I *really* think I ruined my first batch

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crypt0

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hey all, first post... Just found this site today, seems great.

I'm brewing my first batch of beer (malt extract) and we're approaching 72 hours and I have not seen a single bubble coming out of the airlock.

Before anyone asks, I sanitized absolutely everything I used when making the wort. I used chlorine bleach and rinsed everything thoroughly. The water was 78 when i pitched the yeast. I havent found a hydrometer yet - i will have to pick one of these up as soon as i find one

So finally today I opened the lid to have a peak inside and it looks exactly the same as it did the day I brewed it, no visible signs of fermentation at all.

Since it was my first batch, I tried to follow the instructions on the can as closely as possible (probably first mistake). Secondly, no store in my area seems to carry corn sugar! So I had to use cane sugar instead (probably second mistake).

Following the instructions on the can, I didn't proof my yeast and instead just sprinkled it on top per the can's instructions (third mistake).

At this point, I'm wondering if I'm better off dumping the batch and starting again or if I should head to the homebrew shop tomorrow and buy some more yeast, proof, and try again.

Can anyone give me any advice?

thanks,
- Brandon
 

Bopper

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Are you positive that you didn't forget to pitch the yeast? If you did pitch yeast than it was probably dead or your temperatures cold. What temperature is the carboy? I would get another packet of yeast and sprinkle it on top and make sure your temper is 70 degrees until you see fermentation begin. Sprinkling the yeast on top is sufficient...that's what may of us do.

If you had a hydrometer you could check the gravity to see if it different from the original gravity (this would be somewhere in your recipe). If it was the same then you know it didn't ferment at all. Checking gravity is the best way to determine if something has fermented as it is possible for fermentation to occur without seeing any bubbles in the airlock.
 

Picobrew

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Your three mistakes don't sound like red flags at all. If you correct those three "mistakes" next time, you could have better beer, but what you did isn't going to "break" your beer.

Read the thread that AZ_IPA linked to and don't freak out yet. If nothing happens in a few more days, I would pitch some more yeast on it, maybe like a dry packet of nottingham or s-05. I never proof/hydrate my yeast and it always works fine, but I use new yeast from the shop that I keep cold in my fridge. Yeast from a kit can be very old in some cases.
 

SkiSoloII

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I would go to your Local Home Brew Store (LHBS), buy a pack (or2) on Nottingham yeast (a good generic clean-tasting yeast) and pitch again. Just tear it open, and pour it in....

Dave
 
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crypt0

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Wow thanks for all the replies. I'll see about finding a hydrometer somewhere - and i'll be sure to pick up some good yeast tomorrow... Thanks again
 

Rick500

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If you don't have a local homebrew shop, check a good saltwater aquarium shop for a hydrometer. It needs to have a range from about 1.000 to 1.120 or something thereabouts.
 

brewer_duke

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did you areate the wort? yeast need o2 to reproduce and they wont start actively fermenting until their population is up to a certain ratio.
 

EoinMag

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Any beer made with 50% cane or corn sugar is gonna taste bad for a good few months. I have one of my first kit brews, made with cane sugar as per instructions on the tin and it's only just drinkable and it was made in January, it's far from a good beer. Only reason it's still around is that I couldn't choke it down.
 

Shooter

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I agree with Picobrew. Your three "problems" aren't that big of a deal for your first brew. Canned kit instructions aren't great and the included yeast sometimes isn't the best. I don't care for Mr. Beer yeast and always swap it out, but, as long as it's relatively fresh, I've used Coopers yeast succesfully several times. EoinMag has a good point with too much sugar, corn or otherwise. I've used small amounts of corn sugar in these kits, but it's usually combined with at least an equal amount of DME.

Get a hydrometer and use it religiously. It's very likely that your beer is fermenting just fine, or possibly finished the bulk of its fermentation before you opened it up to look at it.
 

theacolyte

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I had the same thing happen to me on my first brew. You know what it was?

The airlock wasn't sealed.

I even went to my LHBS and bought more yeast to pitch... thankfully I checked it first.

Re-Sealed it and it bubbled away!
 

EoinMag

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Coopers yeast is a good yeast for high temps, and it flocculates well, I don't think yeast is the problem. Use 100% DME ( or LME) next time.
 
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crypt0

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Ok so it's been a week, and I picked up a hydrometer today. I took a reading and it looks to be about 1.03... I know the magic number is 1.08.. Does that mean I have super strong beer?
 

COLObrewer

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Hmmmmmmmm. . . . . .1.03 would indicate that your beer is not done (should be below 1.02), 1.08 being a magic number is confusing to me. Having super strong beer depends on the original gravity and the final gravity.
 

Picobrew

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Do you mean 1.003 or 1.030. There is a big difference. If it is 1.003 then it is very dry, and most likely finishing up. If it is 1.030, then it isnt done yet, most likely. Don't forget to adjust for temperature.
 

GuitarBob

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I always buy an extra yeast packet whenever I'm brewing. Just in case I have to repitch.

Your final gravity will be different depending on the recipe you used. Assuming the instructions in yout kit didn't give a final gravity target, what style of beer did you brew? If you know the style of beer you can atleast get a rough estimate for what your final gravity should be.
 
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