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Bad Yeast

How do you know if the yeast (dry yeast) is bad? I checked the expiration date and it was still good but I made a batch yesterday and there is nothing happening. If the yeast is inactive how long do I have to add more yeast before the whole batch is blown?

Usually wait at least 72 hours before starting to worry. What was the wort temperature when you pitched the yeast? Did you rehydrate the yeast before you pitched it? If you rehydrated what was the temperature of the water used? What is your wort temperature now?
What was the yeast you used and weight of the yeast pitched?

The wort temp was 76 degrees when I pitched the yeast. I did not rehydrate the yeast first (something I will definitely do from now on). Yeast type: Safale S-04 Ale yeast. Not sure of the wort temp now, I will have to check later on that.

If dry yeast has been exposed to high temperatures, it can go bad long before the expiration date. It is rare, but it can happen. That is one reason why it can be a good idea to rehydrate the yeast before pitching it. Just sprinkle it onto the top of a cup of tepid (95-100F) water and let it sit for 20 minutes. By the end of that time, you should see foam forming on the top, which is a sign of the yeast becoming active.

Don’t let it sit for more than 30-40 minutes before pitching it, as the yeast will need food rather quickly after being rehydrated.

Also, some yeast will show very little obvious activity even if they are active. As flars said, wait 72 hours before worrying, and then only worry if you test a sample and the gravity hasn’t dropped.

Also any suggestions on what hydrometer to buy? I purchased the standard brew kit and as I’m finding out there are many things I will need that were not included with the kit. Any suggestions on supplies/ equipment to purchase would be super awesome.

Just to add to what the others have already said…

At this point, it is very unlikely the yeast was “bad” (dry yeast is still usually OK past the expirey date).

rehydrating can be usefull, but not completely necessary (not doing it should not cause any problems in itself.)

Your pitch temperature seems a little high for fermentation, but certainly not high enough to damage the yeast.

How are you judging that nothing is happening? Looking at the beer, watching for airlock activity, etc?

I don’t think you have anything to worry about at this point, but keep us posted on the progress.

Most hydrometers I have seen are pretty much the same. Definately a good item to pick up. If you have a choice of test jars for the hydrometer, I usually prefer one that is a little wider. But, again, they are all pretty much the same and not too expensive.

If money is no object get two hydrometers. The first just a general type with the scale from 1.000 to 1.070. Most people can get by with only this one. I recently purchased a hydrometer with a scale from 0.980 to 1.020. Because the scale markings are farther apart it is very easy to read when you are checking for Final Gravity.
Did your kit come with an auto siphon? If not, one of these will save a lot of potentail grief when racking to the bottling bucket.
I would also recommend a bench capper unless you are using reclaimed bottles of various heights. The stability of a bench capper makes bottling a breeze. It can be adjusted to different heights. I just don’t like to interrupt easy routine of fill and cap.

If you list the equipment you do have we can better add to it. Are you in the $100.00 or $1,000.00 range?

There is no activity in the airlock. I candled the fermenting bucket no krausen as of yet.

Uhhh $100.00 range for sure

At this point I would just wait and see what it looks like tomorrow. Even waiting 2-3 days would still give you plenty of time to implement Plan B.

i guess u could say i had the same issue with my first batch. (it gets bottled on Friday)
i had what i thought to be zero yeast activity what so ever…keep an eye on the fermentor looking for air bubbles and i got nothing that i ever saw. so on day 3 i ran out and got some more yeast to pitch.
even with no bubbles that i ever noticed my yeast did do its thing. got an 1.042 down to 1.012.

could be you have a slight leak around the lid. if u can get a spray bottle put some star san solution in it spray around the edge of the rim and see if any bubbles appear.

other then that like already said hydrometer is your best friend saved me from pouring more yeast into an already fermented brew

[quote=“Sittin”]i guess u could say i had the same issue with my first batch. (it gets bottled on Friday)
i had what i thought to be zero yeast activity what so ever…keep an eye on the fermentor looking for air bubbles and i got nothing that i ever saw. so on day 3 i ran out and got some more yeast to pitch.
even with no bubbles that i ever noticed my yeast did do its thing. got an 1.042 down to 1.012.

could be you have a slight leak around the lid. if u can get a spray bottle put some star san solution in it spray around the edge of the rim and see if any bubbles appear.

other then that like already said hydrometer is your best friend saved me from pouring more yeast into an already fermented brew[/quote]
This is a very good point. You will not get any airlock activity if the CO2 has another zero resistance path to exit the fermenter.

As for equipment, skip the test jar and get a wine thief instead. Allows you to take pretty much painless sampling without wasting any wort. The autosyphon is also a good investment. Don’t bother with carboys; they are expensive, heavy, take up lots of space, are difficult to clean and can be downright dangerous if you drop it. Buckets work just as well. A stick-on thermometer on the fermentor lets you see at a glance the temperature during fermentation. A bottling bucket and spring-loaded filling wand make bottling easier. After that, the purchases start to get expensive.

If there is a slight leak around the lid what should I do?

Don’t worry about it, for a primary fermentation it doesn’t hurt anything. Some people don’t even bother with a lid
http://brewingtv.com/episodes/2010/5/17/brewing-tv-episode-4-open-fermentation.html
in the first place.

Okay so a slight leak around the lid will not damage the beer? Sweet baby Jesus that’s good news!

Not at all. Actually, when I first started brewing 20 years ago a common practice for many people was just to leave the primary lid lose on top of the fermenter. Gas pushes out with no airlock.

Remember, there is enough gas coming out of the beer to create a pretty nice safety barrier between any chance of contamination or oxidation.

Not at all. Actually, when I first started brewing 20 years ago a common practice for many people was just to leave the primary lid lose on top of the fermenter. Gas pushes out with no airlock.

Remember, there is enough gas coming out of the beer to create a pretty nice safety barrier between any chance of contamination or oxidation.[/quote]

NB TV did an episode on “Open Fermentation” back when they were really good. I think he left the lid completely off for something like 3 days.

I have a bucket where the lid does not seal tight enough anymore, but it is not letting air in so I still use it. I need to switch over to a carboy to ferment in.

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