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Old 02-09-2011, 12:44 AM   #1
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Default First Big Beer - Didn't Make a Starter, am I in Trouble?

So I'm guessing the answer to this question is going to be, relax and wait it out but I figured I'd post anyway and get some advice.

I made my first big beer this weekend, northern brewer black IPA extract kit, O.G. was 1.075. I used a Wyeast 1271 American Ale II smack pack, let it swell for about 3 hours then pitched it directly into the wort after cooling it to ~65 deg.

After < 18 hours I had a steadily bubbling airlock, not huge bubbles but steady bubbles about twice a second. It's a little slower 3 days later but still bubbling away.

I've been doing a lot of reading in the past two days about how I probably should have made a starter but I got ancy. I'm planning to let this sit in primary for 6 weeks before dry hopping and bottling.

Should I be worried about getting a stuck fermentation? Would it be worthwhile to pick up another smack pack and pitch it? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? There was very little lag, so I'm assuming that I'm probably in the clear.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-Rick

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Old 02-09-2011, 12:54 AM   #2
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My advice with a beer that big is definitely pitch more. In my experience, this will finish very high, but I haven't used 1271.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:00 AM   #3
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There are calculators that tell you how many yeast cells you want per gravity/beer type.For what is recommended. I have recentlly found out there is less in those smack packs than dried yeast packs.I never would have thought that.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:01 AM   #4
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it should be ok. you should use a starter, yes, but i've been known to use 1 packet of dry yeast for 11-12 gallons of beer, and it tastes good. i don't do it regularly, but if that's what i have in stock, that's what i use. and yes, liquid yeast has way less than dry yeast packs

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:44 AM   #5
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I just made the same beer with the same yeast. I did not use a starter and my beer fermented similar to how you described. My OG was a little higher at 1.080 and it finished at 1.019 which seems high but now that I'm drinking it, it's about right. It's slightly sweeter than I like my IPAs but I think that has to do with my FG and bottle conditioning. So don't worry it'll turn out nicely. I was also worried initially and to make my anxiety worse I racked to a secondary at eleven days which made me worry even more (perhaps too soon or why am I doing a secondary anyway).

My recommendation is to skip the secondary and leave it with all the yeast. Maybe even shake it a little to wake up some of the hibernating yeast or at least resuspend them.

Take this advice with a grain of salt though because it was only my fourth batch of beer. Take luck

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:04 AM   #6
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You underpitched for sure but it may still turn out OK given enough time. As others have suggested - you should consult pitching rate calculators like http://www.mrmalty.com to ensure that you are pitching the correct amount of yeast to give your beer the best chance for success.

Mr. Malty says you'd need almost 3 packages of yeast for this beer if pitching without a starter.

It's all a learning experience. Good luck!

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:08 AM   #7
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please dont shake your beer

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I'm getting ingredients in the mail today, and I can't even taste my beer yet. What should I do?
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I would make a yeast starter, and pitch it into your mailbox.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:13 AM   #8
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Well I definitely knew I underpitched but didn't realize that I'd done so by that amount. That's a big revelation about liquid yeast vs. dry yeast, I'll be making starters from here on out without a doubt.

At this point is it a lost cause to go out and buy another pack or two or should I just ride it out and see where it is in about a week or two.

Like I said before, I plan to let this sit in primary for ~6 weeks so I have no problem with waiting but if repitching this early in the process will lead to a better beer in the end I'd definitely like to give that a shot.

At this point has the yeast possibly multiplied to the point that any additional would be a waste?

What if I made a starter and repitched this weekend with that?

I'm still new to brewing so I apologize for all the newb questions.

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:18 AM   #9
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First, relax. Second, continue relaxing.

Your beer will be fine. More yeast would be better, and make a cleaner beer, but you won't notice a difference in an IIPA with dark / roasted malts. I'd be more careful of temps there, as higher temp fermentation will result in a bit of fusel alcohol that might make that big beer a little hot.

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:20 AM   #10
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let it go with what it's got. take a reading a few days after it stops bubbling. if it's in the right range, go with it. if not, warm it up and let it go for a couple days and see if it restarts bubbling. you might try adding in some yeast energizer (special thing you can get from the homebrew store) and let it go again, also. and don't apologize for the questions. we all have them, and that's what we're here for: to answer and get answers

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