Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Got Dry Yeast? You should.

I'd read/heard somewhere that it was a good idea to always have a couple packets of dry yeast in the fridge. Maybe you want to brew and have no yeast, or maybe you'll need it to save a batch. This past weekend I experienced the later.

I'll be brewing a series of Pale Ales and IPAs this summer, and I was going to kick things off with a basic American-ish pale ale, fermented with yeast used in my last batch of Belgian Prankster (Belgian Ardennes). I decided what I like doing is racking finished beer off a cake, leaving some beer behind to make a nice slurry. Then I just pour some of that into my fresh wort - right from the old carboy into the new. This way I avoid over-pitching on the cake. It's worked well for me in the past, but I never did that with this particular yeast.

So, nothing was happening 24 hours after pitching. I've never had this happen before and was baffled. Did I not pitch enough (slurry too thin)? Was this yeast dormant too long? Was it just too cool in my basement? Yet the temp strip read 68, which is what I usually start Ardennes at. I rolled it into a warmer room and waited longer. Nada. The liquid was smooth as a mirror.

And it was Memorial Day - good luck finding a local homebrew shop open on a holiday.

Fortunately I had a packet of SafAle US-05 in the fridge. I just shook it right in and a few hours later had fermentation - hurray! Maybe things would've kicked off if I'd waited more, but I was also just curious to see how this dry yeast worked out, and if I'd get some sort of belgian-american yeast mix (though I hear if you use 2 yeasts in a brew, one just takes over). Now I have some serious krausen, and am wondering if the two yeasts are both active and going at it. Either way I'm extremely curious to see what comes out of this.

So, I'll always be sure to have some decent dry yeast in the house cause you never know, cheers.

1 comment:

  1. I keep a few packs of US05 and Nottingham for that reason.