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Newbie Questions

Started by AtlanticRebel, May 23, 2017, 01:18:16 PM

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So, I finally got around to starting my first brew this weekend, and now have a few quick questions for the more experienced here.

First: I ran into a small bit of confusion when pitching my yeast, the kit said to sprinkle the yeast on top of the wort, while the yeast package itself said to re-hydrate it first.  I re-hydrated it, then added it, will this make a difference?

Second: How often is too often to take a look in the primary?  I don't want to disturb the beer, but also want to see the progress.  I have been just slowly lifting the lid twice a day to have a quick look without disturbing the foam, is this ok?
Marc Mapplebeck
Currently planning: Thinking of a Citra SMASH
Currently fermenting: Oaked Gew├╝rztraminer
Just bottled: Cinnamon Spice Cider
Running critically low: Citra Orange Cider, Red Citra Bomb


1. I always rehydrate my dry yeast. Is it absolutely necessary? Depending on your OG probably not. It's one of those things where as long as you don't get a stalled fermentation it's fine not to rehydrate. But if you've ever had to deal with a stall...you want to avoid it at all cost. Many will likely say they don't and that's fine. But I do.

2. By taking a look in the primary I'm assuming you're using a bucket for primary. You want to avoid oxygen exposure as much as possible so I would say stop opening the lid. If it is fermenting vigorously it's probably not going to make a difference but after that you're taking a risk. If you really want to observe the magic of fermentation use a glass carboy for a primary vessel with a blow off tube. On an unrelated note, secondary is usually not necessary unless aging a beer for a long period of time.

Two Wheeler

I have pitched directly, and have re-hydrated. Both methods have produced good and bad beer for me. I think the general consensus is that it's best to re-hydrate and you'll see activity quicker... but in most cases you'll be fine with direct pitching. I try to re-hydrate as a general rule.

I use clear plastic carboys now so it's easy to see what's going on. You haven't ruined your beer or anything, but like Rob said, maybe best to limit exposure.
Jordan Harris


I've also done both dry pitch and rehydrated both work great. But I prefer dry pitch. It's one less step in my already hectic brew day. I buy my yeast in bulk so I usualy just pitch a bit extra especially when it's a bigger beer.
As far as opening the lid to see how it's going I undersand the desire to look inside. I did the same thing years ago. Then I started to use glass carboys with a blow off tube. But as long as your air lock is bubbling by 24 hrs later I'd just leave it alone. Like Rob said oxygen is the enemy. Especially with hoppy beers. At this point though you'll be fine any oxygen that did get in when you were checking will get eaten up by the yeast. The worst time to introduce oxygen is post fermentation.


Echo what the others said.

When I use dry yeast, I generally dehydrate, just so that it gets fermentation going faster.

I used buckets when first starting out as well, heck, used to with the canned kits, not even use the cover, and just take a garbage bag and put it over the mouth of the bucket, just some packing tape or duct tape on it around the edge of the bucket (but not on the bucket), to hold it on, and leave it for 5-7 days.

Did it make for particularly good beer? Nope, but drinkable. Would I do that now? Not a chance.

Leave your cover on for 5-7 days, some strains probably won't need that, but good rule of thumb, then check it, if it still has a thick krausen, leave it for another day or 2.

The plastic carboys are fairly cheap these days (although I think the glass ones are about the same price maybe), and an airlock, this way you can see what is going on.