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I just made my first home brew. I have learned many lessons including that if I move the fermenter to its resting place after I add the yeast some of the yeast gets stuck to the glass, and I can't work out a way to move it. I have no way of knowing whether it is 5% or 30%.

How big an effect will this have? Will it make the fermentation take longer?

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Why can't you just shake the fermentor and swirl the wort up into the yeast to wash it off? –  brewchez Jan 24 '12 at 0:55
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If this is one of your first brews, then don't worry, this won't have much effect.

I'd be surprised if you get anywhere near 30% on the sides of the carboy - that's about 60 billion cells...), but if it were, this would add only half a day to the ferment at most. Yeast can double every 3-8 hours depending upon strain, so you only need one doubling of the population to get back up to the original cell count.

In future, if you end up pitching the yeast and then moving the fermentor, you can just give it a good shake for a couple of minutes. This will resuspend most of the yeast and will also introduce oxygen into the wort, which is needed at the start of fermentation.

But rather than pitching directly, a more effective solution is to first rehydrate the yeast in a separate sterile container with cooled boiled water at 95F. You can then move the carboy to it's final place and then pitch the rehydrated yeast. With the yeast rehydrated and suspended in water, it will mix better with the wort and leave less on the sides of the carboy, and also the yeast will be healthier since pitching directly into the wort reduces viability by 40-50% compared to rehydrating in warm water.

But as I said at the start, for your first brew or two, don't worry, yeast are hardy little critters and many people make good beer despite rough handling the yeast.

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Make sure to use filtered (or dechlorinated somehow) water for rehydrating the yeast. They don't like chlorine, and you don't want it in your beer anyway. –  baka Jan 23 '12 at 13:55
    
Agree with this comment. Always rehydrate your yeast, or use the smack pack yeast starters. That way gravity can be your best friend and you can be certain only a small portion of your yeast will not make it into the wort. –  Chris Plaisier Jan 23 '12 at 17:37
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