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Pitching yeast after 2 days

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  • Pitching yeast after 2 days

    We are brewing in a 5bbl system. Our last 500g package of dry yeast was spoiled and we can't get a new shipment for a couple of days. Is there any reason the wort can't sit in a sealed tank for 2 or maybe 3 days before we pitch the yeast?

  • #2
    It should be reasonably safe, but as a precaution, I'd crash the beer so it is cold, and even more unlikely to allow anything to grow in it. I've had to do that in the past, but fortunately I was double-batching after 24 hours, and so I just let the second half of the wort go in a little extra warm so it would start the yeast off at a desirable temp. Not sure in your case if you want to chill it or not...

    But, as evidence, if you've ever heard of the brewpub chain Granite City, they brew all of their wort in IA, and the ship it in tanker semis (like for milk or gasoline) to the various states they serve (MN, WI, IL, MI, TN, etc), where yeast is pitched and it is fermented in house.

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    • #3
      Personally, I would never suggest this as an acceptable practice. If you consider that a new saccharomyces cell can bud as quickly as one hour, you could form an almost visible colony from a single cell in as little as one day. If you add the fact you are in an aerated nutrient environment, you could see each individual cell produce as many as 100 million cells in a 2-3 day period. This is more than enough to effect the quality of your product.

      Since we do not sterilize wort in brewing, you are taking a huge chance on the potential for unpleasant bacteria or yeast to act upon your nutrient solution (wort). Furthermore, you will have likely dissipated the majority of dissolved oxygen, which is dependent for yeast health. You may think, well dry stuff doesn't need oxygen, however this is not entirely true. There is still dissolved oxygen in the wort that you have knocked out, even if you don't "add" any, but it will dissipate as it sits in the tank.

      Granite City freezes the wort they are transporting to reduce the risk. They do not keep wort at a temperature that could support growth of unwanted organisms. You certainly could attempt to "freeze" or lager your wort until yeast arrives, however you will need to be able to warm it back up for pitching. Unfortunately Heat Exchangers can be high-risk for contamination, and even then, it is still a real risk.

      The best answer in my humble opinion is to "borrow" yeast from another local brewery and get it pitched immediately. The secondary lesson here is to always have back-up of dry yeast available, and to always check your yeast before mashing in. Yeast tends to "protect" the wort by a significant pH drop fairly quickly after inoculation, so the higher pH of your stagnant wort is another benefit to unwanted organisms.

      Just my $0.02

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