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Why is my fermentation/yeast not working?

Fermentation
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Yeast
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Author Topic: Fermentation  (Read 406 times)

Offline sdlonyerdj

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Fermentation
« on: March 06, 2018, 05:40:44 PM »
I brewed a 5 gallon batch of Weekday Bock this weekend from a recipe in the Jan/Feb Zymurgy issue. The only variations I did was no zinc fortified yeast @ 10 minutes. I chilled the wort to 65 degrees and pitched the yeast which is a bit low on temp however my fermenter is showing about 70 degrees now having been in for about 48 hours. I noticed a bit of activity after 24 hours but none since. Am I just being impatient or is there something in the fortified yeast process that is hampering the process? I've never used that before and I didn't see anything in based on my experience inn the mix that would not provide lots of food for the yeasties. I also aerated the wort for 30 minutes prior to pitching. Maybe because I brewed on the weekend instead of a 'weekday'?  :-[
Appreciate any guidance and comments. Thanks -

Offline EnkAMania

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 06:00:32 PM »
Take a hydrometer sample, only way to know what is going on.  Since it's only day 2 or 3, I would wait till the one week mark to take the sample.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 09:23:41 PM »
First off:65 is in no way too low. In fact for a bock, if you used lager yeast, you should have pitched/fermented in the low 50s, not mid 60s.

2nd: You say you raised to 70 which is actually way too warm for any Bock lager, and even if you are using ale yeast this is still probably too warm. You will likely get a  lot of fermentation off flavors.

3rd: Are you in a bucket? If so pop the lid and look to see if you have krausen. If you are looking for air lock bubbles you may miss seeing them if the lid is leaking.

Finally if you actually truly aren't having any fermentation you may have used yeast that was not fresh or viable. What yeast did you use?

Offline sdlonyerdj

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 10:02:15 PM »
Ok I'm only slightly familiar with the larger process. Armchair at best as mostly an ale guy and not much science in my brew house. Hence my expectations. I used Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager mfg 29 Jan '18 and as mentioned pitched at 65. I don't have a climate controlled fermenting area so room temp in the foyer at a steady 70 degrees. Do I need to get that down? I am planning on getting it down to the 40s for the 2nd rack but as outdoors in still in the 30s my garage kegerator cant keep the temp above ambient yet. I'm using a Fast Fermenter conical setup (first time) and can see what appears to krausen on top through the vessel but not as much as I'd normally see with an ale in the carboy at this point. It appears to be a good seal on the threaded lid. Sounds like I may have environmental issues? I can do the hydrometer but likely not going to see much alcohol at this point and will hold off breaking the seal on it. Appreciate the input.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 10:27:52 PM »
No you need to leave it where it is now. You will most likely stall fermentation if you try to cool it. Do you have visual fermentation?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 10:29:09 PM »
Let me add that, for lager yeast 70 degrees is not too warm for the yeast. the yeast will work at that temp. It's just not going to create the flavors you want. If you have lack of fermentation it is probably a yeast health issue though your yeast seems fresh, how was it stored?

Also, it's not going to hurt to crack the lid and peek inside to see if you have krausen.

Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 10:29:52 PM »
If ambient temperature is 70°F, fermentation temperature is probably 78°-80°F, way too warm for lager fermentation. Remember fermentation generates a lot of heat. You would want an ambient temperature in mid 40s. For future reference.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:31:36 PM by Robert »
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 10:33:22 PM »
You don't see as much activity with a lager yeast.  Ales ferment on top with lots of krausen.  Lagers hangout on the bottom and don't float as much stuff on top.  As long as you see some bubbles coming through the surface it will be fine.  Next time start cooler if you can, like Major said. 

I'd give it some time.  Lagers behave differently than ales.  It will get there.  This is the kind of situation that RDWHAHB was created for.  8^)

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 11:11:31 PM »
I suspect that 2206 at 70 might be done before you know it, like 48hrs... So maybe pull a sample and see what the gravity is

Also, don't let people tell you what you want. How do they know? You should tell them what you want, and then consider the advice they give as to how to get there.

But if you want a clean lager fermentation profile, 70f probably won't work unless you ferment under pressure.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 01:16:00 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline majorvices

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 01:23:16 PM »
You don't see as much activity with a lager yeast.  Ales ferment on top with lots of krausen.  Lagers hangout on the bottom and don't float as much stuff on top.  As long as you see some bubbles coming through the surface it will be fine.  Next time start cooler if you can, like Major said. 

I'd give it some time.  Lagers behave differently than ales.  It will get there.  This is the kind of situation that RDWHAHB was created for.  8^)

Paul

I don't disagree paul but a lot of lager strains still produce plenty of krausen even at cold temps. Agree usually not nearly as much as ales though.

OP: You can make a really good "mock" lager with ale yeasts. Dry yeasts such as US-05 can do very well and produce very clean results. It is important to get the temp down though. As was mentioned, the exothermic activity of fermentation is going to raise your fermentation temp well over ambient. Do a search for "homebrew swamp cooler" as an inexpensive way to control fermentation temps. Warm fermentation does not make the best beer.

Offline Visor

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 04:16:32 PM »
   If your Fast Ferment has the lid gasket with a flat cross section, that is most likely the reason you're not getting airlock activity. I have 3 of them and none can be relied on to seal more than occasionally. The silicone gaskets with a round cross section do seal up very reliably. I recently contacted FF to see if I could purchase the round gaskets for my fermenters that had the flat ones, they sent me the gaskets I wanted for free. Even with the round gaskets, you do need to snug the lid up pretty tightly.
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Offline jkirkham

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2018, 05:35:14 PM »
Do you know how much yeast was pitched? Just one package? Depending on your bill, it could have been an underpitch depending how healthy the yeast was.
I have used yeast that was not the healthiest before and it seemed like I had a fermentation stall before it really took off. I just repitched dry yeast and that beer ended up finishing. You should pitch an abundant amount of lager yeast if you want it to do well, imo.

If you want to make something to lower the temp. I place my carboys in a plastic storage bin. I fill the bottom with water and put a T-shirt over the carboy. Then i fill the bottom of the storage bin with water. I can knock off almost 10 degrees if I put a fan blowing on the T-shirt near by. Periodically i pour water on the shirt. This is how I used to make some lagers before having an extra refrigerator. But after primary I have always had a fridge I can crash beers in.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Fermentation
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2018, 06:55:24 PM »
You don't see as much activity with a lager yeast.  Ales ferment on top with lots of krausen.  Lagers hangout on the bottom and don't float as much stuff on top.  As long as you see some bubbles coming through the surface it will be fine.  Next time start cooler if you can, like Major said. 

I'd give it some time.  Lagers behave differently than ales.  It will get there.  This is the kind of situation that RDWHAHB was created for.  8^)

Paul

I don't disagree paul but a lot of lager strains still produce plenty of krausen even at cold temps. Agree usually not nearly as much as ales though.

OP: You can make a really good "mock" lager with ale yeasts. Dry yeasts such as US-05 can do very well and produce very clean results. It is important to get the temp down though. As was mentioned, the exothermic activity of fermentation is going to raise your fermentation temp well over ambient. Do a search for "homebrew swamp cooler" as an inexpensive way to control fermentation temps. Warm fermentation does not make the best beer.

I agree Keith.  My ales tend go huge on the krausen and the lagers behave better.  It definitely varies though.

Paul
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