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Old 02-20-2013, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default Batch not fermenting

I think I might have messed up my batch of Cream Stout and not sure what to do. The last batch of beer I brewed started bubbling a lot after a few days and continued to bubble out the airlock for several days. This one barely produced any bubbles out of the airlock for about a day and now seems to have completely stopped. I've even shaken it around a few times. I'm 90% sure I know what I did wrong, I ran out of ice for the ice bath after the boil and think it was still too hot when I put the yeast in. I have just ordered a wort cooler for next time but wondering what I can do with this batch. I've ordered some more yeast, should I put another packet in when it arrives and hope for the best, or should I just dump the batch? Thanks

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #2
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is it in a bucket or a carboy? Bucket seals can soemtimes be bad so you might be fine. How long has it been fermenting and what yeast was it?

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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Hmmm...I'm a relative newb but dumping the batch seems to be the last thing you want to do. Lots of posts about airlock activity not always being a good indicator of active fermentation. What are you using for a primary? A bucket? If so they have been known to have seal issues (not being airtight). Did you put enough fluid into the airlock? I only ask because I actually didn't put enough in once, but realized it pretty quickly. Finally, a real indicator would be comparing gravity readings. Do you know what your OG is, or at least what the recipe states it should be? How long has it been in primary? Maybe after 7 days or so, take a reading. Then take another a couple days after that. If no change, then fermentation has likely stopped. If the reading is too high, it seems to me that pitching again would be a good idea. Anybody else have any thoughts?

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:45 PM   #4
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Have faith - it wants to be beer. In addition to the numerous points about the airlock not being a ferment-o-meter - some just are harder to budge than others. I have a couple that for one reason or another just don't bubble. Take a word over the airlock - chances are you'll smell fermenting beer. Give it time.

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:45 PM   #5
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How hot was it when you pitched the yeast?? Yeast are pretty happy up to about 120F, where they start to dibilitate, and around 140F they pretty much die. If you were under 120F, you didn't kill your yeast.

Did you happen to pitch it, then check it the next morning? At higher temps, the beer could have fermented almost completely overnight. The only way to know for sure is to take gravity readings. Do you own a hydrometer?

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:53 PM   #6
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Its in a 6.5 gallon plastic bucket. Is been in there for about 8 days now. I'm really not sure what the temp was, I'm guessing under 120 degrees though. Since I had it sitting in a bit of ice and then several cold water baths for about 15 minutes in the sink. I haven't taken any readings or opened the lid as I'm afraid about exposing it. I originally used "premium dry" yeast from midwest supplies, called Safale I believe. I was thinking about waiting til my extra yeast packet arrives then attempting to take a hydrometer reading then, if it doesn't have alcohol, putting another packet in. Thoughts?

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:59 PM   #7
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That seems like a safe bet. IF it has fermented at all but not completely you will want to rehydrate it before pitching. I'm betting it's you bucket not sealing very well. I had that problem with my 1st brew and then started using glass

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Old 02-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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Since it was pitched so warm, the yeast would go crazy and fast, and I bet it simply just fermented out overnight. Stop shaking it around!

Take a gravity reading, or at least open the bucket. You should have a brown krausen ring around the top of the beer.

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Old 02-20-2013, 02:17 PM   #9
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Do a hydrometer test first to see how far along it is. It might have reproduced enough to ferment out slowly so as not to produce much krausen or bubbles. I've had batches frment out that didn't bubble once.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:17 PM   #10
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Bubbling in primary SHOULD slow or stop eventually...Bubbling stopping or slowing down doesn't mean fermentation has stopped it ONLY means bubbling has. An airlock is a VENT, a VALVE for EXCESS CO2. It's not a magic fermentation gauge. When the majority of sugars are eaten in the initial burst of fermentation, lots of co2 is released. As it slows down, bubbling ceases or stops altogether because there's not as much EXCESS Co2 being released.

But that doesn't mean fermentation is over, just that it's slowed down.

Fermentation is not always dynamic...just because you don't SEE anything happening doesn't mean that the yeast aren't happily chewing away at whatever fermentables are in there....the only way to know comes from gravity readings, and nothing else.

Activity, action, bubbles, even krausen can be affected by the envoironment just as much as it being caused by the yeast...so going by that is NOT reliable.

If you want to know what's going on with your beer, then take a gravity reading. 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....

Counting bubbles does not equate to anything usable in fermentation. It's not like "x bubbles/minute= y gravity points." It just means that co2 is being released....but it could also NOT be bubbling, and still fermenting away.

Relax, leave your beer alone and let it do it's thing for a couple more weeks, and most importantly, IGNORE what your airlock does or doesn't do.

In fact you might find this discussion on the superfluousness of airlocks something that will help you get a handle on this. It was started by a newer brewing who just grasped this concept.

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