Pitching Yeasts

When the temperature of the wash has dropped below 26 °C, add the yeast. Do not add the yeast too soon - if the temperature is above about 34 °C, it will kill the yeast.

You're aiming for around 10 million yeast cells per mL of wash. A 25L wash at 1.080 will therefore need about 3 cups of slurry. Get this amount by using the slurry left over from the previous run. See the comments below in the Reusing Yeast section.

If using dried yeast, it can be helped along by letting it soak in about 1C of warm (24 °C) water for about 15 minutes beforehand, but not longer as yeast will begin to die in about 30 minutes. See Easy Steps for Optimal Yeast Rehydration of Lallemand Yeast. Use a high alcohol yeast such as for champagne, or the new proprietary alcohbase or "turbo" yeasts which can generate up to 21% alcohol (who needs distillation ?). If the pack you're using is one of those small ones, it will pay to grow it up to a suitable size before using it (see Teds comments below).

Close the fermentor, and use an airlock. Keep the temperature around 28 C, and the specific gravity should drop to approx 0.980 - 0.990 g/mL and have ceased bubbling within 5 days.

Jack H recommends ..
    Try using cling wrap over the top of your fermenting vessel. Secure with a rubber band(I cut mine from an old tyre inner tube) Then prick about 6 holes in the wrap to allow the gas pressure to escape.You can see when the fermentation is over and I have found that I have never had a failure with this method as opposed to using a fermentation lock .
MeadMaker suggests a method of making a simple airlock ...
    while most people go out and buy a one way valve, it is realy quite easy to make at home. all you need is: (1) the lid of the bottle you will be fermenting in, (2) 2 straws, (3) something to seal with, (e.g. bluetac, wax (just melt a candle), glue (might make it smell though) and/or sticky tape), and (4) a glass of water.

    Now... make a hole in the lid using a hammer and nail, and then widen it using sissors to the diameter of the straw. Then insert the straw so that the end of it is just in the hoke in the lid. Wax/bluetac/glue so that it is sealed. Then make the straw so that it is on a right angle (I'm assuming ur using one of those "bendy ones". Insert the second straw into this, then sticky tape and wax/bluetac/glue so that it is sealed. Make THAT straw on a right angle, so that the end of it is inserted into a glass of water. Test by adding some baking soda and vinigar to the bottle. If the gas seems to ONLY be coming out through the glass of water, it works.

    Also, this is better for SMALL bottles, if ur making a big brew, i recomend u use a rubber pipe or something instead of straws
Bill writes ...
    Open (barrel) fermenters, Found the plastic used to cover windows, shrink wrap works well its nice and clear lets you check the temp. and specific g. without removing the cover and letting air into the fermenter. if its cut about two in. larger than the top it can be held in place with a bit of twine attached to an elastic band, then heated for a couple of seconds with a hair dryer, this makes it nice and tight and clear.
If the fermenter doesn't bubble, check that the lid is sealing well. If you squeeze the container when you put the lid & airlock on, the water should move up in the airlock, then drop again when you let go. If it doesn't, then the lid isn't on correctly.

Another way of knowing how far the fermentation has progressed is to measure the weight of your fermentor & contents. Half the sugar is expected to convert to CO2 gas and bubble away. Theoretically the yield is 48.9%, but practically this is 40% because some of the gas dissolves in the wort. So if you have added 5 kg of sugar, and the weight has only dropped by 1 kg, keep it going for a while longer (you expect 5 x 0.4 = 2kg weight loss).

For excellent discussions about yeast, and how to get the best out of it, see the Turbo yeast and AllTech web pages.

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