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Old 01-20-2013, 10:32 PM   #1
NavyRob
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Default Need Help - Fermentation Sudden Stop

My background: Novice brewer. Have brewed about a dozen times in the last 2 years. Have some equipment beyond the basics, but I haven't broken the bank or gotten my PhD in brewing yet.

So, yesterday I brewed Northern Brewer's Caribou Slobber Ale. I used the dry yeast that came with the kit, but whipped up a yeast starter in the morning to help it out before pitching it. Brewing was uneventful and I pitched the yeast like normal. About 5 hours after pitching the yeast, I see good bubbles in the airlock. This morning I wake up and there's no action whatsoever. The only thing I can think of is that the beer cooled off below when the yeast will work. I've stuck the bucket in a small bathroom and I'm working to heat up the beer to around 75 degrees, but assuming that doesn't work, does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!

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Old 01-20-2013, 11:27 PM   #2
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What yeast was it?

You generally don't/shouldn't need to make a starter w/ dry yeast. The manufacturer has already put the yeast into a dormant stage w/ plenty of nutrients and a high enough cell count to make a starter unnecessary.

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About 5 hours after pitching the yeast, I see good bubbles in the airlock. This morning I wake up and there's no action.

I'm working to heat up the beer to around 75 degrees,
Without knowing more specifics, I wouldn't worry. I've had lag times as long as 48-72 hours and the beer turned out fine. I wouldn't try and bring the temperature up that high unless the yeast is specifically designed for it. 75F is usually in the upper range for most strains, and bringing it up there too early can result in off-flavors.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:32 PM   #3
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Thanks!

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Old 01-21-2013, 12:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyRob
My background: Novice brewer. Have brewed about a dozen times in the last 2 years. Have some equipment beyond the basics, but I haven't broken the bank or gotten my PhD in brewing yet.

So, yesterday I brewed Northern Brewer's Caribou Slobber Ale. I used the dry yeast that came with the kit, but whipped up a yeast starter in the morning to help it out before pitching it. Brewing was uneventful and I pitched the yeast like normal. About 5 hours after pitching the yeast, I see good bubbles in the airlock. This morning I wake up and there's no action whatsoever. The only thing I can think of is that the beer cooled off below when the yeast will work. I've stuck the bucket in a small bathroom and I'm working to heat up the beer to around 75 degrees, but assuming that doesn't work, does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!
Did you pop open the lid a little to see if it's fermenting? Lids on buckets don't always seal tight. It could be fermenting away and just not showing up in the airlock.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyRob View Post
My background: Novice brewer. Have brewed about a dozen times in the last 2 years. Have some equipment beyond the basics, but I haven't broken the bank or gotten my PhD in brewing yet.

So, yesterday I brewed Northern Brewer's Caribou Slobber Ale. I used the dry yeast that came with the kit, but whipped up a yeast starter in the morning to help it out before pitching it. Brewing was uneventful and I pitched the yeast like normal. About 5 hours after pitching the yeast, I see good bubbles in the airlock. This morning I wake up and there's no action whatsoever. The only thing I can think of is that the beer cooled off below when the yeast will work. I've stuck the bucket in a small bathroom and I'm working to heat up the beer to around 75 degrees, but assuming that doesn't work, does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks!
75 is way too hot! If the yeast was pitched at that temperature, or worse, even higher, the fermentation is just simply over.

You can check with a hydrometer if you'd like. Or pop it open and look for a krausen ring or remnants of a krausen. I have a feeling it's finishing up.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:04 AM   #6
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75 is too warm. Get the temperature of the wort below 70 asap. I would go for the low to mid sixties. Below 60 may make the yeast go dormant though. Check the buckets seal, it is probably leaking. This is not really a problem. Also overly warm temperatures can make fermentation very quick.

In making a starter with the dry yeast are you using wort, or just water. With water it would be called re-hydrating and is a good thing. Making an actual starter is unnecessary with dry yeast and may even be detrimental. The yeast is produced in a way that only re-hydrating is the best way to go.

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Old 01-21-2013, 02:47 AM   #7
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75 degrees is NOT too warm to pitch at, especially with kit yeast. Kit yeast can survive much worse!

It's a little too warm for optimal fermentation results, sure, but pitching at 75 then bringing your fermentation temp down towards 65 over a couple of hours will be fine for a kit brew.

Forget your airlock...it's a bit of fun but completely unimportant. New brewers can check their gravity reading after 4 days to make sure the numbers are dropping...but after a few brews you don't bother any more, you get to know what a healthy krausen looks like, and what fermenting wort smells like....

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Old 01-21-2013, 03:10 AM   #8
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once you get heat shock proteins you affect the future performance of the yeast.

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Old 01-21-2013, 05:13 PM   #9
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Ok. So I was never able to get the heat in the little room up to 75 anyway. Based on the rest of the house, I'd say at best it got to 70, so I don't think I got it too hot. It was about 70 when I pitched the yeast in the first place, and ambient temperature in the house was about 68.

To answer an earlier question, the yeast I used is Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast. First time I've used that, but it came from Northern Brewer, so I trust that the quality of the yeast was okay.

Based on the recommendations, I opened up the bucket and it looked normal. I took an SG and it came out 1.018. OG was 1.050. My FGs on the other beers I've made have all been in the 1.008-1.012 range, so I'm shooting for 1.010.

But since I had it opened anyway (and because the sample I thiefed out had a slightly bitter taste), I went ahead and siphoned the beer off of the trub and into my carboy. I'll leave it there for 2.5 weeks or so. Hopefully the yeast will eat some more and bring the SG down to near the target.

All things considered, I'm guessing that using the yeast starter (which I've only used once before) caused most of my really active fermentation to happen during the first night. My previous experience has been not to see any bubbling in the airlock until the day after brewing, with peak apparent activity being 2-3 days after brewing.

So, in the end, no harm, no foul. I think the beer is still ok.

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyRob View Post
Ok. So I was never able to get the heat in the little room up to 75 anyway. Based on the rest of the house, I'd say at best it got to 70, so I don't think I got it too hot. It was about 70 when I pitched the yeast in the first place, and ambient temperature in the house was about 68.

To answer an earlier question, the yeast I used is Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast. First time I've used that, but it came from Northern Brewer, so I trust that the quality of the yeast was okay.

Based on the recommendations, I opened up the bucket and it looked normal. I took an SG and it came out 1.018. OG was 1.050. My FGs on the other beers I've made have all been in the 1.008-1.012 range, so I'm shooting for 1.010.

But since I had it opened anyway (and because the sample I thiefed out had a slightly bitter taste), I went ahead and siphoned the beer off of the trub and into my carboy. I'll leave it there for 2.5 weeks or so. Hopefully the yeast will eat some more and bring the SG down to near the target.

All things considered, I'm guessing that using the yeast starter (which I've only used once before) caused most of my really active fermentation to happen during the first night. My previous experience has been not to see any bubbling in the airlock until the day after brewing, with peak apparent activity being 2-3 days after brewing.

So, in the end, no harm, no foul. I think the beer is still ok.
At 1.018, with windsor yeast, it's done. You won't hit anything close to 1.010!
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