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Old 06-15-2011, 08:21 PM   #1
braineater2448
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So, I tried to brew my first batch last night. I know everyone says "Dont worry, Relax, have a homebrew". But I really think my yeast is dead.

So, I severely underestimated how long it would take to cool my wort before pitching. Not to mention I was trying to cool 5 gallons instead of a concentrated 1.5 gallons. It took about 3 hours (made an ice bath halfway through). And because I didnt think it would take that long to cool, I rehydrated my yeast way too early. And the rehydrated yeast sat for about 3-3.5 hours (but I did cover it). I also mixed some of the dried malt extract in warm water and dumped it into the yeast. At no point during the 3-3.5 hours did the yeast foam or anything. But I didnt have any more yeast, so I pitched it when my wort got down to 75 degrees. By the way, I used the wort at the top of the malt extract can. Am I in trouble? I know it sometimes takes 48-72 hours to start seeing activity, but Im just really doubtful that this will work. If the yeast is dead, should I go buy more and pour it in? Or pitch the wort and start over?

This is an Irish stout. This is what it looks like about 13 hours after pitching the yeast:


This is what is sitting at the bottom of my carboy:



 
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:24 PM   #2
nostalgia
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That looks like very alive yeast and a happy fermentation. Hydrating early won't hurt anything at all. Adding the dried DME was unnecessary, but also likely won't hurt anything.

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Old 06-15-2011, 08:38 PM   #3
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I'm also somewhat of a beginner, so I'm certainly no expert. So take this with a grain of salt...

There are so many things wrong with what you've done/are doing...

I'll start with your airlock setup... Is it tightly connected to the carboy, or just kind of stuck in it? It looks like it's just a hose stuck loosely in the top.

DME in warm water, added to yeast... I believe the proper method is to boil the DME (1 cup to 32oz water) for a minimum of 15 minutes, then simmer, then cool in an ice bath to normal pitching temps. Then transfer to a flask and pitch. But this is really only for a yeast starter that's going to sit for a few days, not just a way to rehydrate yeast a few hours before brewing. I've never heard of rehydrating yeast (but again, I'm still a noob too). You wouldn't see any yeast bubbling after a few hours. At least I don't think you would.

If it is going to work, I also don't think you have waited long enough to expect results. What are you expecting to see? It looks to me (by the bubbles on top) that it is in fact working. But, since you don't have a spigot, you can't draw off a sample to test with a hydrometer. And since it looks like you don't have a good seal up top, I don't think you'll see airlock bubbles. I'd invest in a good airlock and bung for that carboy. On eBay it's like $5 for both, shipped.

I would:
Get an airlock.
Pitch yeast normally, without making a starter. At least until you get familiar with the process.
Have some more patience. Yeast takes days to see activity, not hours.
Get a fermenter with a spigot, so you can easily test with the hydrometer.

I mean all of this in a good way... Constructive criticism. Please don't take it the wrong way.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braineater2448 View Post
I know everyone says "Dont worry, Relax, have a homebrew".
Actually, it's "Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew." Now, give it a try.

If you don't have any homebrew around (first batch and all), any ol' brew will do.


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Old 06-15-2011, 08:47 PM   #5
JLW
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Your airlock may never show activity. If there is a small leak around the lid or the airlock the CO2 may escape without you seeing activity in the airlock.

I think your yeast your yeast is fine. 13 hours in I wouldn't worry about taking a hydro reading. Keep looking for the krausen to form. If it doesn't after another day or so then you can take a hydro reading. As long as you have a wine/beer thief you can pull a sample from the top and take your hydro reading. Just make sure you sanitize the thief before putting it in the beer for a sample.

To cool your beer faster you need to change the water and ice out frequently in the ice bath. Or better yet invest in either making a immersion wort chiller or buying one.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
I'll start with your airlock setup... Is it tightly connected to the carboy, or just kind of stuck in it? It looks like it's just a hose stuck loosely in the top.

I would:
Get an airlock.
He's using a blowoff tube instead of an airlock (the other end is in sanitized solution correct?)

That's how I do it. The tube is about the size of the carboy opening, so it fits nice and snug, and you don't have to worry about airlocks getting clogged if your krausen gets too high.

 
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:54 PM   #7
nostalgia
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As someone with a bit more experience, let me address your post. No disrespect meant, just trying to clear some things up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
There are so many things wrong with what you've done/are doing...
That's a little strong. The only thing I might classify as 'wrong' would be taking 3 hours to cool the wort. And even that's not really an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
I'll start with your airlock setup... Is it tightly connected to the carboy, or just kind of stuck in it? It looks like it's just a hose stuck loosely in the top.
It's a 1" hose jammed into the neck of the carboy. The other end is most likely in that pot next to it, submerged in water. It's called a "blow-off" tube and is a good way to prevent fermentation explosions and having to clean your ceiling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
DME in warm water, added to yeast... I believe the proper method is to boil the DME (1 cup to 32oz water) for a minimum of 15 minutes, then simmer, then cool in an ice bath to normal pitching temps. Then transfer to a flask and pitch. But this is really only for a yeast starter that's going to sit for a few days, not just a way to rehydrate yeast a few hours before brewing.
Yes, that is how you'd make a yeast starter for liquid yeast. For rehydrating you don't need to add any sugars (or DME), but I don't imagine it can hurt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
I've never heard of rehydrating yeast
It's pretty standard with dry yeast. Some folks rehydrate, some sprinkle it right onto the wort. I'm a sprinkler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
You wouldn't see any yeast bubbling after a few hours. At least I don't think you would.
You would not. Baker's yeast you would see foaming after 5-10 minutes, so maybe that's why he was expecting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
If it is going to work, I also don't think you have waited long enough to expect results. What are you expecting to see? It looks to me (by the bubbles on top) that it is in fact working.
This I agree with entirely

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextasy23 View Post
But, since you don't have a spigot, you can't draw off a sample to test with a hydrometer. And since it looks like you don't have a good seal up top, I don't think you'll see airlock bubbles. I'd invest in a good airlock and bung for that carboy. On eBay it's like $5 for both, shipped.
The spigot is generally only meant for bottling, not for sampling while fermentation is going on. It's hard to keep it sanitary after taking samples. Some folks use it that way, but it's not a widely used practice as far as I'm aware.

Samples are usually taken with a sanitized turkey baster or a wine thief, like I demonstrate in http://www.youtube.com/user/nostalgia75?feature=mhee#p/u/21/5DlQgomUc54
Also there should be enough of a seal on that blowoff tube to see bubbles. Even if there isn't, it's still going to be fine, but a hydrometer should be used to know when fermentation is complete. I usually take the first hydrometer sample after 7 full days of fermentation.

Cheers,

-Joe
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:57 PM   #8
unionrdr
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I've nuked water in the microwave to boiling to mix DME for small starters. And 3-4 hours is plenty of time to get the dry yeast worked up to a frenzy & start multiplying before pitching. I do it that way,& need the blow off. And just like beer in the fermenter,I don't always get krausen on the starter,they're no different.
And yes,yeast in my starters goes nuts in the fermenter in a few hours,not days. Yeast can take days when pitched straight in because you have to wait for them to multiply to sufficient numbers 1st.
Re-hydrating is ok,but my small starters work visibly better all around. Dry yeast is a stop-n-go proposition from my experience. Sometimes good,many times so so.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:04 PM   #9
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Ya, I guess I may have come off strong. Sorry if I did, it's totally not my style. I also use a blow-off hose for mine now, ever since the Great Blonde Ale incident of 2011 where my airlock was blasting krausen all over my ceiling.

My fermenter (Cooper's) has a spigot on the bottom. I started out drawing samples off that to test (used to get anxious), but now I pretty much just let it sit until there's no more airlock/blow-off activity.

Rehydrating you say, eh. Need to research this. On deck is a Strawberry Summer Ale for my sister, I planned on making a yeast starter (since I just constructed myself a stir plate with old computer parts). What is the benefit of rehydrating? I'll research, but a quick answer here is always easier.

EDIT: Pic of my blow-off setup. (Was ROARING bubbles)

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Old 06-15-2011, 09:10 PM   #10
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To re-hydrate dry yeast,you just get maybe 1C of hot water down to 70F or so,then lightly stir in the dry yeast & cover with plastic wrap. I do it for the time I'm brewing/chilling. But I've read where some do it for 15 mins or so.
When I make a small starter,I nuke 1 1/2C of water to boiling. Then stir in 1/4C of DME,add quick check thermometer,& cover. When it gets down to 70F,I stir in the dry yeast (or liquid,as the case may be). 3-4 hours to that morning of is plenty for average gravity brews,ime. And def use a blow off,you'll need it. And I have the same cooper's FV.


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