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daddyzero

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Here's my situation, I started my first batch 71 hours ago and have yet to see any real activity. There are these tiny bubbles that gather in the airlock, but nothing that really makes me think that there's fermentation taking place in there. I haven't been able to make it back down to the brew shop for some more yeast to throw in there, so I started thinking about it. Temperature has been good and steady. There is quite a bit of head space in there, about a gallon and a half worth. Could that be my problem? Anyone have any similar experiences? Also, at what point is it too late to throw more yeast in the primary? For my innaugural batch I figured it would probably be best to play it simple and brew from a kit, it's a Woodforde bitter kit, if that's of any consequence. I'm really trying to be patient and not crack it open and ask "you guys doing okay in there?" What do y'all think?
 

homebrewer_99

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Well, 72 hours is quite a long time with nothing happening.

Several questions for you:

1. Did you use dry or liquid yeast?

2. Did you make a yeast starter?

3. What temperature are you fermenting (at)?

All these factors could be a cause of your problem. Of course, there's one more...

4. Did you forget to add yeast to the primary? (I had to ask).
 

uglygoat

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did the kit include it's own packet of yeast? i think those included packets are not the best quality. i used a packet of dry yeast that came with a munton and fisson pre-hopped liquid malt once and it was absolutely horrid... just poor quality, not so bad that i couldn't drink my beer, but no where near as good as subsequent batches with liquid yeast.

some other things to consider...

how hot was the wort when you pitched the yeast? too hot and you can kill the yeast. too cold and it may take some time to get going, but you say temp is constant atm...

did you areate (put oxegyn into) the wort by shaking or stirring with a sanatized ladle? the yeast needs, in addition to sugar, 02 in order to make the lovely nectar alcohol...

most important, do not sweat it, chalk it up to experience.

i would look at some glass carboys for fermenting, then you can know for certian if your yeast worked. there is a possibilty that the yeast did it's thing overnight whilst you were sleeping and you didn't even know it, and won't know untill you open the bucket up... so if you pry the lid open, a tell tale sign that the yeast worked would be a ring of slime above the beer that got plastered there when the yeast blew all the nasties around...
 

Tophe

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I would do what T1 said, crack the top open and take a peak. My second batch i brewed must have done its thing overnight because i never say that air lock pop once! Ive been drinkin it though and its not bad. If it doesnt appear to have fermented, and theres nothing nasty lookin in there(infection) then make a yeast starter and pitch more yeast and give it 24 hours.
 
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daddyzero

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It was dry yeast which did come with the kit, I didn't do a yeast starter but I rehydrated the stuff in some warm water instead of just pitching it in dry. The wort was just a little above 60 degrees when I added the yeast, and I have been fermenting at a constant 74-75 degrees. I stirred it around good, too. A little follow-up; I was nervous about opening the thing up for risk of contaminating it, but when I finally did there was a good thick slime on the sides of the bucket above the beer and even all over the bottom of the lid. That was a reassuring sight. Still a few days more before I rack it on over to secondary. I can already tell this is a rewarding hobby.
 

uglygoat

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yay!!!

good it went off for you whilst you were sleeping! i've had that happen several times now, but i can tell cause i got a glass primary. it is the most fun hobby i've come across, other than practicing for making babies... ;)
 

SwAMi75

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daddyzero...your temps were a little high, so apparently the stuff really went with a bang!

If you're sure it's done, why wait to rack it? Free up that primary and get a second batch going!

Welcome to the hobby, and welcome to the forum!

Sam
 

brewboy

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I agree with Sam75, your temps are to high. When I brewed my first batch of beer, I fermented at the same temps, also in a plastic bucket. One night I heard a loud bang, and went to check. The top of the fermenter blew off, because the yeast was fermenting so violently from the higher temp. I started making sure my temp is around 68 degrees for ales, and everything was good. Good luck with second batch!!!
 

rightwingnut

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I gotta disagree about his temps. being too high. Maybe I'm wrong...(it's happened once before)...but my ferments are always low to mid seventies. Maybe his is a LITTLE high...but that shouldn't be a problem...
 

SwAMi75

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I was merely saying the temp was a little higher than optimal, and resulted in the fast ferment. He's more likely to have some slight off-flavors and a good bit of esters due to that but hey, the job got done!
 

Franiblector

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in regards to high temps...my airlock blew off the other night because of it.

no fermentation had begun mainly because i cooled my wort too low (to 80 degrees), then added it to the 4 gallons in my carboy (58 degrees). those damn wort chillers sure do their job!
consequently my wort ended up becoming around 65 degrees after it was combined with the cool water in the carboy. I pitched the yeast anyway (liquid which said 70-75 degrees was optimal fermentation temp) and hoped that the heat from an air vent would raise the temp up to around 70 degrees for fermentation to begin. and yes, i did aerate the bejesus out of it. then i put vodka in my airlock and waited.

i did all this while it was around 65 degrees outside, so my heat didn't kick on.

after a day's time and no temperature rise, i was losing faith, and trying to figure out how i could raise the temp enough for fermentation to begin. then the temps outside dropped to below freezing and my heat kicked on in the middle of the night. and guess what? the temp of the wort went above 78 degrees, exploded into fermentation, and blew the airlock off while making a mess in my bathroom.

dumb question: what do esters add/take away from your brew? what kind of off-flavors will i encounter?
fyi, it's a lemon corriander weiss which i added anise seed to at the last two minutes of the boil.
 
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daddyzero

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Man.. all of a sudden that airlock is popping like mad. This stuff really does have a life of its own. Now I'm debating whether I should wait for what's going on in there right now to stop or go ahead and move it over to secondary. It's already got a good beer smell to it.
 

Janx

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Franiblector said:
dumb question: what do esters add/take away from your brew? what kind of off-flavors will i encounter?
fyi, it's a lemon corriander weiss which i added anise seed to at the last two minutes of the boil.
Esters won't affect that particular beer at all. With all those wacky flavors, you'd never notice esters, which are normally somewhat fruity. Heck, in that beer, esters would be appropriate.
 
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Since we are on this topic of too high temps...

I started this brew hobby in Dec. 04. Comfortably cool here now but It's March and I live in Tucson, AZ. Summer is a coming. It gets HOT here (100-108 summer daytime temps for about 4 months) :eek: . Thermostat is usually sitting at 78 or so and often 80-82 when not in the house (work/programmable thermostat). I'm not the only hot weather brewer so what do you do? Cranking down the thermostat to fermenting temps isn't an option unless I want to add $100-$150 per mo to my electric bill.

I was thinking it would be a larger tub holding the fermenters with cool water (add ice daily) or something to that affect but...
 

Janx

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You can buy about 10 degrees with the swamp cooler trick. Wrap fermenters in a towel or something and dip the bottom of the towel in a pan/resevoir of water. Then blow a fan across the fermenters. Simple but effective.

To be honest, I just ferment at higher temps. I'm near the coast, so it almost always cools at night, but we do get 100 degree days. I just don't worry and don't make lagers ;)
 
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Got you on the swamp cooler <grin>. I have one of those on my house so know the process all too well. Humid location people, you can google for a definition :).

Like you we get cool nights (60s) but wasn't sure how much of that fluctuation I'd see on the beer in a 5g container. I keep all of the beer in an addition to the house that is not on the HVAC (& swamp). We used to only heat/cool when we were in there but now I might just have to keep it better controlled. Damn, there goes the electric bill and got to get a more efficient AC unit in there...
 

Janx

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Well, my beer ferments in a shed for the most part and is subject to the whims of weather. I think, as you mention, that the thermal mass of all that liquid must help keep the temp swings to a minimum. Sometimes we'll put the beer in a cool room of the house (or warm room in winter) if the temp is really extreme, but to me, seasonal variation is fun :D
 

Janx

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Franiblector said:
just for fun...what temp is too high/contamination level?
You mean for esters? Well, they aren't a contaminant...just a flavor. Almost all ales have esters, and almost all ale yeasts produce them to some extent. The higher the temp, the more estery. It's different for every yeast. California Ale Yeast (Sierra Nevada) produces very little in the way of esters.

Esters are desirable in lots of styles like Belgians and British beers. There are all kinds of different fruity flavors and they can be a lot of fun, depending on the beer.

Now you don't want esters in a Pilsner, but that's another story entirely. Cheers! :D
 

Franiblector

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thanks Janx - you're wonderful!
and fyi, i'm wingin it - you'd be proud - no hydrometer use this time around.
:)
cheers back at ya!
 
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