Yeast still good?

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golfguy819

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I've been browsing the forums for a couple of weeks and decided to finally register.

Yesterday, I finally got around to making a batch of american light lager I ordered from AHS and had a question concerning the yeast (White Labs American Lager Yeast). The order was shipped out on Aug. 30, but did not arrive until Sep. 4th, which means it sat in a UPS warehouse over labor day weekend. I paid the extra 99 cents to have the ice pack put in w/ the yeast, but as you know, that will only keep it cool for so long. As soon as I got it, I threw it in the fridge until a couple of hours before I pitched in. So my question is, was the yeast still good? Its been over 24 hours and no action in the airlock (I know it may take up to 36 hours for fermentation to start and I may not see anything at all), and I also did not use a starter. The wort was aerated pretty well (I strained it and then made sure when I added the water to let it splash around). I was planning on waiting 3-5 days to take a hydrometer reading to see if it was fermenting. If it hasn't, should I repitch with dry yeast? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
This is my second attempt and I don't want to screw this one up. My first attempt was with Brewer's Best Kolsch and came out pretty nasty. I thought I rinsed out my secondary good enough after sanitizing it, but I guess I didn't. My beer came out tasting like I was chewing on a band-aide.
 

Padstack31

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You can't really tell all that much from the air lock, somtimes the CO2 can find other ways of escaping. I've had beers ferement out completely without much action on the airlock...can you see any foam on the top of the beer? (it's called Krausen) That would be a good sign the fermentation is well on it's way.

Yeast are pretty strong, and my guess is that you will be fine but they just need more time to get going. If you don't see any activity within 48 hours, I would think about re-pitching. In the future, you will want to get into the habit of creating a starter. At least in the begining, until you get more comfortable with handling yeast. The earlier the fermentation starts, the less time unwanted bacteria have to set up shop in your yummy beer, and a starter is the best way I know to get fermentation off with a bang.
 
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golfguy819

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can you see any foam on the top of the beer? (it's called Krausen) That would be a good sign the fermentation is well on it's way.QUOTE]

I'd have to open up the bucket (Getting a carboy for the primary next week) and I'm hesitant about doing it this early in the process. I guess if I don't see anything by tomorrow, I'll open it up and see how its going.
 

shertz

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From now on, when you buy yeast through the mail, get Wyeast Smack packs. This will at least let you know if the yeasties are OK. Also, DO A STARTER! Your fermentation will be going within 12 hours and you can then really relax.
 

eddie

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If you only pitched a single package of liquid yeast then you drastically underpitched. Without making a proper starter, you would need three or four packages to pitch the proper amount of yeast. I'd go down to the LHBS and pick up a pack of dried lager yeast and pitch it. Get SafeLager S-23.
 

Padstack31

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also, what temp are you fermenting at...remember that lager's like colder temps then ales...
 
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golfguy819

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The date on vile says to use before Nov 22, 08, so I'm good there. I didn't know if the warm weather and being in the box during transport would have a negative impact. I did get an og reading of 1.038. Its funny because the the og listed on the directions said it would be exactly 1.034. I didn't pay any attention as I thought that was close enough.

Also, that was all that I added because that's what came with the kit. I thought it would be enough. Looks like I'll have to go pick up a pack of dried yeast just in case.
 

Revvy

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Did you happen to notice a little sticky that reads "Fermentation can take 24-72 hours to start?

After 72 hours take a hydro reading...until 72 hours has gone by go drink beer and relax...more than likely the beer is fine.

But before you head off to get yeast, first read this...http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/Think_evaluation_before_action/
 
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golfguy819

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also, what temp are you fermenting at...remember that lager's like colder temps then ales...
Unfortunatly, I think it's sitting around 72 degrees. I don't have a basement, so it's sitting in a dark closet on cold tile. It's about the coldest place in my house.
 
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golfguy819

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Did you happen to notice a little sticky that reads "Fermentation can take 24-72 hours to start?

After 72 hours take a hydro reading...until 72 hours has gone by go drink beer and relax...more than likely the beer is fine.
yep, did read it. i was merely concerned with the temps the yeast may have been sitting at before i got it. i wanted to know if it was exposed to high temps if it would have killed it off.

drinkin a beer as we speak (or type, lol) :mug:
 

Revvy

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yep, did read it. i was merely concerned with the temps the yeast may have been sitting at before i got it. i wanted to know if it was exposed to high temps if it would have killed it off.

drinkin a beer as we speak (or type, lol) :mug:
Yeah, BUT....there's no point in being concerned until the window has gone by....whether or not the yeast was cooked or not...If you don't let the window go buy, and/or don't take a hydro, then you really don't know if the yeast is ok, everything anyone posts is merely speculation...

Yeast is pretty resiliant stuf....It's been making beer in 100+ degree desert conditions pretty spontanaeously for 2,000 years...



Good job on the beer drinkin...:mug:
 

Padstack31

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I wouldn't worry too much about your OG being .004 over your target...you will be fine there, that just means that your wort had a bit more sugar which will translate into a higher ABV if you hit your target FG.

Check out Revvy's post, that's good advice for all brewers and definitely applies in this case.

It probably wouldn't hurt to pick up a pack of dry yeast but I would be sure to check (hydrometer reading) to be sure the other yeast hasn't already started before throwing it in and it sounds like you might want to wait a day or two to let it do it's thing before making a decision.

Also, if and when you do use dry yeast, make sure you re-hydrate it according to the instructions on the packet...
 
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golfguy819

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I wouldn't worry too much about your OG being .004 over your target...you will be fine there, that just means that your wort had a bit more sugar which will translate into a higher ABV if you hit your target FG.
Now that you mention it, they did throw an extra pack of sugar into it (I wanted the 1% alcohol boost). I was thinking thats why it was off, but wasn't sure. Good info. Like I said before, this is only my second batch and I've done a lot of reading, but it's always nice to be able to have someone answer your questions (books don't really talk back to you), lol.
 
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golfguy819

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Well, thought I'd post a quick update. Since I've hit the 48 hour mark, I decided to take a hydro reading (since I was already in the closet cleaning it out). Hasn't budged at all. It still smells like sugar water and there was no sign of krausen. So I called Ausin Homebrew (per their instructions), explained to the guy what was going on and he basically said what was already said by Revvy. So I'm headed down to my LHBS and picking up a pack of SafeLager S-23. Austin Homebrew said they could send out another pack of yeast to me, or they could issue a coupon. Since they yeast they sent me in the first place didn't work, I obviously opted for the coupon.
 

impulsoren

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I have never had good luck with White Labs lager yeast. It either doesn't ferment all the way or ends up tasting funny. A packet of dry Saflager pitched directly into the wort has always worked out great for me.
As an aside so people don't think I'm bashing WL, their Ale yeasts are the only kind I will use for warm beer.
 
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golfguy819

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i ended up pitching a pack of saflager directly on top of the wort this afternoon, gave it a little shake, and within a couple of hours, i opened the closet door to check and see if anything was happening and had the sweet smell of fermentation! checked the airlock and their is a little activity going on, but i'm stoked that it finally started.
 
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