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Fast ferment learning curve

So I just started my first batch with my fast ferment and despite researching best practices I still encountered clogging issues with the pre ferment trub. I’m desperately hoping I didn’t infect the batch while clearing the clog but I had no choice but to stick my sanitized hand in while guiding the tube down. Because i didnt have a straight rod. I’m looking for advice I guess because I pitched rehydrated west coast ale yeast about 30 hours ago and see no active fermentation yet. Do people typically see longer lag times with the fast ferment? All the yeast had settled in the collection ball and I was worried that another clog was preventing active fermentation so I repitched the contents of the ball 14 hours ago. Still no activity. At what point do I worry or decide to pitch new yeast as now I’m thinking the yeast wasn’t viable… Sorry I’m all over the place with this. There are so many variables at this point with the new fermenter, a yeast I haven’t used before (Lamalle west coast ale BRY-97?) and a kit I haven’t tried before (Sierra Madre extract). Please help…

Right now you are close to the “if it won’t start, pitch some fresh yeast” point… I would do that now… In the future look up yeast starters… Once you’ve got your head wrapped around that, your brewing world will be less problematic… I brewed yesterday, and since I had a very healthy starter, my brew is bubbling away like crazy… I plan to top crop tonight. Sneeezles61

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Thanks sneezles. I was about to repost that extensive research showed that extremely slow starts are common for the dry west coast ale yeast (some report up to 72 hours!)which I’m guessing might be a dry yeast with low cell counts or lots of death upon “awakening” causing an underpitch that may be exacerbated by under aeration (it’s difficult to shake a conical!)

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The bottom line is how long do I wait before trying plan b.

What was the ferment temp? Is it possible it already fermented out quickly? Hydrometer readings are the best bet to track it, especially if the vessel is not clear.

I kept a close eye and never saw any activity. No yeast sediment or krausen. Temp was in the 60s for the most part. I am slightly worried that it got down into the 50s and went dormant which is why I moved it inside. I timed out my brew to this cold front because I’m in Florida and don’t have a ferm chamber. So inside is mid 70s and currently outside has been 60s and even cooler at night

As @sneezles61 said it is going to be 48 hrs soon…time to pitch another pack(or 2)(depending on the gravity) of dry yeast if you have it, as 5 gallons of nutritious sweet wort is too much for opportunistic bugs to pass up!
If a yeast takes 72 hours to get started, its just not a great brewing option.

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So this batch will be a learning experience whether it comes out drinkable or not. I’ve abused it quite a bit. As established earlier I pitched BRY-97 dry west coast ale yeast Saturday at 16:00ish. Tuesday at 07:00 there was still no sign of fermentation so I had some US-05 same day delivered to me (Amazon rocks) and when it arrived at 20:00ish I prepared to pitch only to find my batch had finally began fermenting. There was an inch or less of krausen and the temp had jumped up from 68-72F to 79°. Because of the original yeast struggles and concerns over possible sanitation issues I decided to sprinkle one packet of the US-05 anyway. I found no i information on pitching yeast on an actively fermenting batch and decided this batch could be experimental… I also moved the fermenter back to the storage closet outside so I could bring the temp down from that scary 79° only to find a batch this morning with little to no activity. Now I figure I will give it a couple days before taking a gravity reading to see what’s really going on but how likely is it I shocked the yeast inti dormancy by bringing it from a 75° room to a room that likely dipped to 60-65° at some point in the night. (These temps sound strange to me too and I’ve been in Florida almost 3 years… was pitching into “high krausen” a terrible idea? Was attempting to cool down an untamed yeast party a bad idea? Hoping to learn from this brew if nothing else comesof it… thanks

You didn’t shock your yeast by simply moving it to a room that was 65°. The thermal mass of 5gal of ACTIVE fermenting wort is pretty substantial so it would have taken a long tine for the temps to come down. At 1.052 and upper 70° likely the beer had fermented out. This was exacerbated by adding additional yeast into a warm environment. It will be beer but here are some tips for your next batch:

  1. try to acclimate your rehydrated yeast by adding small amounts of cooled wort. This will help with the initial temp shock. Also, do NOT rehydrate with RO or distilled water.

  2. 36 hours is the upper limit you want to see in terms of lag. Every hour that passes allows wild yeast to take hold. No matter how effective you sanitize you will have wild yeast in the wort. Everyone does. Pitching an appropriate sized, healthy yeast population overcomes this issue.

  3. adding yeast to already fermenting beer is a waste; you won’t get much at all. A hydrometer meter is worth its weight in gold. Not only to find out when it’s finished fermenting but also if it has started.

  4. sounds like you understand some portions of temp control. Remember that fermentation is exothermic (produces heat). This means temps will easily climb 4°-5° over ambient, for a beer that is 1.050-1.060. I just made a DIPA at 1.075 and it easily climbed 6° over my ambient. My glycol system ran quiet frequently to keep it at 67°.

  5. I’ve found that trying to “fix” beers with too many changes at once usually causes more issues and can ruin the beer. If you have to try one change at a time (I.e warming it a bit, then trying another fix if it doesn’t work). Sometimes you just gotta let it ride!

Do t give up. Brew another beer and get comfortable with the process and good technique to make good beer. It will come.

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Loopie has some very good tips right there! Yeast and starters would be a great subject to read up on. THEN, perhaps re-using yeast… I hope you have some home brewers near you that you can visit/brew with… RDWHAHB… Sneezles61

Thanks for the tips guys. This is just my 5th batch and the first time I’ve encountered any of these issues. But like anything you don’t learn to get better when the sailing is smooth. It’s encountering problems that creates teachable moments. Unfortunately I understand a lot .ore than I’m able to afford to accommodate. All the research in the world won’t buy me a ferm chamber haha.

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Early on I discovered a cheap-ish solution to manage temperatures, a 10 gallon water cooler from Home Depot, works great for ales, with a couple gallons of water, ice packs, a large lid fashioned from a gigantic plastic plant saucer, and I was in business. Monitor temps with a cheap probe thermometer and you can get away with one or two ice pack exchanges a day with great results. I shroud the whole thing with a blanket to minimize swings of temperature(air lock protruding of course).

@40 dollars.

Obviously, @DreadPirateWestley the fast ferment (conical) may not be amenable to this, but if you expand to other fermenters…

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Sorry but that’s the best pic I could find on my phone of the arrangement. You have to imagine a water cooler under that lump of towels :joy: Note temp holding at 61*…I’m in Florida also and this works well for ales, someone in a cooler part of the country could probably do lagers with this setup with some effort. (I lager in an old garage fridge with a temp controller ).
Full disclosure: I got this idea from someone on this forum, works great, and I still use it …often I’ll have two of these going at once.

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Ok, found this. Shows big mouth bubbler in cooler. I’ll stop now :beers::joy:

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So I took a gravity reading today to gauge if further action is required (I know, this poor beer…) temp is sitting at a happy 68° and the wort/beer is still quite cloudy which this forum has led me to believe is a good sign of active fermentation. Anyway we are at 1.016 SG, from the OG of 1.052 which is good but definitely not finished for a Sierra Madre extract kit am I right?

1.016 is getting close to terminal gravity for some extract kits…when I did extract I remember most coming in around 1.013-1.014 or so. YMMV. I’d definitely give it a good 2-3 weeks in primary to “clean up”/develop before packaging.

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I brewed the Sierra Madre once with harvested WY 1056. It finished at 1.007.

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Positive note. I tasted my gravity sample and there weren’t off flavors so the batch hasn’t spoiled. It tasted as I expected at this point. A little sweet as it hasn’t fully fermented and a bit fruitier than one would want probably as a result of the high temp it reached when it took off by surprise.

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Your doing fine… Now may be a good time to allow it up to 70*-ish… Let the yeast finish off the remaining sugars… reaching terminal gravity… Sneezles61

My options are the outdoor storage at 50-70 somewhat mitigated by the water heater or indoor at 74-76. Since the big part of the fermentation already happened I brought it in to the warmth.

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