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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Is my beer dead?
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
TigerMark89
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Default Is my beer dead?

Only my 3rd batch so still a newbie. Brewing a shock top clone, cooked on Sunday afternoon, pitched Wyeast witbear 3944 at a Wort temp of about 65 degrees. Smack Pack swelled up good so assumed the yeast is good but I still have zero activity in the airlock. All of my previous batches started up within 24 hours so I'm starting to wonder. Is this a slow starting yeast or is it dead? BTW room temp is steady at about 69.

What is my next step if I don't see any activity. Neglected to check my starting gravity so not sure if checking that would be of any benefit.

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Old 07-04-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
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Take a gravity reading. I bet the beer is done fermenting. Something as simple as a small leak in the seal of your fermenter will make a non active airlock. Never worry about bubbles. They don't mean anything.

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Old 07-04-2012, 08:44 PM   #3
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+ 1 for taking a gravity reading. Go get a 3 piece plastic wine thief. Those things have saved me from the speculation i had about a couple of my brews. If the yeast was a little old it could take a long time to wake up but 3 days is usually a bit long. I would say that if the gravity hasnt changed and everything looks like it did on brew day, re pitch with some new yeast.

If you can, invest in the equipment to make a yeast started. You can get a really awesome stir plate made out of tupperware and a computer fan from stirplates.com I have two of them and they work great. Then just buy a 1L pyrex flask and you have everything you need to make super healthy yeast right from the start.

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Old 07-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammy71
Take a gravity reading. I bet the beer is done fermenting. Something as simple as a small leak in the seal of your fermenter will make a non active airlock. Never worry about bubbles. They don't mean anything.
+1

pull the airlock and take a wiff, bet it smells like fermented wort. If so put it back on and wait a couple weeks and then bottle. A hydrometer reading would confirm it, but your nose is a good tool too.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:20 AM   #5
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Like others have said, the only real way to know is to take a gravity reading. Bubbles in the airlock matter less. Has your beer lightened or cleared from its original color? Most of the time the beer lightens as the yeast do their jobs.

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Old 07-05-2012, 04:32 AM   #6
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You can check the gravity without knowing the starting gravity. As long as you got the volume right the extract brews will have the correct starting gravity that can be calculated or is given in a kit directions.

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Old 07-05-2012, 04:39 AM   #7
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Being around here since Nov, you should have seen a million times discussions about how airlock bubbling or lack of bubbling means nothing, that how it's not a fermentation gauge, just a vent, and how it can bubble or not for various extraenous and atmospheric reasons just as easily as it could for fermentation. An you must have seen all the comments, including those in this thread about how the ONLY accurate gauge of fermentation is by taking a hydrometer reading.

If you want to know what your beer is doing, then take a hydro reading.....It's that SIMPLE....

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Old 07-05-2012, 04:42 AM   #8
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Pulled the airlock and detected no off smells. Peeked through the airlock hole and it looked like foam on the wort so I am assuming some type of activity. I will check the FG tomorrow.

What do you end up with if you bottle an unfermented beer? Is it bad tasting, rotten, or just nonalchoholic????

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Old 07-05-2012, 04:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerMark89 View Post
What do you end up with if you bottle an unfermented beer? Is it bad tasting, rotten, or just nonalchoholic????
I think what you mean is "what do you end up with if you bottle that hasn't finished fermenting?". Answer: too much carbonation/pressure. Best avoid that whole gag by checking gravity until it gets to a safe place for a few days.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerMark89
Pulled the airlock and detected no off smells. Peeked through the airlock hole and it looked like foam on the wort so I am assuming some type of activity. I will check the FG tomorrow.

What do you end up with if you bottle an unfermented beer? Is it bad tasting, rotten, or just nonalchoholic????
If you bottle beer that is still fermenting I'd say bottle bombs. Check the gravity and 3 days later check again. If is stable and is around where it should have finished you can proceed to bottling.
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