended periods of time. don't assume posters at another site are inexperienced if you don't give them 1/2 a chance. I happen to know quite a few of the regular posters on NB are quite experienced and could give you a universe of advice.

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:46 PM   #4
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Get one of these: Digital Thermometer. They are calibrated and come with a calibration sheet, don't guess on temps.

Sanitize the yeast pack with liquid sanitizer, not heat.

Remember to adjust your hydro readings for temp, most are calibrated at 60F.

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:47 PM   #5
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advice to relax is kind of hard to handle when i knew something was wrong in the first place. my gravity readings proved me right on that one. my main concern being i have no idea how long unfermented wort will hold for, and didn't/don't want to risk a ruined batch because of infection.

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carbonzx View Post
i have only 3 theories that i can think of that caused this.
1. i had my yeast pack sanitizing in too warm of water, ~115f for 10-20 minutes
I have to ask... Why did you do this?? What are you using for a sanitizer for everything else?? If you're not already using a no-rinse sanitizer, like Star San, change to it.

Most of us will either dunk the pouch of yeast in the Star San solution bucket, or spray the outside of the pouch before opening it up.

Pasteurization begins at 140F, so there's a chance your move only pissed the yeast off. As already mentioned, don't repitch until it's been 72 hours from when you originally pitched the yeast.

IF you practiced good sanitation methods, then the wort should be ok. If not, [chances are] it's buggered no matter what you do.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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I doubt that 115 degrees would kill the yeast.
As to the gravity. It is impossible that your OG went up. Uneven mix of the wort or temperature difference would make that difference.

What temperature is the wort at now? Too low will make the yeast go dormant. That would take less than 60 degrees.

Raise the temperature to near 70 degrees and see what happens.

You should also look into making starters. That would tell you if your yeast is viable before you pitch and also ensure that you are pitching the proper amount of yeast. Pitching too little yeast will cause an increase in lag time before the fermentation gets started. Look for no change gravity to decide that there is no fermentation. Airlock activity is unreliable.

Check out mrmalty.com and yeastcalc.com.

If the yeast is dead I suspect you purchased it that way.

I would not re-pitch until you have no action for 72 hours.
If you do have to re-pitch, do it soon thereafter. You do not need to transfer off what is already there.

Good luck.

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:59 PM   #8
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The wort was probably too warm when you checked it. It needs to be 60 degrees for an accurate hydrometer reading. Hotter wort is thinner. Your yeast is fine. There is nothing wrong with it at all. You haven't waited long enough to see that. In the future don't put your yeast in hot water.

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carbonzx View Post
advice to relax is kind of hard to handle when i knew something was wrong in the first place. my gravity readings proved me right on that one. my main concern being i have no idea how long unfermented wort will hold for, and didn't/don't want to risk a ruined batch because of infection.
you are worrying too much. as been stated more than once, wait 72 hours. no activity? re-pitch. maybe the skilled brewers are trying to tell you something with this whole "relax" thing, eh?
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #10
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I do hope you're not judging fermentation/yeast activity by airlock activity. There have been plenty of cases where the airlock hasn't done a damned thing, but the beer fermented fully anyway. Especially when buckets are used, since the lids can [sometimes] be a total PITA to get to seal fully.

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