Newbie needs help w/ fermentation

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

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Newbie needs help w/ fermentation

Postby tkensand » Mon Oct 13, 2003 9:14 am

I used Whitelabs liquid yeast for the first time yesterday. Failing to properly read/follow the directions, I did not let it sit at room temp for 2-3 hours before pitching. 18 hours later, no fermentation. Is there any saving this batch? Please help. Thank you.
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Sensitive Yeast

Postby KBrau » Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:10 am

Generally speaking yeast do not like rapid temperature changes. This is the reason that white labs recommends letting the yeast sit unrefridgerated for 3-6 hours before pitching. Therefore going from 40 degrees to 75+ degrees in 3 seconds can cause the majority of your yeast to lose viability. That is probably why you are still not seeing any activity. My recommendation is to buy a good dry yeast and pitch that (Safale and Saflager are both good). If it doesn't work out, you haven't spent much extra money on it and if it does you could still end up with some nice beer. You could also pitch additional liquid yeast, but after this much time has passed there is a decent possibility that your batch will be contaminated, so why waste the extra money. Hope this was helpful.

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Wait a bit then call in reinforcements

Postby Push Eject » Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:31 am

I'd give it a little longer... it might take off after all. It's only been one day, right?

However, you may want to go get another vial of the same strain, warm it up and pitch in there too.

I bet your batch will be fine.

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Maybe I'm over thinking this...

Postby Dr Strangebrew » Mon Oct 13, 2003 4:49 pm

Relax. I think that Push Eject has the right idea. I use white labs yeast exclusively. I take the vial out of the fridge as I get my equipment ready to brew. After awhile it just becomes habit. But as for this batch, I would certainly pitch another vial of the same strain tommorrow if you don't see any action.

Pitching cool yeast can certainly affect lag time, but there could be other factors at work here as well. Granted some could be negligible compared to pitching cold yeast. By the way could you please describe your fermenter and batch size. Do you use a blow-off tube or an airlock? Did you aereate your wort prior to pitching? The reason that I'm asking these questions is how we 'observe' fermentation may affect 'observed' lag time. Lag time being the time between pitching and active fermentation.

For example, from my own experience a bubbler type airlick is more sensitive than a three-piece airlock.

If you put a 4 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon pail lag time will APPEAR longer than a 5 gallon batch in the same pail because the headspace in the 4 gallon batch is greater.

An oberserved 18 hour lag time, by oberserved lag time I mean the time from pitching until the airlock bubbles, is not uncommon for me when I put a 4 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon fermenter.

Hope this rambling post helps

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Thanks for all the tips

Postby tkensand » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:32 pm

Thank you all for your input and advice. When I got home from work today, the 3 piece airlock was bouncing along nicely. Still, I will definitely learn from this experience and will let the yeast warm up before pitching. Duh. Anyway, thanks again. Cheers.
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