Author Topic: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast  (Read 2213 times)

Offline gglammi

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No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« on: February 15, 2012, 06:48:34 AM »
I brewed a Weizenbock (my fourth homebrew effort) on Sunday and used White Labs WLP300 yeast for which I had used a starter.  The starter had been going for about 15 hours, there was clear activity in the starter, I pitched the yeast at the right OG (1.082) and at the right tempurature.  I put it in a cabinet which I had been monitoring the tempurature in for a week in advance to make sure it stayed around the 62 degrees the recipe calls for for fermentation.  I looked at it the next day, temp in the cabinet was a bit high (67 degrees), but no fermentation.  Yesterday, still no fermentation, and temp in the cabinet was up to 70.  I moved the bucket to a tempurature controlled refrigerator last night and set it at 62.  Still no activity this morning.

1. Any thoughts on what might have gone wrong?
2. Can I salvage the beer by removing the current yeast (which appears to be floating on the top) and pitching a new yeast?

Thanks for any thoughts,

Glenn
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 07:26:10 AM by gglammi »
One year of homebrewing
Bottled & drinking or drank: Christmas Ale, Macha Fuerte Tripel, Whole Grain Goodness Oatmeal Stout, Hard Working Man WeizenBock, Surly Smoke Clone, Dry Hopped Saison A & S, Better Dead Than Red IPA, 104 Degree High Noon Cream Stout, Mile Zero Blonde Ale

Offline rjharper

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 07:15:36 AM »
I dont think anything is wrong.  You're using a bucket, which don't usually seal completely, so you may not see airlock activity.  Lack of airlock activity does not necessarily equal lack of fermentation.  Your 62F temp was fine, 67 is a little high but fine for the yeast.  Most importantly, if the yeast is floating on top, then that's probably the krausen and it is fermenting.  Take a gravity reading, if it's dropped from your OG, then sit back and let it work, and RDWHAHB...

Offline gglammi

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 07:29:31 AM »
Thanks very much for the reply.  I normally move to a carboy/secondary fermenter after fermentation activity has nearly ceased.  Would that be advisable here?  Also, in the future, would it be better to do primary fermentation in a carboy rather than in a bucket? 
One year of homebrewing
Bottled & drinking or drank: Christmas Ale, Macha Fuerte Tripel, Whole Grain Goodness Oatmeal Stout, Hard Working Man WeizenBock, Surly Smoke Clone, Dry Hopped Saison A & S, Better Dead Than Red IPA, 104 Degree High Noon Cream Stout, Mile Zero Blonde Ale

Offline tygo

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 07:36:10 AM »
You can ferment in either a bucket or carboy.  Either works fine.  If you like to watch the action then a carboy will let you do that.  There's usually no need to rack to a secondary fermenter.  Leave the beer on the yeast in the bucket until it's done.  For a beer that size I'd  leave it 3 weeks or so before packaging.
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 07:46:52 AM »
Thanks very much for the reply.  I normally move to a carboy/secondary fermenter after fermentation activity has nearly ceased.  Would that be advisable here?  Also, in the future, would it be better to do primary fermentation in a carboy rather than in a bucket? 

Definitely no need to secondary this beer. Weizen beers are supposed to have some cloudy yeasty character so keeping some of the yeast in suspension here is a good thing. Leave it on primary for 2-3 weeks and bottle or keg!
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline gglammi

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 07:48:32 AM »
Thanks tygo.  I see you are in Sterling.  I'm in Herndon.  Are you involved in any homebrewing groups in the NOVA area?
One year of homebrewing
Bottled & drinking or drank: Christmas Ale, Macha Fuerte Tripel, Whole Grain Goodness Oatmeal Stout, Hard Working Man WeizenBock, Surly Smoke Clone, Dry Hopped Saison A & S, Better Dead Than Red IPA, 104 Degree High Noon Cream Stout, Mile Zero Blonde Ale

Offline euge

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 07:51:38 AM »
I ferment exclusively in buckets. I also just lay the lid over the top without snapping it down. I will peek in at intervals- starting eight hours after pitching until there are signs of activity then it gets left alone. Some times I peek in earlier and see signs as soon as five hours. Still don't bother to snap it down until the bucket is going to be moved.

With buckets fermentation locks are just not needed and going by their activity as a sign of fermentation quite useless in my opinion. Don't be afraid that you'll ruin your beer by observing and tasting.

Keeping the fermenter in a temp stable enclosed space is a good approach.

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Offline hokerer

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 09:52:05 AM »
I looked at it the next day, temp in the cabinet was a bit high (67 degrees), but no fermentation.  Yesterday, still no fermentation, and temp in the cabinet was up to 70.  I moved the bucket to a tempurature controlled refrigerator last night and set it at 62.  Still no activity this morning.

It all depends on what you're using to determine whether fermentation is taking place.  If it's bubbles in the airlock, that's pretty meaningless and completely unreliable.  Leaks are common (and of no particular concern).  The simplest way to tell would be to pop the top and sneak a peek inside - if there's a krausen layer on top, then you've got fermentation going on.

Also, if it is airlock bubbles, does your saying that your starter did shows signs of fermentation imply that you're using an airlock on your starters?  Current wisdom is that that's not a good idea as you want as much oxygen exchange as you can get in order to better grow the yeast.  Just cover your starter flask with aluminum foil or one of those "spongy" type stoppers.
Joe

Offline gglammi

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Re: No fermentation activity two days after pitching yeast
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 12:24:39 PM »
No, I'm sorry if my post suggested that I was using an airlock on my yeast starter.  Just a foam plug.  And thanks to all who have disabused me of the idea that bubbling in the airlock is the best and/or only sign of fermentation. 
One year of homebrewing
Bottled & drinking or drank: Christmas Ale, Macha Fuerte Tripel, Whole Grain Goodness Oatmeal Stout, Hard Working Man WeizenBock, Surly Smoke Clone, Dry Hopped Saison A & S, Better Dead Than Red IPA, 104 Degree High Noon Cream Stout, Mile Zero Blonde Ale