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Old 08-15-2011, 01:35 PM   #1
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Default Brewed August 9th - No Signs of Fermentation

I've read a lot of threads on it taking a while for fermentation to start. But this seems abnormal.

I've checked it periodically since brew day which will be a week ago tomorrow. The recipe is a Newcastle clone from AHS. I used WLP005 but didn't make a starter (I was in a hurry - a mistake I'm not planning to replicate).

I haven't seen any visible signs of fermentation and I'm not just talking about the airlock. The surface is nearly clear. After the initial bubbles from aeration dissipated there has only been very small amounts of activity on the surface - nothing like what I've experienced as a active and healthy fermentation.

Another issue I've had with this batch is a very small mold growth on the surface (yes it was actually mold) about the size of a pencil. With some patience and my magical abilities I fished it out with a sanitized racking cane. I'm not too worried about that - just mentioning it as a possible symptom of low yeast growth / health.

Since brew day it's been at a temp controlled 67F (temp probe stuck to side of carboy and insulated with bubble wrap). Yesterday, I moved it out of the freezer to warm it up a bit - basement is about 68F ambient - no change.

I'm not freaked out, just curious. And sorry for the wordy post - just wanted to supply adequate information.

Any advice?

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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did you check the gravity? any kreusen on the sides of the bucket/carboy?

definitely check the gravity

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:40 PM   #3
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No krausen on the sides of carboy.

Yeah, I'll be taking a gravity reading tonight. OG was 1.054.

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:49 PM   #4
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You had it in a freezer? But the temp was 67?

Def. take a reading with your hydrometer...

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jayman931 View Post
You had it in a freezer? But the temp was 67?

Def. take a reading with your hydrometer...
I'm guessing freezer is his fermentation chamber - temp controlled - Good for him!

I'm also guessing it's done. And there is NO way to confirm this without the use of a hydrometer/refractometer.

Starters help (immensely) , but are not required. A packet of Wyeast or a vial of White Labs is capable of producing a decent batch of beer without a starter - so no worries. That said, starters are recommended.

Consistent temp control, a decent yeast - you may be fermented out -
However, you should not have any mold - it should be able to sit peacefully for weeks, even months without contamination.

And as for letting them sit - my current batch, brewed 7/15, will be dry hopped next weekend, then kegged the following weekend.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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Okay, got a chance to take a reading earlier than I thought.

After temp correction, my current gravity is 1.053.

Hasn't moved much.

What do I do now?

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
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Make a small starter and pitch it at high krausen. After this amount of time I'd be worried about some contaminating microbe or other getting going in a serious way. You need to get some active yeast in there ASAP.

Where did you get the yeast? You might want to let them know you got a bum vial.

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:41 PM   #8
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Any options for a guy who lives in a town with no homebrew shop?

I don't have any dry yeast on hand...

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Old 08-15-2011, 03:00 PM   #9
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Default Harvesting Yeast for Brown Ale?

Any ideas on where I could harvest some yeast from bottles to pitch?

I just harvested some hefeweizen yeast but don't really want to pitch that into a brown ale...

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Old 08-15-2011, 03:09 PM   #10
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Any ideas on where I could harvest some yeast from bottles to pitch?

I just harvested some hefeweizen yeast but don't really want to pitch that into a brown ale...
This is a time consuming process - a bottle's worth of yeast isn't much. Essentially you pour the bottom of the beer into some freshly boiled and cooled wort (a starter) and build it up over many days.

Best bet is to get online and order some from an online HBS near you for quick shipping - Midwest, Brewers Warehouse, Northern Brewer, MoreBeer, Austin, etc.

Get them to ship with an ice pack this time of year.

Sorry your yeast was dead - another reason to make a starter...
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