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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > seeking fermentation advice - save my brew
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:04 AM   #1
ptjusa2000
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Default seeking fermentation advice - save my brew

I’m trying to decide whether or not I have a stuck fermentation and if so what to do about it. Soliciting input from anyone who thinks they know what’s going on and how to fix it. If I left any critical info out below please ask me for it. I’m definitely no expert at brewing but have had no fermentation issues in the 1 ½ years since I started…until now.

Background data:
First time using my new 15gal Speidel fermenter for a 10+gal batch. Up to now I’ve used to 6gal fermenters with no issues. I have not seen a single bubble come through the airlock of the Speidel although I can see and smell the beer fermenting. I’ve checked for leaks and don’t believe I have any since I can get the level of the sanitizer in the airlock to rise by placing the pressure on the walls of the fermenter
OG read 1056.
Yeast starter made with two WL East Coast Ale vials, one vial per one gal jug with two stages (no stir plate). Each consisting of a 1st stage: 1qt w/ ½ cup amber DME; 2nd stage: 1qt w/ ½ cup amber DME
After a few days I put the yeast starters in the fridge for about 3 days until I was ready to pitch. Pitched in my 61 deg F basement brew closet into 72 deg F wort after oxygenating the wort for about 3min with pure O2. To avoid the wort getting too cold I strapped up a brew belt and set the space heater to 72 deg F and went to bed. Upon my first inspection approximately 14hrs later I had a high krausen and strong odor of fermenting beer but stick-on ferment thermometer read 78 deg F so I immediately unplugged brew belt and turned down space heater to 68 deg F. fermenter temp has settled to about 72 deg F for the last 2+ days. I've just completed day 4 have yet to see a bubble exit the airlock. There's about an inch of Krausen on top of the beer, the smell of fermenting beer is noticably weaker. The ferment thermometer is at 72 deg F with a 68 deg F room temp in the brew closet. So it would seem like something is going on in the fermenter but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s stuck since no air bubbles. Perhaps the first 14hrs of fermentation were so vigorous that activity dropped off dramatically?—I really don’t know what’s going on or what to do (stir it up, repitch, leave it alone and be patient).

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Old 05-11-2013, 12:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptjusa2000 View Post
I’m trying to decide whether or not I have a stuck fermentation and if so what to do about it. Soliciting input from anyone who thinks they know what’s going on and how to fix it. If I left any critical info out below please ask me for it. I’m definitely no expert at brewing but have had no fermentation issues in the 1 ½ years since I started…until now.

Background data:
First time using my new 15gal Speidel fermenter for a 10+gal batch. Up to now I’ve used to 6gal fermenters with no issues. I have not seen a single bubble come through the airlock of the Speidel although I can see and smell the beer fermenting. I’ve checked for leaks and don’t believe I have any since I can get the level of the sanitizer in the airlock to rise by placing the pressure on the walls of the fermenter
OG read 1056.
Yeast starter made with two WL East Coast Ale vials, one vial per one gal jug with two stages (no stir plate). Each consisting of a 1st stage: 1qt w/ ½ cup amber DME; 2nd stage: 1qt w/ ½ cup amber DME
After a few days I put the yeast starters in the fridge for about 3 days until I was ready to pitch. Pitched in my 61 deg F basement brew closet into 72 deg F wort after oxygenating the wort for about 3min with pure O2. To avoid the wort getting too cold I strapped up a brew belt and set the space heater to 72 deg F and went to bed. Upon my first inspection approximately 14hrs later I had a high krausen and strong odor of fermenting beer but stick-on ferment thermometer read 78 deg F so I immediately unplugged brew belt and turned down space heater to 68 deg F. fermenter temp has settled to about 72 deg F for the last 2+ days. I've just completed day 4 have yet to see a bubble exit the airlock. There's about an inch of Krausen on top of the beer, the smell of fermenting beer is noticably weaker. The ferment thermometer is at 72 deg F with a 68 deg F room temp in the brew closet. So it would seem like something is going on in the fermenter but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s stuck since no air bubbles. Perhaps the first 14hrs of fermentation were so vigorous that activity dropped off dramatically?—I really don’t know what’s going on or what to do (stir it up, repitch, leave it alone and be patient).
.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:03 AM   #3
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Amen!

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Old 05-11-2013, 05:18 PM   #4
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Have you checked your gravity? If your stick on thermometer read 78, you were high for the optimum temp for this yeast. WL site says this yeast ferments best at 68-73. Chances are the higher temp just accelerated the rate of ferment.

You're probably done already, but only a hydro reading will tell you for certain.

You may have more hot alcohol or ester production than you intended. But the one time I used that yeast it was before I started using temp control and I remember it being pretty forgiving with temps

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Old 12-04-2013, 01:14 PM   #5
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Default Speidel airlock

I'm in the same boat. Been brewing for 15 years, but first time with a Speidel unit 14.9g unit. Fermenting a 10 gallon double IPA and see no airlock activity, but smell fermentation after 12 hours with a 2nd generation yeast. Krausen level is visible. I'm wondering if the rubber seal is off and gas is escaping elsewhere?

Have you had issues with the gaskets?

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Old 12-04-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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I'm in the same boat. Been brewing for 15 years, but first time with a Speidel unit 14.9g unit. Fermenting a 10 gallon double IPA and see no airlock activity, but smell fermentation after 12 hours with a 2nd generation yeast. Krausen level is visible. I'm wondering if the rubber seal is off and gas is escaping elsewhere?

Have you had issues with the gaskets?
i have had a gasket problem on my speidel, my daughter pulled the gasket out so now i have to make sure the 2 ends of the gasket are touching as i screw the threaded ring on. having said that it is not important that the airlock bubble. some of my bucket lids do not seal and i use them anyway with no problem.
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Old 12-04-2013, 04:38 PM   #7
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I reckon you have a leak, you won't see fermentation if there ain't none. So prove it !
You know your pitching SG compare it to what you have now, and do the same tomorrow and the next day,s that will prove the brew, then get to grips with the, I think, leak.

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Old 12-04-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
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Default Speidel gasket issue

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Originally Posted by eastoak View Post
i have had a gasket problem on my speidel, my daughter pulled the gasket out so now i have to make sure the 2 ends of the gasket are touching as i screw the threaded ring on. having said that it is not important that the airlock bubble. some of my bucket lids do not seal and i use them anyway with no problem.
The lid can still close and sit flush with the bucket with a portion of the gasket out of alignment, and brewers are none the wiser unless there isn't action from the airlock some time later.

From the time you push the gasket in with lid off, turn the lid over to be placed on the bucket any portion of the gasket can come out of its well, but the unit will still completely close flush. Has to be some product (keg lube?) to hold it in place while you seal it?

After 16 hours on a 2nd generation yeast for a double IPA, entire basement smelling like beer, visible krausen level, had to be an issue with gas escaping. Took off entire lid, looked to have a 1-2 inch portion crimped out of the well squished against the wall. I re-seated the gasket, sprayed with star san, re-attach belt and airlock activity within a few seconds. Will not be happy if a gasket issue is cause for infected beer.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:47 PM   #9
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Will not be happy if a gasket issue is cause for infected beer.
this is unlikely, in fact you could take the lid off of the fermentor while it's fermenting and not get an infection.

this is a fermentation tank at british brewery and this is anchor brewing in san francisco if those breweries are making millions of gallons of infection free beer using huge open fermentors then you can feel relatively safe with a leak in your tiny fermentor.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:48 PM   #10
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The lid can still close and sit flush with the bucket with a portion of the gasket out of alignment, and brewers are none the wiser unless there isn't action from the airlock some time later.

From the time you push the gasket in with lid off, turn the lid over to be placed on the bucket any portion of the gasket can come out of its well, but the unit will still completely close flush. Has to be some product (keg lube?) to hold it in place while you seal it?

After 16 hours on a 2nd generation yeast for a double IPA, entire basement smelling like beer, visible krausen level, had to be an issue with gas escaping. Took off entire lid, looked to have a 1-2 inch portion crimped out of the well squished against the wall. I re-seated the gasket, sprayed with star san, re-attach belt and airlock activity within a few seconds. Will not be happy if a gasket issue is cause for infected beer.
An airlock that isn't completely sealed won't cause a beer to be infected. Airlocks aren't even really necessary in a primary. They're good in secondaries for keeping oxygen out though. There's been a bunch of times I put an airlock on after I pitch the yeast and I forget to put alcohol in it until the next day or so. You probably caused a greater risk for getting an infection by opening the fermenter up and fixing it then if you had just left it alone.
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