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Old 10-17-2006, 06:03 AM   #1
undermind
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Default Can't get down to 70 degrees!

I'm waiting to get down to 70 degrees so I can pitch the yeast, but my wort has been at 81 for the last 5 hours. My house is 68 right now.

One thing I'm unclear on is whether to cap the carboy or not. It seems like if I do than it will take longer to reach temp. But if I do, I can put it outside. Obviously this is my first batch of beer, that's why I'm struggling over basic concepts and asking about it. The Joy of Homebrewing has been my guide and I'm unclear of the capping part. If I put it outside, do I risk more possibility of catching wild yeasts?


And by the way, I don't have an actual cap to use, but I could use plastic or something.

Thanks.

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Old 10-17-2006, 06:44 AM   #2
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Pitch the yeast at 81. You're much better off doing this than letting your wort sit unfermented for 5 hours. Cover it imediately. The period between cooling the wort below 160*F until pitching the yeast is the primary time that infections can occur. It is important to get the wort cooled below 90* or so and pitch the yeast quickly.

Dont put it outside. Leave it in a dark room, preferably in the mid 60s to low 70s.

- magno

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Old 10-17-2006, 06:47 AM   #3
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This is a glass or plastic bottle carboy? Not a pail? It doesn't matter, put the airlock on while you wait. Leaving that little mouth on top of a glass or plastic carboy open will not help to cool the wort hardly at all, and ever speck of dust that falls through the opening could be carrying bacteria or mold that will ruin your beer taste bad. If you have a pail, that is just that much more surface area for bacteria and mold laden dust to fall onto.

Never leave your fermentation vessel open to the air, especially before you've pitched the yeast.

Your best bet on cooling the wort down at this point is to put the carboy in the bathtub or in an ice chest that it will fit into, and add ice and cold water to make a cold bath for it to cool down in. Swirl the contents every now and then to equalize the temp. Keep an eye on it, you don't want it to get too cold. Below 78 is what you are aiming for, and you will then want to cool it down to somewhere between 64 to 72, generally for an ale.

And put that airlock on now. Make sure everything that comes in contact with your beer or the inside of your fermenter has been sanitized first.

EDIT: Ooops - I see you don't have an airlock. You need to make one, if you can. Use a three foot vinyl tubing large enough to either fit snugly inside the mouth of the carboy, or snugly over it. It should be airtight. Put the other end of the tube in a bucket or pitcher of sanitizer. If you can't do this, put a sanitzed piece of aluminum foil over the opening and get a tube tomorrow at a hardware store.

EDIT 2: I just read what magno wrote. That makes sense. Go ahead and pitch now anyway, and work on getting your temp down in a water or ice and water bath afterwards.

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Old 10-17-2006, 07:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

After I posted the question, I figured it didn't make any sense to leave it uncovered, and covered it up. I just didn't want to do it off the bat because the book doesn't say to cover it until you take your temp and specific gravity readings, and pitch the yeast. It just says "let it cool to ..."
I did have it in an ice bath to bring the temp down, and it still took a long time.
I pitched the yeast at about 11pm last night and attached the blow off tube and placed the fermentor in the dark pantry.

So here's my new question: It's 12 hours later now, and I don't see any activity. There is no foam on top of the fermentor, and nothing in the collection jar. And yes, I do have water in there for an airlock. My yeast was active.. It was Wyeast liquid. Refridgerated until I used it. I followed the instructions and the bag swelled up. I broke the internal pouch then added the contents when the wort reached temp.

I didn't swirl it around much in the carboy because I don't have an actual top for the carboy besides the stopper and airlock; and I was afraid of spilling.

Is there anything I can do for this brew? This darn thing consumed 11 hours of my day.. LOL

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Old 10-17-2006, 07:15 PM   #5
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eh.. give it more time.. could take up to 36 hours for you to see any real activity.. but it will come... it took a good 24 hours for my first batch, and around 36 for my lager..

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Old 10-17-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
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Give it 48 hours to start bubbling. leave it alone and go have a beer or two......or 10.

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Old 10-17-2006, 08:25 PM   #7
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Yeah, I forgot.. "Relax. Don't worry"

That's what I should have done, because it seems to be fine. I watched the end of the blow off tube underwater and it is sending up bubbles every 8 seconds or so. I guess I just expected more "action" and foam. Is it important for the water in the collection jar to be sanitation water? The post above was the first I had heard of that.

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Old 10-17-2006, 08:28 PM   #8
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yes, the water needs to have some sanitzer in it.

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Old 10-17-2006, 08:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undermind
I didn't swirl it around much in the carboy because I don't have an actual top for the carboy besides the stopper and airlock; and I was afraid of spilling.

Is there anything I can do for this brew? This darn thing consumed 11 hours of my day.. LOL
This might be why the fermentation is slow..no O2 in the wort. You can try and pick up the carboy "carefully" and using circular motions repetively to aggitate the wort to aid in O2 absorption for the yeast to consume. But in the end the fermentation should slowly start in time.

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Old 10-17-2006, 09:28 PM   #10
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Thanks again for the help.

I've got one last question: Is there any reason I can't strain the beer as I rack to the secondary?

The kettle I used to boil the wort is a black enameled pot. I noticed when I was rinsing it out there were flecks of the enamel coming off. And now I'm afraid I may have stirred some into the wort. I didn't notice any in the strainer when I sparged into the fermentor, so maybe straining again wouldn't do any good. But it just irritates me that I could have enamelized coating in my beer. I noticed that a good amount of the enamel missing from the bottom of the pot, and you could say it's "un-accounted for". Maybe if there's any there, it will settle to the bottom of the carboy.

Needless to say I'll be replacing that kettle with stainless steel.

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