4 days and no signs of fermentation

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Dec 25, 2007
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Washington, DC
I brewed a Pilsner 4 days ago. i smacked 2 packs of Wyeast Munich Lager Yeast (2308) at the start of the brewing process, brewed, cooled the wort to 68 degrees and pitched the yeast. The yeast packs had by that time swelled up very well. After the pitch, i placed the primary fermenter into a kegerator to lager at 48 degrees.

After 2 days w/ no visible signs of fermentation, i thought putting the primary into a place that was 60 degrees would help, but alas, 2 days later, no love.

should i pitch more yeast? put the primary fermenter into a 70 degree room? i'm not freaking out, just concerned.
Take it out and let it sit at room temperature until fermentation starts. THEN put it in the fridge, at about 50-55 deg.

I never put my lagers into the cold until fermentation is started, unless I have a HUGE starter.

Edit: I just read the part about putting it at 60 deg. Mind you, it probably took close to a full day to bring the temp up to 60. I would get it to about 70 till you see krausen, then back into the cold.
it's fermenting now.

the airlock seemed to be stuck. when i first looked to see if fermentation had started, i thought oh well, still no fermentation. but then i jiggled the airlock, and then it started bubbling. the floating part of the airlock somehow formed a seal to the bottom of the airlock. it would have thought the upward pressure of the escaping gas would have been strong enough to break a seal like that, not that there should be a seal in the first place.

i'll use vodka in the airlock next time to see if that makes a difference. or replace my 2 piece airlock w/ a bubbler type.

the recipe, from Ray Daniels, < http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/recipes/ray/perfpils.html >

calls for moving to secondary fermentation after 5 days.

i'm not sure if i'll leave it in primary now for 5 more days, or if i should move it to secondary fermentation now. maybe the transfer will reactivate some of the yeast that has deposited to the bottom? any thoughts?
I definitely wouldn't rack yet. You already had it at the higher temperature. I'd let it get about 75% done and then give it a taste. If you taste any diacetyl (buttery popcorn or butterscotch flavor), bring it up to 68 degrees or so for the diacetyl rest before you rack it. Then you could proceed with the instructions.
yeah, wait a couple days, then taste and test the SG just to see where you're at. If it started that slow, it may just be a slow ferment. Don't rack till it's ready.
the OG was 1.035.

it was in the twenties all day here in Washington DC last Monday, and until it occurred to me to move the mash-tun cooler into the house, i thought i had to infuse w/ hot water to keep the up to the desired temperatures for the protein and saccharification rests. the result was a diluted mash, and a lower than planned OG. another lesson learned.

is testing the SG something you do a few times over a few days to see if it's stabilized, or is there a value it would equal for a given OG value?
the trick is to catch it shortly before it's done and give it a taste. If it's buttery, a diacetyl rest when it's say 5 points above the FG will clear it up quick. If you wait till it's totally finished, a diacetyl rest usually still works, but it'll take a little longer. Honestly, diacetyl is fairly rare, but when your fermentation temps fluctuate a lot, it can be a problem. Your futsing around trying to get it to start may have produced some. So, the SG reading is to make sure that most of the fermentation is complete before you raise temp for the rest. Once the buttery taste is gone, chill it back down to fermentation temp For a couple more days till you reach FG or one or two points above it. Then it'll be ready for racking and lagering.

someone correct me if I'm way off here:)
i plan to take a SG reading and taste within the next 24 hours, and then once every 24 hours until any buttery taste has disappeared. then i'll go back down to 48 degrees for 10 days, rack, and lager for 4 weeks, as specified in the original schedule.