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Old 10-30-2009, 06:17 PM   #1
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Default Stalled fermentation?

OK, I really hate to ask this, but I am a little ... cautious .. I think is the right word. I brewed a relatively high gravity stout (1.064) on 10/28, and pitched some WLP005 I had harvested a few months back. I warmed up the yeast, and made a 1000 ml starter ... the started fermented just fine on a stir plate for 2 days. I pitched the yeast at midnight, and the first time I checked it at 8am, the airlock was going strong. But when I check this morning (10/30), all airlock activity has stopped.

I expected this active fermentation to last more than two days, simply because of the higher gravity ... is it possible that it is out of active fermentation already? It appears that the krausen has started to drop already too. I plan on taking a gravity reading either tonight or tomorrow ... but really don't expect it to be down to FG yet ... but is that really possible so soon??

Ans yes I know .... I should probably have checked the gravity be even posting ... but I didn't.



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Old 10-30-2009, 06:20 PM   #2
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You don't know that you have stalled fermentation, all you KNOW is that your airlock stopped bubbling, that is NOT the same thing.

airlock bubbling, lack of airlock bubbling, stopped airlock bubbling, fast airlock bubbling, slow airlcok bubbling, heavy metal airlcok bubbling, or disco airlock bubbling really is not an indicator of what is happening to your beer, really isn't important, and it is NOT an accurate gauge of fermentation.

If your airlock was bubbling and stopped---It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped.

If you airlock isn't bubbling, it doesn't mean your fermentation hasn't started....

If your airlock starts bubbling, it really doesn't matter.

If your airlock NEVER bubbles, it doesn't mean anything is wrong or right.

Your airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it is a VALVE to release excess co2.

So get out of the habit of thinking that an airlock bubble it telling you anything.

Fermentation is not always "dynamic," just because you don't SEE anything happening, doesn't mean that anything's wrong, and also doesn't mean that the yeast are still not working dilligantly away, doing what they've been doing for over 4,000 years....


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....

You already know what you should do....you wouldn't even had needed to start a thread if you did.



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Old 10-30-2009, 06:26 PM   #3
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OK, let me just add ... I know airlock is a poor way to judge, but what I do know is that my container is still air tight. I know because if I press on the lid, I get air coming out of the blow off tube. I have never had this happen before though, the blow off has quit bubbling and it appears that the krausen is starting to drop some ... after two days. I am just shocked, and the only reason I am concerned really is that this is the first time I've pitched any of my washed yeast ... and am afraid that it is possible I under pitched.

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Old 10-30-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyacovett View Post
OK, let me just add ... I know airlock is a poor way to judge, but what I do know is that my container is still air tight. I know because if I press on the lid, I get air coming out of the blow off tube. I have never had this happen before though, the blow off has quit bubbling and it appears that the krausen is starting to drop some ... after two days. I am just shocked, and the only reason I am concerned really is that this is the first time I've pitched any of my washed yeast ... and am afraid that it is possible I under pitched.


TAKE A GRAV READING!!!!!

Then you will know...your fermentation could be winding down already, and therefore the production of excess co2 is also winding down, and it doesn't need to VENT OUT anymore.

If you underpitched then all that would have happened was that it might have take longer to get started. But again anything is purely conjecture, and in your case needless worry, until you preform the only diagnostic test you can. An Airlock observation is not a diagnostic test, it is an observation.....

But you had KRAUSEN, that is a more reliable observation and gauge of fermentation than rather or not your bloody airlock stopped or not....Airlocks are vent!!! And yet you ignore the fact that your yeast built a krausen on top of the beer and are now starting to dismantle it....what do you think a krausen is?!?!?!?!

It means your yeast is alive and fermenting your beer!

In the time you took to answer me, you could have drawn off a sample and known what you beer was doing
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Old 10-30-2009, 06:51 PM   #5
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Another thing to realize is that you can't compare one brew to another. No two fermentations are exactly the same.

When we are dealing with living creatures, there is a wild card factor in play..Just like with other animals, including humans...No two behave the same.

You can split a batch in half put them in 2 identical carboys, and pitch equal amounts of yeast from the same starter...and have them act completely differently...for some reason on a subatomic level...think about it...yeasties are small...1 degree difference in temp to us, could be a 50 degree difference to them...one fermenter can be a couple degrees warmer because it's closer to a vent all the way across the room and the yeasties take off...

Someone, Grinder I think posted a pic once of 2 carboys touching each other, and one one of the carboys the krausen had formed only on the side that touched the other carboy...probably reacting to the heat of the first fermentation....but it was like symbiotic or something...

With living micro-organisms there is always a wildcard factor in play...and yet the yeast rarely lets us down. So it is best just to rdwhahb and trust that they know to what they are doing.

So just because you "have never had this happen before" doesn't mean that the yeast are doing anything wrong. It just means that you haven't experienced on of the infinite NORMAL behaviors that living organisms, living wildcards, are capable of.

Don't assume the worst with the yeast, [i]realize that they've been making beer since long before our great great great grandfather copped his first buzz from a 40 of mickey's out back of the highschool, so they are the experts.

Yeasts are like teenagers, swmbos, and humans in general, they have their own individual way of doing things.

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Old 10-30-2009, 07:33 PM   #6
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OK, the yeast are working ... it's still got a ways to go, but it down to 1.033 ... and pretty tasty already.

I'd love to rdwhahb, but I'm not drinking right now ... but that is a whole other topic of conversation .... I am brewing this for when I will be drinking again .. hopefully soon.

And I get it, let the yeast do their thing, I've done my part, and now its their turn ... just let it happen. While I know this ... the noob in me still gets worried.

But thanks for the assurance

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Old 10-30-2009, 07:46 PM   #7
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I can't say this enough....When in doubt, don't start a thread, grab your hydrometer instead.

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Old 11-01-2009, 01:56 AM   #8
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I just read up on white labs site that WLP005 can be sluggish at 65 degrees and will also settle out very easily at temperatures that low. The site says to shake up the fermenter to get the yeast back in suspension. My thermometer on my bucket says 66 ... so I am chalking my perceived slow ferment up to this.

I have moved my bucket to another room that is at 70 degrees, and gently swirled the bucket .... hoping that this would help kick things off again. When fermentation was going strong, my temperatures were at 68 -69, and the dropped to 65 .... if I am wrong about the temp being an issue, I don't think it will be a big deal as I have used this yeast at the same temp before with good results ...... but we will see I guess.

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Old 11-02-2009, 11:23 AM   #9
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OK, I took a gravity reading again today, and its the same as 3 days ago ... 1.032/33. Should I be concerned now, or is it still too soon to call this stalled? if this is "stalled" what should I do to try and kick it off again?

I have it on a heating pad and got the temperature up a little, and I shook the carboy, that really didn't seem to do too much. What would the next step be .... add some yeast nutrient. Re-pitch. Aerate? I'm not really sure how to proceed.

Thanks for any input.

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Old 11-02-2009, 01:10 PM   #10
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Three days at a constant gravity definitely sounds stuck. Warming and rousing did nada. Time for fresh yeast.



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