Fermentation Question? (Need Help)

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pilot45

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OK, I started my first home brew last night. I double sterilized everything and started as simple as possible. I used an Ironmaster Porter Kit. I took the yeast from the kit and mixed it in cold water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Once the wort was below 80 degrees I transferred it to the fermenter and pitched the yeast. I topped off the fermenter, put in a sterilized bung and airlock, and filled the airlock to the line with rum. I put the whole thing in a dark closet inside my house. The temp. is hovering around 73 degrees. I put it in the closet about 10pm last night. I checked it this morning and the airlock is not bubbling. I think I saw it move once in about 5 minutes. Everything I have read says that the first few days fermentation is off the charts. I feel like I screwed something up. Am I expecting too much from the fermentation process? Is every beer different? Does it take a while to kick in? I know I had my temperature right so I did not kill the yeast with heat. The only thing I that happened was that about 1/2 a shot of rum dripped into the fermenter. Would this screw up the batch? Should I not have used distilled water? Should I not have mixed the yeast with water first? Am I just being impatient? I don't know what to expect. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

batfishdog37

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The airlock isn't always the best indicator of activity. Let it go a while, maybe till friday or the weekend and get a gravity reading. If it has not lowered significantly I know there is a technique to add corn sugar(dextrose) to charge the yeast but you may not even need this. Just give it a bit.
 

ElPresidente77

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I'm not sure what distilled water does to beer but i have heard not to use it. Next time use spring or drinking water.

However, don't judge the airlock activity as whether you are fermenting or not. Sometimes you get a very active fermentation that will blow the top off of your bucket and sometimes it's very calm but the yeast are still doing their job. RDWHAHB.
 
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pilot45

pilot45

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Thank you for the fast replies. I am excited and nervous all at once. I'll keep waiting and if activity does not pick up by the weekend I will post. Here is another newbie question:
What does RDWHAHB mean?
 

rsmith179

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"Relax Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew"... By the way, just wanted to reiterate the point as to not using distilled water in the future. No good for the yeast. If you want "sterile" water, boil it for 10-15 minutes and then allow to cool to pitching temps for the yeast. When boiling, just remember that most of the oxygen in the water has also been depleted. You'll need to aerate your wort before setting it aside to ferment if using boiled water.
 

TheTower

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I believe the only problem with distilled water is that all the minerals are stripped out of it. It's not a major problem using it, but you may want to look into some water additives, or use spring water or tap water, if you have a safe supply.
 

rsmith179

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You're right with the distilled water not having minerals, but the major problem is the lack of oxygen. I actually keep small samples of my yeast in vials of distilled water. Reason being, the distilled water essentially puts the yeast to sleep. They can stay in that suspended state pretty much indefinately with the distilled water and the lack of oxygen. As long as you aerate the hell out of the wort, there should be no real problems but I would for sure not make it a habit of using distilled water and then adding minerals back in.
 

memphomaniac

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Hey, pilot45, if you haven't seen it yet, there's a sticky at the top of the Beginners' forum on fermentation: "Fermentation can take 24 to 72 hrs...." There's a lot of good information in there that helped me out.
 
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pilot45

pilot45

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Got home today and checked the fermenter....SUCCESS!!!!!!!! The yeast is taking action, the airlock is bubbling, and the froth is frothing. I am very excited. I guess the lag time was somehere between 9 and 16 hours. Thanks for all the advice!
 
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