Author Topic: First Stout...am I doing it right?  (Read 3204 times)

Offline the315brewingco

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First Stout...am I doing it right?
« on: February 12, 2012, 02:48:39 AM »
I am trying to brew my first Dry Stout and think I may have not done something correctly.  Granted this is only my fourth brew, but the others turned out fine.

In anycase, this was the first time I used a dry yeast for the brew.  I thought I activated it properly, brought 4oz of water to 95*F then let it cool down before adding the yeast, then stirred it to a even consistency before pitching it into the wort.  I let it sit in the primary fermentor for about 3 days and when I did my gravity reading, it hadn't changed from when I first put it in there.  Could I have prepped the yeast improperly and is there a way to save the brew?  Is it a bad idea to add another batch of yeast to the brew this late in the stage?  I just moved it to the secondary fermentor to see if it might reactivate the yeast and help the fermentation along.

Sure hope I didn't botch this one up.

Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 06:09:45 AM »
I assume that you didn't see any fermentation activity.  If you still have the empty yeast packet check the date (it does expire).  Sounds like you rehydrated it properly.  How was the yeast stored (extreme heat/cold is not good)?

I would try to swirl the fermenter a bit to get the yeast back into suspension (maybe raise the temp to around 70 F if possible) and if nothing happens go ahead and pitch another yeast packet.  If you sanitation was good you may still come out alright.  I had this happen about a year ago with a cream ale- for whatever reason the yeast didn't start and I pitched another packet.  To be honest it didn't quite taste right (3-4 day lag) but it wasn't awful either.

Offline Mark G

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 06:53:29 AM »
If you've already gone 3 days with no change in gravity, pitch new yeast. The other pack wasn't viable for whatever reason. Hopefully your sanitation was good and nothing else took hold.
Mark Gres

Offline majorvices

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 06:55:41 AM »
If you don't have any sign of.fermentation pitch another pack of yeast asap. Fwiw you don't haven to rehydrate. Pitching dry yields the same results for me.
Keith Y.

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Offline bluesman

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 08:34:18 AM »
+1

Pitch another pack right away. I always keep at least 1 or two extra packs of yeast on hand for this very reason.

You'll should be in good shape if you can get another pack of yeast going right away.
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Offline euge

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 11:00:25 AM »
With dehydration you sprinkle it into plain water and let it sit for ten minutes. Then you stir. Let sit for another five minutes. Swirl and pitch into wort.

I preboil the water in the micro and let cool to 75-80 before the yeast comes into contact.

Hard to say why your pitch failed. It's very unusual. However, you'll see excellent results if you rehydrate properly. I fall into the Rehydrate camp.;)
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Offline denny

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 01:49:25 PM »
However, you'll see excellent results if you rehydrate properly.

But I see excellent results with no rehydration whatsoever.  That includes using only 1 pack in a 1.070+ beer.  What am I doing wrong?  ;)
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline the315brewingco

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 02:20:47 PM »
I stopped by the brew shop today to pick up some more yeast.  My original was the Nottingham Irish Ale dry yeast.  This time the guy suggested to try a liquid yeast so I got the White Labs Irish Ale yeast.  My starting gravity has been at 1.052 from when I pitched the yeast to now.  I'm hoping it works this time.

I'm also wondering if I need to raise the temperature of my room where I keep the brew.  I keep it in m y basement and I checked today and it looks like it is staying at a constant 50*F.  At least it is constant.

I wonder if my water was too hot when I was re-hydrating the yeast.  Just because I have had success with it I am currently a fan of the White Labs or WYeast liquid yeast.  Probably have a bit to learn about properly using the dry yeast.  Maybe I'll try pitching it dry next time just to see what happens.

Offline tubercle

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 02:37:15 PM »
  I keep it in m y basement and I checked today and it looks like it is staying at a constant 50*F.  At least it is constant.

 Hmmm....That might be the problem. The yeast are not dead, just hibernating. Ale yeast usually like it better in the low to mid 60 range although some ferment in the mid 50's OK. Try warming it up 10 degrees.

 BTW...a vial of liquid yeast usually requires a starter. If you're not going to make a starter you are better off pitching a pack of dry.
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Offline euge

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2012, 02:43:17 PM »
While 50 degrees isn't unheard of for ale fermentation you should try to get the beer into the 60's for a better more vigorous fermentation. That might be your problem right there.

Denny I don't know. You have success with sprinkling and I did as well. Just that after listening to JZ&JP years ago I started practicing rehydration and noticed an immediate improvement in lag time especially and also with the attenuative phase. The first 1.100 barley wine got one pack of s-05 and despite a 36 hour lag it finished by the end of the week. Tasted ok too...

I'm still going to champion hydrating yeast.  ;)
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Offline denny

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 03:22:06 PM »
Denny I don't know. You have success with sprinkling and I did as well. Just that after listening to JZ&JP years ago I started practicing rehydration and noticed an immediate improvement in lag time especially and also with the attenuative phase. The first 1.100 barley wine got one pack of s-05 and despite a 36 hour lag it finished by the end of the week. Tasted ok too...

I'm still going to champion hydrating yeast.  ;)


Go right ahead.  If I ever have problem from not hydrating, I'll join ya!  OTOH, on another forum, I just answered a question from a guy who killed his dry yeast by improperly rehydrating it.  Dan Listermann had so many of his customers doing that, too, that he finally told them to stop rehydrating and stopped getting problem calls.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline euge

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2012, 04:05:09 PM »
The instructions have gotten better in the past few years. The key for me was using regular tap water and following the instructions as written. You know how we homebrewers are... Distilled or RO water gave me real problems and it took me a while to snap to it.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline the315brewingco

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 02:00:43 AM »
Well, whether it was the yeast or the temperature it is fermenting now.  I guess this is the first time that my basement got too cold, I raised the temperature and it is now doing it's thing so I now wonder if I am going to have to wait longer because I have more yeast in the brew...that is if the first batch just needed to be warmed up a bit.

I guess time will tell.

Offline malzig

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 05:03:35 AM »
The Irish Ale Yeast isn't the most cold-tolerant of yeasts.  I've used it successfully at 60-62°F, but even that is pushing it, probably.

Offline erockrph

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Re: First Stout...am I doing it right?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 07:29:13 AM »
The instructions have gotten better in the past few years. The key for me was using regular tap water and following the instructions as written. You know how we homebrewers are... Distilled or RO water gave me real problems and it took me a while to snap to it.

Not to thread hijack, but what was the problem with using RO water for rehydrating your yeast? I've only done 1 batch with dry yeast so far, but I used microwaved & cooled RO water and everything seems to have turned out fine. Am I better off using tap water in the future?
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