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JDengler

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I brewed an American Wheat last night 3-15-09 about 10pm. It's been fermenting all night and for some reason it's just dead. I used White labs yeast this time. (instead of the dry packets) and I wonder if I didn't do something right with that. I let the wort cool to about 90 deg before racking and adding yeast. Is there a way to pitch more yeast on the wort? Doesn't seem like that would be possible.

I just opened the vile of yeast and poured it into the carboy on top of the wort, should I have done something different?
 

Ballistic

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I use dried yeast and I wake it up by stiring it for 10 minutes in boiled water and a tiny bit of sugar in a pyrex jug at 30 degrees Celcius. This creates a fully disolved solution of active yeasts which doesn't sink to the bottom when you pour it into the wort. I start it off going just as I'm rinsing out the primary container and adding the mixture. Everytime now I get a very active start to the fermentation.
 

Revvy

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YOUR BEER IS NOT DEAD...YOUR AIRLOCK IS JUST NOT BUBBLING...

You should never rely on the bubbling or lack of on a cheap plastic airlock as a "fermentation Gauge," it's not...It's an airlock, nothing more, a VALVE to release excess CO2, to keep from blowing the lid off the fermentor...

If it's not bubbling that just means that there's not enough CO2 to climb out of the airlock, or the CO2 is just forming a nice cushion on top of the beer like it's supposed to, or the airlock is askew, or it is leaking out the cheap rubber grommet, or you have a leak in the bucket seal, or around the carboy grommet...all those are fine...if CO2 is getting out then nothing's getting in....

Over half of my beers have had no airlock activity...AND that is spread out among carboys, buckets. water bottles, and anything else I may ferment in, and regardless of the type of airlock...I have 9 different fermenters...

That's why I and many others say repeatedly that the only gauge of fermentaion is your hydrometer (or refractometer) . Those are precision calibrated instruments...

More than likely your fermentation is going nicely at it's own pace but for a dozen possible reasons your airlock isn't bubbling...simple as that. Get out of the habit of thinking it is a precision instrument and you will find you are less worried...The only precise methid of gauging fermentation is taking gravity readings.

Back in the bad old days, the predominant airlock was an s type...and often they were made of glass and sat relatively heavy in the grommet, and that's where people like papazain and those who influenced him got into the habit of counting bubbles...but now adays with 3 piecers being the norm, and most things being made crappy these days...it's just not a reliable means anymore.


The trouble is, that even the authors for the most part have been brewing so long that they don't pay attention to the airlock, yet the perpetuate the myth from the old days of bubbles meaning anything....though I figure, as a writer myself, they have long moved past the basic methodology that they wrote about...it's easy to do...to "preach" something very basic, while doing a process somewhat more complex...or like most of us who have been brewing awhile, taking shortcuts.

Co2 is heavier than air...there can be plenty of co2 going on, plenty of active fermentation happenning but there is not enough excess co2 rising or venting out to actually lift the plastic bubbler

The 3 piece airlock is the most fallable of them all, often there is simply not a strong enough escape of co2 to lift the bubbler. Or they can be weighted down with co2 bubbles, ir hteir is a leak in the grommet or the bucket seal, anynumber of factors.

If you push down on your bucket lid often you will suddenly get a huge amount of bubbling as you off gass the co2 that is there present but no needing to vent on it's own.

I find that the older S type airlocks, even plastic are much more reliable...in face I have started to use those old school ones exclusively. Not to use them as a gauge of fermentation...but because I like to watch the bubbles..

But even those don't always bubble..BUT you can tell theres CO2 pushing out because the liquid will be on the farthest side away from the grommet or bung hole.


Even not bubbling. you can see that something has pushed the water to the other side...


There's quite a few people on here who do not use an airlock at all, they simply loosely place their lids on the bucket, or cover with saran wrap, or tinfoil or pieces of plexigalss, these just sit on the top and if the CO2 needs to void out it doess...Because as I said before if the co2 is pushing out, then NOTHING is getting in.

If you look around on here at all the supposed "stuck" fermentation panic thread are not true Stuck fermentations, or deads yeasts, but are simply people like you using treating the vent like some precision instrument...And they, just like you use the words "Signs of fermentation." And that is our clue that you are going by arilocks.

And 90% or more come back and say they took a hydro reading...and everything was fine...

Rarely do yeasts these days get stuck...this isn't like the 70's when there was one or two strains of yeast, and they came from Europe in dried out cakes, and nowadays with our hobby so popular, even most tinned kits with the yeast under the lid trun over so fast that they are relatvely fresh most of the time.

So nowadays the only way our yeast "dies" or poops out is 1)If we pitch it into boiling wort 2) There is a big temp drop and the yeasts go dormant and flocculate out, or 3) if there is a high grav wort and the yeast maxes out in it's ability to eat all the sugar...and even then the yeast may poop out at either 1.030 or 1.020...But other than that most fermentations take....

AND this is regardless of any airlock bubbling...

Seriously, many of us pitch our yeast, walk away for a month and then bottle, and our beers have turned out great...The yeasts have been doing this for 5,000 years...they know what they're doing,

Hope this helps! You will find you are much more relaxed and able to RDWHAHB...if you ignore the airlock...

and read this as well...http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/Think_evaluation_before_action/

:mug:
 

Belmont

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Just give it some time. You could add some yeast. There are dry yeast packages for wheat beers now that might be a good idea. My concern is that you pitched at 90. That could have been a temperature shock for the yeast. What temp was the liquid yeast when you pitched? Straight out of the fridge or at room temp? Did you shake the vial prior to pitching?
 
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JDengler

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Yeast was at room temp, I shook it before I pitched it, and aerated it with a whip after it was pitched.
It's starting to show some signs of life now. After I got home from work, I took a look at it. It's starting to foam on the top, and slight air lock movement. This was my first attempt at liquid yeast, so I'm skiddish about weather I did it right nor not.

This is one of the most enjoyable things I do, and I know I need to relax about it. I'm sure it will come with time.

If I were to add more yeast would it help just make it ferment faster? Or would it change the flavor? And should I add more liquid yeast, or a dry packet?

Thanks for the help.
 

Revvy

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If I were to add more yeast would it help just make it ferment faster? Or would it change the flavor? And should I add more liquid yeast, or a dry packet?

Thanks for the help.
Leave the beer alone!!!!!!

You don't need....nor want to "make the fermentation go faster." it is a natural process.....most of us pitch yeast and come back a month later...you are not making koolaid here...you are dealing with a living thing (yeasties)

[You are not in charge of this!!!!



The yeasts are...they have been doing this for over 5,000 thousand years...they are the experts...your job for now is done!

Brewing is a game of patience and that patience will be rewarded with great tasting beer.

If you mess with it..and that includes trying to rush the process you will NOT HAVE GOOD BEER....



Walk away.....come back in at least 12 days if you don't have patiece...fermentation is NOT the only thing the yeasts do..they also clean up the byproducts of fermentation which leads to off flavors...

GO get another fermenter and brew abother batch..it will take your mind off this one...and allow the yeasties to do the job you want them too...
 
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