Can I use me yeast?

Merry Christmas new fellow brewers! I say “new” because I’m brand spanking new to the art/craft of home brewing! I can’t wait to get started! But here’s the question:

My wife bought me a brew kit a few weeks before Christmas. It’s been sitting wrapped in our room for about 2 weeks. As I opened it I read that the yeast should be refrigerated as soon as possible. Will it still be ok to use? I’d hate to ruin my very first batch due to bad yeast.

Thanks in advance!

The brew newb,


Welcome to home brewing.

As long as the room temperature was below 110°F you can use the yeast. Temperatures over 110° will kill the yeast. You most likely will need to make a yeast starter to build the cell count though. Yeast starters are almost always necessary except for very low OG beers anyway.

This is the yeast starter/pitch rate calculator I like to use.

I would over build the starter by 10% to account for viability loss to the warm storage.

Any question you have will be a good question. Be sure to ask if anything is unclear.

What are the details of the brew kit you will be starting? We may have some good advice while you are learning about it.

Wow thanks Flars!

So I checked out the link you posted and have no clue how to figure all the details out about the yeast :frowning: Do most kits come with the info about yeast, weight, ABV, etc? I didn’t see that info in the kit, but will look a little deeper. I was planning on brewing my first batch this weekend, but may need to wait if the yeast isn’t ready huh?

I would plan on waiting so you will have less worry about the outcome. First brew should be more than just tolerably drinkable.

What is the brand name of the kit and what is the name of the yeast included. This will be the best starting point.

The kit is from Northern Brewer and its the Block Party Amber Ale brew. The yeast that came with it is Muntons Active Brewing Yeast…6g.

I don’t find Block Party Amber Ale on the NB site, but Muntons yeast is a dry yeast and does not require refrigeration unless you will be storing it for a year or more… Usually the dry yeast I’m familiar with comes in an 11 gram packet. What volume of beer is your kit for? Can you post a link to this kit?

Here’s the link. The kit is for making 5 gallons.

This looks like a fairly complete kit. The kit contains cleaner for the equipment, but no sanitizer. I would recommend Starsan as your sanitizer. It is a no rinse sanitizer that is effective while the surfaces are still wet. The Starsan solution can be reused if no crud is put into it. It is good to have a spray bottle for spraying some of the equipment rather than trying to submerge the equipment in a large container. Residual Starsan foam, lets say in the bottles, will not cause any problems with your beer.

Six grams of yeast may be sufficient if you rehydrate the yeast before pitching. Here are some good instructions on rehydrating. Main point is to pitch the yeast within 30 minutes of beginning the rehydration. You could also use a 11 gram packet of US-05 for an amber ale.

How do you plan to cool the boiled wort? It is best to pitch the yeast into wort that is at or just below the fermentation temperature. It is easier to hold the wort at fermentation temperature than try to cool down a fermenting beer that is getting to warm.

How do you plan to control the temperature of the fermenting beer? Yeast produces heat as it ferments so the beer temperature will always be higher than the ambient air temperature at the beginning of the fermentation. Beer that ferments to warm will ferment very aggressively and will produce off flavors. A swamp cooler is a low tech way of keeping the fermentation temperature under control.

The kit doesn’t include a hydrometer for checking the specific gravity. One to two weeks after the start of fermentation your beer may be done fermenting. The only way to know for sure is when you take at least two specific gravity readings, spaced a few days apart, and the gravity is not changing. A link to an older online brewing book on hydrometers. Other good information in this online book even though a new edition is printed.

Do you have at least 50 pry off cap 12 ounce bottles?

Read John Palmer’s on-line version of “How to Brew” at There’s a more up-to-date version available in print - save that for later. Then, read Denny Conn’s one-page description of batch sparging. Finally, google “brew in a bag” or “biab”.

Those three references will answer most of your questions. They will also generate additional questions.

This is the place to get several conflicting answers to all the new questions. :flushed:

Edited: Flars types faster than me. He also knows a lot more about brewing. Scroll up and follow his suggestions!

A hydrometer can tell you when fermentation is complete, but patience can substitute. Just wait 2-3 weeks. It can also let you compute your beer’s ABV, but again, guessing is possible. While I wouldn’t want to brew without mine, I can’t really say a hydrometer needs to be at the top of the upgrade list.

Go ahead and order your next recipe kit now. Maybe a second bucket. Stick with extract recipes until you’re comfortable with the process. If you choose to go all grain after that, it seems like much less of a leap if you’re already good with the boil-chill-ferment and bottle steps.

If you eventually want to go to 5-gallon all grain kits, or do “full boil” extract You will need a bigger kettle than the kit’s 20 qt pot. Bigger boil volumes also begin to max out the heating capacity of kitchen stoves. Gear acquisition can be tempting, so really get a few batches under your belt and decide which direction you want to go first. I stuck with a 20 quart pot on my kitchen stove and do all grain brewing at 3-gallon batches just fine. So that’s an option too.

To flars’s advice: of all the things I’ve tried with brewing; keeping fermentation temps under control has had the greatest positive impact on my beer quality.

And for the bottles… Any good beer, with non twist-off bottle caps should do. I soak them in oxyclean overnight to get the labels off. Most are marked “do not reuse” ignore that.

Do not ever run bottles through a dishwasher with rinse-aid. It destroys beer head. Same for beer drinking glasses…

Flars, the cleaner apparently can also be used to sanitize equipment. I’ve ordered some Starsan too yesterday so that should be here in a week or two. I have a spray bottle and planned on just spraying everything very well before using. Does that sound ok, or do I need to submerge everything in the sanitizing solution?

I planned on cooling the wort by putting the brewing pot in a sink with icy cold water as I don’t have the gear yet to quickly cool it. Will that work?

As far as temp control, I figured I’d put the brew in my closet. The basement gets down right freezing sometimes here in Wyoming so putting it there may prove disastrous I think. Unless you think 50* is ok to ferment in? My closet, if I had to guess, stays around 65*. Maybe I’ll just need to gently move it occasionally??

Thanks jmck for the advice! The kit comes with (2) 6.5 gallon buckets which brings up another question:

According to the recipe, if I read it correctly, I just need to ferment for 1-2 weeks in the fermenting bucket, then move to the bottling bucket and bottle it. But I’ve read a few articles about secondary fermenting. Should I let my brew sit for another week in the second bucket or just bottle it and let it finish there?

Thanks again everyone for the help! I can’t wait to let y’all know how it turns out.

And I do plan on sticking with extracts until I get that down to a science. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and don’t enjoy failing because I tried to go too big too quickly! :frowning:

With the kit that I have, what would you suggest I use to monitor fermenting temps? I do have a kitchen thermometer that I can submerge, but is that ok? I know I’d need to sterilize anything that touches the brew, but there’s most likely a better way I’m guessing.

The value in transferring to secondary has been a subject of debate. The main reason is to prevent autolysis, which turned out to be a severely overrated risk for home brew. I’d skip it for the first few, but if you decide to do it, get a 5-gallon bottle, not the bottling bucket.

You can get kits to put a thermometer in the beer, but most of us tape it to the side of the fermenter. NB sells a nice cheap stick-on.

I like Munton’s yeast and think it would work in your kit, but I don’t think one pack will be enough to get a reasonably fast start…

Clean first then sanitize. Remember that Starsan is a wet sanitizer, once the sanitized surface dries it is no longer protected. Equipment doesn’t need to be submerged in sanitizer, spraying is just as effective. Keep the sprayed items on or in a sanitized mat/container.

I cool my wort in the kitchen sink with the lid partially off so I can stir. First just a sink full of cold water. When that warms, drain add ice cubes and refill with cold water. Stirring will keep more of the warm wort in contact with the cold side of the boil kettle.

Our well water is 48°F year round. When I top off the wort is usually about 52° to 56° when the yeast is pitched.

I have an inexpensive digital thermometer that I tape to the outside of the carboy. It is insulated from the ambient air with a piece of foam pad. Use to be used in the kitchen for checking cooking temperatures until I got a Thermapen. The stick on thermostrips are also accurate. Just need to interpolate to the odd degrees if an even numbered degree is not bright green.

So when I wash my new equipment, is it ok to wash it first with regular dish soap to remove any grime from when it was shipped? Then on to spray sanitizing before I use it?

Sorry for the amateur questions. Just want to start right from the beginning…
Thanks again flars! You guys are so stinking helpful!

I would stay away from using regular dish washing soaps. They leave a residue which is very hard to rinse off. This soap residue in small amounts will kill the head on your beer. In larger amounts you may taste it in some styles of beer. Use the cleaner that came with your kit. Is it a no rinse cleaner?

Unscented Oxyclean can also be used as a cleaner. With added TSP 90 (I think that is what the product is), it is very similar to Powdered Brewery Wash. To me PBW rinses easier than the slippery residue Oxyclean leaves.