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Old 08-24-2010, 05:35 AM   #1
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Default Yeast not yet bubbling - how long before you would get concerned?

I brewed my Pumpkin Ale on Saturday evening (2 days ago) and the yeasties have not yet taken off. I used a White Labs WPL002 and pitched at 76F. At what point should I be really concerned that I screwed the pooch on my extract kit. The recipe says to have the pumpkin in the primary for 5 days but if it finally takes off tomorrow or Wednesday, should I leave it alone until the fermenting stops or slows and I can transfer to a secondary?

Just a little concerned that I may have missed something.

Thoughts??

Jerry

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Old 08-24-2010, 05:38 AM   #2
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How do you know your yeast isn't doing anything? Plus:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/

Leave your beer on the yeast at least two weeks despite what the instructions say.
If you are not adding anything to your beer transferring to secondary is unnecessary.

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Old 08-24-2010, 05:41 AM   #3
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I'm just looking at the airlock and not seeing any activity yet. I will let it sit for a couple more days before I really get worried. If it takes 72 hours, then should I wait 5 additional days before transferring to a secondary (or just wait until the airlock stops bubbling - assuming it starts soon)? I just don't want to keep the pumpkin in too long as I don't want that flavor to overpower everything else.

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Old 08-24-2010, 06:20 AM   #4
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Pumpkin has a real mellow flavor- if any- IMO.
most pumpkin ales have spices which are the main flavor component.

Just relax and let it sit for two weeks.
Next time, make a starter (presuming you did not).

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:18 PM   #5
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I did not make a starter. According to the guy at the LHBS, the White Laps yeast vial does not need a starter and, unlike Wyeast, you don't need to smack the pack to activate. Just sit out for an hour or so prior to pitching. I pitched at 76F so it should be straight forward. I did not aerate the wort with CO as I don't have that but I did do a stir prior to putting the lid on. I will just sit on it for a while and see what happens. Thanks!

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:21 PM   #6
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If you did make a starter, then you wouldn't be here bitch'ing about it!

All my beers are rocking w/in 8 hrs-- your call.

Go and read the 72 hr thread someone cited above.

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:22 PM   #7
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Airlock not bubbling, I'm never concerned whether it bubbles or not, half my beers NEVER blip an airlock....

Now as to whether or not your beer is FERMENTING, which is really what you care about, right? Not whether your cheap airlock bubbles.

#1 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.

As already stated in the linked sticky, Fermentation often can take up to three days to start. And by visible signs they do NOT mean airlock bubbling.

I don't see anything by what you are saying to indicate that your fermentation actually wasn't. All I see is that your airlock wasn't bubbling, and that you didn't take a gravity reading before panicking and and starting this thread.

BUT without a gravity reading all you are telling me is that your airlock wasn't bubbling....That is NOT the same thing as a fermentation happening.

Whether it's in a conical, a bucket, or a carboy, it's the same thing. An airlock is a VENT, a VALVE to release excess co2, nothing more.

If it's not bubbling it just means that there no excess co2 to be vented out.

In your case, more than likely hadn't even started yet, or that it was working fine, and just didn't need to vent any co2 yet.

A beer may ferment perfectly fine without a single blip in the airlock.

That's why you need to take a gravity reading to know how your fermentation is going, NOT go by airlocks. The most important tool you can use is a hydrometer. It's the only way you will truly know when your beer is ready...airlock bubbles and other things are faulty.

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?

So wait at least 72 hours and take a grav reading if you are worried still.

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midfielder5 View Post
If you did make a starter, then you wouldn't be here bitch'ing about it!
LOL..... Truer words were never written.

It's really a good idea to make starters when using ANY liguid yeast for all beers above 1.020 OG...

The biggest reason I suggest folks make a starter is if you make one you'll have peace of mind.
And you won't be starting an "is my yeast dead" thread in a couple of days. Oh, like this one....

Making a starter first insures that your yeast is still alive and viable before you dump it in your beer. You will be less likely to start one of those "is my yeast dead?" threads that are on here every day.

You will also ensure that you have enough yeast usually the tubes and smack packs are a lot less yeast that you really should use for healthy fermentation.

Making a starter also usually means your beer will take off sooner, because the first thing that the little buggers do in the presence of wort (whether in a flask or in a fermenter) is have an orgy to reproduce enough cells to do the job...So it won't take such a long time in the fermenter since they started doing it in the flask.

Additionally it is better for the yeast to consume and reproduce incrementally rather than just dumping them into the fermenter...The yeast will be less stressed out than if you just dump them in.

Stressed out yeast can lead to a lot of off flavors...maybe even (though rare) the dreaded autolysis....Or the curse of 1.030....getting a stuck fermentation because the yeast have bit the dust.

So making a starter proves your yeast is still healthy, allows you to grow enough yeast to do the job, cuts down on lag time, and ensures that you will not get off flavors or stuck ferementations from stressed out yeast.

Also has to do with the actual pitch rates of the smack packs and tubes, and has to do with the data that Jamil Z has on his mr malty website.

I'll quote some of it, but really you should look at the stuff there;

http://www.mrmalty.com/pitching.php

Quote:
Ales & Lagers

The general consensus on pitching rates is that you want to pitch around 1 million cells of viable yeast, for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato. A little less for an ale, a little more for a lager. George Fix states about 1.5 million for a lager and 0.75 million for an ale in his book, An Analysis of Brewing Techniques. Other literature cites a slightly higher amount. I'm going with Fix's numbers and that is what the pitching calculator uses.
The Math

If you're curious, here is the simple math to calculate the number of cells needed. For an ale, you want to pitch around 0.75 million cells of viable yeast (0.75 million for an ale, 1.5 million for a lager), for every milliliter of wort, for every degree plato.

(0.75 million) X (milliliters of wort) X (degrees Plato of the wort)

* There is about 3785 milliliters in a gallon. There are about 20,000 milliliters in 5.25 gallons.

* A degree Plato is about 1.004 of original gravity. Just divide the OG by 4 to get Plato (e.g., 1.048 is 12 degrees Plato).

So, for a 1.048 wort pitching into 5.25 gallons you need about 180 billion cells.

(750,000) X (20,000) X (12) = 180,000,000,000

As an easy to remember rough estimate, you need about 15 billion cells for each degree Plato or about 4 billion cells for each point of OG when pitching into a little over 5 gallons of wort. If you want a quick way of doing a back of the envelope estimate, that is really close to 0.75 billion cells for each point of gravity per gallon of wort. Double that to 1.5 billion for a lager.
Pitching From Tubes, Packs, or Dry Yeast

Both White Labs and Wyeast make fantastic products and you can't go wrong with either one. There are differences between their strains and each brand has pluses and minuses yet neither is better than the other across the board. Use the brand your local homebrew shop carries, if you need a way to decide.

A White Labs tube has between 70 and 120 billion cells of 100% viable yeast, depending on the yeast strain. Some cells are much larger than others and there are more or less per ml based on size. (The information on the White Labs web site stating 30 to 50 billion cells is out of date.) We can just assume there are around 100 billion very healthy yeast. You would need 2 tubes if you were pitching directly into 5.5 gallons of 1.048 wort to get the proper cell counts.

A Wyeast Activator pack (the really big ones) and the pitchable tubes have an average of 100 billion cells of 100% viable yeast. The smaller packs are around 15-18 billion cells. You would need 2 of the large packs if you were pitching directly into 5.5 gallons of 1.048 wort to get the proper cell counts. For the small packs, you'd need eleven of them!

But to make it easier he has a great pitch rate calculator http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

And according to his numbers on his calculator, really any beer above 1.020, you should be making a starter for.

Me personally when I use liquid yeast I just make a starter. I may not be as anal as some brewers and makes sure that I have the exact cellcount for whatever gravity beer I am making, but I do make one for the above reasons I mentioned, namely peace of mid, and a reduction in lag time.

Seriously, that's one way to insure you have clean tasting beer, not to stress out or underpitch your yeast. You may find the "bothering" to make a starter will make even the less than best kit beer come out tasting great.

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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Actually, I did take a OG reading - 1.060 was what came up. The recipe stated is should be 1.047 for OG and 1.012 for FG for ABV of 4.5%. If my FG comes close to the 1.012, I should have a very healthy ABV close to 6%, if my math is correct.

I'll look at the sticky link - I didn't see one on fermentation prior to posting but thanks for the info. I really do appreciate it and all the help I've gotten off these boards.

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvanwest View Post
Actually, I did take a OG reading - 1.060 was what came up. The recipe stated is should be 1.047 for OG and 1.012 for FG for ABV of 4.5%. If my FG comes close to the 1.012, I should have a very healthy ABV close to 6%, if my math is correct.

I'll look at the sticky link - I didn't see one on fermentation prior to posting but thanks for the info. I really do appreciate it and all the help I've gotten off these boards.
Once you've pitched your yeast we're not talking about you OG..it's when you think there is a problem, (like you thinking an airlcok is a great gauge of fermentation) you THEN take another reading, that will tell you where your beer is at NOW.
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