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Old 01-23-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
BrewLou
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Default When to hit the panic button...

Out of 11 all grain batches, I have never had this happen so hang with me as I explain.

Did a brew Monday. I started around noon that day. Finished up around 4:30pm and have everything sealed up with all my measurements in hand.

OG was 1.080. Ill typically do a double smack pack for anything over 1.075. Went with Wyeast California Ale for this. Popped both packs at mash in time. Neither expanded a bit.

I have had this happen in the past and was told not to worry. Every time before fermentation has kicked off w/in 24hrs.

Cooled wort after boil and pitched. Sealed everything up and as of this am there is not an ounce of activity I can measure/see. Gravity is still hovering at 1.079-1.080 and the air lock hasnt budged.

When should I worry about 2 packs of possibly crapped out yeast? Before I throw in the towel is it possible to get yet another smack pack and give it ago? It has been over 40hrs so I am getting a bit worried. This was a very complex brew (the most complex/expensive I have tried so far ($90 for the batch)) so I really dont want to give up on this unless I have too.

Thanks for any help in advance!

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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What was your pitch temp?
what is the temp in your fermentor now?
Was there any visible activation on the smack packs? (how puffed up where the packs before pitching)
Did you use any yeast nutrient?

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
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Some more questions to ponder/learn from for next time:

What was the date on the yeast pack?
- Every month they sit, they loose viability.
- Even two old packs may not have given you the amount of yeast you needed.

How well did you aerate the wort before pitching the yeast?
- Again, IMO, higher gravity beers seem to need to more oxygen to aid in healthy fermentation.

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/how-...ctorial-76101/
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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Did you just purchase both smack packs? And if so, do you happen to know how old they were? I'm lucky in that enough people shop at my LHBS that the yeast is almost always super fresh, especially for common strains like the Cali ale.

Given the high gravity of the ale, I assume you aerated very well as it sounds like you've done HG beers before. Do you have an oxygen diffuser that you can use? And like Bean asked, was there any yeast nutrient added to the wort?

I would never walk away from a beer in the fermentor, especially when you've invested a lot and been careful up to here. I would purchase new yeast, checking for freshness. That being the case, you may want to get dry yeast just to be safe. Who knows what might have happened in he LHBS cooler? Pitch new yeast in and see what happens; could be that once it starts to ferment, the Wyeast will come out of dormancy and join in. Worst case, you pitched in some nutrient from the Wyeast packs for the new yeast to utilize. If you do this, though, I'd rack it to secondary just before fermentation completes, allowing healthy yeast to fall out and soak up any byproducts and getting it off the potentially dead yeast cake at the bottom.

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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If you still have no activity after a couple days i would suggest a yeast starter from a new smack pack and pitch that at high krausen, around 12-18hrs. Let us know how it turns out as far as getting fermentation going.

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Old 01-23-2013, 05:23 PM   #7
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Ill answer what I can here...

Temp was a bit higher than what I typically pitch at (/shakes fist at the 4 triples I had during brewing) at 83-84F. Didnt notice this till after I had pitched the yeast. I generally pitch around 72-76F. Temp in fermentor now is ambient room temp. My house fluxuates around 68-72. Fermenter usually stays 70-72.

No nutrient/starter. I have made HG beers a lot stronger than this brew w/o either in the past that have turned out amazing. LHBS actually gave me the idea of using double packs as opposed to building a starter. More money for them I know, but the wife will kill me if I get any extra equipment to start growing up yeast lol.

No air stone or anything but I did oxygenate vigorously.

I purchased both smack packs on Sat and brewed this on Monday. Dates on the packs were fine, but neither pack showed any signs of activation after 3hrs. I have seen this before though and never had an issue.

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Old 01-23-2013, 05:35 PM   #8
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+1
I am thinking you underpitched a bit. Even with the freshest date available, the Mr. Malty calc posted above says you'd want 3 smack packs for 5.25 gallons of 1.080 wort.

It's quite possible that a low yeast count is the culprit here. If you have the access to do so quickly, I would say it wouldn't hurt to grab and pitch an extra smack pack to bolster your yeast count. I've had packs not swell significantly when smacked on brew day and the beer has turned out just fine.

If your sanitation was solid, it won't hurt the beer to sit sealed up for a day or 2 without visible signs of fermentation.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:45 PM   #9
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Let it go a good 72 hours and see if it starts. If not just pitch a couple packs of Safale-05. It's the same exact strain and has the cell counts you need for a HG beer like that.

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Old 01-23-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewLou View Post
Ill answer what I can here...

Temp was a bit higher than what I typically pitch at (/shakes fist at the 4 triples I had during brewing) at 83-84F. Didnt notice this till after I had pitched the yeast. I generally pitch around 72-76F. Temp in fermentor now is ambient room temp. My house fluxuates around 68-72. Fermenter usually stays 70-72.

No nutrient/starter. I have made HG beers a lot stronger than this brew w/o either in the past that have turned out amazing. LHBS actually gave me the idea of using double packs as opposed to building a starter. More money for them I know, but the wife will kill me if I get any extra equipment to start growing up yeast lol.

No air stone or anything but I did oxygenate vigorously.

I purchased both smack packs on Sat and brewed this on Monday. Dates on the packs were fine, but neither pack showed any signs of activation after 3hrs. I have seen this before though and never had an issue.
So you got drunk, pitched 2 packages of un-activated yeast into an 84° 1.080 wort without any starter or nutrients and the shaking method wasn't ideal for a 1.080 wort either. And now it's not bubbling 40 hours later.

I think it's safe to say that it's not bubbling because your yeasts hate you.
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