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UdderJuice

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So TUesday night I made my first batch of beer with the Mr Beer kit. It was 24 hours at 11:00 last night (about 9 hours ago) so a total of 33 hours and when I looked at the fermentation vessle this morning it was as calm as can be, no bubbles no foam and all the yeast just sitting on the bottom.

What the hell? I followed their instructions exactly. :(
 

sweepking

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UdderJuice said:
So TUesday night I made my first batch of beer with the Mr Beer kit. It was 24 hours at 11:00 last night (about 9 hours ago) so a total of 33 hours and when I looked at the fermentation vessle this morning it was as calm as can be, no bubbles no foam and all the yeast just sitting on the bottom.

What the hell? I followed their instructions exactly. :(
I had a similar experience with my first Mr. Beer batch. I made the West Coast Pale Ale, and I can only conclude that the fermentation finished very quickly in the first night. I left in the fermenter for a week anyways and it turned out fine. If you made the West Coast Pale, take a small sample...should taste like a light American beer with a slight cidery taste if you used the Booster. I am glad to see another Mr. Beer user on here. I have made four batches with that kit thus far and couldn't be happier. Their included yeast works really fast from my experience. I have also been using the Superior lager yeast they offer in my last two batches with great results.
 
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UdderJuice

UdderJuice

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Ahhh thank goodness there is another Mr Beer user here.

I'm concerned because I have read a lot about the process and Mr Beer seems to be not following all the things I have read. I pitched my yeast Tuesday night at 11:00 PM and when I checked it the next morning the fermenter was completely calm. There has never been any visible activity that I can see and no foam on the surface of the liquid at all. From what I have read proper fermentation creates a thick head of foam on the top.

Its now been about 40 hours total and the yeast sludge is just sitting there on the bottom and there is no foam at all on the surface of the liquid.

Perhaps their beer mixes and yeast work differently from regular brew from scratch kits. Have all your brews fermented the same way? i.e. no bubbling and foam?
 

sweepking

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UdderJuice said:
Ahhh thank goodness there is another Mr Beer user here.

I'm concerned because I have read a lot about the process and Mr Beer seems to be not following all the things I have read. I pitched my yeast Tuesday night at 11:00 PM and when I checked it the next morning the fermenter was completely calm. There has never been any visable activity that I can see and no foam on the surface of the liquid at all. From what I have read proper fermentation creates a thick head of foam on the top.

Its now been about 40 hours total and the yeast sludge is just sitting there on the bottom and there is no foam at all on the surface of the liquid.

Perhaps their beer mixes and yeast work differently from regular brew from scratch kits. Have all your brews fermented the same way? i.e. no bubbling and foam?

Only the West Coast Pale Ale worked like that for me. I would taste test it...I saw the exact same thing. It might already be done-mine did the exact same thing as yours. My other Mr. Beer creations have had more standard fermentation cycles with a lot of krausen (foam). You can always give it a little shake. What is the temperature of the keg? I put a cup of water with a thermometer in it next to mine to gauge the most likely temperature in the keg.
 
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UdderJuice

UdderJuice

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sweepking said:
Only the West Coast Pale Ale worked like that for me. I would taste test it...I saw the exact same thing. It might already be done-mine did the exact same thing as yours. My other Mr. Beer creations have had more standard fermentation cycles with a lot of krausen (foam). You can always give it a little shake. What is the temperature of the keg? I put a cup of water with a thermometer in it next to mine to gauge the most likely temperature in the keg.
I'm not sure but the room temp in my apt is 74-75.

I'm just trying to figure out if I should waste more time with this batch or not. Its possible that because its a pale ale it doesn't ferment as vigorously.

But you are saying that a taste test at this point should taste like beer just without the carbination? If it tastes funky then its no good?

I have a can of the Englishman's Nut Brown Ale to try after the Pale Ale.
 

sweepking

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UdderJuice said:
I'm not sure but the room temp in my apt is 74-75.

I'm just trying to figure out if I should waste more time with this batch or not. Its possible that because its a pale ale it doesn't ferment as vigorously.

But you are saying that a taste test at this point should taste like beer just without the carbination? If it tastes funky then its no good?

I have a can of the Englishman's Nut Brown Ale to try after the Pale Ale.

Yeah, your taste test should taste like flat Coors or similar with a slight cidery taste due to the Booster. If you have good sanitation, it won't taste funky...just very sweet. There is a very slight chance that your yeast is dead if you can't get it to work with a little shaking or re-stirring with a sterile spoon to aerate. I have never had bad yeast from Mr. Beer. If it is, just get some more yeast. I believe I used the nut brown ale in my Octoberfest recipe...turned out great. Mr. Beer is great, just get away from using the Booster as the second ingredient...do their All Malt stuff and only use Booster when called for in a special recipe such as the Scottish Wee Heavy or others where it is used to add to the alcohol content and has a good amount of malt to balance it.
 
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UdderJuice

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sweepking said:
Yeah, your taste test should taste like flat Coors or similar with a slight cidery taste due to the Booster. If you have good sanitation, it won't taste funky...just very sweet. There is a very slight chance that your yeast is dead if you can't get it to work with a little shaking or re-stirring with a sterile spoon to aerate. I have never had bad yeast from Mr. Beer. If it is, just get some more yeast. I believe I used the nut brown ale in my Octoberfest recipe...turned out great. Mr. Beer is great, just get away from using the Booster as the second ingredient...do their All Malt stuff and only use Booster when called for in a special recipe such as the Scottish Wee Heavy or others where it is used to add to the alcohol content and has a good amount of malt to balance it.
Yeah my first can of Nut Brown I got with a pack of booster and then I was going to make a batch with the unhopped malt just to compare.

I guess when I get home tonight I'll take a little sip. It just seems to my untrained eye that nothing has happened at all. It hasn't even been two full days yet but everything says that it should start foaming in 12 hours.

Do you bottle after a week? I also read that an additional week of fermenting makes for more flavorfull beer.

Also do you just pitch the dry yeast or do you make a started by adding it to water?
 

sweepking

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UdderJuice said:
Yeah my first can of Nut Brown I got with a pack of booster and then I was going to make a batch with the unhopped malt just to compare.

I guess when I get home tonight I'll take a little sip. It just seems to my untrained eye that nothing has happened at all. It hasn't even been two full days yet but everything says that it should start foaming in 12 hours.

Do you bottle after a week? I also read that an additional week of fermenting makes for more flavorfull beer.

Also do you just pitch the dry yeast or do you make a started by adding it to water?
With the Pale Ale, I would bottle after a week and then carbonate for a week. I just don't see that you would get a huge benefit out of aging that beer...not a whole lot of ingredients in it. Plus, I think that getting a decent beer after waiting two weeks will help build your confidence in this hobby. It will also free up your fermenter quicker to do the all malt batch.

I never make starters with dry yeast. I did once with the Superior lager yeast and it caused more problems than it was worth. The next time, I dry pitched it, and it worked better. That is one of the advantages to using dry yeast...simplicity. Just make sure you give it five minutes on the surface as directed and then stir it in vigorously to get really good aeration. Another tip is to vigorously stir the cold water you have in your fermenter initially...cold water takes on oxygen easier. I tried that with my last batch, and even at 55 degrees with lager yeast, I had an incredible fermentation going in about 5 hours!
 
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UdderJuice

UdderJuice

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sweepking said:
With the Pale Ale, I would bottle after a week and then carbonate for a week. I just don't see that you would get a huge benefit out of aging that beer...not a whole lot of ingredients in it. Plus, I think that getting a decent beer after waiting two weeks will help build your confidence in this hobby. It will also free up your fermenter quicker to do the all malt batch.

I never make starters with dry yeast. I did once with the Superior lager yeast and it caused more problems than it was worth. The next time, I dry pitched it, and it worked better. That is one of the advantages to using dry yeast...simplicity. Just make sure you give it five minutes on the surface as directed and then stir it in vigorously to get really good aeration. Another tip is to vigorously stir the cold water you have in your fermenter initially...cold water takes on oxygen easier. I tried that with my last batch, and even at 55 degrees with lager yeast, I had an incredible fermentation going in about 5 hours!
Thanks for all your tips. One last question then I really have to get back to work!

When I pitched my yeast I had just stirred the wort and it had lots of bubbles on the surface, so the yeast just sort of sat on the bubbles for the five minutes and then I stirred it all up again. Do you think this could have made a difference since they weren't really sitting in the liquid? I figured the poping and fizzing from the bubbles was good for activiating the yeast...
 

sweepking

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UdderJuice said:
Thanks for all your tips. One last question then I really have to get back to work!

When I pitched my yeast I had just stirred the wort and it had lots of bubbles on the surface, so the yeast just sort of sat on the bubbles for the five minutes and then I stirred it all up again. Do you think this could have made a difference since they weren't really sitting in the liquid? I figured the poping and fizzing from the bubbles was good for activiating the yeast...
That should not have made a difference...I often have a lot of bubbles due to the aeration as you pour the wort into the fermentor. I will be interested to hear how your taste test goes...I would bet that your fermentation just went very quickly. Your temp is fine and it sounds like your aeration was good too. You may notice some additional slight bubbling in the fermenter over the next few days too.
 
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sweepking said:
That should not have made a difference...I often have a lot of bubbles due to the aeration as you pour the wort into the fermentor. I will be interested to hear how your taste test goes...I would bet that your fermentation just went very quickly. Your temp is fine and it sounds like your aeration was good too. You may notice some additional slight bubbling in the fermenter over the next few days too.
One other thing I did different from the Mr Beer instructions...

I disolved the booster in my pot of water, brought that to a boil, then I added the wort and brought that to a boil becasue I read that boiling their worts releasses extra flavor from the malt and hops. I didnt boil it for very long, just long enough for it to foam up, then I took it off the heat and cooled the wort in a sink full of water. The water I had in the fermenter was cold spring water I had in the fridge so I dumped my wort in and stirred it all up. I'd say the wort in the fermenter was 73 or so when I pitched.
 

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UdderJuice said:
One other thing I did different from the Mr Beer instructions...

I disolved the booster in my pot of water, brought that to a boil, then I added the wort and brought that to a boil becasue I read that boiling their worts releasses extra flavor from the malt and hops. I didnt boil it for very long, just long enough for it to foam up, then I took it off the heat and cooled the wort in a sink full of water. The water I had in the fermenter was cold spring water I had in the fridge so I dumped my wort in and stirred it all up. I'd say the wort in the fermenter was 73 or so when I pitched.

I do the same procedure with no problems.
 
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Well I just go home. Im pushing 48 hours and theres no change. I took a little sip and I can't say that the flavor reminded me of flat beer. It was more like flat cider. Not "bad" per se but not sweet either. Kind of sour. I tried to detect alcohol but couldn't really tell.

Upon closer inspection there are many peices of yeast that are just sitting on the bottom intact. They don't look gooy are anything like that. I shook the fermenter up real good and put it back into the cabinet. I think maybe the yeast was dead. There are no bubble rising to the surface at all. :(

I don't know if I should chuck this and try again with the nut brown or see it through to what I'm sure will be 8 quarts of pure ass.
 

sweepking

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UdderJuice said:
Well I just go home. Im pushing 48 hours and theres no change. I took a little sip and I can't say that the flavor reminded me of flat beer. It was more like flat cider. Not "bad" per se but not sweet either. Kind of sour. I tried to detect alcohol but couldn't really tell.

Upon closer inspection there are many peices of yeast that are just sitting on the bottom intact. They don't look gooy are anything like that. I shook the fermenter up real good and put it back into the cabinet. I think maybe the yeast was dead. There are no bubble rising to the surface at all. :(

I don't know if I should chuck this and try again with the nut brown or see it through to what I'm sure will be 8 quarts of pure ass.
The cider taste sounds like it is fermenting...I wouldn't toss it just yet. It will have a cidery taste, but mine tasted like a Coors or other light beer mixed with a little bit of cider. You gave it a good shake so give it a while. You could always pitch more yeast out of another can.
 
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sweepking said:
The cider taste sounds like it is fermenting...I wouldn't toss it just yet. It will have a cidery taste, but mine tasted like a Coors or other light beer mixed with a little bit of cider. You gave it a good shake so give it a while. You could always pitch more yeast out of another can.
Here's the latest.

I shook the **** out of the keg last night and now there is what looks like a flim of intact yeast floating on the top.
 
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UdderJuice

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UdderJuice said:
Here's the latest.

I shook the **** out of the keg last night and now there is what looks like a flim of intact yeast floating on the top.
Yippe!! Success!

I just came home for lunch and it seems that my angry shaking did the trick. The yeast is now rising off the surface and swirling around in the keg and I have a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch of foam on the surface. There is definitely some active fermentation going on now. I was temped to shake it some more would this be good, bad, make no difference?

Anyway, Im much happier now.
 

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UdderJuice said:
Yippe!! Success!

I just came home for lunch and it seems that my angry shaking did the trick. The yeast is now rising off the surface and swirling around in the keg and I have a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch of foam on the surface. There is definitely some active fermentation going on now. I was temped to shake it some more would this be good, bad, make no difference?

Anyway, Im much happier now.
That is great. Your first batch is on its way. I wouldn't shake it anymore...aeration after fermentation starts isn't a good thing according to most experts. My cold lager Wee Heavy won't stop fermenting...it is throwing off my brewing timeline for my Christmas ale!
 
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Yeah I wanted to get a few batches under my belt and then try the X-mas brew to give as gifts but I dont know if I'll have enough time.

Since my brew technically didnt start fermenting till last night or this morning (which by the way I think what happened was my wort was too cool when I putched and it put the yeast into a dormant stage) should I let it ferment 7 days from today or just sort of watch it and bottle when the activity stops?
 

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UdderJuice said:
Yeah I wanted to get a few batches under my belt and then try the X-mas brew to give as gifts but I dont know if I'll have enough time.

Since my brew technically didnt start fermenting till last night or this morning (which by the way I think what happened was my wort was too cool when I putched and it put the yeast into a dormant stage) should I let it ferment 7 days from today or just sort of watch it and bottle when the activity stops?
You can't go wrong giving it a full 7 from today/when it really started. You should still have time to do the Christmas Ale too.
 

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UdderJuice said:
Yippe!! Success!

I just came home for lunch and it seems that my angry shaking did the trick. The yeast is now rising off the surface and swirling around in the keg and I have a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch of foam on the surface. There is definitely some active fermentation going on now. I was temped to shake it some more would this be good, bad, make no difference?

Anyway, Im much happier now.

Hehe, that's the funniest thing I've ever heard to do with homebrew! Like jump starting a car, and it actually worked, cool! :D

I was always told you should keep the brew as de-oxegenated as possible...if it's fermenting now, let it go!
 

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Same thing happened to me - I made my first batch of West Coast Pale on Christmas Eve and substuted a lb. of dry malt, that I bought from the local home brew store, for the Booster per the directions.

It's been almost 4 days and nothing was happening so I shook the keg up like you did and finally got some foaning action on the top. Before I did this the yeast was just floating on the top and clumping up.

Think maybe the dry malt messed things up? I'll keep you posted on the next few days of fermentation.
 

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Forgot to mention that I took a sip shortly after I shook it and it tasted like flat beer although a little sweet.

There is still a light layer of foam on the top but nothing much else seems to be happening - maybe I missed all the action in the first 24 hours since it was Christmas and I was busy?
 

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cnw said:
Same thing happened to me - I made my first batch of West Coast Pale on Christmas Eve and substuted a lb. of dry malt, that I bought from the local home brew store, for the Booster per the directions.

It's been almost 4 days and nothing was happening so I shook the keg up like you did and finally got some foaning action on the top. Before I did this the yeast was just floating on the top and clumping up.

Think maybe the dry malt messed things up? I'll keep you posted on the next few days of fermentation.
Shaking is doing nothing. The only reason you saw foam is that your beer *was* fermenting, but the solution had not yet become supersaturated with CO2. All you were doing was knocking dissolved CO2 out of solution, thus making it take longer again to start bubbling.

My guess is that the problem with these kits is they use far too small of a yeast pitch. Make a starter, let it get fermenting vigorously, and pitch that, and you'll get fast fermentation.

That said, some yeasts are definitely slower, so patience is a virtue. But a slow start is never good, and sooner or later you'll get an infection.

And did I read someone saying they *stirred* in their yeast???? Geez, NEVER stir in your yeast. Use liquid yeast and make an appropriate starter. There is absolutely no need to stir, and it invites infection.

Janx
 

cnw

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Thanks, what is and how do you make a "starter"? I also heard that there are other kinds of yeasts that work better in colder conditions.
 
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