Made a kit on Saturday, 1/2 lb. Caramel 80 specialty grain, 9.15 lbs rye extract. Kit came with the Wyeast American Ale smack pack. When I got the yeast pack out of the fridge, the pack was already smacked, so to speak. The inner sugar pod had already been breached at some indeterminate time, and so the yeast had eaten and gassed, etc. Since I had no idea when this had happened, I figured I was better off using some of the dry yeast I had on hand. So, I pitched 1 packet of Safale-05 Saturday around 5PM.

Sunday went by, blowoff tube was quiet, and I started thinking one packet wasn't going to be able to deal with 1.075 SG. Sunday night I went to my fridge full of jars, pulled out the jar of S-05 culture, made 2 pints of starter with a half cup of dextrose and poured that in Monday morning. Before opening the bucket lid to add the starter Monday morning, the blowoff tube was burping a little bit, so I figured the extra yeast would make sure everything got going great. Since then, silence. No activity as far as I can tell. It's pretty cool where the bucket is, air temp around 64, and the bucket was sitting on the tile/concrete floor. So I put it in a tub this morning and filled it up with 65 degree water. Did I pitch 32 oz. of infection/disaster into a fermentation that was doing ok? Or is the cool temp keeping things from getting going?

  • Have you taken a hydrometer reading to know if fermentation is taking place? You cannot rely on bubbles alone as an indicator of fermentation. See also this question
    – JoeFish
    Feb 1, 2012 at 16:51
  • No hydrometer reading since Saturday, because I broke the hydrometer later that day. I know that CO2 is not a sufficient indicator, but pressing down on the lid slightly does send gas through the blowoff tube, so I don't think the gas is escaping out of a loose seal.
    – Nick
    Feb 1, 2012 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


Based on the information given, it sounds like you have just prolonged the yeast's lag phase. During this time, the yeast are acclimating to their environment and PREPARING to reproduce and start munching some sugar chains. I would venture the guess that by re-inoculating with a starter batch, you have simply changed the environment for these yeast and all but 'reset' the lag phase (particularly for the couple-hundred billion cells that were in the starter and are now preparing to have an orgy/banquet in your wort).

The lag phase is when the yeast are building up their health in preparation to multiply(uptaking oxygen, nutrients, etc.), so the good news is, you will likely have a very healthy group of yeast. Also, I don't think overpitching is a huge concern based on your SG, but I might leave this beer in the primary for a few days/one week longer than planned just to make sure the yeast clean up any acetaldehyde (will lend a green apple taste/nose to your final product) that is produced, and can be a result of overpitching. Hopefully, by this point, you are seeing some of the airlock bubbles that put us neurotic homebrewers at ease.

Water bath is a good idea, a therm strip for your fermenter is another good idea. Ambient air/ground temps are one thing, but once the growth phase starts, those yeasties can produce a lot of heat in the exothermic reactions as they multiply and metabolize sugars. Fermenter temp can vary against ambient/ground temp by 5-10 degrees easily. I myself just pitched a reconstituted packet of US-05 and am letting it ferment at 63 degrees, which is the low, low end of this yeast's comfort zone. Hopefully, it will prove itself as the hard worker that everyone touts it to be.


  • I spoke to my homebrew guru friend and this is essentially what he told me. And, I checked the gravity today, and sure enough, primary fermentation completed while I wasn't looking.
    – Nick
    Feb 4, 2012 at 3:41

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