Help, just getting started!

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Help, just getting started!

Postby wouldy » Sat May 31, 2003 8:35 am

I have recently graduated from Mr. Beer, and made my first 5 gallon batch three days ago. I had to wait overnight for the wort to cool, and pitched the yeast in the morning. Now two days later, i have yet to witness a single bubble come through the air lock. The beer is in a 6 gallon plastic pail. I have no local homebrew shop (i use mail order) to run to to grab some more yeast. Does anyone have a suggestion or condolences?
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No condolences yet

Postby richanne » Sat May 31, 2003 9:03 am

You didn't mention what type of yeast you used - dry or liquid. If you pitched a dry yeast directly on top of the wort, you could still be OK. You may not see bubbles for several days. It can take that long for the yeast to expand enough to create enough carbon dioxide to affect the airlock. If you used a pitchable liquid yeast, I have some bad news for you. If your fermenter is airtight, the yeast is most likely dead. If this is an ale (not a lager) open the lid to check if there's anything (scum) on top. If so, that's yeast and you're OK. Put the lid back on. In the future, do yourself a favor and make a starter several days ahead of brewing. You boil four ounces of extract in a quart of water for 10 minutes. Cool the pan in a sink full of ice water to 80 degrees. Pitch the yeast on that. Put in a bottle with an airlock. When it starts to bubble, brew your beer. Also, cooling overnight is a bad idea because it invites infection. If you don't have a cooling coil, you can cool wort by placing the brew pot in a tub of cold water.
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A Common Cause

Postby BillyBock » Sat May 31, 2003 10:21 am

A common cause of no airlock activity is a poor seal of the lid on the plastic pail allowing the gas to escape that way. I would lift the lid a bit and peek inside while holding your breath. You should see foam (krausen) forming on the top. It'll begin small--indicated by clusters of bubble islands. Then it'll expand into a thick, crusty foam. Then it'll recede towards the end. If it happened and you missed it, look for a crusty ring above the liquid level. Reseat your lid firmly. To make sure you have a seal--gently press on the lid with the airlock in place; you should see a bubble come out of the airlock when you do this.

Since you don't live near a homebrew store, I'd suggest having plenty of dry yeast on hand for these kind of emergencies.

v/r
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Last Ditch

Postby wouldy » Sat May 31, 2003 11:24 am

I did use dry yeast that i rehydrated. We opened the pail to check what it looked like. No evidence of vigorous activity there. We did see small clumps (no bigger than 1 inch diameter) of bubbles that were few and far between. The temp is pretty constant at seventy-one degrees. Any more advice before i let my wife talk me into using bread yeast?

Thanks to those that have posted and to those that will,
Wouldy
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If you havent pitched that bread yeast...

Postby Fraoch » Sun Jun 01, 2003 2:03 am

Try giving your pail a good shake or a vigorous stir Wouldy, you may not have enough oxygen in your wort for the yeast to start reproducing anaerobically(spelling?????).If there are signs of activity but a lack of a real vigorous fermentation taking place, then normally a GOOD rouse will sort it out.If nothing works then chalk it up as experience and get straight to another brew.There probably isnt one person on this forum who hasnt thrown a batch at least once.
Also, most dry yeasts that come with kits tend to be pretty crap.By far, the best dry yeast to use is DCL Safale.I always keep some in stock in case of emergencies and it is good to use as standard if using dry yeasts.

Hope this helps,

Gavin
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OMG don't toss it!!!

Postby canman » Sun Jun 01, 2003 1:44 pm

I also am stuck with dry yeast for the most part. I've seen it take several days to start and sometimes in a bucket bubbles are a poor indication of fermenting due to the bad seal. I must agree the Safale S-04 is IMHO the best dry out there. Coopers makes a decent one too. Give it some time and order that extra yeast now, don't toss it, it should only take 3-4 days to get new yeast.
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Gavin

Postby fitz » Mon Jun 02, 2003 3:31 am

I have never thrown out a batch.
I did however drink a couple batches that would curl you toes. Woudy get your yeast whatever way you can get it, and repitch if you don't see any activity. Like Gavin said, give it a good shake first. Some people in their zeal to get a batch started, and the fear of airborne bacteria, forget to airate their wort.
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immersion blender

Postby dartedplus » Mon Jun 02, 2003 7:40 pm

if you have one of those immersion hand blenders, put the whisk attachment on and let 'er rip. it oxygenates quite well
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Good call Ed

Postby fitz » Tue Jun 03, 2003 4:42 am

Never thought of that one, good call ed
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