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I live in Vietnam and there's a dearth of good beer. So I cobbled together some supplies and tried my first homebrew yesterday. I had the guidance of an expert so I feel it went really well, but my mentor wasn't there for the yeast pitching.

I purchased the Wyeast Direct Pitch Activator a few weeks ago and had a friend bring it here. I'm worried that between the week he hauled it around the US and 16 hour flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong it may have been killed. It can get quite cold in the aircraft luggage hold.

I cracked the smack pack a good 6 hours before pitching. The yeast nutrient did in fact break. It was kept at room temperature after smacking. And I pitched it about 10 hours ago 75 degrees was the wort temperature and 72 for the room. I'm not seeing any signs of fermentation.

My questions are:

  • How much longer should I wait to see any fermentation?
  • If I don't see any at this point, what should I do?

I have some dry ale yeast I can throw in.

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The smack pack should have inflated in the six hours between breaking the nutrient seal and opening it. If it didn't, that's an indication that the yeast are not working at full strength.

If you don't see any fermentation 48 hours after pitching, the yeast has almost certainly failed. Your beer is at the greatest risk for infection before the yeast is pitched. If there's any question about your sanitization procedures, it might be unwise to wait more than 24 hours before taking action.

If you've determined that the first yeast culture has failed, rehydrate the dry yeast, following the instructions on the package, and pitch.

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    It depends on how old the smack pack was. I have seen packs that are a few months old take more than 12 hours to begin to expand and > 24 hours to fully expand. So I think that OP jumped the gun in pitching and I agree with your advice to pitch in the dry yeast. – jalynn2 Oct 27 '14 at 17:45
  • I've gone ahead and re-pitched at about 24 hours. I think my sanitization procedures are sound, but I'm a newb. About 9 hours after the second pitch there was some yeast activity, another 4 hours later it was a solid layer of foam. Crossing my fingers with the sanitization - my supply is all out of Pale malt so I'll have to wait another 5 weeks before trying again! – Lucas Oct 28 '14 at 8:00
  • Good luck! chances are it'll be fine. When I have a brew that's slow to start I often warm it up in a water bath (i.e. laundry trough) to high '30s Celcius, which is usually enough to get a reluctant yeast started, particularly if cooler temperatures are a likely part of the problem. – mc0e Oct 28 '14 at 11:14

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