Panic Stations!

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Iron Wolf Brewery
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I've had my first real brew panic over the last 24 hours. It seems OK now, though. What happened is this:

I was brewing a batch last night. The recipe is this:

Blakey's Little Nevada Pale Ale (#17 on periodic chart), Modified by me to be a little maltier - double the Crystal.

3.4Kg Light LME
50g Crystal Malt steeped for 20 mins @ ~70C
40g Cascade 60 mins
40g Cascade 15 mins
25g Cascade 1 min
20g Cascade dry hopped.
White Labs WLP001 California Ale.

After the boil, which I had to put in 2 pots due to a miscalculation in headspace required, I cooled the wort down in a sink full of water and ice packs. I think I may have used too little LME (gotta remember to count the number of jugs of LME as I put them in) as the OG was 1.040 rather than the 1.05x I was aiming for. Not to worry, a lighter beer will be OK, as the Crustal should make up a little body, and the Cascade hops smell wonderful... anyway, I had the yeast out of the fridge at room temp for 2 hours, then popped it into my pocket for half an hour as room temp was pretty cold.

Pitching temp is supposed to be 25-ish but as the tap water was so cold, the 23l batch was only 21. As this is still within the fermenting range of the yeast, I pitched anyway, thinking it might just take a little longer to start. That was about 11pm.

The temp overnight must have dropped like a rock as in the morning, the carboy was showing 20C and there was nil activity in the airlock. I gave it a few hours and at about 10am was in a panic as there was still NOTHING coming out of the airlock. I gave the carboy a shake, hoping that would wake the yeast. Nothing an hour later but the temp was back up to 21 or 22. Anyway, I got my 20l bottle and filled it with steriliser (it needed a wash) and hot water from the tap and placed it flush against the fermenter. I covered both vessels in towels to act as a blanket. The temp of the wort rose slowly to 25C by about 6pm but still no bubbling action. I shook the fermenter again. Still nothing by 7pm, so I put the big spoon into some steriliser and decided to risk opening the fermenter and re-rousing the wort.

7:30pm, still nothing and way past the 15 hours I'd expect as a maximum lag time, so in I went. Washed my hands in steriliser and grabbed the big spoon, gave the wort a good mix-up, recapped, recovered in blankets... at 9pm, there was bubbling. I was || this close to rehydrading my backup yeast, willing to kiss the $15 White Labs bye-bye. Anyway, it's been ticking out a bubble every minute or so since then, so I think I saved the beer... we'll see if there's any krausen by morning. Hopefully continuous bubbling too.

Lesson learnt: take notice of the pitching temp.

I'll post back with results of this batch - stay tuned to see if PoMo can pull this one back from the brink! ;)
Reason for the low OG is because blakey was using 3kg of dried light. For the equivilent in liquid I'd use 3.6-3.8KG. Also, he only did a 21 (or was it 21.5?) litre batch.

Without a starter for the liquid yeast it would probably take a while for that volume of liquid to get started. I'm sure it'll be bubbling like a champion in a day or so :) Those pitchable tubes are the minimum amount for pitching into 5 gallons of wort.

I popped my smack pack of WYeast 1056 last night to make that exact same beer as you PoMo :) I should be brewing on monday if all goes to plan. Need to pick up some gear (and a few ingredients) tomorrow.
The guy at Peakhurst ESB basically told me not to bother making a starter when I suggested it. I have added rehydrated Coopers yeast to brews and had krausen spewing out the airlock in 4 hours in the past, so I expected a quicker start from the White Labs. Anyway, it looks good now.

Yeah, I realised as soon as I read the hydrometer how I'd stuffed up the conversion from DME to LME. Also, there was a little bit of chaos as I get used to pulling a few kilos of LME out of a huge farking pail of the stuff :D

I'm also seeking advice from experienced yeast harvesters on how to pull yeast and only the yeast out of the primary trub once it's done. This recipe has a lot of hop debris in it and I want to make a starter out of the trub to save for a week or so.
I'm going to make a 1.5 litre starter with the WYeast, and put half of the starter into 3 or 4 stubbies. I figure they should be fine in the back of the fridge.

How'd it go getting the LME out of the pail? I'm still deciding whether to buy 28kg of it tomorrow or just get enough for this brew for the moment. I've got 1.5kg of coopers unhopped light left around so I'd only need to buy another 2kg or so of LLME.
Actually a little slow to get LME out. I only had a 500ml container on hand (the Mrs recycled my kept malt can with snap-on lid... I'll have one on hand one I empty the wheat malt tin) so I was scooping with a small measuring cup into the 500ml measuring container. I could get exact 500ml measures easily as the jug could be rinsed in the boil water, meaning a completely empty jug each time... the little scooping cup could only be rinsed in the boil once it'd done it's job.... a little awkward but workable. I recommend the time and money spent on fitting a honey gate/tap/thingy to a 25L pail and transferring 1.7Kgs at a time to the boiler. It's WAY too thick to flow thru a regular spiggot.

Bah, we're post-whoring :D
The beer is going well now. It's been fermenting at 21C for 3 days now. Going to rack it tonight. I've decided to call this batch "JC Pale Ale" as it was dead on Good Friday but rose again on the third day (well, close enough ;))

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