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Old 01-28-2013, 07:54 PM   #1
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Default Primary fermenting temperature? Yeast sinking to the bottom?

Hey all. I am still learning how to brew and have gotten great advice from you guys in the past, hopefully I can use the help I've gotten here to help out a newbie like me someday.

My questions have to do with primary fermentation temp and yeast. My husband and I brewed a taddy porter clone on Sunday. Right now, it is in an outdoor fridge with a temp regulator on it and has been between 62 and 68 degrees.

Question 1: Is this temperature about right? Reason I ask is, it is not vigorously fermenting as fast as other batches have. It has only been about 18 hours, but usually we see the start of activity by now, bubbles and churning and stuff. Seems also the the yeast has dropped to the bottom. Which leads me to my second question...

Question2: Is it possible for yeast to just sink without doing their thing? (We used White Labs WLP005 British Ale Yeast) There is a thin krausen layer on the top of the wort but no real bubbling and the airlock is still. Ahgain, it's only been 18 hours...should I do anything? Should I shake up the carboy, should I change the temp? Thanks so much in advance for any answers to these 2 questions. Any of your knowledge is very helpful.

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Old 01-28-2013, 07:58 PM   #2
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It seems to me that going from 68 to 62F is causing the yeast to go dormant & settle out mostly. That would be why you have the thin krausen. Try to keep the temps more consistent & within that particular yeast's temp range.
And don't shake it up,that'd introduce o2 which is bad at this point. Gently swirl it to get some more yeast back in suspension. Warming it up a couple degrees above 62F would be a good thing.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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Well, you can shake it up as long as you haven't taken the cover or airlock off the carboy yet. Majority of the fermentation should have pushed the oxygen out of the carboy by now.
THe optimum temperature for this yeast is 65 to 70 degrees; you're not going to see that "vigorous" fermentation at around 62 degrees because the yeast doesn't work effectively at those lower temps. The best way to ensure that your fermentation is going well is to pull a sample and to take a hydrometer reading.
I agree with Unionrdr, get that carboy above 65 degrees and give it a gentle swirl - I have to do the same thing with my current batch.

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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WLP005 is a high flocculator. It will do it's job fine from the bottom. If the temperature is colder than you have used before it will seem like a slow start, but so far things sound normal. Once it is going if you watch closely you will see streaks of CO2 as they burst out of the yeast settled to the bottom. It's reminiscent of fire works. This is a sign that the yeast is fermenting from the bottom. It's fine.

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsJones View Post
Right now, it is in an outdoor fridge with a temp regulator on it and has been between 62 and 68 degrees.
If you have a temperature regulator on your fridge, how is it that you are seeing an 8 degree swing? Once I set my STC-1000 parameters, the temp in my garage freezer will only fluctuate +/- 0.5*C before it warms or cools back to my target temp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsJones View Post
There is a thin krausen layer on the top of the wort but no real bubbling and the airlock is still. Ahgain, it's only been 18 hours...should I do anything? Should I shake up the carboy, should I change the temp? Thanks so much in advance for any answers to these 2 questions. Any of your knowledge is very helpful.
I'd wait 24-36 hours before considering messing with it. I haven't been brewing very long and I've already seen one kick in at a little past 24 hours followed by significant visible activity for the next few days.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:39 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys. As always, I am appreciative of the great input. You made me feel much better about the situation, Woodlandbrew. I did not know yeast could do it's job from the bottom and thought maybe that rendered it ineffective. But, not one to wait, I had already picked up the carboy and given it a bit of a swirl, like the other guys suggested. Hope that doesn't mess things up. I will check on it again after 24 hours and see how it's doing. I don't think there is any reason to panic, we sanitize incessantly and keep very tight control of mashing temperatures and what not. Big Floyd, the only reason for that is because the fridge is outside. The temp controller only makes it get colder, but can't heat it up. The weather outside made the temp go down to 62. But otherwise it has been staying right at 66 or 67.

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Woodlandbrew. I did not know yeast could do it's job from the bottom and thought maybe that rendered it ineffective.
It will make the yeast inefficient, but not ineffective. There is a much higher change that the yeast will come into contact with food when susspended in wort than when at the bottom, but it will get the job done. They might decided they have had enough a few gravity points early, but that's part of why you select a low attenuating yeast like a WLP005. Leaving a little more sweetness can be part of the style.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:53 PM   #8
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Inefficient meaning it might just take longer? And yes, we were hoping for an English porter sort of sweetness.

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Inefficient meaning it might just take longer? And yes, we were hoping for an English porter sort of sweetness.
Yes, it might take a couple of extra days, but if you want that sweetness, then I would just let it do its thing. What was your mash temperature and time? I had a beer come out too sweet once.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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A bottom fermenting yeast is a lager yeast but you said you're using English ale. The temp has to be the issue, ale yeast should be creating that thick top layer you're looking for. Stay in temp range and you'll be fine

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