What to expect following power outage in cold temps

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heyjaffy

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I brewed my first non-Mr. Beer beer on Sunday (still kit-based, Brewer's Best), and got my first 5 gallons of IPA in my primary, which started bubbling away after about 12 hours. Fast forward to Wednesday night where I lost power as the DC Metro region got hit with a relatively small (according to this New England native) but particularly damaging snow storm. Now, 48 hours later I'm still without power and it's in the mid 40's in my house, with an estimated restoration of power sometime in the next 48 hours. I plan on checking the gravity once power is restored, and will keep checking over the next few days. If I don't see any movement, I'm not sure if I can trust that the yeast did all of it's job before getting chilled out. Can I expect the yeast to wake back up? If not, is there some point where I should make the call to re-pitch? If so, is there some critical time period in which I'd have to re-pitch. Could I wait a week? A month?

* disclaimer - I'm new to this forum and to all the technicalities of brewing beyond the set-it-and-forget-it Mr. Beer methodology. I've done much reading over the past few days on this forum and am a bit overwhelmed by all the terminology, processes, and intricacies, and haven't tuned my search method enough to uncover anyone with this exact problem.

** I'm moving on from Mr. Beer because I want to make more and better beer. I'm looking forward to learning from and participating more in this community.

-Jeff
 

jonmohno

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good plan check the gravity or get it up to 70 if its an ale or use a heating pad on low with fleece for a little. Not too long because fleece will retain heat well. and thats what you want.To bring it back from dormancy.The important part of making good beer is to maintain temps and ideally if it were possible for them not to go beyond ten degrees but you cant do anything about a power outage. I would just get it back up and maintain it at the yeasts recommended temps for a few more weeks. I would consider yourself lucky that it probably did most of its fermentation then went out. What temp did you pitch your yeast at?
Im shure it will turn out good just give it more time than usual, temperature shock can cause off flavors that can be cleaned up by the yeast with more time in primary.If this were to happen to me i would give it at least three more weeks.
 

RCCOLA

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I'd bet that it finished up in that time frame. Once one is fermenting actively, it's hard to stop it. I routinely have beers fermenting at 64F and drop the temp of my chamber to 55F and the beer temp never drops.

When you get your power back, just let it warm up and get a gravity reading. Depending on the yeast strain, you can tell if it has attenuated by the % listed. EX: S-05 usually gets a 1.050SG beer down to 1.010FG that's 80% attenuation. 80% of 50.

You should let it sit for a couple weeks after it warms up before packaging anyway and by then, it should def. be done. Just check your gravity ~ 3 days before packaging and then again on the day you bottle/keg--the readings should match.
 
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heyjaffy

heyjaffy

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Thanks for the tips and info. I pitched initially in the mid 70's, can't recall exactly but I wrote it down, and I'm currently displaced from my heat-less home where my brewing logbook is. If the gravity isn't right upon warm-up and doesn't change after a few days, is there any guideline to re-pitch?
 

RCCOLA

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Thanks for the tips and info. I pitched initially in the mid 70's, can't recall exactly but I wrote it down, and I'm currently displaced from my heat-less home where my brewing logbook is. If the gravity isn't right upon warm-up and doesn't change after a few days, is there any guideline to re-pitch?
This is one of thse times when you just have to wait and see. I'd hate to say "Re-pitch at exactly..." when there's probably nothing to worry about.

If--(and I doubt there will be an if), things aren't right after it has been warm for about 3 days, just post back on here and you'll get an answer. if not, then PM me.
 

dcott

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You've been above freezing, so my guess is when power comes back and ambient temp rises, you'll be good to go. Might take longer, but you should have a good cell count of healthy, slightly dormant yeast.
 
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heyjaffy

heyjaffy

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Power came back yesterday afternoon and ambient house temp returned to ~70 degrees by the evening. I just cracked the top of my primary for the first time to take the beer's temp and get a gravity reading. Beer was at 68 degrees and the gravity is almost spot-on for the recipe, and, I noticed small bubbles coming to the surface (though there wasn't noticeable activity in the airlock, but I know this isn't a factor). Instead of dumping the sample in my thief back into the batch I dropped it in a glass and did a taste test.... and it tastes great! No off flavors, good bitterness. Now I just need to decide if I keep it in the primary for another couple weeks or move to secondary (I've never used secondary as my history is with Mr. Beer). I'm leaning towards keeping safe and just keeping it in the primary for another 2 - 3 weeks, but I kinda want to get another batch going... maybe it's time to buy another primary.

Thanks again for the tips and advice.
 

RCCOLA

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The bubbles are just CO2 being released that was built up during fermentation. Nothing to worry about.

Good going on the taste test. I taste every grav. sample that I take. Gives you a good idea of what's going on along the way. No reason to remain ignorant--educate yourself right? BTW, never dump the grav. sample back into the batch. It's a slight chance to infect your batch. I always drink mine anyway.

You can rack if you need to free up the fermenter. It won't hurt a thing. Probably a good idea to go ahead and do it and brew another batch. It will keep your mind off of this one. Cheers!
 
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