First Brew, (BIAB) method. Belgian quad

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Ep930

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Hi,
Sorry if this has been asked before but I’m sort of at a loss. I brewed my first ever batch following in this recipe to a T. Belgian Quadrupel BIAB Recipe - Mr. Small Batch Brewer
My original Gravity was 1.104 and the batch is 2.5 gallons. I’m using the Safale-BE 256, I rehydrated the yeast using 4oz of wort, 2g of Fermaid K and 6.5g of the yeast(BE256). The batch was brewed on 10/16 and added to the fermenter at 7:20pm pst.I live in the U.S.. It’s holding at a temp of 72°f. I’m not able to get it lower than that, I’m using a cooler bag and ice packs. My questions are,why is my airlock not bubbling(I checked the seals not the issue) did I use enough yeast? And if I got everything right, when can I start seeing activity? And if you have some pointers please let me know.
Thank you for your replies, also I brewed the beer for Thanksgiving so that we had an all homemade dinner this year!
 

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1.104 is a tall order for a first batch. I would have pitched the whole yeast packet, after rehydrating it in boiled (but cooled) water, but you’re probably just fine.

Despite checking the seals, it’s really common for a bad seal to happen, and really common for it to be the reason an airlock isn’t bubbling. Let it sit for 3 weeks (it’s a big beer!) at least and then take a hydrometer reading.

How long has it been, anyway? I wouldn’t be surprised for fermentation to take 2 days or so to start, given the conditions.
 
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Ep930

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1.104 is a tall order for a first batch. I would have pitched the whole yeast packet, after rehydrating it in boiled (but cooled) water, but you’re probably just fine.

Despite checking the seals, it’s really common for a bad seal to happen, and really common for it to be the reason an airlock isn’t bubbling. Let it sit for 3 weeks (it’s a big beer!) at least and then take a hydrometer reading.

How long has it been, anyway? I wouldn’t be surprised for fermentation to take 2 days or so to start, given the conditions.
Now, I have 5g left of the yeast, do you recommend I rehydrate the rest and pitch it?
 

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I’d recommend leaving the fermenter closed whenever possible, so no, I don’t think there’s any advantage to pitching more yeast, especially if it’s only 5 g more. Let it sit for a couple more days before worrying.
 
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Ep930

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Thank you, I’ve been obsessing over it, but your reply calmed my nerves. I’m going to take a hydrometer reading on Nov. 5th and hopefully bottle that day, wish me luck!
 

AlexKay

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Take at least two hydrometer readings, separated by a couple of days. Sometimes I cheat if I think it’s been long enough, but there’s a lot of sugar there to ferment, and I’m not quite sure looking at Google results whether your yeast is var. diastaticus or not. (If it is, slowly fermenting for many weeks would be a thing.)

It’s taken me a long time to just let it go, shrug, and say “it’s probably going to be fine” … and it usually is with homebrewing.
 
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Ep930

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Alright, will do, I’ll take a couple readings the first week of November
 

Rish

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A beer this big will take some aging to reach its peak so you may want to hold some for a couple of months (or more) and try periodically to see how it improves.
 
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Ep930

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I kept reading that with the type of yeast that I’m using, it will take some time to get better, thank you for the heads up!
 

CascadesBrewer

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Now, I have 5g left of the yeast, do you recommend I rehydrate the rest and pitch it?
You "rehydrated" the yeast in your 1.104 wort or in water? For the most part, Fermentis recommends direct pitching their dry yeasts. Improper rehydration can cause more problems than it fixes.

For that big of a beer, yeah, you should have pitched the entire pack. If your beer has not started fermenting, I would direct pitch the other half of the pack.
 
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Ep930

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You "rehydrated" the yeast in your 1.104 wort or in water? For the most part, Fermentis recommends direct pitching their dry yeasts. Improper rehydration can cause more problems than it fixes.

For that big of a beer, yeah, you should have pitched the entire pack. If your beer has not started fermenting, I would direct pitch the other half of the pack.
I reserved some wort from the 60 minute mash, before I added my hops and the Belgian candy syrup, I didn’t take a gravity reading before I started my 60 minute boil. So what I did was take 4oz wort, and 2g of fermaid k boiled them in a pot then put them in a beaker, cooled it to 72° f. Then I added 6.5 grams of my yeast, Safale BE-256 to the slurry, then waited 1/2 hour while I cooled down my wort, that was at a gravity reading of 1.104. I read you don’t have too do this with dry yeast, but I also read that with a high gravity beer it would be better. I didn’t add the entire packet because I also read that it could blowup my fermenter and that would be a waste. So I came up with a middle ground and this was my solution. I appreciate your reply, so next time I make a beer with this high a gravity even if it’s not a full 5 gallon batch( this batch is 2.5 gallons) I should just put the entire pack of yeast intended for 5 gallons?
 

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It should be fine, probably a leak in the fermenter. BTW How is it? Material and size.
 
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Ep930

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It should be fine, probably a leak in the fermenter. BTW How is it? Material and size.
It’s in a plastic, 5 gallon fermenter, with an airlock, your right it’s probably a leak cause the lid is bulging and it’s pretty warm, I have it in a cooler bag with ice packs and I have my upstairs temp at 68°F. The brew is saying it’s at 72°F. I can’t seem to get it colder, so I hope it comes out good. I’ll take a couple of gravity readings first week of November and I’ll keep you all up to date!
 

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It’s in a plastic, 5 gallon fermenter, with an airlock, your right it’s probably a leak cause the lid is bulging and it’s pretty warm, I have it in a cooler bag with ice packs and I have my upstairs temp at 68°F. The brew is saying it’s at 72°F. I can’t seem to get it colder, so I hope it comes out good. I’ll take a couple of gravity readings first week of November and I’ll keep you all up to date!
Sounds like things are going well. Air locks are not a great sign of fermentation. If in doubt, take a peak at the beer looking for signs of activity. While you don't want to keep opening your fermenter, opening it before and during active fermentation is not a big issue. Your "the lid is bulging" comment is a bit odd. Make sure pressure can vent out of the fermenter through the airlock.

While I have not used that specific yeast, most Belgian yeasts do very well in the low 70F range (and some work well in the 80F range or above). If you can keep it at 72F during active fermentation, then hold it at 72F until packaging, I suspect the beer will turn out nice.

I appreciate your reply, so next time I make a beer with this high a gravity even if it’s not a full 5 gallon batch( this batch is 2.5 gallons) I should just put the entire pack of yeast intended for 5 gallons?
I would have pitched the entire pack. Half the pack is about right for 2.5 gallons of wort in the 1.050 range, and a full pack is about right for a wort in the 1.100 range. I often pitch a full pack into a lower gravity 2.5 gallon batch and I almost always direct pitch packs of dry yeast with good results. Your process seems to be a mix of rehydrating the yeast and making a vitality starter.
 
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Ep930

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Thanks for the advice, I’ll keep an eye on it and I will let you know how it goes
 

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Not over-thinking the things you need to do to make great beer includes being wary of opening the fermenter. So by all means open your fermenter to add yeast and again to get a reading later on!

While you obviously shouldn't be opening your fermenter for no reason, too many people avoid gravity readings, top-cropping yeast, dry hopping in primary, etc, because they are afraid to open their fermenter.

You are not going to contaminate your beer if you do any of those things in a reasonably clean and quick manner. And you are not going to greatly increase the risk of oxydizing your beer either, since the fermentation process will easily produce enough volumes of CO2 to purge whatever air you let in right up until the completion of fermentation.
 
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Ep930

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Thanks for the tip, now I ask you do I just drop in the 5g of yeast I have left unfortunately I measured it in a dry sandwich bag and I have it in the fridge right now, I obviously can’t star San a vessel then sprinkle it on the beer, I have not opened my fermenter since I closed it 3 days ago when I put the wort and yeast in, so if I was to put the rest of my dry yeast it would be the first time I have opened my fermenter. Or should I just buy another yeast packet sanitize it like I did with the last one and measure by eye another half pack of the yeast?
 

Alan Reginato

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It’s in a plastic, 5 gallon fermenter, with an airlock, your right it’s probably a leak cause the lid is bulging and it’s pretty warm, I have it in a cooler bag with ice packs and I have my upstairs temp at 68°F. The brew is saying it’s at 72°F. I can’t seem to get it colder, so I hope it comes out good. I’ll take a couple of gravity readings first week of November and I’ll keep you all up to date!
Yeah! And please, tasting notes, when it's done, that's the most interesting information in HB forums.
 
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Ep930

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Yeah! And please, tasting notes, when it's done, that's the most interesting information in HB forums.
For sure, I’ll take some pics on my day off and post a week update show you my fermentation fridge!
 

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Thanks for the tip, now I ask you do I just drop in the 5g of yeast I have left unfortunately I measured it in a dry sandwich bag and I have it in the fridge right now, I obviously can’t star San a vessel then sprinkle it on the beer, I have not opened my fermenter since I closed it 3 days ago when I put the wort and yeast in, so if I was to put the rest of my dry yeast it would be the first time I have opened my fermenter. Or should I just buy another yeast packet sanitize it like I did with the last one and measure by eye another half pack of the yeast?
At this point your original yeast pitch has multiplied and is working so the risk period where your yeast count is low and other microbes can compete is over. While I’ve heard sandwich bags are sterile fresh out of the box (I know cellophane is) I wouldn’t be so sure with your bag of yeast in the refrigerator. I’d skip it. If you use it, you might just sanitize the outside if the bag before opening and pouring. Good luck!
 
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Ep930

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At this point your original yeast pitch has multiplied and is working so the risk period where your yeast count is low and other microbes can compete is over. While I’ve heard sandwich bags are sterile fresh out of the box (I know cellophane is) I wouldn’t be so sure with your bag of yeast in the refrigerator. I’d skip it. If you use it, you might just sanitize the outside if the bag before opening and pouring. Good luck!
In all honesty, I’ve touched that bag too many times, I was considering just getting rid of the rest, if you think that I should skip it, I will, I’ll just let it ride and keep it as cold as possible. Thanks and I’ll keep everyone updated when I get closer to bottling I’m thinking Nov 5th
 
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Ep930

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Hi everyone, so I wanted to give an update, I was concerned about the lack of activity in my airlock, so I actually ended up putting the rest of the yeast in the fermenter with some fermaid K Tuesday night, then I swirled it around a little. On Thursday there was little to no activity. So I researched and researched, and I decided that they’re would only be one way to check so I took a hydrometer sample. The OG was 1.104, the reading last night was 1.020 which at this point is an ABV of 11.03. I’m going to leave it in the fermenter till Saturday and I plan on bottling it then to allow it to condition in the bottle for a little over 3 weeks to get it ready for Thanksgiving. I sampled the wort and my wife and I agree the wort wasn’t sweet and had a pretty good Quad flavor we’ve come to enjoy. Here are some pictures of my fermenter fridge and the infamous airlock.
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