Advice needed for a newb

Hi all,

Have a question for you. Made my second brew from a Brewer’s Best Extract Kit w/Specialty Grains last Wednesday the 23rd of Sep and pitched the dry yeast Safale s-04 English Ale Yeast as directed. Had this in a new Primary plastic bucket and after 72 hours it showed no signs of fermentation. Called the shop where I bought the bucket and said to check the lid and it was not perfectly sealed. He had me open the lid to check for a Krausen ring but nothing around the inside of the bucket. As he was closing early that Saturday night he said he’d leave me another pack of dry yeast in the mailbox and pitched that Sunday morning the 27th. It was a Safale s-05 American Ale Yeast. Now into Tuesday and still no bubbles, Krausen ring inside the bucket or any signs of fermentation happening. Bucket has been stored in the basement at 72-74 degrees.

Should I just dump this and start over when my new kits show up this Thursday or could I try to pitch a Liquid Yeast this time? Have a store closer by that has the White labs yeast. If I do try to rescue this, what yeast should I pitch? Will mixing the Safale s-04 and s-05 yeasts have a negative effect on the beer?

Thanks for any advice you can give.

What was the temperature of the wort when you pitched the yeast. Describe how you pitched the yeast. What temperature water did you rehydrate the yeast. What was the expiration date of the yeast.

Take a SG reading to see how it compares to the estimated OG.

S-04 and 05 are very good dry yeasts. 72 is warm but not too warm for either. I’m surprised after two packets nothing is going on. The temp would make it ferment faster if anything. The only suggestion I can make is to swirl the wort and yeast around in the bucket. I would not dump it yet. Not sure a packet of liquid yeast would be any help if the two Safale packets haven’t done the trick. How warm was the wort when you pitched the first one?

Your LHBS guy is right to check the lid. They are notorious for not sealing but you would definitely see gunk on the inside wall of the bucket if it took off.

If the ambient temp was 72-74* the ferment got up into the high 70’s. This is likely done fermenting. Sanitize a turkey baster or gravity thief and take a gravity reading. That’s the only way to measure fermentation.

72-74 ambient is too warm to make good ales. Get the fermenter into an area that is in the mid-60’s and keep it in a water bath for the first 3-4 days. Then bring it up into the 70’s.

Thank you all for the replies. Just got back from another local shop I wanted to visit and talked to the owner there about my situation. I picked up another dry packet of Safale s-04 and rehydrated it following Palmer’s directions in his book. 1 cup of boiling water cooled to 85 degrees and sprinkled the pack in, let sit for 15 mins then stirred in gently and sit for another 15 mins. Pitched into Primary bucket and aerated very well. Temp strip on side of fermenter reading 70 - 72 degrees still. Will see what happens tomorrow afternoon when I get home from work. Hopefully not a crazy runaway fermentation and an exploded bucket of wort all over my basement. Will be working with Liquid yeast from now on.

As for the original pitch, the wort was cooled to approx. 70 deg. and was pitched dry into the primary. Stirred with a sanitized long handle spoon and put on the cover. Shook up the bucket and didn’t see any indication of leakage from a bad seal, so thought the cover was on nice and tight. I did not think to check the date on the package of the yeast but now know to do so. Will give it a few more days and then take some hydrometer readings to compare to the OG as suggested.

Personally, I would have checked gravity first. Worst case scenario, you just oxidized beer that already fermented. Hopefully, that’s not the case, and you get a nice healthy fermentation.

Took a Gravity reading and found that it had reached FG. Racked to a secondary Big Mouth Plastic Bubbler. Must have either Primary fermented in 18 hours or not been sealed completely or some combination. Had a taste after I took the FG reading and it was pretty good. Will give it 2 weeks in the secondary and then bottle. Thank you again for the responses.