Calling 911...I've got a pitching

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Well-Known Member
Jun 24, 2008
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Lititz, PA
problem that is driving me nuts! Admittedly, I'm no expert, but I have brewed some good beers; however, all of a sudden I'm brewing crap. I guess I was sailing along fat and happy, and I guess lazy, not paying much attention, then all of a sudden I've brewed two batches of stuff that only I will drink--low alcohol. It's obvious that my fermentations aren't finishing.

OK, I spotted what I suspect is the problem--incomplete fermentation, so I look at my process. I decided I need to aerate better.

Here's the emergency--I made a yeast starter yesterday and plan to brew this afternoon AND I NEED ADVICE! I am making a nut brown and I got a liquid London Ale yeast. Yesterday I let it warm to room temp. I boiled 2- 1/2 cups DME and simmered for 10 minutes. Cooled to room temp and added the yeast. I put it all in a flask with 1/4 tsp energizer and put it on a stir plate in a warm spot--"warm" being about 70 F. Last night when I went to bed it was bubbling at about 6/minute. This morning--nothing. No bubbling. What happened?? Anything I can do. If I don't figure this out, I'm not going to brew today.

Any help would be much appreciated.
If you have enough, I would take a gravity reading. It is certainly possible that it is already finished.
It really doesn't matter if your starter finished fermenting...what are you doing with airlocks on your starters anyway? Relax and proceed as planned. Do whatever you gotta do to aerate your beer before you pitch your starter. Starters (especially on stirplates) are pretty trustworthy so long as you know it stayed at a good temperature. It is safe to say that you got significant yeast growth. Also, since you are making a medium gravity ale with plenty of strong flavors and the starter is fermenting at a reasonable temperature, pitch your whole starter volume instead of decanting off of the slurry.
How big a starter did you make? 2 1/2 cups is a bunch of DME for a starter. You might have a pretty high gravity starter on your hands.

And as said above, no need for an airlock on a starter. Just stick some sanitized foil on it.
Just because there are no bubbles doesn't mean nothing's going on.

Give it a taste. If it's sweet then you still have malt in there, any other taste would probably be alcoholic in nature and fermentation relatively complete (for the size). In that case it would seems that your yeast ate all the sugar and is going dormant. As soon as you pitch it it'll start up again eating all the new sugar from your wort.

I don't see any problem. :D

Yes, and do remove the airlock. Just cover it with some foil.

You said your fermentations aren't do you know? Are you using a hydrometer or just guessing?

Either way, why would you bottle/keg if the brew is not done?