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....
Thinking about "doing anything" without taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on?
And if there's no fermentation, you just add yeast!!!!
You don't think about dumping the beer.
You don't dump your beer, for making a minor little mistake. Your beer is hardier than that.
And you don't dump something because you think
it's going to turn out bad. You only dump a beer that you KNOW is bad, and you give it at least a couple of months in the bottle
before you even make THAT decision.
Read theses two threads that were compiled for nervous new brewers to realize that your beers are not a weak baby that is going to die if you look at it wrong.
Our beer is really resilient despite the boneheaded things we do to it. And even if something appears to be wrong, often time and the yeasties go along way to correct itself.
I think about it in terms of my time and money, I'm not going to dump 30 or more dollars worth of ingredients, 6 hours of brewing time, and at least 2 months from yeast pitch to cracking the first bottle, on what could be a minor mistake (that may not even harm the beer anyway,) until I have exhausted all probability that the beer won't improve. And even then that means at least walking away from the bottles for maybe 6 months or more.
And so far I have never beer wrong.
After all these years of brewing I still haven't had a dumper.
And I've made some big mistakes.
But I have never had a beer that wasn't at least palatable, after all that time.
They may have not been stellar beers, but they were still better than BMC or Skunky Beers in green bottles that people actually pay money for.
So just read those threads and next time, relax, and give your beer a chance to prove how strong it really is.