Author Topic: INITIAL FERMENTATION  (Read 820 times)

Offline Backwoodsj

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INITIAL FERMENTATION
« on: February 13, 2016, 03:14:27 PM »
Hi all!  I am relativly new to the art of homebrewing.  To date i have brewed a few hombatches with very good results.  My friends think of me as a beer guru!  My current batch may have a problem.  Everything went well initially, but I may have a problem with the initial fermentation.  My starting gravity was right on, but after a day and a half fermentation has not begun.  I am not sure if i have a problem or not and if I do, what can I do about it?  any suggestions?

Offline majorvices

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2016, 04:12:48 PM »
First: how much yeast did you pitch? A higher gravity beer will need more yeast. If you used liquid yeast you probably should always make a starter even for low gravity batches unless you are sue the yeast is healthy (and pretty much always for beer over 1.065.)

Second: Are you fermenting in a bucket and judging fermentation by airlock activity or are you actually not witnessing krausen?

Offline Backwoodsj

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 05:06:34 PM »
My yeast may have been old, and yes, I am fermenting in a bucket and watching the airlock.

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 05:10:03 PM »
My yeast may have been old, and yes, I am fermenting in a bucket and watching the airlock.

Buckets can leak, which has no effect on the beer but will not produce any airlock bubbles.  The only way to be sure fermentation it happening is to either witness krausen or take a gravity reading.
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Offline Backwoodsj

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 05:18:48 PM »
Unfortunatly, I have no krausen.  This was my first time using liquid yeast and I am afraid i may have erred.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 05:22:08 PM »
how long has it been since pitching the yeast? do you know what the date was? starter or direct pitch?

anyway- if you have a suitable pack of dry yeast, that may be the way to go at this point.
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Online denny

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2016, 05:34:57 PM »
Unfortunatly, I have no krausen.  This was my first time using liquid yeast and I am afraid i may have erred.
[/quote
You probably would have had better luck if you had made a starter, although I'm just assuming you didn't.  A day and a half isn't that big a deal if you're sure of your sanitation.  If it doesn't take off in the next day or so, get some dry yeast in there.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Backwoodsj

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2016, 05:44:58 PM »
I followed the directions on the yeast package.  It did show an experation date in early April.  It has not been quite 48 hours yet.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2016, 05:49:41 PM »
I followed the directions on the yeast package.  It did show an experation date in early April.  It has not been quite 48 hours yet.

best by date of april 2016 isn't old. was this direct or starter? if direct pitch, longer lag at the viability % would be expected IME.  what was OG?
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

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Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline majorvices

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2016, 03:46:42 AM »
I followed the directions on the yeast package.  It did show an experation date in early April.  It has not been quite 48 hours yet.

If the yeast was still fresh (as it sounds) and not frozen or stored improperly the beer will probably take off in the next day or two. It's really best to make a starter for any beer over 1.050 and actually pretty essential for any beer over 1.065 - or pitch multiple packs. The yeast companies sell their product as "pitchable" but it's a bit more complicated than that. Check out the pitching calc at www.mrmalty.com to see how much yeast you need for any given batch.

Offline Backwoodsj

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2016, 04:08:46 PM »
Hello again.  First I want to thank all those who took the time to reply to my post.  As being new to home brewing.   I have a lot to learn.  After 4 days I still had no action.  I think that I may have improperly stored the yeast.  I was able to obtain the same yeast that I knew was new.  I very carefully prepared this new yeast by making a starter.  Last night I pitched the yeast and this morning it was bubbling nicely.  Success, maybe!  The beer is a dark ale with a relatively high initial gravity.  I will see what happens.  thanks again!! :)

Offline wingnut

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 12:19:14 PM »
Depending on the initial gravity... if t was north of 1.065, and you just pitchd a tube of yeast with no starter, I would expect a long lag phase.  (Lag phase is when the yeast is multiplying, but not really making  a lot of bubbles). 

Liquid yeast tend to be sluggish out of the tube.  Giving them a starter wakes them up and gets them ready to brew instead of sleep. (it also increases cell count).  Putting a tube of yeast into a 1 pint starter will not increase cell count, but often takes a couple days off the lag phase in a 5 gallon batch. (my experience)

With more sugar in the beer, the yeast will multiply slower during the lag phase, and want to multiply more before starting active fermentation.

Those factors above,  and I am willing to bet you may have your bucket in cooler temperatures... possibly 62F or so (how active a yeast is at lower temperatures is strain dependant so your mileage may vary)... and slow yeast's desire to kick into active fermentation.    What I have observed is that with a yeast starter, the yeast will ferment just fine at lower temperatures.  Out of the vial, with no starter, they need warmer temperatures to help them wake up.    However, once they have been through a starter, even if it ferments completely out, I can ferment at 62 without issues.  Out of the vial with no starter, it wiill take 4 or 5 days for it to finally get going.

So in the end, if you can do a starter.. do it! It is always a good idea.



 
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Offline Backwoodsj

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Re: INITIAL FERMENTATION
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2016, 07:15:09 PM »
Thanks much!!!   My wife actually suggested making a starter, but being smarter than she is it took me a little longer to learn.