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Old 07-01-2011, 03:30 PM   #21
Jun 2011
Asheville, NC
Posts: 4

Hey Jsweet,
Thanks for the feedback earlier. I've got another one. Despite my insane efforts to attain/ensure sterility, I think I did something really dumb this AM. I'm dry-hopping in my secondary using leaf and a muslin bag. That wasn't the dumb thing - keep reading. I neglected to sterilize the bag before I added it (and my leaf) to my secondary- do you think I just ruined the batch by introducing something funky? My brewing supply shop is not the cleanest/neatest place you've ever seen. Thanks much! AR

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Old 07-01-2011, 04:24 PM   #22
Feb 2010
conway SC., South Carolina
Posts: 1,941
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you should sanitize the bag first, but at this point you have some alcohol in there to hopefully keep nasties out. it will probably be just fine, just remember to do it next time.

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:15 PM   #23
Apr 2011
Rochester, NY
Posts: 810
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Yes, what rycov said. The odds of this causing an infection are pretty small, because even if there was a non-trivial amount of bacteria and other nasties hanging out on the surface of the bag, it is now immersed in a weak alcohol solution and bumped up against a big handful of hops (a naturally occurring anti-microbial). 99% chance it will be just fine.

The obsession with sanitation is a positive thing because a) if you DO get an infection, it's one of the only things that can ruin your beer completely; and b) it's one of the few things that is completely under the brewer's control and simple enough for even a total n00b. But, people have been brewing beer for millenia with, shall we say, "substandard sanitation techniques" (i.e. none) and have still been successfully making beer.

My rule: Always do your best with sanitation, because it's easy. If you manage to screw it up -- as we all have from time to time -- remind yourself that you are only continuing in a long historical tradition of unsanitary brewing, and it will almost certainly be just fine.

One time I poured a bunch of cooled wort over my hand and into the fermenter, right before pitching the yeast. Couldn't believe I did that. And yet, the beer came out just fine.

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:24 PM   #24
More Humann than human
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Oct 2008
the sun
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
It's going to taste like "homebrew" and by that, I mean the negative flavors that most people attribute to a homebrewed beer when it's not handled properly. Pitching at 75 is too hot, nevermind 88.
yep, and my guess is that it will be done fermenting before you could even get it down to proper pitching temps.

Best course of action if you can't get to pitching temps after you brew. Get it somewhere where the ambient is low enough to drop it down in the next 12-24 hours, if that is a fridge or a swamp cooler etc.... whatever it is. It is better to wait 24 hours to pitch than to pitch at 88.

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Old 07-19-2011, 01:23 AM   #25
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Mar 2010
Pittsburgh, PA
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I'm going to throw in my two cents here. There have been a couple of times where I've pitched the yeast hot, about 80F, but then cooled it down to fermentation temperature before fermentation had actually began, and I've not yet had problems. In the summer, it's hard for me to cool down without the fermentation chamber, but that's typically at a different place than where we brew.
A particular love for ancient, obsolete, or lesser-known style from both the US and abroad.

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Old 07-19-2011, 02:54 AM   #26
Aug 2009
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Originally Posted by shanecb View Post
I'm going to throw in my two cents here. There have been a couple of times where I've pitched the yeast hot, about 80F, but then cooled it down to fermentation temperature before fermentation had actually began, and I've not yet had problems. In the summer, it's hard for me to cool down without the fermentation chamber, but that's typically at a different place than where we brew.
With dry yeast, I have done this often with NO problems. Most dry yeasts recommend a little re-hydration/creaming with warmer than ferment temperatures anyway, so that's probably why sprinkling on slightly warm wort is not a problem. However, the ferment vessel should be cooled IMMEDIATELY. You do NOT want the yeast to be fermenting away at an elevated temperature. That's why it works for you and me.

For those who need to control ferment temps, here is a solution if you have a spare bathroom or a large bucket. Fill the tub or bucket with six inches to a foot of cold water. Put fermenter in, then soak a towel in the cold water and wrap it around the fermenter. Measure the temperature of the wort periodically so you know where you are. If you aren't in the right range, add some ice to the bath or get a fan to blow across the towel(evaporative cooling). After a while, you can just measure the outside of the fermenter to get an idea of where the wort actually is, and control the temperature to within a couple degrees by adding a fan to cool through evaporation when the ferment is producing a lot of heat.

Near the end of active ferment I usually drain the water and/or remove the towel, depending upon the ambient temperature. It's not a bad thing to go up a few degrees while doing the diacytel rest.

Doing this one can easily ferment in the low 60s even though the house is at 75. With ice the differential can be much greater. For ales it is the easy, low cost method for success...

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Old 03-14-2013, 03:40 AM   #27
Jan 2013
Ogden, Utah
Posts: 45
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Originally Posted by jsweet View Post
I agree that fermentation temp is one of the biggest things you can do to improve your beer (although IME pitch temp is not quite as important as long as it's reasonable and the wort gets down to a good fermentation temp promptly). But using words like "ruined" (as tesilential did) is a bit much, when the OP just pitched a little hot one time. In striving to make the best beer possible, I think we sometimes loose track of the RDWHAHB philosophy a bit.

And hot ferm temps are NOT the worst thing that can happen to your beer. Things that come to mind are: infection, a dropped carboy, somebody else drinking it all...
A dropped Carboy.... Or someone drinking it all....

That sounds far worse!!

I've been dumb and pitched yeast the last few brews at high temps and still had decent brews (with a long bottling time). I think preferences are all the importance of a beer. Is a slight off flavor worth you dumping a beer? If it is, dump it. Is it something you think adds character? Drink the hell out of it.

I've found that I truly love this forum because you get people's opinions without the grand standing of other places. Opinions are all that they are... Opinions. I don't think anyone has said "hey, that beer will kill you tomorrow". If it's ok to drink, you like it, then it's ok. Is it preferable? Probably not, but that's what makes this place great. You can LEARN about what makes a beer preferable for you. I think the most important thing is to give your preferences to other brewers so they can learn from that.

Don't worry, let it go and enjoy your brew.

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Old 03-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #28
Apr 2007
Near Stuttgart, HBT FFL Nome de Guerre: Hopfen Bieropoulos
Posts: 401
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My first brew was an extract batch (oatmeal stout) and, not knowing what I know now, I pitched the (dry) yeast at around 80F and, worse yet, I continued fermenting at that temperature and beyond as the fermentation is an exothermic process.

Long story short, the beer tasted great.
It got raves from my, ahem, guinea pigs who quaffed it in copious praise.
However, the higher alcohols that were produced due to the elevated fermentation temperatures packed a potent punch and caused highly seasoned (BMC) beer drinkers to stagger around in stupor and also handicapped them with blurred vision for an hour or two. I.e. alcohol poisoning*!

Nowadays, mostly because of the above embarrassing episode, I always pitch and ferment at the lower side of the fermentation Temp spectrum. Living in Germany obviously helps keep the temps down since I don't have an active Ferm. Temp setup.

Just my 2 cents worth of advice/warning...

* BTW, I also had the same issues once when I had a North Coast Old Rasputin RIS. It was probably a specific batch since I never had that issue with the same beer before or after.

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Old 03-14-2013, 07:15 PM   #29
Feb 2013
Posts: 113
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Since we are trading stories...

My first batch (currently in bottles..Im a noob) was an Irish Stout, and I thought my two bottles of 'beginning to freeze' distilled water would take it down to 80..they took it down to 140..DAMN MATH.

At that time, I knew a lot for a noob about brewing, but yeast pitching, not so much. I had my yeast rehydrating in warm water (sterile) with a small amount of wort (cause I dunno?). So I was out of ice, and I put the pot outside and stirred it (it was cold out), and I thought it was 82, and i pitched and then realized I got a cold spot and it was probably pushing 90...

CUT TO THE CHASE MAN!!!!!!!!....

It fermented from 1.054 to 1.022 overnight (I never saw a bubble in the airlock). I was in my 61-62 degree basement at that time cooling. After two more weeks it was at 1.021, so I move it to my 66 degree dining room, and it got down to 1.016 after another week. samples tasted fine.

I think I had some furious fermentation but the cooling down put the yeasties to sleep after that big meal, and then I roused them enough to finish, so I hope the extra time cleaned up any off flavors they threw out, and that the final week of clean cool fermentation makes up for the first day of hot tub party yeast.

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Old 03-14-2013, 07:29 PM   #30
Mar 2013
Reno, Nevada
Posts: 51
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Originally Posted by AshevilleRob View Post
Hey all,
Newbie HBer here.
I couldn't cool my wort quickly and had to wait and wait and wait until it was at a temp I felt was moderately safe to pitch my yeast. Will pitching a packet of Wythe dry yeast at 88-90 degrees kill them? FYI, I'm brewing a very hoppy IPA if that makes a difference. Many thanks!
Here is a couple of ideas that have worked for me to cool my wort quickly.
1. Pick up a small tub ($5 @ Walmart). In this tub, I put enough ice and cold water so that I can sit my 20 qt pot into it.
2. I, once, added ice and water directly into my wort. This cooled it extremely fast. I say once, as in subsequent brewings, I was concerned about the sterility of the ice and have not repeated the process.

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