Stuck fermentation with happy ending
I'm having an interesting experience with my current batch's fermentation.
I've been brewing about a year with about a dozen batches under my belt. Nothing fancy; just 5 gal kits. All the previous batches went fine. The current one was giving me fits, though.
I'm currrently brewing a Bold Series California IPA using the kit's dry yeast. After the brew and pouring everything into the fermenter with yeast I waited. I'm usually seeing bubbles in the airlock within 24 hours. This time nothing. I waited about 30, then opened the top of the bucket. Didn't see any action, but took a gravity reading anyway; still measured the starting figure of 1.062. I decided to pitch another packet of yeast, gave it a stir and closed it back up. By the way, temperature was within range the whole time.
48 hours from the beginning - nothing. 72 hours - still nothing, so I decided to open it up again. Same gravity reading. I give it another stir and close it back up. I noticed that about 88 hours in it started to bubble. Now a day after that, still bubbling and strong.
I thought for a while I'd end up losing my first batch, but it paid off to hang in there.
Question for the group, though. Since this is the first batch I've done with this high of a start gravity reading, maybe it just naturally takes longer to get going? Maybe I was just too impatient?
Also, this batch was to be my first attempt at double fermentation. How will I know when the best time will be to move it to the other container?
Hi to everyone. I'm new, but hope to contribute more.
Conventional wisdom is to toss the kit dry yeast packet and buy something good like Safale S05. Depending on how old the kit yeast was it may be trouble. 88 hours is a long time for an IPA to start to ferment. But it seems you have readings of 1.062 from 30 hours and fermentation could have started after that without showing in the airlock. I have never had a S05 or S04 ferment take longer than 12 hours or so to get going so I think you had some dead yeast packet. Where did you get the kit from?
By double fermentation are you talking about a Secondary? If so it is not needed and you should skip it. Just leave your beer in the primary for 2 weeks minimum, 3 or 4 if you can handle the wait. A majority of HBT posters don't do secondary and it would appear that it is used mostly for dry hopping or additions like fruit.
You're correct, it's actually a secondary fermentation.
I'm not unhappy with the way my batches have been coming out, but I understand that it can clarify the beer a little (not that this is a big deal for me).
The main reason is that I can be less vigilant about when I need to bottle. Some of my buddies have told me that the brew can pick up some bitter aftertastes if it stays in the fermenter too long.
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