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deranma 01-09-2013 02:33 PM

Fermentation Question
So I pulled off my first AG batch this past Sunday with the help of my brother who has seen some people do it. I did a Mad Hatter Clone provided by ohiodad (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f69/mad-...a-clone-67134/) and I followed it for the most part except for the yeast. My brother offered me a bottle of a yeast cake he collected from a Daisy Cutter batch he made. So everything went smooth and we confirm the yeast were viable and pitched. It has now been 72 hrs and I haven't seen any krauzen on the top. Now, I know things maybe going on that I can't see, but my question is would a good sign of fermentation be a pretty thick layer of trub on the bottom of carboy? I am not worried too much as I know the best way is take a gravity, but I figured I would pose the question to fellow brewers. Also, bubbles weren;t gurgling out of the blow off, but it looks like bubbles had formed around the hose in the water, which in my line of work (chemistry) could be oxygen asborbed from the air or small amounts of CO2 building up in the water from fermenter.

WoodlandBrew 01-09-2013 02:39 PM

If the slurry was stored a refrigerator for more than a week it will take off a little slow. The viability will be fine, but the vitality is a little low. Glycogen reserves are quickly depleted in storage and can take some time to build back up. If you aerate well your fermentation will be great once they get going. How much yeast did you pitch? 1billion cells per milliliter is a reasonable estimate for a slurry taken from a batch that finished under 6% abv.

Here is some information on viability of yeast stored in a refriderator:

stpug 01-09-2013 02:42 PM

No, a thick layer of trub on the bottom is not a sign that fermentation is happening. Trub could just be break material that was created in the boil kettle, therefore nothing to do with fermentation.

Some fermentations never really create a krauzen to speak of. I have a beer fermenting right now that has no real krauzen, and certainly nothing that ever elevated up off the top of the beer. Therefore, a lack of krauzen does not mean that fermentation has not already begun.

I wouldn't expect bubbles to be gurgling out of the blow off if there's an air leak in your system - again, blowoff/airlock activity is not a sure fire way of indicating fermentation. If there's no leak in your system then I would expect some activity in a blowoff/airlock and probably somewhat less so in a blowoff.

72 hours is about my limit of waiting for fermentation to begin. How did you verify the yeast you pitched were viable? Microscope? It might be time to confirm whether or not fermentation has begun (hydrometer or refractometer) because if it has not then you should begin looking into pitching a dry packet of yeast (e.g. safale us05).

deranma 01-09-2013 02:46 PM

I don't know much about the slurry he just said it was only a month or so old. And he stored in the fridge over that time in a 12oz bottle. The bottle sat in the kitchen while we brewed and we pop the cap smelled it and it smelled fine. We also shook the bottle up when we started and over the time of mashing and sparging we looked at it and saw it bubbling. We both took turns at the end to aerate the wort before and after pitch. I was hesitant to use it, but he assured me he had a friend use a bottle of the slurry once before and it worked out. I thought it would be great saves me money and Daisy Cutter is a pretty good beer with a similar hop profile. And with your estimation I would say there was plenty of yeast cells for this batch.

WoodlandBrew 01-09-2013 02:49 PM

Although it would be unusual that the yeast would still be in the lag phase it is not impossible. If the yeast is still in the lag phase you may see very little, if any, drop in gravity. For details see this chart:

One of the scenarios that stpug mentioned is more likely.

stpug 01-09-2013 02:49 PM

What temperature is your fermenter sitting at currently?

Edit: Using a flashlight, carefully look in your beer for ANY signs of movement. If everything is absolutely still then there's a good chance that active fermentation has not yet begun. If you see ever-so-slight movement of particles in suspension then fermentation may be starting to pick up. And, of course, if it looks like someones churning an electric mixer in there then you're doing good.

The beer I have fermenting had a long lag phase of about 36-40 hours, however towards the end I could see the ever-so-slight movement of particles which is a rudimentary way identifying if activity is taking place inside the fermenter.

deranma 01-09-2013 04:00 PM

Thanks, guys. I will attempt to check the batch with a flashlight and if I can't confirm something I will do a hydrometer reading. I have had this happen once before with lack of krauzen and bubbles, but it was very obvious there was activity going on in the carboy. I will also check to see if my bung is in nice and tight.

deranma 01-09-2013 05:09 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Ok I went home at lunch and snap a quick picture and used the flash to see it. It looks like there is some layering going on in the beer, so I am assuming that light area is the active yeast.

stpug 01-09-2013 05:40 PM

That's pretty much how my current beer looked before it started going. To my untrained eye, I would say that most of what you see is simply break/hop material sedimentation with the possible exception of the 1/4" creamy layer about 1" up from the bottom (i.e. the creamy layer directly on top of the trub). Did you spend about 30 seconds staring at the floating particles inside the carboy to determine if they were moving at all?

The question that kept replaying in my mind when I would stare at mine was: I wonder if that 1/4" creamy layer on top of the trub is multiplying yeast or simply the lightest break material finally settling out. I still don't know the answer to this.

In mine, I did notice some vertical striations (i.e. cracks, fissures, etc) begin to develop in the trub/creamy layer as fermentation was beginning.

I hope some of this information is useful.

deranma 01-09-2013 06:19 PM

I will give you the 1 1/4" of trub there on the bottom as being break and hops, but what about the stuff above that or the stuff above that to me it looks like it may be doing it's thing, but very quietly. It looks like there are three layer to the beer. The first being the trub from break and hops, the second being the lighter creamier area possibly the yeast doing their thing, and then the third being just beer. The area that is creamy (right around 0.5 gal to 2.5 gal area) could that be the yeast and the churning that you would see?

I think after looking at this picture I may just give it the two weeks and then do my transfer for dry hopping and check it then.

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