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Nathan08

First ruined batch (maybe)

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Hey all!

So, third time's the (un)charm? Maybe. Batch 1 was a success and batch 2 was just bottled (so far so good) This brings me to batch three (bewitched amber ale). I was happily brewing away while the wife was watching the kids. The oldest had a tumble so my wife dropped the baby off to me mid brewing. Baby then screamed head off as i rushed to finish process. We can all see where this is going. A step was of course skipped in the rush. After filling the keg to the 8.5L mark with water, I added my yeast but forgot to give everything a thurough stirring. The yeast was added about 30 minutes ago. Be honest: is this batch worth saving or have I screwed it enough to just throw it out and move on to another?

Lesson of the day: brew when kids are sleeping.

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Don't throw it out.

 

My sig-line on another homebrew site is this:

 

 

You do know that as a new brewer, it's your job to insanely worry that you have the only environment on earth where a billion yeast cells can't figure out how to find all that sugar that they crave.

 

It wasn't said by me, but as a new brewer myself, I glommed onto it pretty readily.

 

Since it hasn't been even a day since you brewed it, open the LBK up and give it a gentle stirring with a sanitized spoon. Give it at least 2 weeks (3 is better) in the LBK. You'll probably be just fine.

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you don't need to stir the yeast in. it will find the food. about the only issue I can think of is that stirring aerates the wort ..... but so does pouring in the additional water to a degree... so you should be golden.   (aeration being necessary at the START of fermentation for cell growth etc)

 

it is really really really hard to totally ruin a batch of beer to the point where omg it just cant be consumed...  if you have even the remotest care with sanitation. even if you totally mess up temp control you just make beer that either does nothing (yeast fell asleep - too cold) or you made apple cider tasting beer that will give you a headache (too hot, stressed yeast, acetaldehyde and/or fusels). you can under pitch, over pitch yeast which can cause off flavors....   you can pitch the yeast into boiling wort killing them, which will mean your wort will just sit there laughing at you and doing nothing to get to beer...  so relax.  yeast are incredibly hardy and smart critters for a single cell animal. they have been making beer for man for thousands of years. you can fix a lot of things you might consider sources of ruined beer. I had a batch that got a lacto infection. it tasted like really sour unflavored yogurt. made me go all puckery. I still was able to drink it by adding orange powder to the glass to balance the sour. I figured if yogurt is full of lacto cultures and doesn't kill me the beer wouldn't either. 

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Wait......I keep hearing that people stir their yeast when they add it. What gives? The Mr B directions explicitly state to not stir the yeast. Should I be doing this?

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Update: I did take the advice and gave the WORT a very light stir, bottom to the top, trying not to disturb the yeast on the surface too much.  When I got up this morning (12 hours later) I checked on the keg. It is happily bubbling along with a nice layer of foam, wort temp at just over 70 degrees (warmer than room temp as it got a bit cold last night.)  I guess everything looks fine for now.  I am now glad to have not tossed the batch.  That is one thing that I am figuring out, is that beer is not as finicky as I thought it was. I mean, sure one really should follow the directions, which I try to do, but as long as one is clean, which I have been, it is not that bad.  Thanks for the discussion guys! I will keep posting updates on this beer as I go through the process.

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Wait......I keep hearing that people stir their yeast when they add it. What gives? The Mr B directions explicitly state to not stir the yeast. Should I be doing this?

 

I am not too sure.  This is why I originally thought I had ruined the yeast because 1. the wort had to be well mixed, and 2. you were not supposed to stir it at all once the yeast was pitched.  I did go back and give a light stir, but I tried not to bother the top too much.

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Beer must be aerated to get a healthy fermentation. Mr. Beer's CURRENT direction tell you to stir VIGOROUSLY with a whisk or spoon, then add yeast. They USED TO tell you to stir again AFTER adding the yeast, but too many dummies put the spoon down on the dirty counter. Nathan08 had not mixed his wort at all, except for pouring, so at least a gentle stir was called for.

I aerate witha silicone wisk, add my yeast, then 15 minutes later aerate like crazy again.

Fermentis' directions from the S-05 yeast:

pitch the yeast directly in the fermentation vessel providing the temperature of the wort is above 20°C (68°F). Progressively sprinkle the dry yeast into the wort ensuring the yeast covers all the surface of wort available in order to avoid clumps. Leave for 30 minutes, then mix the wort using aeration or by wort addition.

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I took it as Nathan hadn't stirred the wort after adding everything together and that he was worried that the wort itself wasn't well-blended before he pitched his yeast.

 

As for aerating the wort for the yeast's sake, I have heard two different schools of thought here - either aerate your wort so the yeast can reproduce happily (i.e., no stress on them) or pitch a healthy amount of yeast to begin with. For the Mr. Beer kits, with only 5g of yeast, I'd recommend aeration. For a 2-gallon batch with a very high gravity (like the Novacaine), even though the kit comes with the Safale US-05 yeast in an 11.5g packet, I aerated my wort. If you are pitching a whole 11.5g packet into a wort that isn't so high-gravity, I imagine aeration isn't so important.

 

This is just my take on things, however. I definitely don't see any harm in aerating the wort no matter which way you might go.

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Okay. I what I have been doing is mixing like crazy with a whisk then pitching the yeast right away. My last brew I waited thirty mine before pitching and did not aerate then. I am 5 days into it a no krausen. Well very little. And no bubbles. This is a lager. Is this normal for a lager?

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Did you use the correct amount of yeast for the lager? From my understanding, a lager needs about twice the amount of yeast as an ale.

 

A whisk is what I used when I aerated my worts, but I have heard that isn't quite the same (although no further explanation was forthcoming from the one that told me that). Also, a good, heavy pour is a pretty good way to aerate your wort.

 

My next batch, I am only going to pour about a foot above the LBK opening to get that aeration. Of course, I am going to be using an entire pack of US-05 again, so there shouldn't be any problems.

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Krausen is irrelevant.  Do you have trub at the bottom of the LBK?  Is it really a lager?

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Krausen is irrelevant.  Do you have trub at the bottom of the LBK?  Is it really a lager?

It's the MB 2014 seasonal spring lager. It says true lager in description. I have plenty of trub. But you know us new Brewers Rick. The bigger the krausen, the bigger the chub.

Admit it Rick. There had to be a time when you peeked at your LBK every hour and got excited with heavy krausen! Hahaha

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So far I have forgotten to stir the wort all together, before or after pitching the yeast. Stirred to aerate before adding the yeast as the directions state. And stirred with a sanitized spoon immediately after pitching the yeast. All three citcircumstances produced great drinkable beer. Don't panic. Your little 5g packet of yeast is a remarkable thing. I am sure you would have been OK with or without stirring the wort.

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Thanks again all, the advice and words of encouragement have been great.  Small update: The wort has been bubbling away for the past couple of days and the temp, which was sitting at about 71 degrees, was settled this morning at 68F.  I also believe I see trub at the bottom of the keg.  All appears to be normal at this point. Business as usual for now.

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The bigger the krausen, the bigger the chub.

Typo?

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Either a case of auto-correct, or he gets really excited about high-krausen.

 

 :D

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Well, I will admit to getting a bit excited about high-krausen lol though i was happier this time around over the thick layer of trub at the bottom.

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As pointed out before - yeast are very hardy and know their role. Aeration gives the yeast a great start (lag time) and gets them into fermentation sooner. However, even without aeration and mixing they will find and ferment the sugars in the wort. BTW - although I am way past the age of soothing crying children, I always had my kids help me with my hobbies, Surprising how much interest they have in what Dad is doing. Enjoy the moments, they grow up quickly. 

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 Enjoy the moments, they grow up quickly. 

 

Agreed 100%. Even though they are young, I wish I could slow things down a bit.  They do grow too quickly.

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BTW when they get to be teenage hang on to this thought: Grandkids are your reward for not killing your teenagers.

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BTW when they get to be teenage hang on to this thought: Grandkids are your reward for not killing your teenagers.

Is this a T-shirt?  If not, I'm making one.

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BTW when they get to be teenage hang on to this thought: Grandkids are your reward for not killing your teenagers.

Lol noted.

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Update:  Since for this batch I already had not followed the directions to the letter, I decided to try one after three weeks so that i could then compare the taste to a brew after 4 weeks.  With my last two batches, I found that they tasted even better after 5-6+ weeks of sitting at room temp.  My last two batches (American classic and Oktober Fest) were good, but I still found they tasted ever-so-slightly sweet... barely noticeable.  Anyway, I cracked one of the Bewitched Amber Ales that I thought I had ruined and to be honest, it is my favourite brew to date. It tastes great; would definitely buy that at a liquor store.  I will for sure be making this one again.  Thanks again to everyone who quickly convinced me not to toss this batch!

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Update:  Since for this batch I already had not followed the directions to the letter, I decided to try one after three weeks so that i could then compare the taste to a brew after 4 weeks.  With my last two batches, I found that they tasted even better after 5-6+ weeks of sitting at room temp.  My last two batches (American classic and Oktober Fest) were good, but I still found they tasted ever-so-slightly sweet... barely noticeable.  Anyway, I cracked one of the Bewitched Amber Ales that I thought I had ruined and to be honest, it is my favourite brew to date. It tastes great; would definitely buy that at a liquor store.  I will for sure be making this one again.  Thanks again to everyone who quickly convinced me not to toss this batch!

 

The pleasant surprises are the best part of this hobby! ;) 

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Enjoy the moments, they grow up quickly. 

 

And sometimes NOT quick enough. And ditto to Jim's comment about the reward of grandkiddies.

 

Salud my Friends

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