Originally Posted by cnw
Same thing happened to me - I made my first batch of West Coast Pale on Christmas Eve and substuted a lb. of dry malt, that I bought from the local home brew store, for the Booster per the directions.
It's been almost 4 days and nothing was happening so I shook the keg up like you did and finally got some foaning action on the top. Before I did this the yeast was just floating on the top and clumping up.
Think maybe the dry malt messed things up? I'll keep you posted on the next few days of fermentation.
Shaking is doing nothing. The only reason you saw foam is that your beer *was* fermenting, but the solution had not yet become supersaturated with CO2. All you were doing was knocking dissolved CO2 out of solution, thus making it take longer again to start bubbling.
My guess is that the problem with these kits is they use far too small of a yeast pitch. Make a starter, let it get fermenting vigorously, and pitch that, and you'll get fast fermentation.
That said, some yeasts are definitely slower, so patience is a virtue. But a slow start is never good, and sooner or later you'll get an infection.
And did I read someone saying they *stirred* in their yeast???? Geez, NEVER stir in your yeast. Use liquid yeast and make an appropriate starter. There is absolutely no need to stir, and it invites infection.