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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: darkmorford on April 13, 2011, 05:41:38 PM

Title: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 13, 2011, 05:41:38 PM
I just brewed my first batch on Sunday: Midwest Supplies' Raspberry Wheat extract kit with White Labs WLP300 yeast. While the brew process itself went well enough—at least, as far as I can tell being a first-timer—the coolest place I could find in my apartment still hovers around 70–72 degrees, which is a bit warmer than these yeast like, as I understand it. I'm using a 6.5-gallon plastic bucket as a fermenter with a 3-piece airlock.

Now, just three days after brewing, the airlock is bubbling only 2-4 times a second. Is this a sign of a stuck/sticking fermentation? Should I re-pitch?
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: Bret on April 13, 2011, 05:44:30 PM
Be patient, it sounds like it's doing fine.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: Hokerer on April 13, 2011, 05:53:31 PM
Yep, for a wheat fermenting that warm the vigorous part of fermentation could be complete (not stalled).  But give it plenty more time to finish up.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: denny on April 13, 2011, 06:11:06 PM
As you say, 72-74 is pretty warm, and fermentation creates more heat.  Your temps could easily be in the upper 70s.  That makes the fermentation go quickly.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 13, 2011, 06:47:28 PM
Do you have a hydrometer?  Check your gravity.  What was your OG?
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: euge on April 13, 2011, 07:00:23 PM
I just brewed my first batch on Sunday: Midwest Supplies' Raspberry Wheat extract kit with White Labs WLP300 yeast. While the brew process itself went well enough—at least, as far as I can tell being a first-timer—the coolest place I could find in my apartment still hovers around 70–72 degrees, which is a bit warmer than these yeast like, as I understand it. I'm using a 6.5-gallon plastic bucket as a fermenter with a 3-piece airlock.

Now, just three days after brewing, the airlock is bubbling only 2-4 times a second. Is this a sign of a stuck/sticking fermentation? Should I re-pitch?

Primary attenuative phase is probably already done due to the warm temps. Too late now. Next time place the fermenter in a tub of water and swap frozen water bottles out to keep it cool.

You'll probably see some off flavors if the actual (internal) fermentation temp turns out closer to 80F.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 14, 2011, 05:24:14 PM
Thanks for all the opinions, guys. I have one of the stick-on thermometers on my fermenter, and I don't think I've ever seen that go above 75, so hopefully the flavor won't end up too far off.

I'm going to start doing gravity checks today to see if it's anywhere near done. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the gravity before I pitched (rookie mistake, yes, but I am a rookie :P), but the instruction sheet for the recipe kit tells me that the final gravity is supposed to be 1.012–1.017, so at least I have something to compare against.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: denny on April 14, 2011, 05:26:50 PM
Thanks for all the opinions, guys. I have one of the stick-on thermometers on my fermenter, and I don't think I've ever seen that go above 75, so hopefully the flavor won't end up too far off.

Just for reference next time, that's about 10F more than what you want it to be usually.

I'm going to start doing gravity checks today to see if it's anywhere near done. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the gravity before I pitched (rookie mistake, yes, but I am a rookie :P), but the instruction sheet for the recipe kit tells me that the final gravity is supposed to be 1.012–1.017, so at least I have something to compare against.

The kit probably also told you what OG to expect.  If you used all the ingredients and got the specified volume, you can use that.  And I wouldn't be too certain that you'll hit the FG they predict.  Maybe so, maybe not...
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 14, 2011, 10:57:27 PM
The kit probably also told you what OG to expect.  If you used all the ingredients and got the specified volume, you can use that.  And I wouldn't be too certain that you'll hit the FG they predict.  Maybe so, maybe not...

It does; the expected OG for this recipe is 1.042–1.046. I just took a sample, and unless something is wrong with either the hydrometer or my reading of it, the brew is already down to 1.010—already below the expected FG for the stuff, and it's only been four days.

I've got a feeling something's very wrong with this picture, but I don't know where to start looking.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: denny on April 14, 2011, 11:01:16 PM
With the low OG and the high temp, it could very well have fermented that fast.  Remember, that unless you've brewed a recipe enough to have repeated experience with it, any FG prediction is just a guess.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: Hokerer on April 15, 2011, 01:11:12 AM
With the low OG and the high temp, it could very well have fermented that fast.

this
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 17, 2011, 02:19:45 AM
Well, the gravity hasn't budged since Thursday, and the airlock isn't doing anything at all. I'm going to see if I can't find a couple hours tomorrow to bottle this stuff. Wish me luck!
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: a10t2 on April 17, 2011, 02:28:11 AM
I'm going to see if I can't find a couple hours tomorrow to bottle this stuff.

Way too soon. Give it another week at least.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 17, 2011, 05:46:02 AM
I'm going to see if I can't find a couple hours tomorrow to bottle this stuff.

Way too soon. Give it another week at least.
Not to be a jerk, but why? The gravity isn't getting any lower, the bubbling has stopped completely, and several people now have said that the higher temperature would make the fermentation go faster. Everything points to it being done fermenting, so what's to be gained from letting it sit dormant another week?
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 17, 2011, 06:57:08 AM
It's not dormant, just because the yeast are done fermenting doesn't mean they're done cleaning up after themselves.  You should really taste it and see how it's doing, but absent that, leaving it on the yeast for another week is a good idea.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 17, 2011, 07:15:47 AM
Ah, okay. Good point. I guess my eagerness to get this first batch finished is getting the better of me.

Now that I think about it, I do recall reading somewhere that the krausen is supposed to settle back into the beer at some point; I should probably wait for that, at least. The tricky part is being able to tell when that's happened. All I have as far as fermentation equipment is the one bucket, so I'd have to keep opening it to see what the beer's doing. I have to imagine that's not good from a possible-contamination standpoint.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: tygo on April 17, 2011, 12:02:19 PM
I wouldn't worry about opening it up again at this point.  Just follow the advice above and let it sit for an extra week then bottle it.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: euge on April 17, 2011, 05:50:35 PM
You'll get the hang of it. Don't worry, just let it sit for another week (it still needs to be kept cool) without peeking. Then check and most likely it'll be time to bottle.

I would taste it first before racking to bottles. Since this was a warm ferment- if it tastes really solventy (nail-polish) or like bandaids the beer probably won't get much better with conditioning. Per your own tolerances if you don't like it start over armed with your new brewing knowledge. BTW I heartily recommend picking up a copy of John J. Palmer's How To Brew 3rd Ed.

There's truncated free version online. http://www.howtobrew.com/ (http://www.howtobrew.com/)
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: darkmorford on April 23, 2011, 06:07:57 PM
Well, okay. Tomorrow is bottling day, and I'm very excited and nervous at the same time. Last night I stuck the fermenter out in my patio storage (which hits 45-50 degrees overnight) to cold crash it—at least, I think that's how it works. I haven't looked at, haven't taken a sample all week, so I don't know what's been going on in there, but it's been on average 10 degrees cooler this week than it was the first week.

I've got two cases of brand-new bottles, Star San, and the caps and equipment that came with my starter kit. Any last-minute tips before I take the next step?

(I know the usual advice here is RDWHAHB, but since this is my first batch there's no homebrew to be had. :P)
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: dannyjed on April 23, 2011, 07:37:35 PM
don't forget the priming sugar before you bottle
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: jeffy on April 23, 2011, 07:55:09 PM
don't forget the priming sugar before you bottle

And don't forget to mix it in thoroughly before you bottle.
Title: Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
Post by: morticaixavier on April 23, 2011, 11:10:27 PM
don't forget the priming sugar before you bottle

And don't forget to mix it in thoroughly before you bottle.

and don't forget to be GENTLE when mixing it!