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I brewed my very first batch of extract (Brewer's Best Amber Ale) yesterday morning, and I'm still not seeing any bubbling in the airlock. I'm running through a list of things that could I could have done wrong, and one of them might have been from when I racked the wort from the (cooled) brewpot into the plastic "Ale Pale" fermenter.

Yes, I confirmed the wort was chilled down to 110°F before I racked. And yes, I racked using a sanitized autosiphon, into a sanitized fermenter. And yes I added several gallons of refrigerated distilled water into the fermenter prior to pitching the yeast, confirming that the wort was 70°F at that time.

But the one thing I might have done very wrong was that I tried to autosiphon every last ounce out of the brewpot, even tipping it nearly on its side to make sure the autosiphon got everything.

Did I introduce "bad things" (trub?) into the fermenter by doing this? If so, what are these bad things, why are they bad, and is it OK to just leave the last 1/4" - 1/2" of cooled wort in the brewpot next time?!?

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    Brewing requires patience. At 24 hours you don't need to be worried. – Denny Conn Aug 2 '16 at 17:34
  • Thanks @DennyConn (+1) - I'm actually at the 50-hr mark and still no bubbles...but I won't get worried until I hit 72 hours! BTW, any input/advice on whether or not its ok to rack by tipping the brewpot? – smeeb Aug 2 '16 at 18:21
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    It's absolutely no problem to rack like that. I prefer to leave just a little bit of wort behind with the trub, but getting trub in the fermenter won't hurt. There have been a couple studies that actually showed that trub in the fermenter produces a clearer beer that people prefer the taste of. – Denny Conn Aug 3 '16 at 16:25
  • I'd actually suggest you forego the racking cane and just dump your wort directly into the fermenter. This will agitate it and add oxygen that your yeast will appreciate. Racking to the bottling bucket is when you have to be careful, as whatever makes it into the bottling bucket makes it into the bottles. If you want really clear beer, I'd suggest fining with some gelatin and/or cold crashing just before bottling. – TMN Aug 4 '16 at 19:03
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It is okay, and you didn't introduce any "bad things".

More than likely, you have pitched a sub-optimal or basically-reasonable quantity of yeast into wort with very little dissolved oxygen, and the yeast are just having a very long lag phase.

What was your pitch like (dry yeast? liquid? age? amount? starter?). What's the ambient temp of the fermentor?

In any case, relax, don't worry, have a homebrew… I'm sure you'll see yeast activity in the next 36 hours. Everything's fine.

  • Thanks @jsled (+1) - I appreciate the vote of confidence. To answer your questions, I gently sprinkled the yeast satchet (not sure what brand it was, it was whatever came w/ the Brewer's Best Amber Ale kit, and a quick search with the Google Gods didn't turn up anything) into the top of the cooled wort, distributed it all evenly. I then let it rehydrate for 20 mins and then I stirred it in vigorously to aerate the wort a little more, and then I sealed the lid. – smeeb Aug 2 '16 at 10:10
  • One quick followup question, if you don't mind: does this mean that I was correct in tipping the brewpot up on its side, and that I should continue to do this in the future, or is it simply a rookie mistake that was "OK" for me to goof up on? – smeeb Aug 2 '16 at 10:10
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    @smeeb if you don't see any turb being siphoned, you're OK. On the other hand, is additional bottle worth the effort & risk (of breaking things, mostly)? Your choice. – Mołot Aug 2 '16 at 21:45
  • @smeeb. Ideally you would not siphon any of the trub (cold-break protein clumps, any miscellaneous grain husks, hop matter, &c.) into the fermenter. Some people using filters or a whirlpool effect to concentrate that matter in the center of the pot, then drain from the side. But the downsides of transferring the trub are minimal. When you sprinkle the yeast directly on wort, you'll lose about half the cells. The typical yeast packets have about twice as many cells as you need for a good ferment, though. :) Rehydrate dried yeast in warm water, then pitch that into the wort. – jsled Aug 3 '16 at 13:24

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