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Old 12-05-2007, 07:07 AM   #1
BFauska
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Default Is it dead?

I'm new here, but I've been around plenty of forums on other topics to know that as a noob seeking help I'd better ask this right and have a basic idea of my needs before hand, so, here it goes.

I brewed 5 gallons of an Irish Ale about 9 days ago and I haven't seen any obvious signs of fermentation yet. There is a little foam on top, and tiny bubbles in the airlock, but I haven't seen one airlock jump (3 piece style.)

I did about a 4 gallon boil (liquid extract recipe) chilled to about 80f with a submersion wort chiller and then added liquid yeast (WLP004) after transfering from the brew pot to my bucket primary fermenter. I was a little concerned about the yeast when I added it because the tube said to remove it from the refridgerator about 3-6 hours before use and I only pulled it out about 2 hours prior, but I tried to get it to room temp a little quicker by holding it in my hands during most of the boil. After transfering to the bucket I snapped the lid on and installed the airlock. Our apartment can be very cold at night and while we are away at work so I decided to leave the bucket in the warmest room (living room, about 68 all day, maybe 65-63 at night) but this means it's in a less than ideal room for darkness. I didn't do an OG reading, because I've never understood their importance before researching my potentially impotent yeast. After getting the bucket sealed up and ready to go, I went to bed, and didn't really see the bucket again until about 20 hours later, from that point on, I have not noticed 1 single bubble "plop" in the airlock. In my previous 2 brews I have seen these so I expected to base the move to the secondary on the slowing of the bubbles.

Here is what I see for a course of action, I would love some input or suggestions about this process from anybody. From what I've gathered around this (and a couple other) forum I should be patient (it's been 9 days), check the gravity and compare it to the OG (in this case the closest I can do is compare it to the expected FG) and taste to see if it's fermented or not. I imagine that I could check the gravity again after 1 more day if it doesn't seem low enough yet too. If it doesn't look promising I should give the bucket a bit of a swirl to agitate the yeast and see if they want to do their job now. If after a few days I still have nothing I should add some yeast and hope for some action.

Does that sound like the right way to go? Does anybody else have some other tips I should use? If I add more yeast, what type should I use for my Irish Ale?

Hopefully my question isn't too vague for a pesky noob, I'll be glad to give any more information I can if it will help diagnose my problems.

Thanks.

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Old 12-05-2007, 07:14 AM   #2
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A simple smell should tell you all you need to know. Crack the lid and take a whiff. If it smells like beer, it's probable done. If it smells like sugary wort, the yeast is kaput, and no amount of swirling will get it into action. 9 days is a LONG time to wait for fermentation to kick up. If it were me, I'd have pitched some dry yeast about 5 days ago. Who cares about style if your wort is sitting there just begging to be infected with who knows what.

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Old 12-05-2007, 08:24 AM   #3
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If you're seeing bubbles and foam, you're getting fermentation, it's just going slow. I've had buckets that didn't seal all the way every time I put the lid on and so the airlock never started bubbling, even though CO2 was escaping. If it's been 9 days your SG should be around 1.010-ish or so.

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Old 12-05-2007, 10:11 AM   #4
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Take a Specific Gravity (SG) reading if you can. It is a sure way to tell what is going on.

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Old 12-05-2007, 03:32 PM   #5
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And don't forget to let us know what the verdict is

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Old 12-05-2007, 04:02 PM   #6
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Break out the hydrometer and see what's going on in there.

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Old 12-06-2007, 02:17 AM   #7
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OK, I think it's alright. I checked the SG of the beer and it's 1.012 which just so happens to be exactly the estimated FG of this recipe(1.012 - 1.014.) The anticipated OG was 1.048 which I didn't measure, but if I hit the low end of the FG I suppose that it's safe to assume it's fermented fine. I did give the bucket a swirl last night so I think I'll wait for everything to settle back down before I move it to the carboy.

Since I'm posting this right now I'll toss in another question, but I may find the answer through some research in the next few moments. I'm debating putting this in a keg instead of bottles for my first time. I have access to CO2 from work and there is a Corney keg sitting at work too that I could take and clean. I'd just need to get the fittings, hose, and o-rings then do some good cleaning from what I understand. The question is this; do I need to keep the keg in a fridge for it to work? I am also debating if I would force carbonate or use sugar and time. If I keg I'll just dispense through a cold plate. Does that whole plan sound bogus or half-assed? Should I just continue to use bottles until I have room for a keg-fridge? Is there some other approach that I should be considering?

Thanks for the help and concern with the first half of the post and I look forward to finding the answers to the newest questions (either here, or in existing threads.)

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Old 12-06-2007, 02:43 AM   #8
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Sorry for the double post, but I just looked at the kegging FAQ links and see that it's not unheard of to cask condition and us a jockey box, so I may go that way.

I'd still be interested in opinions about my options, just knowing that it's OK to do the cask conditioning and jockey box doesn't mean it's better than bottling.

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