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Old 05-26-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
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Default No Fermentation After 4 Days - What to Do?

I brewed a batch of Summer Ale on Friday using Wyeast Pacman. I did not make a starter. After pitching the yeast, I put the beer in a dark room in my basement, which is at 67 degs.

On Saturday, I had to leave town for a few days. I came back on Monday and noticed that I didn't have any bubbles. So, I checked my gravity, and it was the same as when I brewed the beer on Friday. Also, there was no krausen. I decided to agitate the wort a bit to see if I could get the yeast going. This morning, there were still no bubbles, so I opened it up again, and there is no krausen, and the gravity is the same as on Friday.

I assume that I got a bad batch of yeast, even though I thought that it smelled okay when I pitched it on Friday.

My question is: what should I do? Is it too late to get additional yeast?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

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Old 05-26-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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Go ahead and pitch some new yeast.

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Old 05-26-2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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Did the packet swell before you pitched? The purpose of the smack pack is to test the viability of the yeast. Even so, without a starter you didn't use enough yeast. You should pitch a pack of US-05 pronto.

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Old 05-26-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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Masonsjax:

It did swell. Plus, this was for a 2.5 gal batch, and according to the Mr. Malty site, one smack pack should have been plenty.

Regardless, I will stop by my LHBS, and pick up some US-05. I guess that this will be a lesson to always have some extra yeast on hand.

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Old 05-26-2010, 02:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckus95 View Post
Masonsjax:

It did swell. Plus, this was for a 2.5 gal batch, and according to the Mr. Malty site, one smack pack should have been plenty.

Regardless, I will stop by my LHBS, and pick up some US-05. I guess that this will be a lesson to always have some extra yeast on hand.
This is another reason to have a pipeline. My "Pipeline Cider" uses a Munton's ale yeast, so if I'm ever super-desperate I can always take a small trub sample from that, whip up a starter, and pitch that. (It's difficult for me to get to my LHBS for emergency yeast.)
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:14 PM   #6
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Minor aside. - My father used to use bread yeast I'm pretty sure. If I couldn't get to an LBHS quick, I'm thinking I'd give that a try.

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Old 05-26-2010, 04:39 PM   #7
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Minor aside. - My father used to use bread yeast I'm pretty sure. If I couldn't get to an LBHS quick, I'm thinking I'd give that a try.
Bread yeast have poor attenuation and flocculation, but they can be used.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:06 PM   #8
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Pitch more yeast. If you can find the Wyeast packet, check the date. I've never had one be bad; but I've never had one past the expiration date. If it was expired, you should get a replacement from the store. That is ridiculous. You might want to put in two packets of good quality dry yeast. That way, if any bug has started in there, the overwhelming number of yeast will get rid of all the sugar before the bug can make too many bad flavors.

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Old 05-26-2010, 08:50 PM   #9
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I don't know what the OG was, but I bet it was close enough that a starter would have been strongly preferred.

Did you aerate? You didn't say you did, so I'm assuming you didn't. No aeration plus low pitching gives you no fermentation or very slow fermentation. No matter dry or liquid yeast or batch size, good aeration is a must. Since you had no fermentation, you may be able to really shake the **** out of the batch and get the yeast started.

I do a lot of three gallon batches, and I still make small starters. It may not be absolutely necessary but it avoids concerns of stuck fermentation and the risks to the beer of underpitching.

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Old 05-27-2010, 04:28 PM   #10
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Aeration and pitching more yeast are your best bets, but even better is to aerate and pitch active yeast. If it's liquid yeast then get it into a small starter and pitch the whole thing at high krausen, and if its dry yeast then properly hydrate it in some boiled/cooled water at warm temps around 80-90F.

Another thing you can do with the dry yeast is to stir a tablespoon or so of sugar into the hydration water and they'll get really active fast. This might create a problem with the yeast deciding to just consume simple sugars though, so just stir in some DME if you've got it on hand.

I had some fermentation issues a couple weeks ago when some cold weather unexpectedly shot through the region and the temp of the fermentor dropped several degrees. Top cropped yeast from the krausen of another ale I had going (same yeast type) and a space heater got it going again within two hours.

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