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Old 02-09-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
Slip_Stick
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Default IPA fermentation start -- temp problems

Hey guys,

Just finished a 5 gallon batch of IPA last night. After I finished cooling the wort I waited a while (45 min) to top it off with an extra half gallon or so of water, then used a wyeast activator pack.

I threw it in my closet last night and woke to find the temperature had droped down to 61 for a couple hours during the night, and I don't see any activity with the yeast.

Should I try another activator pack today, or wait to see what happens when its at the proper temperature?

Any advice is appreciated.


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Old 02-09-2011, 02:32 PM   #2
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Everything should progress normally once it warms up a bit, just a little delayed. Give it time -- if nothing happens in 48 hours or so, you might need to repitch.


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Old 02-09-2011, 02:34 PM   #3
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I would normally say:

1) It's a little early to be worrying about not seeing signs of fermentation
2) Wait until the temp comes up

But it also sounds like you probably underpitched. I can't imagine one smack pack is enough yeast for an IPA. Find out here: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

I'm pretty sure you'll need to add another pack.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:07 PM   #4
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I ferment all my IPAs at 62 (and ramp up slowly to 68 after a week). Takes a little longer to get going though, but I still get 83% attenuation using the same strain (US-05, which has a higher cell number than a Wyeast single smack pack equivalent). Once it gets going, if the ambient is low 60s, the fermenting beer is probably going to be a few degrees north of that anyway.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:07 PM   #5
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Why do you ferment your IPAs so (relatively) low?
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:16 PM   #6
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Don't worry about seeing no activity after such a short period of time, its not even been 24 hours. The yeast are at work, gathering strength, multiplying, etc.

Like Norman, I too ferment most of my ales in the low 60s. I find that for the yeast I use the most (Edinburgh strain) it gives a clean profile at that temperature and attenuates just fine.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanzimonson View Post
Why do you ferment your IPAs so (relatively) low?
From what I've read, it's better to start low and ramp up. I was previously pitching at 68 and holding the ambient at that temp, but when the ferment was highly active the the temp of the fermenting wort was probably into the mid 70's of higher with risk of producing off-flavors. Since I changed my regime I get a much cleaner finish and the hops really come through. I ramp up towards the end to encourage the beer to fully attenuate and for a diacetyl rest. I do 6 days at 62 and ramp up 1 degree per day to 68, dry hop on day 10 or 11 for 10 to 14 days. And then crash cool.

I know some of the micros pitch at 68 and ferment at 68 for their American IPAs, but I would guess they are able to control the temp of the wort, and not the ambient, which most of us home brewers are doing with temp control.

Caveat: I'm still fairly new to this so what (seems to) works for me might be poor advice.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:27 PM   #8
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Ok, so the temp is back up, and I have activity. Im still unsure of whether or not its going to be enough yeast or not.

How do I know whether or not I need another smack-pack?

Would adding another pack of the same strain smack-pack yeast 3 days after the original affect anything?

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Old 02-09-2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slip_Stick View Post
How do I know whether or not I need another smack pack?

Would adding another pack of the same smack pack yeast 3 days after the original affect anything?
I couldn't say without knowing your starting gravity. When I didn't do a starter I would routinely pitch two vials or two smack packs for a 1.065 wort. If you've significantly under pitched you risk off flavors from over stressing the yeast and a high finishing gravity / poor attenuation. If it's an IPA you're brewing I would guess your starting gravity is north of 1.060; if it was me I'd be pitching more yeast.

As previously mentioned, the Mr Malty calculator will tell you your required cell count.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiny_norman View Post
From what I've read, it's better to start low and ramp up. I was previously pitching at 68 and holding the ambient at that temp, but when the ferment was highly active the the temp of the fermenting wort was probably into the mid 70's of higher with risk of producing off-flavors. Since I changed my regime I get a much cleaner finish and the hops really come through. I ramp up towards the end to encourage the beer to fully attenuate and for a diacetyl rest. I do 6 days at 62 and ramp up 1 degree per day to 68, dry hop on day 10 or 11 for 10 to 14 days. And then crash cool.

I know some of the micros pitch at 68 and ferment at 68 for their American IPAs, but I would guess they are able to control the temp of the wort, and not the ambient, which most of us home brewers are doing with temp control.

Caveat: I'm still fairly new to this so what (seems to) works for me might be poor advice.

I typically pitch at 62-64 and let free rise to 68, which usually only takes about 24 hours of active fermentation. Then I hold it there until things start to slow down, at which point I'll slowly raise to about 72 until finished.

I just wondered if you were trying to go for the subtlest ester profile you could possibly get.


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