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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Problems with first batch
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Old 09-14-2006, 07:01 PM   #1
JSug
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Default Problems with first batch

I recently received a bunch of home brewing tools from my father as a birthday gift. I've done batches before with him and also with a friend, but this is my first time "flying solo." I visited the brew store on Sunday and picked up the last few things I needed (bottles, blow-off tube, and ingredients). Last night, I started the process, sanitized everything in bleach water, and started brewing a batch of Irish Red Ale from a recipe provided by the store. Steeped the grain at 150 F, added extract and boiled for 45 minutes, hopped and boiled for 15 minutes more. I chilled the wort in my bathtub with cold water and ice to exactly 75 F, then transfered it to a carboy, added cold water and aerated it by rolling around on the floor for about 5 minutes. I added the pitchable yeast, slapped on a blow-off tube and stuck it in a bathroom cupboard overnight. One thing I forgot to do was let the yeast warm up first, but I figured that wouldn't be too much of a problem. Was I wrong there?

Now, here's where things go bad. This morning, when I checked on it, the stopper holding the blow-off tube had popped out of the carboy, and the yeast had all settled to the bottom of the carboy, leaving the whole thing looking pretty inactive. Worried, I took out the blow-off tube and put on the airlock. Nothing. Not a single bubble. I read a few tips about dealing with stuck or slow-start fermentation, so I tried agitating the yeast by tipping the carboy on edge and rolling it around for a few minutes. That didn't seem to do much either. I'll check on it again tonight, maybe try to agitate it some more.

Questions: Is this batch totally hosed, or can I save it? I don't really have time to go get more yeast (the closest brew supply place is significantly out of my way). Should agitating (perhaps more vigorously than I did) get the yeast going? Any idea what I might have done wrong? Did the stopper coming out expose it to too much air?

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Old 09-14-2006, 07:25 PM   #2
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i dont have an answer for you, but good luck.. maybe just play the waiting game unless you have something else youre ready to brew...

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Old 09-14-2006, 07:26 PM   #3
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Not enough time has passed to be worried just yet. Swirling the yeast back into suspension is not a bad idea. Just let it sit, make sure you keep it in the dark, or wrap a dark colored towel over it to keep the light out. Keep it between 65-72˚F and relax. Get back to us later tonight and let us know if you see any activity.

John

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Old 09-14-2006, 11:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I just talked to my wife. She got home and checked on the batch. It seems the little yeasties have perked up and started working. Guess I was just being a bit paranoid.

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Old 09-15-2006, 12:03 AM   #5
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Was it a dry yeast that you used? on my first 3 batchs that i used dry yeast, it was done fermenting within 10 hours, no kidding. 1.056 OG down to a 1.012 with in 10 hours. I would brew then go to bed about 3 hours later, get up in 7 and i had missed all the action and was always worried about what had happened, did it not ferment, is it contaminated. My suggestion is to take a Hydro reading and see if any of the work has been done or not by the yeast. If the stopper was out im guessing there was some serious action inside that bad boy and you just missed it overnight.

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Old 09-15-2006, 04:11 AM   #6
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It was a liquid, pitchable Irish Ale yeast. I'm home now, and I've confirmed that things are moving along just fine. The only thing I can figure is that it was slow getting started because I forgot to let the yeast warm up before pitching. As for the stopper, I don't think it was blown out by gas. I think it wasn't secure to begin with and the weight of my blow-off hose pulled it free.

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Old 09-15-2006, 05:01 AM   #7
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Generally, you'll want to make a starter (not a difficult process by any means) when pitching liquid yeast. Basically, it's making a mini-wort a day or two ahead of time, aerating the heck out of it, pitching your vial into that, and letting the yeast multiply so you end up pitching more into your brew. This helps the fermentation process get started a lot quicker. This isn't really necessary, so they say, with dry yeast; there are a lot more yeast cells in a package of dry yeast than in a vial of liquid.

Do a search, there's a couple of good threads on the process.

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