A couple of days ago I brewed some Big Ben Pale Ale from Midwest Supplies. After the boil I poured the wort in to the fermenter atop some cold water already in the fermenter. I checked the temp right before I pitched the yeast (muntons dry ale). At that point I was at the temp called for on the yeast label(30-40c). I stored the fermenter without cooling it down to below 78f, which it finally reached the following day. The airlock was churning at that point and stopped the next day. Should I expect problems? Is there anything I should do at this point other than wait. On a side note I failed to get a SG reading as well. Thanks for any input you may have.
I think you may have misunderstood the directions on the yeast packet. 30-40C (86-104F) is much too warm for pitching the yeast into the wort.
Pitching temperature is usually under 75F/23C. It's recommended to rehydrate the yeast in a little water at that high temperature, but not pitch into wort at that temperature.
You'll still get beer at the end of it, but you may pick up some additional flavors. Typical symptoms of a high pitch are hot alcohol flavors, and elevated esters (fruitiness.)
As long as you pitched the yeast under 75F you'll be OK. leave it along for 7-10 days. if you pitched over 75F there is a good chance you'll get some funky flavors and low ABV because the wort was too hot for the yeast. If it was even hotter the yeast would just be killed from the heat, but that doesn't sound like what happened.
typical fermentation: no activity for 24 hours very active for the next 2-3 days (air lock is bubbling) still active, but no bubbles in airlock
With this style of beer you can either bottle it after fermentation, or transfer to secondary to help clarify the beer. No more than a week.
keep it in the bottle for ~5 days to carbonate and then enjoy. <5 days and the carbonation isn't there. 5 days is very young, but drinkable. 2 weeks it's mature enough to really enjoy.