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How long can wort last before pitching yeast?

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b33r_br3w3r

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Hello, I'm new to the forum so forgive me if this is a question that is overly obvious. I'm also new to brewing, I've done two extract batches and that's it.

My brother and I went to a group brew event yesterday and each came home with 5gal of Black IPA wort (SG 1.060). Because we were both really busy and didn't have the foresight we don't have a yeast starter ready to pitch. I just went and purchased our yeast this morning but I'm wondering what to do? I got two smack packs which I've just activated. Do I wait the 3 hours to confirm viability of the yeast and then pitch them or should I go ahead and make a starter?

Is the risk of the wort getting infected greater or is the risk of not having healthy yeast to pitch more? Also, if it matters, we have one glass carboy and a bucket with the wort. I do have another carboy that I could transfer the wort that's in the bucket currently to but not sure if it matters.

Thanks for any help in advance.
 

COLObrewer

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Assuming this is wort that has already been boiled at this point you can do either with the yeast, personally I would activate and pitch. It should be fine if your sanitation and wort storage procedures were sound, if you are going to wait 48hrs+ for your starter then you might loose patience and your head could explode from worry.
 

northernlad

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I was forced to wait 24 hours once. Things turned out ok. It does depend on your sanitation.
 

samc

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Early in my brewing days I did not know about starters and used the smack packs as is. Ultimately it is better to make a starter, but I have to disagree with others and go with pitching instead of waiting on a Starter. Depending on your "sanitation" is an iffy proposition and I'd rather see the intended yeast attacking your wort.
 
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b33r_br3w3r

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At this point it's been about 20 hours since the wort was put in our fermentors. I'm fairly sure my sanitation practices were up to par but it's still causing me lots of mental stress thinking about how long the wort would have to sit before pitching if I did do a starter. At this point I think I'll end up pitching the packs directly into the wort and cross my fingers.

If the yeast do end up not quite cutting it couldn't I add more later on to finish it off?

Thanks for all the responses, they're really appreciated, you guys rock.
 

COLObrewer

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6 on one hand, half a dozen the other. If you underpitch now the yeast will lag until their numbers are built to the task at hand, You should aerate the hell out of it prior to pitching. Either way you will be waiting.
 

kanzimonson

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There's a pretty easy test to see how sanitary you are: pull off a cup of wort before pitching and put it in a sanitary jar. Cover it, don't pitch it, and wait to see how long it takes before things start growing.
 
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b33r_br3w3r

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It took around 10-12 hrs for activity to perk up but I have krausen flowing out of the one I used Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes and the other one I used Wyeast 1056 American Ale is bubbling away. Still crossing my fingers but I'm slightly less worried...
 

COLObrewer

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It took around 10-12 hrs for activity to perk up but I have krausen flowing out of the one I used Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes and the other one I used Wyeast 1056 American Ale is bubbling away. Still crossing my fingers but I'm slightly less worried...
You're golden, now RDWHAHB if you have one.:mug:
 

paraordnance

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You will be fine, its basically same as "No Chill" I do it all the time, you can leave your wort unpitched for days without worries. I read here people leave it for weeks and nothing happened.
 
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b33r_br3w3r

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Just going through old threads and thought I'd let everyone know I had absolutely no issues and the beer turned out amazing. Thanks everyone!
 

arg

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For future reference, I brewed on Monday and pitched my yeast last night. (Thursday)

Rocking and rolling this morning, (Friday) everything is groovy.

RDWHAHB. Pitch the yeast when they're healthy and ready, don't rush it.
 

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