How long before it's officially a Stuck Fermentation?

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Beerdrop

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Hi,
Got my first stuck fermentation since I've started brewing (about a dozen batches which is a month's work for some folks here :) )

Anyways, I brewed an extract IPA on Sunday, O.G 1.062. I pitched a tube of White Labs Yeast and waited 24 hours. Nothing. Same thing Tuesday nights, nothing. Finally on Wednesday AM (60 hours), I rehydrated an emergency pack of Coopers ale 15g dry yeast and pitched it. When I opened my fermenter, I noticed there was some foaming on top of the wort, i.e. it looked like the yeast was SLOWLY starting up. I assume my problem started due to a combination of bad yeast storage, 2 months past the use by date, and no starter.

Having said that, how long should one what before he/she gives up on the original yeast/fermentation? I hated to use the Coopers, but I didn't want my wort to be fermented by 'other organisms'?

Any thoughts? Thanks
 

Clonefarmer

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I'm not sure exactly but if after 3 days there is nothing happening I'd say it was stuck.
To avoid this in the future make a starter it will let you know if your yeast is viable and will cut down the time it takes to start fermenting.
 

llazy_llama

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I'm also curious to know what the fermentation temperature was/is. I recently pitched a beer onto a yeast cake large enough that it should have been going crazy within 12 hours. I didn't see any activity until day 3, and it didn't get violent until day 4. My temps was about 63 degrees.
 

llazy_llama

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I'm not sure exactly but if after 3 days there is nothing happening I'd say it was stuck.
To avoid this in the future make a starter it will let you know if your yeast is viable and will cut down the time it takes to start fermenting.
In the OP, he says he saw activity when he opened the lid on day 3. To me, that's not stuck fermentation, that's just a long lag time. Probably a combination of old yeast, no starter, and possibly poor aeration.
 

TheJadedDog

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Sounds to me like you had a long lag, most likely due to older yeast and the lack of a starter. For a higher gravity beer, a starter is definitely recommended to reduce this lag time. You may also have some lag issues due to poor aeration as others have mentioned.

I wouldn't worry quite yet, I've had beers lag for over a week.
 

llazy_llama

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Wow, TheJadedDog has it right. I didn't even notice that you were trying to ferment a 1.062 OG beer with 1 vial of White Labs yeast. That beer really called for a large starter. It's not ruined, I don't think, not even with two different types of yeast in there. It just probably won't taste exactly like it was supposed to. Just give it time, and I'm sure it'll be drinkable in the end. :mug:
 

Clonefarmer

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In the OP, he says he saw activity when he opened the lid on day 3. To me, that's not stuck fermentation, that's just a long lag time. Probably a combination of old yeast, no starter, and possibly poor aeration.
He said after he pitched the coopers there was activity. Sorry if I miss understood.
 
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Beerdrop

Beerdrop

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I'm also curious to know what the fermentation temperature was/is. I recently pitched a beer onto a yeast cake large enough that it should have been going crazy within 12 hours. I didn't see any activity until day 3, and it didn't get violent until day 4. My temps was about 63 degrees.
Thanks - Thought of that too. First 24 hours I had it in my crawlspace in the basement which is probably closer to 63 deg. For the next day and a half, I took it out into my basement which is at 70 deg.
 
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Beerdrop

Beerdrop

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Sounds to me like you had a long lag, most likely due to older yeast and the lack of a starter. For a higher gravity beer, a starter is definitely recommended to reduce this lag time. You may also have some lag issues due to poor aeration as others have mentioned.

I wouldn't worry quite yet, I've had beers lag for over a week.
Thanks - agreed I was lazy on the starter and my next Belgium experiment I won't make the same mistake! I definitely made a good attempt to aerate, so I don't think that was a contributing factor...
 
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Beerdrop

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That's true, but based on when he pitched the coopers and when he saw activity, I'd venture that the activity he saw was due to the original yeast and the coopers will kick in shortly themselves.
Sorry if I was a little confusing. I opened on hour 60 to see some foam (not even covering the entire wort from the original yeast pitching. I THEN added the Coopers. By Thursday morning (24 hours after the re-pitch), my fermentator was bubbling nicely!
 

Vic_Sinclair

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Ehh, er, no - That would have been a good idea. Don't think it changed much based on the lack of airlock activity
Airlock activity is terrible thing to look at. For all you know, you had a bad seal. Happens all the time. In fact, bad seals happen far more often than (real) stuck fermentations.
 
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Beerdrop

Beerdrop

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Sounds to me like you had a long lag, most likely due to older yeast and the lack of a starter. For a higher gravity beer, a starter is definitely recommended to reduce this lag time. You may also have some lag issues due to poor aeration as others have mentioned.

I wouldn't worry quite yet, I've had beers lag for over a week.
So I guess the answer is wait up to a week? I assume the risk of other things fermenting your beer goes up with time, but I tend to do a fairly good job of sanitizing on brewday. Thanks for the info.
 
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