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Old 03-25-2009, 01:02 PM   #1
MarkGillette
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Default No Fermentation

Hi -- I started a brew this Sun (22 Apr) and fermentation hasn't started. Used a True Brew kit. I may not have let the wort cool enough. In addition, I may not have let the dry yeast sit on top of the wort for ten minutes before mixing it in. I think everything else is OK. Should I reintroduce yeast? Any yeast? Or should I just wait? Thanks.

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Old 03-25-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
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Hi -- I started a brew this Sun (22 Apr) and fermentation hasn't started. Used a True Brew kit. I may not have let the wort cool enough. In addition, I may not have let the dry yeast sit on top of the wort for ten minutes before mixing it in. I think everything else is OK. Should I reintroduce yeast? Any yeast? Or should I just wait? Thanks.
What are you basing your judgment of "no fermentation"? Airlock? Don't. i have two small buckets that have poorly sealing lids. One of them finally bubble days later. I knew I was fermenting just by the smell in the room.

Do you smell a new odor: bready, yeasty, sulfury, rhino fartish If so you are fermenting.

What yeast was provided with the kit?

If you have the means to check the specific gravity (SG) do so and you will probably notice a drop from the original gravity (OG).

How long and how did you cool your wort?

Another thought is to look into your fermenter for signs of floating yeast colonies that are at work.

Unless you pitched your yeast into a really hot wort, odds are you are currently fermenting.
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:24 PM   #3
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So tell me how EXACTLY you know fermentation isn't happenning?????

You are not going by arilock are you?



You should never rely on the bubbling or lack of on a cheap plastic airlock as a "fermentation Gauge," it's not...It's an airlock, nothing more, a VALVE to release excess CO2, to keep from blowing the lid off the fermentor...

If it's not bubbling that just means that there's not enough CO2 to climb out of the airlock, or the CO2 is just forming a nice cushion on top of the beer like it's supposed to, or the airlock is askew, or it is leaking out the cheap rubber grommet, or you have a leak in the bucket seal, or around the carboy grommet...all those are fine...if CO2 is getting out then nothing's getting in....

Over half of my beers have had no airlock activity...AND that is spread out among carboys, buckets. water bottles, and anything else I may ferment in, and regardless of the type of airlock...I have 9 different fermenters...

That's why I and many others say repeatedly that the only gauge of fermentaion is your hydrometer (or refractometer) . Those are precision calibrated instruments...

More than likely your fermentation is going nicely at it's own pace but for a dozen possible reasons your airlock isn't bubbling...simple as that. Get out of the habit of thinking it is a precision instrument and you will find you are less worried...The only precise methid of gauging fermentation is taking gravity readings.

Back in the bad old days, the predominant airlock was an s type...and often they were made of glass and sat relatively heavy in the grommet, and that's where people like papazain and those who influenced him got into the habit of counting bubbles...but now adays with 3 piecers being the norm, and most things being made crappy these days...it's just not a reliable means anymore.


The trouble is, that even the authors for the most part have been brewing so long that they don't pay attention to the airlock, yet the perpetuate the myth from the old days of bubbles meaning anything....though I figure, as a writer myself, they have long moved past the basic methodology that they wrote about...it's easy to do...to "preach" something very basic, while doing a process somewhat more complex...or like most of us who have been brewing awhile, taking shortcuts.

Co2 is heavier than air...there can be plenty of co2 going on, plenty of active fermentation happenning but there is not enough excess co2 rising or venting out to actually lift the plastic bubbler

The 3 piece airlock is the most fallable of them all, often there is simply not a strong enough escape of co2 to lift the bubbler. Or they can be weighted down with co2 bubbles, ir hteir is a leak in the grommet or the bucket seal, anynumber of factors.

If you push down on your bucket lid often you will suddenly get a huge amount of bubbling as you off gass the co2 that is there present but no needing to vent on it's own.

I find that the older S type airlocks, even plastic are much more reliable...in face I have started to use those old school ones exclusively. Not to use them as a gauge of fermentation...but because I like to watch the bubbles..

But even those don't always bubble..BUT you can tell theres CO2 pushing out because the liquid will be on the farthest side away from the grommet or bung hole.


Even not bubbling. you can see that something has pushed the water to the other side...


There's quite a few people on here who do not use an airlock at all, they simply loosely place their lids on the bucket, or cover with saran wrap, or tinfoil or pieces of plexigalss, these just sit on the top and if the CO2 needs to void out it doess...Because as I said before if the co2 is pushing out, then NOTHING is getting in.

If you look around on here at all the supposed "stuck" fermentation panic thread are not true Stuck fermentations, or deads yeasts, but are simply people like you using treating the vent like some precision instrument...And they, just like you use the words "Signs of fermentation." And that is our clue that you are going by arilocks.

And 90% or more come back and say they took a hydro reading...and everything was fine...

Rarely do yeasts these days get stuck...this isn't like the 70's when there was one or two strains of yeast, and they came from Europe in dried out cakes, and nowadays with our hobby so popular, even most tinned kits with the yeast under the lid trun over so fast that they are relatvely fresh most of the time.

So nowadays the only way our yeast "dies" or poops out is 1)If we pitch it into boiling wort 2) There is a big temp drop and the yeasts go dormant and flocculate out, or 3) if there is a high grav wort and the yeast maxes out in it's ability to eat all the sugar...and even then the yeast may poop out at either 1.030 or 1.020...But other than that most fermentations take....

AND this is regardless of any airlock bubbling...

Seriously, many of us pitch our yeast, walk away for a month and then bottle, and our beers have turned out great...The yeasts have been doing this for 5,000 years...they know what they're doing,

Like I sad here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in.....

When brewers use the airlock like it is some calibrated "dial" to show them "signs of fermentation" (The only true sign is the numbers on a hydrometer) they are in a sense preforming malpractice on their beer....




Does that answer your question???

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Old 03-25-2009, 01:26 PM   #4
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hehehehehe

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Old 03-25-2009, 01:43 PM   #5
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I'm going to die laughing one of these days from seeing that same cut and paste Revvy does every time this question pops up. Go, Revvy, preach on!

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Old 03-25-2009, 02:06 PM   #6
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Brew-Happy -- Thanks. I pitched the dry yeast into the wort almost immediately after mixing w/ cold water. I'll check inside the vessel tonight.

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Old 03-25-2009, 02:08 PM   #7
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Revvy -- Thanks. I am relying on the airlock. But seal on vessel seems excellent.

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Old 03-25-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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Revvy -- Thanks. I am relying on the airlock. But seal on vessel seems excellent.
But until you do this...you don't know whether you have fermentation or not...

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Old 03-26-2009, 04:25 AM   #9
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Noobs aren't likely to understand your sarcasm, nor are they likely to care about your 10,000 word diatribes. Try a concise answer without the hotkey humor next time. To reiterate another mod's sentiment: be nice.
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Old 03-26-2009, 05:56 AM   #10
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It's much better to give a simple concise answer that will not make peoples eyes glaze over.

The WIKI is for articles. Either that or better to start a new thread for an article rather than cutting and pasting all over the forum.
If an article is of popular value then it can be linked to in the FAQ.

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