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Old 06-09-2010, 02:51 AM   #1
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Default how to restart my fermentation

Hi

Did my first partial mash on June 5th. OG was 1.080, pitched a starter made with 2 packs of 1056 in 2 liters, and it took off rapidly within a few hours. Very foamy, which I controlled with a few drops of fermcap-s. It had been chugging along for around 36 hours with very rapid bubbling of the air lock, and then it just suddenly STOPPED. I have not seen a single bubble from the airlock since, and since I have a stainless conical, I can't see what is going on inside. I was going to take an SG reading but when I opened the side valve I had what appeared to be thick trub coming from it... not nice clear beer. So I can't tell what the SG is right now.

I am trying to figure out what happened. I pitched the yeast at 70-72 degrees, and since the it has cooled down to 64 degrees- still well within the parameters for Wyeast 1056. I tried stirring it with a sterilized spoon to see if getting more yeast in suspension would help, but no change. It has just been sitting there with, as far as I can tell, not a single bubble from the airlock in 48 hours.

Does anyone have any ideas? With 36 hours of fermentation the SG couldn't have dropped very much, I would think. Should I repitch?

Klaus

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Old 06-09-2010, 04:50 AM   #2
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It could be all done fermenting. It sounds like you had a very active fermentation going. You don't say how much beer you pitched the 2 packs of yeast into - was it 5 gallons?

Using one package of SafeAle T-58 into a 6 gallon batch, I once had a beer complete it's fermentation in less than 36 hours. More like 30 hrs.

It sounds like you need to drain the trub out of the outlet and get a sample and check the gravity. Or else you can take the lid off and place your sanitized hydrometer in from the top.

Cheers!

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:38 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response. I tasted the trub and, while not all that tasty was quite sweet still, so I think it is still not quite done. The batch size was 7 gallons, and I used a starter made from 2 packs of 1056.

I decided to try to drain the trub from the racking port until I got some clearish beer. I didn't want to waste too much so I put it in an erlenmeyer flask to settle, then I could pour the clear part off and get a good hydrometer reading. I put an airlock on it and brought it inside.... and this part is now fermenting just fine after bringing it in. Maybe it is the temperature crash (pitched too warm)? So I strapped a warming belt on the fermentor, thinking maybe warming it will make it go again. It is only 20 watts, though and will take at least 24 hours to warm the beer at all. Do you think this will be enough? After it warms, should I give the beer a stir to get some of the yeast that was in suspension back into solution and off the bottom?

The other thing I was thinking of is repitching with the stuff I have in the erlenmeyer flask once the main fermentor has heated up instead of using it for a hydrometer reading. What do you think?

Klaus

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:46 AM   #4
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I've got a batch of beer fermenting right now with the intent of introducing something called amalyse enzyme, supposed to help with lowering final gravity/stuck fermentations. May or may not help you, as this is my first attempt trying it I really don't have an opinion or experience yet.

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Old 06-09-2010, 12:25 PM   #5
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I've got a batch of beer fermenting right now with the intent of introducing something called amalyse enzyme, supposed to help with lowering final gravity/stuck fermentations. May or may not help you, as this is my first attempt trying it I really don't have an opinion or experience yet.


amalyse should not go into the primary. The beer could possible leap out of the bucket / vessel, and onto the ceiling. Directions for its use are to rack to secondary where the amalyse is already waiting.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kshuler View Post
Thanks for the response. I tasted the trub and, while not all that tasty was quite sweet still, so I think it is still not quite done. The batch size was 7 gallons, and I used a starter made from 2 packs of 1056.

I decided to try to drain the trub from the racking port until I got some clearish beer. I didn't want to waste too much so I put it in an erlenmeyer flask to settle, then I could pour the clear part off and get a good hydrometer reading. I put an airlock on it and brought it inside.... and this part is now fermenting just fine after bringing it in. Maybe it is the temperature crash (pitched too warm)? So I strapped a warming belt on the fermentor, thinking maybe warming it will make it go again. It is only 20 watts, though and will take at least 24 hours to warm the beer at all. Do you think this will be enough? After it warms, should I give the beer a stir to get some of the yeast that was in suspension back into solution and off the bottom?

The other thing I was thinking of is repitching with the stuff I have in the erlenmeyer flask once the main fermentor has heated up instead of using it for a hydrometer reading. What do you think?

Klaus
It sounds like it's about done. I wouldn't warm it up, or pitch more yeast until I took a good hydrometer reading.

I've had beers ferment out in 24 hours, and I've had some take a week. Without a good hydrometer reading, you really don't know.

I'm leaning towards your batch being done, if I had to guess.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:28 PM   #7
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I don't see anything by what you are saying to indicate that your fermentation actually was stuck. All I see is that your airlock stopped bubbling, and that you didn't take a gravity reading because you can't with your conical.

BUT without a gravity reading all you are telling me is that your airlock stopped bubbling....That is NOT the samething as a stopped or stuck fermentation.

Whether it's in a conical, a bucket, or a carboy, it's the same thing. An airlock is a VENT, a VALVE to release excess co2, nothing more.

If it's not bubbling it just means that there no excess co2 to be vented out.

In your case, more than likely the big "bang" of fermentation is done and there's no excess co2 being voided out. It may or may not mean that fermentation is complete or is even stuck. But you can't no that just by an airlock.

It may mean that the majority of the fermentation is complete, but the yeasties still have a few points to go, just not active enough to blip the airlock.

That's why you need to take a gravity reading to know how your fermentation is going, NOT go by airlocks. The most important tool you can use is a hydrometer. It's the only way you will truly know when your beer is ready...airlock bubbles and other things are faulty.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Thinking about "doing anything" without taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on?

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Old 06-09-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
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BUT without a gravity reading all you are telling me is that your airlock stopped bubbling....That is NOT the samething as a stopped or stuck fermentation.


you need to take a gravity reading to know how your fermentation is going, NOT go by airlocks. The most important tool you can use is a hydrometer. It's the only way you will truly know when your beer is ready...airlock bubbles and other things are faulty.
Revvy- you are THE BOMB. Awesome website- from now on I am going to memorize that thing! As a newbie brewer I just assumed that since fermentation generates co2, as long as it is fermenting it should be bubbling. I had never heard of the bulk of fermentation stopping so quickly. My last batch bubbled for 5 days. But this time the temperature was higher and I used 2 yeast packs with a starter- something I never have done.

On your advice, I dumped trub until it wasn't quite as thick, then took a sample from the racking port. After the trub dump (a BIG one) I got some still very cloudy beer, but not thick like mashed potatoes anymore.

Reading was 1.022. Holy cow. Nothing to worry about! Thanks for the advice. I wish I had read your article before posting my "I am a newb" question. As honest Abe said: "it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Thanks everyone.

Klaus
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:52 PM   #9
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If you had to dump trub, more than likely that trub was YEAST, from your FERMENTATION.

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Old 06-09-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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Thankyou karbinator, I'm glad you corrected me before I made a mistake!

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