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Old 06-18-2009, 08:50 PM   #1
justin22
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Default weak fermentation consistently

I keep brewing beers that show no airlock activity. Now they ferment but why cant I get good strong fermentation's. I have been brewing Belgian Pale Ale and a Black Ale. The room they are fermenting in is around 68-72 F. I oxygenate them by stirring and Shaking the wort before pitching. The wort is cooled down with a wort cooler to 80 F in about 10 minutes or less. The yeast is brought up to around 70 degrees for 4+ hours and then pitched.

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Old 06-18-2009, 08:54 PM   #2
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You probably have a bad seal somewhere that the pressure is leaking out of.

Are you pitching at 80F?

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Old 06-18-2009, 08:56 PM   #3
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I keep brewing beers that show no airlock activity. Now they ferment but why cant I get good strong fermentation's. I have been brewing Belgian Pale Ale and a Black Ale. The room they are fermenting in is around 68-72 F. I oxygenate them by stirring and Shaking the wort before pitching. The wort is cooled down with a wort cooler to 80 F in about 10 minutes or less. The yeast is brought up to around 70 degrees for 4+ hours and then pitched.
If you hit your expected and desired FGs, then that's all that matters. Signs of explosive or vigorous fermentation don't matter. In fact, many people who speak of those type of fermentations have too-hot conditions and that is what makes the yeast go crazy.

Just be sure that the fermentation temperature is in the optimum range for the yeast strain you're using (not the room temperature- use a "stick-on thermometer to see the temperature of the beer). Then you'll make the best beer you can.

I usually ferment my ales at 62-64 degrees, and I see signs of fermentation but never anything too violent. I've only used one blow off tube in all of these years, and it was a wheat beer in the summer. I use an "ale pail" that is 7.5 gallons, so I have plenty of headspace. I usually get a little airlock bubbling, but not much more than that as a result.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:06 PM   #4
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Two of my four buckets don't seal well enough to make the airlock bubble at all except sometimes at high krausen. That doesn't mean it's a weak fermentation, it just means the CO2 is getting out somewhere other than the airlock. Not even worth trying to fix IMO.

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Old 06-18-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. Haven't had time to check the FGS yet! Im excited to though.

The guys at Austin texas brewery told me this beer should ferment at around 67. Maybe I should look into that thermometer


I pitch at 80-70. This dark ale I poured it into the Ferment er at 80 F and then added cool water(way colder than 80) then i stirred it shook it around and then added the yeast.

One problem maybe the yeast is not getting hot enough? We live in Texas and keep the air condition 72-68. As a result I just let the yeast sit in this temperature to warm up and then pitch it.(the bottle says warm the pitch to 70+ ) Could this be the problem.

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Old 06-18-2009, 11:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by justin22 View Post
Thanks for the advice. Haven't had time to check the FGS yet! Im excited to though.

The guys at Austin texas brewery told me this beer should ferment at around 67. Maybe I should look into that thermometer


I pitch at 80-70. This dark ale I poured it into the Ferment er at 80 F and then added cool water(way colder than 80) then i stirred it shook it around and then added the yeast.

One problem maybe the yeast is not getting hot enough? We live in Texas and keep the air condition 72-68. As a result I just let the yeast sit in this temperature to warm up and then pitch it.(the bottle says warm the pitch to 70+ ) Could this be the problem.
No! If anything, that's too warm. You don't want to pitch the yeast at 80 degrees. You chill the wort, then add the cool water, stir it well to aerate it and then check the temperature. After that, and if you're at 65-70 degrees, you can pitch the yeast. I ferment almost every one of my ales at 62 degrees. That's NOT ambient temperature- that's the temperature of the fermenting beer. It's usually a couple of degrees higher inside the fermenter than ambient temperatures.

Are you using dry yeast or liquid yeast? If you're using liquid yeast, you'd be best off to make a starter. A vial of yeast just isn't enough to be a proper amount for any wort over about 1.040. For dry yeast, you simply rehydrate for about 15 minutes in warm water, then add it to your wort.
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin22 View Post
Thanks for the advice. Haven't had time to check the FGS yet! Im excited to though.

The guys at Austin texas brewery told me this beer should ferment at around 67. Maybe I should look into that thermometer


I pitch at 80-70. This dark ale I poured it into the Ferment er at 80 F and then added cool water(way colder than 80) then i stirred it shook it around and then added the yeast.

One problem maybe the yeast is not getting hot enough? We live in Texas and keep the air condition 72-68. As a result I just let the yeast sit in this temperature to warm up and then pitch it.(the bottle says warm the pitch to 70+ ) Could this be the problem.

No. If anything warmer would be worse, not in terms of activity, but in flavour. Try to keep it below 72F, and 70F if you can.

Any self respecting ale yeast should ferment just great at 68. That's where I ferment alomst all my ales.

I really wouldn't worry about it. You probably have a poor seal. My bucket does, but when I use carboys the airlock goes wild.
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:22 AM   #8
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man, you got austin homebrew supply right by ya... go get a few 'fermometers', they're like 2 or 3 bucks each. and definitely try to keep the beer temps below 70.

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Old 06-19-2009, 01:26 AM   #9
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airlcok bubbling is NOT an indication of whether a fermentation is strong or week!!!

Biggest advice I can give you.....

Quit treating your airlock like some sort of calibrated fermentation gauge!!!!

Airlock bubbling, lack of airlock bubbling, stopped airlock bubbling, fast airlock bubbling, slow airlcok bubbling, heavy metal airlcok bubbling, or disco airlock bubbling really is not an indicator of what is happening to your beer. It is NOT a fermentation gauge, it is a valve to release excess pressure, excess CO2...NOT AN ACCURATE INSTRUMENT....

I have 9 different fermenters and have been brewing for a few years, and OVER HALF OF MY BEERS NEVER HAVE ANY BUBBLING IN THE AIRLOCK AND THEY ALL TURN OUT FINE!

Fermentation is not always "dynamic," just because you don't SEE anything happenning, doesn't mean that anything's wrong, and also doesn't mean that the yeast are still not working dilligantly away, doing what they've been doing for over 4,000 years....

Fermentation can take weeks, fermentation can take days, it doesn't matter, all that matters is the numbers on your hydrometer.....If you've oxygentated, and pitched plenty of yeast, then you SHOULD reach your yeast attenuation, and get close to the final gravity.....that is all that is important...NOT whether or not you airlock goes "blip" or "Rattattattatta!!!!"

So, get out of the idea of using "airlock bubbling" as a sign of fermentation, you have to realize that airlock activity is not an accurate indication of fermentation...an airlock is a vent for excess co2, nothing more...and half of my beers never bubble.

Read this for why arilock analysing is useless, and what is the only gauge of ferementation...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/1217925-post3.html And there is a link to my blog in there as well....

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said 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.....

So ignore your airlock, ok????
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:35 AM   #10
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I agree with Revvy about the airlock. Shows I'm not brain dead.
I also agree with whoever said you may need a starter.
I don't always use one but if I wasn't getting satisfactory fermentation I would.
Still if you're hitting your FG and the beer is good YOU WIN!

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