Author Topic: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice  (Read 314 times)

Offline Seth Gonzalez

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Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« on: May 06, 2020, 01:17:26 PM »
I chose the Big Brew day to jump into my first batch ever of APA. Kept Safale US-05 dry yeast at room temp for a week and half and did not re-hydrate it before pitching into wort at 70°. Moved fermentation bucket into 1st floor closet which has been at a 68° temp since May 2nd. After 44 hours I noticed a good bubbling in the airlock every minute or so, and then it stopped the next morning. I've not seen any good bubbling since Saturday. (3 1/2 days now).

Should I have seen activity again by now?
Should I try wrapping a towel around the bucket to bring the temp up?
Am I just impatient?

Thanks
Gonzo
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Offline MNWayne

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2020, 01:37:06 PM »
First of all, welcome to the art and science (and obsession) of home brewing. It is possible the ferment has finished. Can you take a hydrometer reading without opening the lid?  I prefer to limit oxygen exposure, so if there's a spigot on the bucket, draw off a sample and measure specific gravity.  Do the same a day or two later, if the reading hasn't changed the ferment is over.  Bucket lids are notoriously leaky, so bubbles in the airlock on a bucket are not a good indicator of yeast activity.
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Offline tommymorris

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Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2020, 01:57:22 PM »
I chose the Big Brew day to jump into my first batch ever of APA. Kept Safale US-05 dry yeast at room temp for a week and half and did not re-hydrate it before pitching into wort at 70°. Moved fermentation bucket into 1st floor closet which has been at a 68° temp since May 2nd. After 44 hours I noticed a good bubbling in the airlock every minute or so, and then it stopped the next morning. I've not seen any good bubbling since Saturday. (3 1/2 days now).

Should I have seen activity again by now?
Should I try wrapping a towel around the bucket to bring the temp up?
Am I just impatient?

Thanks
Gonzo
It sounds like fermentation happened and is complete. There won’t be more activity.

The 68F and 70F temps are in the right ball park for US05. What was the temperature of the wort (the liquid not the ambient) right before adding the yeast? Hopefully, it was 68-70F also.  The yeast behaves according the temperature it experiences (temperature of the wort not the ambient). Fermentation is faster with warmer temperature but the yeast makes more off flavors as temperatures. So, it’s a balancing act. Many home brewers target 68F for US05.  The manufacturer says to keep it below 85F. I would keep it below 75F.

If the beer warms up considerably you might see a few more bubbles out of the airlock but those would be from CO2 leaving the beer due to temperature change not new fermentation.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 03:25:04 PM by tommymorris »

Offline goose

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2020, 02:26:28 PM »
Did you take a gravity reading?  That will tell you if the beer is done.  I have had ales finish in about 3-4 days but always leave them in the fermenter fro about 6-7 days so that the yeast can clean up its mess (i.e. diacetyl).
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Offline skyler

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2020, 02:37:22 PM »
One of the most frustrating lessons to learn as a novice is that fermentation temperature and ambient temperature are not the same thing. Your 68º F room likely means ~74º F fermentation temperature, as I usually see a 6º F swing at standard ale temperature.

Personally, my best results with US-05 are fermenting around 58º-62º F, though many brewers like it around 66º-68º F. If you are fermenting in a 68º room and getting 74º F fermentation, you may experience a "cooked peach" like yeast-derived flavor that I personally do not care for. Then again, you may get lucky. As for fermentation and the airlock... many will tell you the airlock is not 100% reliable. The only way to know for sure if fermentation is complete is to test it repeatedly and confirm that the gravity is no longer decreasing. Realistically, you can probably just assume it is complete after 2-3 weeks if you don't want to test it.

Offline Seth Gonzalez

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2020, 03:23:31 PM »
First of all, welcome to the art and science (and obsession) of home brewing. It is possible the ferment has finished. Can you take a hydrometer reading without opening the lid?  I prefer to limit oxygen exposure, so if there's a spigot on the bucket, draw off a sample and measure specific gravity.  Do the same a day or two later, if the reading hasn't changed the ferment is over.  Bucket lids are notoriously leaky, so bubbles in the airlock on a bucket are not a good indicator of yeast activity.

Thank you for the welcome! I blew so much money leading up to May 2nd, I didn't imagine I might have to draw samples through the spigot hole. :)  I will have to figure that out or take my buddy's offer of getting one of his extra packs of yeast. I need to get a carboy, I already don't like not being able to see the beer fermenting.  :D  Thanks MNWayne
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Offline Seth Gonzalez

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2020, 03:29:41 PM »

It sounds like fermentation happened and is complete. There won’t be more activities.

The 68F and 70F temps are in the right ball park for US05. What was the temperature of the wort (the liquid not the ambient) right before adding the yeast? Hopefully, it was 68-70F also.  The yeast behaves according the temperature it experiences (temperature of the wort not the ambient). Fermentation is faster with warmer temperature but the yeast makes more off flavors as temperatures. So, it’s a balancing act. Many home brewers target 68F for US05.  The manufacturer says to keep it below 85F. I would keep it below 75F.

If the beer warms up considerably you might see a few more bubbles out of the airlock but those would be from CO2 leaving the beer due to temperature change not new fermentation.

There are tiny bubbles around the airlock at the moment but no other activity for me to see. My buddy offered up a pack of dry yeast (different kind) - do I try to resurrect the beer or count my losses, or try bottling around 10 days in?
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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2020, 03:43:05 PM »
Did you take a gravity reading?  That will tell you if the beer is done.  I have had ales finish in about 3-4 days but always leave them in the fermenter fro about 6-7 days so that the yeast can clean up its mess (i.e. diacetyl).

My understanding from discussing this with John Palmer is that once fermentables are gone the yeast can't do any "clean up".
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Offline Seth Gonzalez

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2020, 03:43:36 PM »
Did you take a gravity reading?  That will tell you if the beer is done.  I have had ales finish in about 3-4 days but always leave them in the fermenter fro about 6-7 days so that the yeast can clean up its mess (i.e. diacetyl).

I was so anxious to get the wort cooled and transferred to the fermentation bucket that I forgot to take an OG reading. Lesson learned! :D  Should I try bottling after a week then?
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Online denny

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2020, 03:44:44 PM »

It sounds like fermentation happened and is complete. There won’t be more activities.

The 68F and 70F temps are in the right ball park for US05. What was the temperature of the wort (the liquid not the ambient) right before adding the yeast? Hopefully, it was 68-70F also.  The yeast behaves according the temperature it experiences (temperature of the wort not the ambient). Fermentation is faster with warmer temperature but the yeast makes more off flavors as temperatures. So, it’s a balancing act. Many home brewers target 68F for US05.  The manufacturer says to keep it below 85F. I would keep it below 75F.

If the beer warms up considerably you might see a few more bubbles out of the airlock but those would be from CO2 leaving the beer due to temperature change not new fermentation.

There are tiny bubbles around the airlock at the moment but no other activity for me to see. My buddy offered up a pack of dry yeast (different kind) - do I try to resurrect the beer or count my losses, or try bottling around 10 days in?

Based on the temperature you fermented at I'd guess the beer is done fermenting and more yeast will do nothing.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2020, 05:44:42 PM »

It sounds like fermentation happened and is complete. There won’t be more activities.

The 68F and 70F temps are in the right ball park for US05. What was the temperature of the wort (the liquid not the ambient) right before adding the yeast? Hopefully, it was 68-70F also.  The yeast behaves according the temperature it experiences (temperature of the wort not the ambient). Fermentation is faster with warmer temperature but the yeast makes more off flavors as temperatures. So, it’s a balancing act. Many home brewers target 68F for US05.  The manufacturer says to keep it below 85F. I would keep it below 75F.

If the beer warms up considerably you might see a few more bubbles out of the airlock but those would be from CO2 leaving the beer due to temperature change not new fermentation.

There are tiny bubbles around the airlock at the moment but no other activity for me to see. My buddy offered up a pack of dry yeast (different kind) - do I try to resurrect the beer or count my losses, or try bottling around 10 days in?

Based on the temperature you fermented at I'd guess the beer is done fermenting and more yeast will do nothing.
I agree with Denny. But, we are all just speculating based on your post and our experience. The advice to take a hydrometer reading is the only way to know for sure if it is done.

You can remove the lid take a sample for your hydrometer and then replace the lid. Yes some oxidation will occur but this is your first batch. The oxidation won’t ruin it. You probably won’t even notice. We are all just extra careful. You have many more batches to perfect your process.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2020, 05:45:13 PM »

It sounds like fermentation happened and is complete. There won’t be more activities.

The 68F and 70F temps are in the right ball park for US05. What was the temperature of the wort (the liquid not the ambient) right before adding the yeast? Hopefully, it was 68-70F also.  The yeast behaves according the temperature it experiences (temperature of the wort not the ambient). Fermentation is faster with warmer temperature but the yeast makes more off flavors as temperatures. So, it’s a balancing act. Many home brewers target 68F for US05.  The manufacturer says to keep it below 85F. I would keep it below 75F.

If the beer warms up considerably you might see a few more bubbles out of the airlock but those would be from CO2 leaving the beer due to temperature change not new fermentation.

There are tiny bubbles around the airlock at the moment but no other activity for me to see. My buddy offered up a pack of dry yeast (different kind) - do I try to resurrect the beer or count my losses, or try bottling around 10 days in?

Based on the temperature you fermented at I'd guess the beer is done fermenting and more yeast will do nothing.
I agree with Denny. But, we are all just speculating based on your post and our experience. The advice to take a hydrometer reading is the only way to know for sure if it is done.

You can remove the lid take a sample for your hydrometer and then replace the lid. Yes some oxidation will occur but this is your first batch. The oxidation won’t ruin it. You probably won’t even notice. We are all just extra careful. You have many more batches to perfect your process.

Offline MNWayne

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2020, 11:58:04 PM »
It's most likely done fermenting. Let it be, and bottle or keg after the one week point.
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Offline Homebrew_kev

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Re: Safale US-05 fermentation and the worries of a novice
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2020, 02:08:08 PM »
I chose the Big Brew day to jump into my first batch ever of APA. Kept Safale US-05 dry yeast at room temp for a week and half and did not re-hydrate it before pitching into wort at 70°. Moved fermentation bucket into 1st floor closet which has been at a 68° temp since May 2nd. After 44 hours I noticed a good bubbling in the airlock every minute or so, and then it stopped the next morning. I've not seen any good bubbling since Saturday. (3 1/2 days now).

Should I have seen activity again by now?
Should I try wrapping a towel around the bucket to bring the temp up?
Am I just impatient?

Thanks
Gonzo

For your first brew, that is just fine. There are other ways to help encourage yeast growth, but you shouldn't worry about that until you've got a few more brews under your belt, and more money to spend.

but

For your next brew check out this Yeast pitch rate calculator

https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

Chances are, you probably could have used 2 packs of US-05. Most of the time, 1 pack will get you there. My thought is that it's very easy to under pitch yeast, but hard to over pitch. Yeast does all the work, so I try to do whatever I can to encourage yeast growth.

Rehydrating yeast for beer isn't critical. Many of the dry packs have nutrients that you'd want to put into the wort and not rehydrate it.

Down the road, if you continue to brew you'd want to look at getting a stir plate with a 2 liter flask. Any good homebrew store will sell out of date yeast packs at a discount, or maybe give them for free. You can easily grow it back up with a stir plate.

Other ways to improve fermentation is aerating wort before pitching. As part of the boiling process, oxygen is removed from the water. Oxygen is important for yeast growth - but if you add O2 after the growth phase, you'll get off flavors. The cheapest way is to shake your carboy a lot to reintroduce air, which is ok to do. The next cheapest way is to rig up an aquarium pump with a diffusion stone to inject air back into the wort. Most expensive but best way is to use an oxygenating wand with pure O2. If you'd like to learn more, let me know and i can find some links for you.