ALEiens Homebrew Club

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Adventures in Homebrewing: Pumpkin Brew Day

I dived head first into solo brewing a few days ago and it was what one might call a fiasco. I took over the kitchen, cranked up my iPod, poured a brew, and got to work...which took me most of the day. Everything went as smoothly
as one could have expected from an amateur like myself.

That is of course everything except for my yeast rehydration. I have read that just pitching the dry yeast is the way to go but have also read
that rehydrating is a much better practice. Since we rehydrated when we
brewed at Temple I figured that I should continue doing so but am
regretting that decision today. My yeast was not as active during the
rehydration as usual but I pitched it anyways and as of right now I'm
getting no signs of fermentation in the carboy. I've talked to Joe Bair
at Princeton Homebrew and a number of people on
who keep encouraging me to sit on it and see what happens. Worst case
scenario, I'm going to have to repitch the yeast and hope for the best.
This whole dilemma has really left a bad taste in my mouth and I may
have an alcer from all the stress.

The rest of the process, however, was a joy. Brewing a pumpkin ale is a messy ordeal but it sure made the house smell good. I couldn't find an
appropriate steeping bag for the puree so I used the next best thing, a
pair of nylon stockings. I brought the pumpkin to a boil and then used
that water to steep the grains in, this seemed to be the most common
method. I had nearly forgotten about my pecans but they made it into the
boil just in time.

Unfortunately my yeast situation has me pretty worried and has put a black cloud over the whole thing. I've been trying to keep Charlie Papazian's "Relax.
Don't worry. Have a homebrew." mantra in mind but that is easier said
than done. Hopefully the yeast will wake up soon and ease my worries. Of
course I would have a much better gauge on the situation if I had taken
a damn hydrometer reading but that was another thing that slipped my

Now I just have to wait and see.


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UPDATE: As a last resort I repitched some yeast and lo and behold my brew has been going crazy in the past 24 hours. All of that awful anxiety is finally behind me!

Views: 140

Comment by Kyle Park on September 27, 2010 at 3:34pm
I used a pack of Nottingham. Rehydrating was the only way I had been told to brew at first but now after talking to a number of people I realize that it isn't always necessary or a good idea. I did not rehydrate when I repitched and everything seems to be going okay now.
Comment by Kyle Park on September 28, 2010 at 11:49am
I'll definitely be doing more research before my next batch. Joe at Princeton Homebrew is very anti-rehydration, he basically told me to never do it again.
Comment by Sam Scott on October 1, 2010 at 10:03am
Whoa! What's the argument against not rehydrating? Goes against everything I know regarding yeast health. I can see an argument against not rehydrating properly but I believe you should always rehydrate dry yeast. Can you brew beer without rehydrating? Yes. But if you look at the Danstar & Fermentis websites, they both mention hydrating yeast before pitching.

Check out pp. 5-6 of Fermentis' "Tips & Tricks: A Guide on Yeast and Fermentation for Craft Bre...

I wouldn't immediately blame the lag in your fermentation to rehydrating the yeast. There are other factors to consider; where the yeast came from, its age, how well it was handled in storage, etc.

My guess is that the only ones saying not to rehydrate are homebrewers. Homebrewers are like Wikipedia... don't believe everything you read. ;)

Glad to hear your ferment is healthy now!
Comment by Sam Scott on October 1, 2010 at 10:06am
Oh, and when I say homebrewers are like Wikipedia, I include myself. We're all full of information that needs to be fact-checked!
Comment by Sam Scott on October 1, 2010 at 11:13am
Here's an Q&A exchange where Dan Listerman (Listermann Manufacturing Co.) asks if rehydration is really necessary...

Is Rehydration of Dry Yeast Really Necessary?
Comment by Christian Mosebach on October 1, 2010 at 7:22pm
....or pitch a healthy population of liquid yeast, preferably straight slurry.


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