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Old 03-25-2007, 03:59 AM   #1
morbplas
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Default Very slow fermentation...Leave it?

Hi everybody,

First of all, this is a great forum, and I learned quite a bit reading it. The posts/FAQs/links have helped a great deal with the problem I've had with with my first batch, but I guess I'm looking for an opinion on what to do here.

The problem I'm having is very slow fermentation. There are several reasons I've come up with for why this might be happening. (It was too cold in the room at the start, and I may not have aerated it enough. Also, I didn't proof the (liquid) yeast, so I dunno how well it was doing at the start. Also, I'm not sure exactly what the temp was when I pitched the yeast (close to room temp, I think) as my thermometer died in the middle of brewing it (not really my fault, this one ) Finally, I learned that I should start a beer batch at the beginning of the day and not the end, so as to be able to think more clearly at the end

Anyway, it's been in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks now. For the first week there was almost no fermentation. After a few days I stuck a space heater in the room to warm it up a bit. For a week or so now there has been a thin layer of foam/krausen at the top of the beer, nowhere hear the 1 inch+ layers a read about. While there is clearly some CO2 in the beer, there isn't enough to make the airlock bubble with any rapidity at all. I seem to have at least gotten the santization right 'cause there's no mold that I can see.

The OG was 1.052 (which is on the range of what the recipe called for) and it's only dropped to 1.048 at this point. (When I took the sample out of the spigot, it has a fairly significant amount of CO^2 in it)

The question: Should I consider the batch ruined at this point, and start over using what I've learned to produce a much better batch? Or, should I let it go for another week or two to see what happens?

If the consensus is this one might be shot at this point, I'm perfectly willing to start over. I'm getting married in 7 weeks and I was hoping to be able to dole out some homebrews when my friends get into town. If I start a new batch now, I should be just about able to make it.

Thanks!

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Old 03-25-2007, 04:03 AM   #2
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Sounds like you are fine to me. If you are worried about it, I would pitch some more yeast after stirring the fermenter up a bit to aerate as well as get the yeast active on the bottom. As long as you don't have an infection, there is never a reason to throw it out. What kind of yeast did you use? How big is the beer you are making?
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayos
Sounds like you are fine to me. If you are worried about it, I would pitch some more yeast after stirring the fermenter up a bit to aerate as well as get the yeast active on the bottom. As long as you don't have an infection, there is never a reason to throw it out. What kind of yeast did you use? How big is the beer you are making?
I used While Labs California Ale yeast. Does 'big' mean how much alcohol? I'm not sure. the recipe didn't actually specify a FG. It's an American Brown Ale, if that helps.
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:17 AM   #4
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At 1.048, you still have crapload of fermentable sugar in there.

I'd buy another yeast culture and make a starter. Using proper sanitization, rack the beer over to another fermenter and make sure to agitate well. Pitch the starter and see if you can get the beer to "take off".

By big, I think he means what batch size?

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Old 03-25-2007, 02:21 PM   #5
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Temperature control is important. Yeasts perform best near the middle of their range and should be started near the top temperature. You've had almost no fermentation so far and I think you've spotted the reasons.

Two suggestions:

1. Bring the wort temperature up to 73F, which is the top end for the yeast. Stir it up to rouse the yeast and get some oxygen into the wort.

2. Warm it up & pitch a packet of Nottingham.

If you don't have a good fermentation going in another two days, I'd pitch it.
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Old 03-25-2007, 02:49 PM   #6
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I concur with David...
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:04 AM   #7
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Default I guess I just had to threaten...

So, I head downstairs tonight to see about adding yeast...

...and find the airlock bubbling away and an inch of white creamy foam on top of the wort. I guess patience pays off.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll let everyone know how it comes out!
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:07 AM   #8
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Rock on. I was waiting for someone to tell you to use Beano, then I was planning on dropping my 2 cents on that subject. I guess I had such a bad experience with it, I'd probably never do it again. Just an opinion.

Luckily you don't even have to go down that road.
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Old 04-02-2007, 02:11 AM   #9
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Well, a week later and my FG appears to be 1.014. As you may recall the OG was 1.052, so I think it actually worked. I'm going to move it over to the secondary tonight since it's been in the primary for 3 weeks now.

I took a sip of it, and it was pretty bad. Tasted watery with a strong bitterness. I do detect a very slight 'soap' aftertaste (as noted in John Palmer's excellent guide.) Hopefully that conditions out of the beer.

I imagine this is pretty much normal at this point (although I don't know if I've heard watery as one of the options.) At least it kinda smelled and looked like beer.
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Old 04-02-2007, 02:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKBrew
Rock on. I was waiting for someone to tell you to use Beano, then I was planning on dropping my 2 cents on that subject. I guess I had such a bad experience with it, I'd probably never do it again. Just an opinion.

Luckily you don't even have to go down that road.
I agree. Beano = gushers.

Sounds like you had a "tortoise" brew.
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