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Long lag time between boiling and pitching yeast

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Hey all,

I brewed up 5 gallons of an Amber Ale this morning (not Mr. Beer's recipe). Everything went off fine, but while I was cooling the wort, I had something come up and basically wasn't able to finish cooling it to pitching temp until about 6 hours later. So it basically sat at room temp with no yeast for 6 hours.

The two LBKs that I split that batch into were sealed and sat at room temp that entire time.

When I got back to them, they were at 78 degrees still, so I set them in the fridge for a bit to get them down to 72. At that point, I was getting paranoid about all the time they sat there and I just had to pitch the yeast.

I'm just wondering how this long lag in pitching the yeast could effect the beer. The fermenters were sealed, but I'm sure 5 hours is enough to potentially do some damage.

One thing this made me realize, is I don't think I've been pitching at proper temps. I usually do an ice bath and top off with cold water, but I honestly think I have been pitching closer to 80 F on most of my beers. Sucks to realize it, but now I need to find a way to fix it.

Any thoughts on how long this beer sat before I pitched?

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You want to get the temp to drop quickly. Having it cool slowly can cause an issue.

It's unclear what you did though. You didn't do an ice bath. Did you split them into LBKs right from boiling? If so, were the LBKs already full of a gallon of refrigerated water?

The only batch I've had go bad involved one where I did exactly that, adding hot wort from the pot to an LBK that was full of a gallon of 40 degree water. I ended up too high, so they sat in the garage at 40 degrees for a few hours. One got an infection, the other was fine.

In short, it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks. Either they will be fine, or they won't.

You should get a thermometer so you know what temp you are pitching at, and do it at the right temp.

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Sure, it's at a greater risk for contamination, but it may turn out just fine. You'll just have to wait and see.

When doing 5-gallon batches w/o an immersion or plate chiller, a partial boil, ice bath and top off like you described is best. Chilling 5 gallons quickly from boiling to below 70*F is a real challenge without a chiller.

If possible, move the top off water from the fridge to the freezer before you start brewing. Check it every so often to see if it's starting to freeze up. If you can get 2.5 gallons of wort down around 85*F and then top it off with the same amount of near-freezing water, you should hit the low 60's which is a perfect ale pitch temp.

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Thanks for the replies, guys. I may not have explained it accurately. It wasn't just the boiled wort that sat out for 6 hours. It was the wort mixed with the top off water, and distributed into the LBKs.

So, imagine getting right to the point of cooling your wort to pitching temps... then your phone rings. Then you drop what you're doing for 6 hours.

1 gallon of wort and 1.5 gallons of cold water went into each LBK. That's my normal process.

The issue came when I wasn't able to get those LBKs chilled to pitching temp until hours later.

I did use a thermometer. I don't recall the temp of the wort after mixing it with the top off water, but I know it was too hot to pitch and I just didn't have time to properly chill it like I've done in the past.

I know the wort was 72 F when i pitched the yeast. That's probably too high, but I just had to do it after leaving it sit for hours.

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the delay between putting it in the lbks and pitching the yeast will not harm it as long as the lids were on to keep the nasties out. 72 won't hurt

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I'm just going to assume the best.

The OG of this beer is 1.064 and I actually pitched 1 pack of Safale US-04 into each LBK.

I pitched twice the recommended yeast, and I always do this for beers over 1.060.

I'm hoping that the higher alcohol content of the beer and the big pitch rate could overpower any little buggers that took a dip in my wort over the last 6 hours.

Not that it would be any real indicator yet, but when I opened the lid to pitch the yeast, it looked fine. And smelled really good.

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I'll bet all is well...

It is a challenge, even with a chiller to get my wort down to below 70*F when the tap water is 82!

I pitched a Saison today at 78*F and then added a wet t-shirt and some ice packs around the fermenter to try to drop it further... But I'm sure it will be just fine.

:)

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I've done several 5 gallon batches where I have around 3 gallons in the pot. I get that down to just over 100 and split it into two LBKs that have a gallon of refrigerated water. The net combination is around low 60s.

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