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Old 06-08-2010, 12:13 PM   #1
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Default How long are you willing to wait for signs of fermentation?

I brewed Saturday and pitched a yeast that I harvested and washed in September (I know... a long time ago). I made a starter 2 days before brew day (should have been earlier but I forgot about it). Saturday morning (brew day), the starter was showing signs of activity but not as much as I would like to see. BTW... it is Wyeast 1056.
So, it has been about 60 hours...
I have a 3 piece airlock on the fermenter in a 68f chamber, and the "cup" in the airlock is sitting dead on the bottom. I know not to rely on airlock activity to measure fermentation, but even if there's a leak, I can normally smell the activity when I open the fermentation chamber. If I don't see any outward signs, I will try to take a sample tonight to check the SG.

I can't get the the LHBS today, but could tomorrow.

So, the question is How long would you wait before pitching a new smack pack?

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Old 06-08-2010, 12:15 PM   #2
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I'd wait 72 hours at a minimum, if you don't have any question about your sanitation methods then let it sit as long as a week or two. Unless you pitched HOT your yeast will start up!

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #3
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/, and by visible signs we don't necessarily mean a bubbling airlock.

It IS a sticky at the top of the beginners forum for a reason, afterall.

I noticed you didn't make a starter, and since it is advisable to make a starter with liquid yeast for any beer above 1.020, then of course it will take awhile to get going. They need to reproduce before they get working, so a long lag time is not surprising.

Relax, and take a hydro reading after 72 hours, since you already know that airlock bubbling is not a good sign, and honestly neither is your nose.
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/, and by visible signs we don't necessarily mean a bubbling airlock.

It IS a sticky at the top of the beginners forum for a reason, afterall.

I noticed you didn't make a starter, and since it is advisable to make a starter with liquid yeast for any beer above 1.020, then of course it will take awhile to get going. They need to reproduce before they get working, so a long lag time is not surprising.

Relax, and take a hydro reading after 72 hours, since you already know that airlock bubbling is not a good sign, and honestly neither is your nose.
Thanks for responding.

I truly mean no disrespect, but you didn't answer my question.
If you re-read the op, you'll see I did make a starter (but it was somewhat "weak"), and I stated that I will take a hydro reading today which will be 72 hours.
So, if no activity (no change in sg) after 72 hours, would you re-pitch?
Would you make another starter?

I know a bubbling airlock or my nose are not reliable "tools", but up to this point they have always been very good indicators. If I take a hydro reading tonight and this thing is going gang busters, I promise, I will never smell my fermentation cabinet again

I was trying to find out how long I could keep washed yeast and feel comfortable about the viability... I think I have answered that question
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #5
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Optimum time to pitch a starter is at high krausen. That is because the yeast have finished their reproductive stage and have begun fermenting the sugars in the starter and producing CO2.

Sounds like you pitched before that happened so the yeast may be in an extended reproduction phase. You should be getting activity soon.

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Old 06-08-2010, 01:39 PM   #6
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Well I stand by my answer whether I missed the part about the starter or not....there is a reason why we say 72 hours, and not go by OTHER signs than a hydro....They may have been good "TOOLS" to you in the past, but that doesn't mean that they are this time.

there is nothing "typical" in brewing...every fermentation is different, and should not be used to compare one with another...you can't do that.

Just because you may have never had something happen before on your beers, doesn't mean that the yeast are doing anything wrong. It just means that you haven't experienced one of the infinite NORMAL behaviors that living organisms, living wildcards, are capable of.

you can't compare one brew to another. No two fermentations are ever exactly the same.

When we are dealing with living creatures, there is a wild card factor in play..Just like with other animals, including humans...No two behave the same.

You can split a batch in half put them in 2 identical carboys, and pitch equal amounts of yeast from the same starter...and have them act completely differently...for some reason on a subatomic level...think about it...yeasties are small...1 degree difference in temp to us, could be a 50 degree difference to them...one fermenter can be a couple degrees warmer because it's closer to a vent all the way across the room and the yeasties take off...

Someone, Grinder I think posted a pic once of 2 carboys touching each other, and one one of the carboys the krausen had formed only on the side that touched the other carboy...probably reacting to the heat of the first fermentation....but it was like symbiotic or something...

With living micro-organisms there is always a wildcard factor in play...and yet the yeast rarely lets us down. So it is best just to rdwhahb and trust that they know to what they are doing.

Don't assume the worst with the yeast, realize that they've been making beer since long before our great great great grandfather copped his first buzz from a 40 of mickey's out back of the highschool, so they are the experts.

Yeasts are like teenagers, swmbos, and humans in general, they have their own individual way of doing things.

Now to the part about yeast viability of stored yeast, I'll give you another pat answer that was written for a reason, just like we tell people to WAIT and to use your hydrometer, because we know other means are flawed, and yeast OFTEN need 72 hours. It's that simple.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by revvy
Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

With any stored, old yeast you just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine. The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

If yeast can be grown from a tiny amount that has been encased in amber for 45 million years, 45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale we really don't need to sweat too much about how old a yeast is, if it's properly stored.

we just need to think in terms of making starters. Viability isn't really an issue if you are reproducing a lot of healthy cells. Which is what you are doing when you make a starter.....

Really even with "old yeast" if there is a few cells, they will reproduce.
The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Thinking about "doing anything" without taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on?

Would you allow yourself to go into surgery if your doctor says? "I sniff all my patients, been doing it all my life, my nose KNOWS when a patient needs surgery."

Me personally, I'd want him to use a SCIENTIFIC instrument...

P
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:58 PM   #7
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I like to see signs of fermentation within 24 hrs. No matter has sanitize you are there will always be bugs in your wort.

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Old 06-08-2010, 02:02 PM   #8
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I like to see signs of fermentation within 24 hrs. No matter has sanitize you are there will always be bugs in your wort.
And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we?

And I don't agree that there's ALWAYS bugs in your wort. If you've sanitized your gear AND your wort, then there's little worry about that.
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, but we can't always get what we want can we?

And I don't agree that there's ALWAYS bugs in your wort. If you've sanitized your gear AND your wort, then there's little worry about that.
if you dont see a majority of your beers take off within 24 hrs then you are doing something wrong. For the right price you can get a red headed twin
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:09 PM   #10
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if you dont see a majority of your beers take off within 24 hrs then you are doing something wrong.
You can believe that if you want. But a 72 hour lag time is a NATURAL occurrence. Just because yeast need to reproduce, and come out of dormancy, doesn't mean anything is wrong. And we have thousands of threads on here that back it up.... And I bet even the OP's will confirm that.
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