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Old 02-22-2013, 05:12 PM   #1
ragreen123
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Default No fermentation happening after 4 days

Hi everyone, I have another question about fermentation for the experts. I just finished my 6th batch of beer on Sunday night (It was a brewers best english brown ale) and this morning (a little over 4 day later and approaching 5) I took a reading because it did not appear to be fermenting. There has been no airlock activity which I understand can mean nothing, but the O.G. (1.046) has not changed since Sunday night and now I'm worried it has been to long to save it. I'm wondering should I re-pitch some yeast? I also noticed the temp may have been a little to low being around 59 to 61 degrees the first few days (we just got 8 inches of snow here in MO yesterday so that didn't help) and I'm currently trying to raise it up to 64 to 65 degrees. Another concern is that I tried to get creative and turn this into a coffee brown ale. The book I have suggested coarsely ground coffee being added right after the hop boiling was terminated during whirl pooling. I'm thinking the addition of the coffee and the low temp may be the culprits here but don't wanna run out and get more yeast if not necessary. Any thoughts would be helpful

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Did you aerate the wort before pitching the yeast? What temp was it when you pitched? What kind of yeast? Did you rehydrate it if dry?

Perhaps the lower temps affected things, but don't worry. Try to get the temps in the low-to-mid 60's for a few days and see what happens. I'm sure the coffee didn't affect things.

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Old 02-22-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure I aerated it correctly. I usually just pour the chilled wort into my bucket and that seems to always work. I believe it was right at 70 degrees when I pitched. I just use the dry yeast packets that come with the kits and I always just sprinkle it in and give it a good healthy stirring. I have yet to attempt to re-hydrate the yeast but maybe I will start to do that from now on since that seems to be what everyone recommends to do with the dry stuff.

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Old 02-22-2013, 06:17 PM   #4
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If the wort was around 70 when you pitched the yeast and then the temperature dropped too cold, the yeast just dropped and went dormant.

Raise the temp and rouse the yeast and they should get going for you. Fermentation can take up to 72 hours as it is but shocking the yeast into dormancy is my best guess.

You can use a swamp cooler set up with a small aquarium heater to warm it up or a brew belt or a ferm wrap or a warmer location. Just be sure to not swing things too far in the other direction or off flavors can become an issue.

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Old 02-22-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I have a feeling it was the temperature as well. I have yet to brew a batch when its this cold out so I'm guessing that's what made it inactive. We've had a mild winter here until this last couple weeks.

I actually then got the bucket off the floor and put it on a chair and that helped bring it up to about 64 - 66 within a few hours. From what I understand rousing is basically just a rocking back and forth in a circular motion of the bucket but I also saw a video and have read some things about using a paddle or racking cane to stir it around gently on the bottom. Do both methods work just as well? I've already roused it by rocking the bucket back and forth so will see how it goes.
Thanks again

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Old 02-22-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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Once you get the temp up to 64-65F it still could take a couple more days like usuaul for them to start munching away

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Old 02-22-2013, 09:13 PM   #7
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Get that temp up there as quick as you can. 66-68 will be the yeasts happy zone. Make sure the temps are not varying one way or another too much during this stage as it can adversely impact your beer. If you don't see activity within 24 hours of the temps being higher, consider repitching some yeast.

Be cautious of sanitation as well while you are working to get things figured out. Since your yeast have not had a chance to increase their population, bacteria can take advantage of this and go after all that nice food sitting in your fermenter.

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Old 02-22-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragreen123 View Post
Thanks for the advice. I have a feeling it was the temperature as well. I have yet to brew a batch when its this cold out so I'm guessing that's what made it inactive. We've had a mild winter here until this last couple weeks.

I actually then got the bucket off the floor and put it on a chair and that helped bring it up to about 64 - 66 within a few hours. From what I understand rousing is basically just a rocking back and forth in a circular motion of the bucket but I also saw a video and have read some things about using a paddle or racking cane to stir it around gently on the bottom. Do both methods work just as well? I've already roused it by rocking the bucket back and forth so will see how it goes.
Thanks again
just swirl it to get the stuff off the bottom a bit, AFTER you've raised the temp of the beer, which will take some time even if you've raised the ambient air temp.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:18 AM   #9
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59 degrees does not seem like a low enough temp to put the yeast to sleep. The fact that the gravity hasn't changed at all is odd. After raising the temp, and rousing (heavily swirling) the yeast, if you don't see activity, re-aerate and pitch a fresh, hydrated yeast.

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Old 02-23-2013, 08:29 PM   #10
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So I believe the yeast has finally started to kick into action as of this morning. I got the temp of the beer up to 66-68 by putting a small space heater in my brew room and that seems to keep the beer at a stable 68 degrees and it has held at that temperature all day so far without me needing to interfere anymore.

I noticed slight airlock activity this morning (about a bubble every 30 - 40 seconds) and roused it this morning and just a minute ago and that got it bubbling every 5 - 10 seconds so it appears it may be ok without having to re-pitch. Before I did the rousing this afternoon it was bubbling about once a minute on its own and then much more vigorously after the rousing.

I guess I have yet to encounter this problem but then again have yet to brew a batch when it is this cold out and the temperature has yet to be an issue, but now I know better.

Thanks to everyone for the advice and hopefully the batch turns out good. I'll have to let you all know how it turns out since this was my first batch of six I tried to experiment with and add some coffee for a little extra flavoring.

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