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Old 01-20-2010, 10:08 PM   #1
Weslhoff2000
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Default First 5 Gallon brew, got a few questions

So I have just began my first 5 gallon brew, its a kit called German Oktoberfest, and I basically followed the directions that came with the kit.

Also I've read all the way through the intermediate brewers section of the the Homebrewers Guide (don't worry have a homebrew) to gain a little more knowledge as to what I was doing and why I was doing the steps in the instructions.

One thing that I did that wasn't in the instructions that came with the kit. I read in the intermediate section of the Homebrewers Guide that it was good to rehydrate your dry yeast... Having never done this before I just followed the directions word for word, Boil 1 and a half cups of water for 15 minutes, set aside in a sanitized cup or jar with foil on top till tempurature drops between 105 - 100 degrees F, when temp read 102 I put the yeast in to the cup and recovered it with the foil, rehydrated for 30 min, and lowered the temp to close to that of the wort, which was about 75 degrees F. I took my hydrometer reading it was 1.052, right on target as to what it should be, capped it up, stabbed my airlock in and put it in the climate controlled garage at a stable 50 degrees F.

My problem is that its been 5 days now and my airlock dosn't really bubble at all. I can see that there is air displacing the water, and there is definatley pressure building up under the lid, I pressed down on it once and it shot out one big bubble, but it dosn't seem to want to chug away like i've seen on some videos of peoples primary fermentations.

Can anyone tell me if im on track, and if not where I went wrong?

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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If you used an ale yeast you need to get the temp up to about 60F to start fermenting.
What yeast are you using?

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:12 PM   #3
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im fairly new myself, but if its an ale, thats way too cold for it to ferment. ale yeast is active between 68-75 degrees F if i'm not mistaken. lager is needs cooler temperatures

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:13 PM   #4
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i forgot to mention it is a lager yeast.

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:16 PM   #5
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I've never lagered, but have read that those yeast don't get crazy when they are fermenting. You can check the gravity to see if it's dropping, that's the only true way to tell if it's started. Perhaps your bucket lid is leaking a bit and there's not much coming out of the airlock.

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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Lager yeasts are much slower than ale yeasts. People tend to pitch 2-3 times as much yeast.What I do is pitch warm, the way you did, but keep it warm until fermentation starts. This lets the yeast multiply faster.

Has any foam formed on the top of the wort?

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:27 PM   #7
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I can see a thin layer of foam on in through the bucket, about an inch thick and it is bubbling, just incredibly slow. The instructions do say to keep it in there for about 2 weeks, then to see if the SG stays the same for at least 2 days before moving it into the secondary fermenter for another 2 weeks before bottling... I guess another question I have is how long do ales usually ferment for?

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:37 PM   #8
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i think i know what the problem is. your brewing in a bucket right? a non-bubbling airlock is normal for buckets. sometimes they don't get a good seal around the lid and CO2 escapes that way instead of the airlock. the airlock is not a fermentation indicator its a pressure release valve. if the pressure can be release else where it will. that foam you see is karusen and is a prime indicator that fermentation is going on. wait the 2 weeks the rase the temp 10 degrees for a week then drop it to 40 for a month.

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:42 PM   #9
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I am in a bucket, should I not bother with the buckets and opt to get a second glass carboy? Well if that is the case then that is pretty relieving. So i'm just gonna follow my schedule and in 8 days take a hydrometer reading, then another the day after, then im gonna rack it into my secondary fermenter, which the glass carboy was recomended as the second one in the instructions, and sit on it for 2 more weeks then.

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:52 PM   #10
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buckets are just fine. they don't break and protect your brew from UV very nicely. but they do get scratched easy which can lead to infection. glass carboys are durable and unless you using a diamond tipped brush don't scratch. but they are heavy and break when dropped. also new brewers tend to freak out at the actual sight of an active fermentation.

the schedule sounds a little rushed to me which is typical for kits.

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