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Old 07-17-2011, 08:39 PM   #1
Fencemaker
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I brewed a 5 gallon batch of one of Papazian's simple Belgian Dubbel recipes yesterday. OG of 1074. When I was purchasing the ingredients, LHBS gave me a Wyeast smack pack for Belgian Strong Ale. I smacked it, it inflated a little (I don't know how much it's supposed to as I've never used one before) and I pitched it at 75 degrees (wort). Normal aeration and mixing procedures. 24 hours later and no airlock activity. It's in a room that stays 72 degrees. Was thinking maybe pitch more yeast but I don't have any and can't get more until Wednesday. Should I pop it open to check for krausen even though I don't have more yeast ready if I need it? Try another brand? Do a fermentation dance? I'm hoping for guidance....
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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Patience here. You could have made a starter, or pitched the yeast into 1 gallon of your wort and added the rest later. Either way, you have to wait. I'm betting you will have fermentation signs before too long. You probably have krausen already. Don't count bubbles.

 
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:50 PM   #3
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First, airlocks mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and remember, as the sticky says, fermentation can take 24 to 72 hours to start.

After 72 hours, if you're still worried, take a hydrometer reading.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Thinking about adding more yeast before taking a reading is the same thing.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onthekeg
Patience here. You could have made a starter, or pitched the yeast into 1 gallon of your wort and added the rest later. Either way, you have to wait. I'm betting you will have fermentation signs before too long. You probably have krausen already. Don't count bubbles.
Yeah, I wish I had put this one in a carboy so I could watch it better but I was worried about headroom. Guess I'll wait it out since I can't do anything til Wednesday. How do these smack packs generally stack up to the other brands?
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:54 PM   #5
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Revvy:

I think I'm just a little impatient here because I haven't yet had a batch that didn't start going nuts within 6 - 12 hours. That, and the new variable of the smack pack.

But that's a helpful analogy. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fencemaker View Post
Yeah, I wish I had put this one in a carboy so I could watch it better but I was worried about headroom. Guess I'll wait it out since I can't do anything til Wednesday. How do these smack packs generally stack up to the other brands?
They stack up fine. But even Wyeast says they are "pitchable for up to 5 gallons of 1.060 wort" or something like that. In other words, you underpitched by quite a bit. You probably needed two (or maybe three, depending on the age of the package) packages without a starter.

Liquid yeast is great, but almost always needs a starter to ensure enough yeast to ferment 5 gallons of beer with an OG of 1.040 or so.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:46 AM   #7
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Once again, the infinite wisdom of the Forum prevails. It is now 55 hours out and she's happily bubbling along with some wonderful aromas escaping through the blow off rig.

Thanks, Everybody, for the tender guidance; I'm really looking forward to this beer!
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
They stack up fine. But even Wyeast says they are "pitchable for up to 5 gallons of 1.060 wort" or something like that. In other words, you underpitched by quite a bit. You probably needed two (or maybe three, depending on the age of the package) packages without a starter.

Liquid yeast is great, but almost always needs a starter to ensure enough yeast to ferment 5 gallons of beer with an OG of 1.040 or so.
That's not to say that dry yeast can be immediately pitched without a starter though. Right?
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zixxer10R View Post
That's not to say that dry yeast can be immediately pitched without a starter though. Right?
Dry yeast should not have a starter made. It has to do with the drying process and the reserves of the yeast. You can rehydrate, but no starter!
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fencemaker View Post
Once again, the infinite wisdom of the Forum prevails. It is now 55 hours out and she's happily bubbling along with some wonderful aromas escaping through the blow off rig.

Thanks, Everybody, for the tender guidance; I'm really looking forward to this beer!
Glad it's working! I'm no vet to this hobby, but my LHBS advised me that the smack packs should sit for ~3 hours minimum before pitching, and overnight is ideal if you have the patience/oversight.

Not sure how long you waited, but hope this helps!


Cheers

EDIT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fencemaker View Post
I smacked it, it inflated a little (I don't know how much it's supposed to as I've never used one before)

These things will expand to the point where you'd expect the bad to explode... It's quite impressive. The first time I used it, even after three hours there wasn't much give in the sides when squeezed.


 
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