Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway - Enter Now!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Did I ruin my first batch of beer? (Stuck Fermentation panic)

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-01-2006, 05:10 PM   #1
CinciBearFan
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12
Default Did I ruin my first batch of beer? (Stuck Fermentation panic)

Made my first batch...a Belgian White. Had a "minor" error in that when adding the malt, I forgot to add the additional Corn Sugar. (not the priming sugar) and didn't realize it till the wert was cool.

So I took 2 quarts of the cooled wert, re-boiled it, added the corn sugar...boiled and stirred for about five minutes, then added back to the cooled wert. The wert was at 65 degrees prior to re-adding the boiled sugar.

I hadn't yet added the yeast...However, I don't remember if I stirred vigoursly until AFTER adding the yeast, and I'm wondering if I may have had some local "hot spots" that killed off a good bit of the yeast if I failed to do that.

So...about 30 hours later, and barely any pressure showing in the twin-bubble airlock (just 1/4") I panicked big time...

I started to think I actually had killed off some of the yeast when I added the warm water back to the cool wort.

Did some reviewing on the web...and I just added some yeast through the grommet the airlock was in...that should have been good enough for me, because I think my only concern was lack of yeast...And then I panicked more...thinking that yeast needed to be aerated (Looking back, my best bet would have been a yeast starter, dropped in via funnel through the grommet, and a little shake to the bucket)

But I didn't think it through enough...and I opened the lid briefly, re-aerated the wort (with sterlized spoon), then recapped. I know ran the risk of contamination...(everything that touched the wort was sterile, but I know letting air in was a risk)...and I realized I would have reset the fermentation clock...but what I forgot about was that the CO2 built up in the lid already may have been important to give me air bubbles in the future...because some amount of sugars were already consumed...now I may never get good "bubbling" to tell when fermentation was done...so I'll have to guess based on time, and err on the side of waiting longer.

So much for hoping this batch would be done in two weeks. On the plus side though, the wort smelled awesome. Can't wait to try this brew (and hope I didn't ruin it.

Thoughts? Anything else I should have done? Or can do as I head towards bottling. Tell-tale signs that my ale is worthless before bottling so I don't waste the time?



D

__________________
CinciBearFan is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-01-2006, 05:30 PM   #2
Blender
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Blender's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Cruz, CA.
Posts: 3,116
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts

Default

You should begin to see some krausen (foam) forming on the top of the brew which would indicate that the yeast is starting to do their work. My first batch took about 24-30 hours to start so give it another day or 2 and see what happens.

__________________

Gary

Blender is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-01-2006, 05:39 PM   #3
El Pistolero
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
El Pistolero's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Houston, Baja Oklahoma
Posts: 3,598
Liked 13 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

Cinci...you didn't notice a ring of "scum" on your bucket just above the wort, did you? If that ring is there, it's evidence of krauzen that has come and gone, and an indication that fermentation has already happened. On the other hand if there is no ring, then as Blender said you should see foam starting to build in a day or two.

__________________

[/I] Up Next - Hobgoblin
After That - Czech Pilsner
Primary - Humboldt Hop Rod (4/24)
Primary - NOT Wheat AG SNCA (5/5)
Secondary -
Conditioning - SNCA Clone (3/3),

El Pistolero is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-01-2006, 06:48 PM   #4
CinciBearFan
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12
Default Yep...saw both

Thanks for the responses!

Saw a bit of foam, and a bit of the scum. However, the scum was probably because I moved the bucket to get a better view and it sloshed around a bit.

But there was clearly a decent amount (maybe 1 inch deep) of foam.

It really wasn't the impatience that was bothering me, I was getting more and more concerned that I would not have had enough yeast to properly ferment if I had killed some off due to my error of not verifying even reasonable temperature before adding the sugar-boil back to the wort.

Then I assume I would have ended up with sweeter, lower alcohol brew,( which may or may not have been good tasting).

My major concern now is just...

By opening the lid within 24 hours of fermentation are any/all of the following true:

  1. As long as I used sterlizied instruments, and the aeration was brief, my chance of contamination was small, and the brew will likely be okay.
  2. Adding the extra yeast will have no impact other than ensuring complete fermentation. The sugar amount is still fixed, so you will only reach the peak yeast count anyway...the extra yeast will just die off, and become part of the trub and be left behind when racking to the bottling pail. Any impact on taste is minimal.
  3. I lost a lot of C02 Volume (6.5 gallon fermenter) in the aeration...so I will get unreliable readings from my airlock as to when it is done fermenting. In fact, it may not even bubble at all, as the now "secondary" fermentation may only even barely fill the gap in the fermenter with moderate pressure. I'll have to rely on time, and maybe a peek through the grommet to see if the foam has cleared.
So, are any and/or all of these true?
__________________

Last edited by CinciBearFan; 03-01-2006 at 06:50 PM.
CinciBearFan is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-01-2006, 06:56 PM   #5
Lou
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 623
Liked 14 Times on 6 Posts

Default

bearcat,
1. true
2. true
3. likely false

that being said, if you had about 1 inch of "foam" (krausen) atop your wort, there was really no need to add more yeast as fermentation was moving along quite nicely...

__________________
Lou is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-02-2006, 02:11 AM   #6
david_42
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
david_42's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Willamina & Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,651
Liked 133 Times on 126 Posts

Default

CO2 production rate is what matters, not the total volume. Even though you might have lost some CO2 when you opened the lid, the yeast will continue to produce more.

Also, in the first stages of fermentation, the yeast make more yeast. That's why aeration is important. Once the yeast runs out of O2, they switch over to making alcohol and CO2.

Stirring in the krausen can make the brew a little more bitter. In making wine, you punch the cake down, but generally not with beer.

__________________

Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

david_42 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-02-2006, 11:47 AM   #7
CinciBearFan
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12
Default No bubbling...

Giving the fermenter a shake...I get bubbles out of the airlock...but they only last for about 5 minutes..

But uh-oh, sounds like shaking it was bad ...making the beer a bit more bitter (it's a belgian white)

So now I guess I just play the waiting game? I don't think my airlock is going to tell me anything.

D

__________________
CinciBearFan is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-04-2006, 09:53 PM   #8
Jens-Kristian
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 35
Default

Cinci,

What your airlock tells you is generally worth very little. It can be used at the most as an indicator that something "is" happening, but very rarely as an indicator that "nothing" is happening. If you had krausen, you really had very little to worry about. There are several reasons why your airlock might not have said anything.

One is, as was mentioned above, that in the initial stages, the yeast produces more yeast rather than alcohol and Co2.

Another is that even if it doesn't look like it, your fermenter can have a tiny, little leak where the gas can escape easier than going through the airlock.

I'll always suggest having a fermenter with a tap on it, so that you can take gravity measurements along the way without having to go into the worth by opening your fermenter. The difference in price is very little and it makes life easier.

Really, never trust the level of activity that you read by looking at the airlock. You can do so if it is very active and then conclude it is very active, but if it does very little or nothing, it really doesn't have to indicate very much.

Gravity tests!

Cheers,

Jens-Kristian

__________________
Jens-Kristian is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-04-2006, 10:25 PM   #9
Beer Snob
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Beer Snob's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Farmington
Posts: 2,034
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default Don't forget....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CinciBearFan
Giving the fermenter a shake...I get bubbles out of the airlock...but they only last for about 5 minutes..

But uh-oh, sounds like shaking it was bad ...making the beer a bit more bitter (it's a belgian white)

So now I guess I just play the waiting game? I don't think my airlock is going to tell me anything.

D
Um... CinciBearFan.... your not drinking are you? Thats half your problem right there Drink a couple and ignore the brew for a while It will be fine
__________________
Michael

"Don't worry, have a homebrew." ,"The "Bible"

Cherries in the wheat
Michael's Wheat
Beer Snob is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-05-2006, 02:05 AM   #10
Glibbidy
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Glibbidy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Sunny Southern Vermont
Posts: 2,399
Liked 12 Times on 11 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

As long as there is some activity you should be fine. Underpitched brews can be a double edge sword.

__________________
Glibbidy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
panic question about early fermentation GalenSevinne Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 11-02-2009 02:02 AM
Stuck Fermentation - May Have Ruined Batch de_ronde General Techniques 12 02-02-2009 08:11 PM
HG Beer-Stuck Fermentation ctaylor73 General Techniques 4 12-05-2008 05:08 AM
Did I just ruin my very first batch of beer? Paper Street Brewing Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 9 09-02-2007 11:35 PM
First Batch Panic LSUGrad00 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 13 07-20-2007 12:13 AM