Problems with Yeast

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LactoseBeer

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Hi everyone. Just looking for some guidance about a dry yeast issue.
Bought some Safale US-05, which took a long time to develop krausen which was muddy brown, and when bottling tasted and smelt like bin juice or sewage or something similar.

Used a new pack on another batch and this time the krausen (which also took roughly 3-4 days to appear) was like white bubbles, but dissapeared prematurely. When I sampled some it tasted exactly like the first batch. After some research I concluded that the yeast was not performing and thus other nasties had a chance to infect the brew because of the lag.

I tried to proof the yeast to check it was ok. I rehydrated for 30 minutes, and then added a table spoon of dissolved sugar one time, and then some wort the second time using a second pack of yeast. Both times the yeast didn't respond except for a near invisible foam (only after 3 hours or so though). Thinking I had un-viable yeast I bought another pack, and added a pinch of sugar instead of a whole spoon and after 30 minutes still nothing happening. I was adding about half a teaspoon of yeast each time. Just not sure whats going wrong with the brew.

Any help much appreciated! :).
 

MHB

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US-05 is probably the most popular dry yeast in the world with thousands of packets getting pitched every day.
You are either the worlds unluckiest bastard or its you doing something wrong, which way would you like to bet?

Funny I've read the packets and the instruction sheets available for us-05, the instructions on the sachet say sprinkle into wort.
The more advanced instructions designed for bigger batches describe how to hydrate but do mention temperature as its quite easy to kill most of the yeast if you get that wrong. Nowhere could I find any suggestion that we start adding sugar.
If you don't know what you are doing (clearly - this isn't bread making) try following the instructions.
Mark
 

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BrewLizard

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with proving brewing yeast to check viability with a tiny bit of sugar (or wort). I used to do it occasionally when I was doing 5 L batches and only using 1/4-1/3rd of a dry yeast packet and storing it for weeks at a time in the fridge. It should froth up just like it would for bread-making. (Spoiler: it was all completely fine, even after 4-6 weeks non-vacuum sealed in the fridge.)
[Edit: you should definitely NOT have to do this with new packets, and all you're doing is dicking around more and increasing the infection risk.]

That said, I agree with Mark that it's hard to imagine you're that unlucky with getting loads of bad batches. Definitely check your temps. Yeast likes tepid water, not warm. What feels like nice warm water is more like 40°C, which is way too hot and will damage/kill it in short order.

Bin/sewage smell sounds more like infection than bad yeast...

Maybe try a more controlled test of your yeast. Grab some DME and make 500 mL of a 1.035-1.045 (measure it) solution in a loosely-covered, sanitised jar, add a gram of yeast and swirl it up. Check that it attenuates to a reasonable FG in 24-36 hours.
 

professional_drunk

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us05 is a solid performer. Never heard of any issues with it. There's no need to do anything different except pitch it straight into wort. Are you storing the sachets in a hot tin shed? What temp did you pitch at?
 

LactoseBeer

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I did keep the first 2 sachets in a warm lounge room, but the third one I tested I kept in the fridge. I pitch at 22 degrees Celcius.
 

Coalminer

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Always worth the effort to follow the manufacturers instructions:



Dosage/Temperature
50 to 80 g/hl at ideally 18-28°C (64-82°F).






Usage
Lesaffre know-how and continuous yeast production process improvement generates an exceptional quality of dry yeasts able to resist to a very wide range of uses, incl. cold or no rehydration conditions, without affecting their viability, kinetic and/or analytical profile. Brewers can choose usage conditions that fit the best their needs, i.e.:

① Direct pitching:
easy to use

Pitch the yeast directly in the fermentation vessel on the surface of the wort at or above the fermentation temperature.
Progressively sprinkle the dry yeast into the wort ensuring the yeast covers all the surface of wort available to avoid clumps. Ideally, the yeast will be added during the first part of the filling of the vessel; in which case hydration can be done at wort temperature higher than fermentation temperature, the fermenter being then filled with wort at lower temperature to bring the entire wort temperature at fermentation temperature.

② With prior rehydration:
Alternatively, sprinkle the yeast in minimum 10 times its weight of sterile water or boiled and hopped wort at 25 to 29°C (77°F to 84°F). Leave to rest 15 to 30 minutes, gently stir and pitch the resultant cream into the fermentation vessel.
 

Vini2ton

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I would suggest a total sanitation audit. Everything that comes into contact with everything. Don't forget the fermenter tap. Sewerage? Bin-juice? There's some rubbishy shit going on somewhere.
 

LactoseBeer

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Could be a sanitation issue with the first two ferments, but I figure the 3rd yeast should still have responded to the sugar.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll keep mulling it over.
 

MaggieO

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What temperature are you fermenting at?

US-05 is bullet proof pitched directly into cooled wort without rehydrating.
 

LactoseBeer

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I was trying to keep the temp at 20-22 degrees celcius, but it was closer to 18 in my room and then went into lounge-room which went up to 23-27 at times. Second one stayed at about 18, and third one 20 during the day and I'm not sure what during the night.
 

Mall

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I would be on brew number 30 with my current US05, originally 2 dry packets; I do 40L batches is a 50L sankey keg under pressure. As mentioned cleanliness/sanitation is so important you need to be anal about it.

24 hours before pitching I always make a 2L starter (.4mL slurry) with 200g of DME to activate yeast. Pitched yesterday and was getting action within 2.5 hours in an American Red Ale OG1.062.

Sanitise and again.
 

Lyn Simpson

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This might sound a bit out there but I'm wondering if you have a problem with too much chlorine in your water supply
 

Vini2ton

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This might sound a bit out there but I'm wondering if you have a problem with too much chlorine in your water supply
In my k&k days I used to use straight Melbourne tap-water and never had the issues described. Odds on sanitation.
 

peterlonz

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Two issues here:
1) Overall sanitation of all items. Once an infection has occurred experience has taught me that it can be really difficult to eradicate. But do not waste energy on anything else until you have re-sanitised everything. I would use liquid pool chlorine at full strength initially, then maybe one of the no rinse proprietary products.
Your tap water may contain pathogens, so rinsing with cold tapwater is not satisfactory. Use hot tapwater because this is usually held at a bit above 70C at which temp most pathogens will have been killed.
2) Yeast selection & use: US-04 & US-05 are sound high repute yeasts. They are not perfect though, both are a bit slow to start & both do not form a very compact sedimentation layer. Alternatives are any of the Coopers yeast sachets, better in most ways, except the flavour imparted is inferior to US-04/05. Make sure your dry yeast sachets are near new, always store in a refrigerator at below 5C. Pitch directly onto your wort at the correct pitch temp (about 22C). Be sure you minimise any delays, you should carefully introduce your wort to the fermentor so that it does not go over temp & need time to cool. This means you may need to add cold tapwater & that can be a problem (see above). I try to minimise risks here by pre-filtering cold tapwater (0.5 micron carbon block filter) & chilling for a few days at below 5C.
This is all basic brewing common sense, but sometimes we can't see the woods for the trees. Start your next brew with a Coopers kit using Coopers yeast. If that's successful you can move on. Good luck.
 
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