on rehydrating yeast... i vaguely recall one of our old guard stating that anything beyond a 10-15 degree difference in temp from the rehydrating solution and the current wort temp could cause thermal shock. an unrelated point: when im doing a really high gravity ferment like hobo wine , after rehydrating i'll temper the yeast to the gravity by adding about a teaspoon of the must, stirring... let it sit for a couple minutes.. .repeat then after a few times i'll pitch. dont know about mutants. how would one know? ive never had really off fermentations that i can think of so if ive ever got mutant yeast cells they seem to do the same job.
for really old yeast? yep. a starter would be ideal... ive got some really old pasteur red that will get a starter on my next hobo wine. it's way past best by date and the must will be high gravity. sometimes though i just dont have the motivation to run a starter for a day or two. getting that darn stir bar to stay put sometimes drives me nutty.
yeast today are pretty amazing and really hardy. you can really be careless with them and they will still make good beer.
I weighed the provided grains at just under 1.5 pounds - 23.6 ounces or something. I called it a pound and a half. I put them in a muslim sack, put them in at 160+or- F, and steeped them for one hour. The recipe said to stir every 10 minutes, but I was much more attentive to them than that. It was a chore to keep my mashing temperatures between 149 and 152-F, which is what they wanted, but I managed it. I sparged with exactly 170-F water and I would say I used at least a quart for sparging. And.....I let the grains drain in the colander over the kettle for about 5 minutes, while I manipulated the colander from one side to the next, trying to get all the drainage out of the grains. Then brought to boil for one hour with the hops, and the remainder of hops at flameout. Then cooled in the sink to just shy of 70 degrees, and added almost a half gallon (or more) of water (at 70-F) to bring the wort up to the one gallon mark on the jug.
Where did I go wrong? Again, I forgot to stir the wort and added water before taking the specific gravity reading, but when pouring in the extra water, it stirred things up pretty well and there were some bubbles, as if the wort and water were mixed ok. Upon pitching the yeast is when it occurred to me that maybe the OG reading was low because I didn't stir the wort well enough before taking the reading. Well, I pitched the yeast, put the cap on, covered the hole with my thumb, and shook things up pretty good. But by then the yeast was in there and I didn't feel like taking a reading again.
The color of this wort is sort of a light greyish green, with some brown tones, but not brown like my MRB American Lager wort. Weird. Smelled like grains and hops when I was cooking it though!
Anyway, it's done. We'll see what happens. When mixing up the Star San, I think I accidently grabbed the bottle of Stabil fuel stabilizer off the shelf for sanitization. I hope that didn't have anything to do with the weird color and low OG.
You know, I did wonder if it was ok to use the tube and jar as an "air lock". The decision has been made. No airlock will be used on this one. Thank you Cato
Also, I did sanitize the muslim sack for my aroma hops using Star San. I washed my hands in the solution and wrung the sack out. I hope it doesn't cause any problems.