Wort too hot when yeast was pitched??

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

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Wort too hot when yeast was pitched??

Postby lootcorp » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:56 pm

:(

Brewed batch #3 last night. (BTW - the second one came out great, very hoppy like an IPA. I've had my first requests for a repeat batch :lol: )

Anyway, batch # 3 - it is a Berry Beer kit from morebeer.com - using White Labs California Ale yeast. Everything went ok during prep, did my boil (after adding the powder malt extract and the maltodextrin I got a foam on top of the wort, then after adding hops I had my first boilover that actually made it out of the pot!! Many paper towels later...)

For the first two batches I cooled the pot in my bathtub w/ cold water and got it down to 70-80* F pretty quickly (30 min or so). In reading the instructions from morebeer, they recommended if doing a partial boil (which I was) to cool the wort to around 120*F and then add it to the primary with the rest of the water. I cooled my wort to around 100* and added it to the primary, figuring I'd give their method a try (always trying to knock a few min off brewday - gotta build me a chiller). Anyway, I could not cool the wort down past 86-90*F! I kept using new cold water, circulating around the bucket, and man, I was kicking myself for transferring to the bucket before it was fully cooled. After trying in vain to get the temp down I figured if I kept the beer out and uncovered any longer I was risking a bug, so I pitched and covered. It's only been 12 hours or so, but there is no activity in the airlock...snuck a peek in the bucket and there are bubbles on top, but did not notice any activity. I'm hoping I did not kill the yeast.

At what temp is yeastocide certain? Do I have any hope here? I'm going to wait 24-36 hours - if still no activity, I will pitch a dry yeast emergency pack I have in the freezer...

Any advice?

Thanks,

Loot
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Postby JPinAZ » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:10 pm

As long as the wort temp was under 115 or so, the only things you'll have to worry about are the esthers & other by products of high temp fermentations. Most likely the seal on the lid or airlock wasn't complete so pressure was getting out that way. Check the gravity every day or so & compare it to your starting gravity. That will tell you if it's fermenting or not.
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Postby BillyBock » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:54 pm

Loot: your yeastie beasties are probably still alive. As JP points out, it's more than likely a bad seal with the bucket. I've run into the same temperature problems where I pitched while the wort was 90F+. The beer went through at least half of the ferment before I was able to get the temperature down into the 70s. The result was a very estery pale ale. After a year of aging it had toned down for drinkability. Don't be surprised if this happens.

Since then I've bought a dedicated upright temp controlled freezer I place my conical in. I make it a practice not to pitch until the wort is the temp I want. I usually make lagers and the temp is seldom where I need it for pitching. It's not unusual for me to pitch within 12 hours after it's had a chance to get down to 50F (on average it's around 4-6 hours). Yes, I've assessed the risk of contamination. I'm pretty meticulous when it comes to that, and I use StarSan--this procedure works for me. Beers made with this protocol have even been submitted in major contests, and I haven't gotten a lick of negative feedback regarding infection-type issues. One of them even took 3rd place. So...that's my data point for your consideration...YMMV.

v/r
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Postby lootcorp » Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:22 am

Thanks for the info, Bill. As it turns out, you are correct, the yeast lives! It started bubbling yesterday, probably around 24 hours after the pitch. I have the primary in an air conditioned room with an ambient temp of around 72*, so hopefully I won't get *too* many esters. Do you think the esters will be strong if the temp is maintained in the 70's from here on out? (i.e., it was only 90 or so for the first 24 hours?)

That leads me to another question - what stages of the ferment are more conducive to the production of off-flavors and esters, etc... Am I correct in assuming that once the beer has pretty much finished fermentation, the temperature issue is not as much of a concern? I fermented my last batch in the primary for 2 weeks in the a/c room @ around 70-75*. I then transferred into a secondary and kept it in a non-air conditioned room where ambient was probably between 80 and 90. It sat there for 4 weeks, then was bottled and stored in the same room. That was about a month ago, and the beer is awesome - no off flavors at all. Is it safe to lax up on the temperature after primary is complete?
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