Author Topic: Stuck fermentation?  (Read 755 times)

Offline beachbrew

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Stuck fermentation?
« on: August 22, 2010, 08:53:40 AM »
I am making an IPA (4th batch) and decided to try to dry-hop it in the primary fermenter.  I used Nottingham dry brewing yeast (Danstar) for the first time.  In the past, I have used a different brand and seen vigorous fermentation in the 1st 12-24 hours.  So far, with this batch, 14 hours in . . . nothing observed.  Assuming it stays this way past 24 hours, should I maybe skim out the hops and re-pitch, or just let it go for 4 days or so and take a hydrometer reading to see if maybe there's a leak in the system and therefore no bubbles?

This is also the fist time I've used Star San -- could that make a difference in what I'm observing?

Thanks for any advice.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2010, 09:40:47 AM »
Although it is unusual to dry hop in the primary, which it sounds like you did, the hops will not have a detrimental effect on fermentation.
If you are looking for signs of fermentation in a bucket by observing bubbles in the airlock, then you may want to lift the lid and take a peak.
If you see no kreusen, then you may want to give the bucket a nice swirl before putting the lid back on and waiting patiently.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline euge

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2010, 09:53:49 AM »
I think you should have waited for the active fermentation to cease before dry hopping in primary. Furthermore it can take up to 48 hours for signs of fermentation (kraeusen) to appear. This is what you should look for not bubbles in a fermentation lock. Take a peek under the lid if you are using a bucket.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline beachbrew

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2010, 11:12:03 AM »
Well, live and learn, I guess.  I peeked under the lid (carefully) -- couldn't see any signs of kraeusen, but hard to tell, what with all the hops and all.

If I don't see anything by the end of 24 hours, I plan to take the layer of hops off the top (sanitized spoon, of course) and sprinkle my 2nd packet of yeast to see if I can jump-start things.  Any better ideas, or do I just need to be more patient?

Offline euge

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2010, 11:20:55 AM »
Be patient.

I would give it at least 36 hours since 24 hours is bit too soon to start freaking out. What is the temp of the wort? If it is on the cold side then it could take the Nottingham yeast a bit longer to show signs. And, what was the original gravity of the wort? Sprinkling more dry yeast on the top may be a bit premature.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline beachbrew

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2010, 11:46:13 AM »
Thanks.  I'll relax a little bit and see what happens.  If I take a hydrometer reading tomorrow, that should tell me what's going on, right?

OG was 1.051.  Temperature was rather cool, probably about 68.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2010, 12:18:18 PM »
You really won't gain anything by scooping the hops off the wort, but next time, wait until the bulk of the fermentation is finished before dry hopping.
Yes, a hydrometer reading will help you find out if there has been unseen activity, but the first stages of ferrnentation don't effect the gravity so much.  It's mostly the growth of yeast phase.
I'd wait a little while longer.  The antimicrobial characteristics of the hops may help keep the wort clean until the yeast takes over.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline denny

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2010, 12:49:25 PM »
Temperature was rather cool, probably about 68.

FWIW, that's about as high as you want to go generally.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2010, 05:37:58 PM »
I would let it go and be patient.  Give it some time and it should get happy. 
You should start to see some activity between 24-36 hours.

If not...check back for an update.
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Offline beachbrew

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Re: Stuck fermentation?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 08:42:46 PM »
Thanks to everybody for the good advice.  I left it alone, it took care of itself, and I learned a valuable lesson about patience.  I have no idea what it will taste like, but at least I'll have beer and not four gallons of malt soup.