Author Topic: 4 Days No Activity  (Read 1622 times)

Offline SeymoureButts

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4 Days No Activity
« on: November 21, 2015, 05:35:19 AM »
Having trouble with my second try at A West Coast Dry Hopped IPA.

My first round is here: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23651.msg302145#msg302145

Anyway, after letting my wort cool for about 24 hours I pitched my yeast when the temperature was just below 80°. I put Apple flavored vodka in the air lock and let it be. Well, it's been about 4 days and I have only seen one bubble in the airlock. My first West Coast IPA was bubbling in the air lock like crazy the first few days, this one seems to be dead.

Wondering what I should do. Is this salvageable? Do I pitch more yeast now that the temperature is way below 80°? I bought a fermentation cooler to put my fermenter in to get more control over the temperature. My first batch was ruined over too high of a fermentation temperature.

Any advice helps. Thanks.
El Gringo Borracho

Offline pete b

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 12:27:47 PM »
First, airlock activity is a good positive indicator of activity but isn't a good negative indicator of a lack of fermentation. You could have an imperfectly sealed lid or a huge amount of head space. You need too look inside and see if the wort is producing foam.
You said you have fermentation temp control but pitched it just under 80. Its best to get the temp at or very close to fermentation temp before pitching. For an IPA that would be in the 60 degree range. So did you pitch around 80 then put in a cooler set around 60?. If so that sudden drop in temp could have severely slowed down the yeast. You said there was one bubble so something is happening. Look inside. If some foam is forming let it be. If not I would pitch a packet of US 05 asap.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 02:10:47 PM »
First, airlock activity is a good positive indicator of activity but isn't a good negative indicator of a lack of fermentation. You could have an imperfectly sealed lid or a huge amount of head space. You need too look inside and see if the wort is producing foam.
You said you have fermentation temp control but pitched it just under 80. Its best to get the temp at or very close to fermentation temp before pitching. For an IPA that would be in the 60 degree range. So did you pitch around 80 then put in a cooler set around 60?. If so that sudden drop in temp could have severely slowed down the yeast. You said there was one bubble so something is happening. Look inside. If some foam is forming let it be. If not I would pitch a packet of US 05 asap.
+1 to all of this. you fermenting in plastic bucket or clear carboy? if the bucket, may not have good seal and be ripping away inside.

as far as temp- 80F wort at pitching then dropping temp into the 60's not the method i would use. as Pete said-drop wort to low 60's, pitch yeast, and then hold temp during fermentation (63-67F depending on yeast I'm using).
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2015, 02:28:39 PM »
as far as temp- 80F wort at pitching then dropping temp into the 60's not the method i would use.

+1. Might explain a possible stall, too. Just not the best practice. OP - Pitching a couple degrees below desired fermentation temp is much more preferable to dropping the temp as you're trying to get the yeast to do their job.

Also, pretty sure I wouldn't want to crash a fermenter with apple vodka in the airlock and have it sucked into the beer.  :(
Jon H.

Offline MJK

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2015, 04:48:01 PM »
Hey Seymore,
If there isn't a kreusen, hit it with some safeale-05.
mucho luck

Offline SeymoureButts

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2015, 06:40:45 PM »
First, airlock activity is a good positive indicator of activity but isn't a good negative indicator of a lack of fermentation. You could have an imperfectly sealed lid or a huge amount of head space. You need too look inside and see if the wort is producing foam.
You said you have fermentation temp control but pitched it just under 80. Its best to get the temp at or very close to fermentation temp before pitching. For an IPA that would be in the 60 degree range. So did you pitch around 80 then put in a cooler set around 60?. If so that sudden drop in temp could have severely slowed down the yeast. You said there was one bubble so something is happening. Look inside. If some foam is forming let it be. If not I would pitch a packet of US 05 asap.

Damn! I wish I knew all this beforehand. Yes, I got the wort to just under 80°, pitched the yeast, and then placed it into the fermentation cooler along with two frozen gallon milk jugs filled with water. I just took a look inside, there are a thin layer of white foamy bubbles on top of the beer. It kind of looks like mold on top of your coffee grounds if you leave it in the coffee machine too long. As for the apple vodka, it's all I had besides water and sanitizing solution. In hindsight, putting that in the airlock was a bad idea. I replaced it with water today. If I knew how to post picture on here I would but comparing what mine looked like to picture on google it seems alright.

Any idea of where I go from here?

Thanks for all your help, guys.
El Gringo Borracho

Offline brewinhard

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2015, 06:41:38 PM »
Just curious why it is taking 24 hrs to cool the beer down to 80F?  If this is the case you need to find a faster way to chill your wort and pitch the yeast at a more appropriate temp. 

Offline brewinhard

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2015, 06:44:27 PM »
I am sure it is okay.  I highly doubt you would taste any of the apple vodka even if it did get sucked back into the beer which you did not mention it did.  In the future you can just use starsan solution (obviously properly diluted with water) to add to your airlock. 

What you are most likely seeing is fermentation on the top of the wort surface.  Give it some time to finish 10-12 days before removing the lid and taking sample to detect how it is. 

Offline SeymoureButts

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2015, 06:49:56 PM »
Just curious why it is taking 24 hrs to cool the beer down to 80F?  If this is the case you need to find a faster way to chill your wort and pitch the yeast at a more appropriate temp.

I am very, very new at this. I don't have all the fancy equipment I drool over in the "Pimp My" section. How I chill my wort is by pouring it into the fermenter, putting it in the sink filled with ice water, and letting it sit. I agree that this way takes too long, but short of buying one of those wort chillers, I don't see a faster way. Any advice?

I didn't use starsan and water this time because when I used it last time I didn't like all the bubbles in the airlock that it created. Someone recommended vodka so I used what I had this time. Next time I will use regular vodka or just water.
El Gringo Borracho

Offline SeymoureButts

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2015, 06:54:00 PM »

+1 to all of this. you fermenting in plastic bucket or clear carboy? if the bucket, may not have good seal and be ripping away inside.

as far as temp- 80F wort at pitching then dropping temp into the 60's not the method i would use. as Pete said-drop wort to low 60's, pitch yeast, and then hold temp during fermentation (63-67F depending on yeast I'm using).
[/quote]

Fermenting in a plastic bucket for now. Any major differences between it and a glass carboy? I know that being able to see through the glass and see what is happening inside may be an advantage. Any others?
El Gringo Borracho

Offline brewinhard

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2015, 07:01:22 PM »
Didn't you say you have a fermentation chamber that is temp controlled?  If so, you could put the fermenter in there and allow that to bring the temps down even faster after your ice bath. 

A good wort chiller (immersion) shouldn't cost any more than 50 bucks or so and xmas is coming.  I have been using the same chiller since when I first started 12 years ago and believe me I do not have any thing close to a "pimp my" section that I would ever post anywhere for anyone to "drool" over. 

I still brew on the very first all grain cooler I got years ago and about the only upgrades I have made are 3 temp controlled fridges/freezers for storing, serving, and fermenting beer.  I brew very hands on and have simple equipment.  I do my best to pay very close attention to yeast handling, sanitation and cleaning, as well as controlling fermentation and minimizing oxygen pickup at every step of the way.  While my beers come out good, I am always trying to make them great by working with my water profiles and focusing on mash pH. 

Anywhooo....you definitely don't need fancy equipment to make great beer.  Keep posting and reading posts on here as well as checking out magazines like BYO and Zymurgy.  These are all great ways to get better at the hobby.  Keep brewing hard!

-Cheers!

PS- Keep us posted on how this one turns out. 

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2015, 07:58:26 PM »


+1 to all of this. you fermenting in plastic bucket or clear carboy? if the bucket, may not have good seal and be ripping away inside.

as far as temp- 80F wort at pitching then dropping temp into the 60's not the method i would use. as Pete said-drop wort to low 60's, pitch yeast, and then hold temp during fermentation (63-67F depending on yeast I'm using).

Fermenting in a plastic bucket for now. Any major differences between it and a glass carboy? I know that being able to see through the glass and see what is happening inside may be an advantage. Any others?
[/quote]

No the only reason I asked was because you were watching for airlock activity. You can see fermentation activity in clear carboy is all. Since using plastic bucket, just make sure you seat that lid real well and if in doubt, push all around rim again to make sure it is sealed.


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Offline Hickory

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4 Days No Activity
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2015, 11:18:08 PM »
For a quicker way to cool I place my kettle into one of those big 30 gal storage tubs you get from Walmart. Fill with water and ice with some salt and it works great. Gets my wort from boiling to ~70* in maybe 30 minutes or so. Never had a problem doing this in about 8 brews or so. But hopefully I'll be getting a wort chiller for Christmas.

Edit for link
http://www.walmart.com/ip/38664670?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222228031285123&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=m&wl3=53411708912&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=111821201792&veh=sem
« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 11:20:20 PM by Hickory »

Offline brewinhard

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2015, 11:44:22 PM »
But hopefully I'll be getting a wort chiller for Christmas.

Come on Santa!  ;D

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: 4 Days No Activity
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2015, 05:09:23 PM »
I am very, very new at this. I don't have all the fancy equipment I drool over in the "Pimp My" section. How I chill my wort is by pouring it into the fermenter, putting it in the sink filled with ice water, and letting it sit. I agree that this way takes too long, but short of buying one of those wort chillers, I don't see a faster way. Any advice?

Don't just let it sit. Use a sanitized SS spoon and stir the wort every few minutes and stir the ice water around the outside of the fermenter. I used to use this method before I got an I C.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 05:11:11 PM by Steve Ruch »
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