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No apparent yeast activity after 24 hours

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gwstevens

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I'm a first-time home brewer and brewed my first ale yesterday. I pitched the yeast and sealed the fermenter in the afternoon around 2:30 PM and I have not seen any bubbling in the airlock yet (more than 24 hours later). I purchased a recipe for a Belgian black Ale from an online supply store that calls for Muntons Ale Yeast. Per the recipe instructions, I refrigerated the yeast immediately after receiving the recipe kit in the mail. I removed the yeast several hours before pitching to give it a chance to reach the proper temperature. The recipe calls for the fermenter to be placed in a dry warm environment to maintain a temperature of 68 to 72 deg F. I checked the fermenter temperature (using an outside temperature strip) and it was 64 deg F. I immediately moved the fermenter to a warmer space, but still no apparent activity.

What does this mean? Could the yeast culture be dead? I know that 64 deg F is lower than what the recipe called for, but I still expected some activity, but saw none. What are the possible reasons for this result? What can I do? Discard and start over?
 

rightwingnut

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Don't start worrying yet...sometimes it takes longer, especially with dry yeast. Wait it out...if there's still nothing in another day, maybe two, you can pick up some liquid yeast to pitch.
 
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gwstevens

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rightwingnut said:
Don't start worrying yet...sometimes it takes longer, especially with dry yeast. Wait it out...if there's still nothing in another day, maybe two, you can pick up some liquid yeast to pitch.
rightwingnut - Thank you for your prompt response and reassuring words. I did pitch liquid yeast...does this change things? If I wait to pitch additional yeast in a day or two, then is there a possibility that bacterial growth may have started?
 

rightwingnut

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As long as you sanatized well, and were careful, you shouldn't have to worry about bacteria. I have a feeling it will get going...wait and see, and let us know in a day...
 

Dude

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I'll agree with rightwing and smorris....you are probably fine....I had one of my first batches take that long but it fermented fine after about 36 hours.......
You're GTG (Good To Go) :cool:
 

uglygoat

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liquid yeast can sometimes take longer than 24 hrs, especially if no starter was used.

is the primary a bucket?

before you pitch more yeast in there, take a look see inside. if it is a bucket, for any sign of scum or slime on the sides of the fermentor would tell you your yeast took off and spat the nasties all over the place and you may have had a fast ferment.

if it's a glass carboy you'd be able to see the froath and foam and hops and stuff that got plastered on the sides from fermentation.
 

Janx

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Starter starter starter...make a starter...make a starter....

Is this the most FAQ here?

Make a starter. Always. No matter what the yeast package says.
 

Infantree

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Hey,

I'm pretty new too and I've had this same problem a couple of times. My buddy (I think he's going by River Rat on this site) came up with the idea to swirl the bejeebas out of the bucket a day after one of our batches just sat without any activity. It started bubbling within 1/2 an hour. I don't really know anything about the inner workings of my primary fermenter, so I can't tell you what's going on...only I do know that you need to mix the dry yeast in REALLY WELL. 'Ol River Rat lopped the head off my plastic stirring spoon that I got at the beer supple store and he chucks it into his cordless drill to make sure the yeast gets off to a good start these days. That seems to do the trick. Oh, and yes...I'm quite sure he doesn't soak his drill in sanitizing solution before the stirring rampage begins, so we might have some karmic beer reprisals awaiting us in the future.
 

Janx

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Are you aerating the wort sufficiently? That may be why the drill trick seems to be helping. Yeast need lots of oxygen at the start.

And be very careful with sanitation. Infected beer really sucks. Sanitation is the only thing I'm really particular about, but I am *extremely* careful about that one.
 

Gordolordo

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That's what I had been doing wrong with my batch. When I first put my beer into the primary fermenter I quick, poured it in, and then closed it up with not much headspace. Apparently, there was not enough air in the bucket for the yeast to grow.

Once I transferred the batch into the secondary, it was aerated and is bubbling all over again now.
 

Janx

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The airspace in the bucket really isn't an issue. You need space in the bucket to prevent blowoffs, but that's it.

For yeast, the only issue is the amount of dissolved oxygen in solution. So they could do fine with zero headspace in the fermenter. It's all about how well you aerate the wort. Cheers! :D
 

busmanray

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i use liquid yeast and it doesnt start fermenting for at least 24 to 36 hours after pitching the yeast.if nothing happens after 36 hours try mixing the wert with a sanitized racking spoon,wait 24 to 36 hours again.if nothing happens you will have to repitch with new yeast.
 

Janx

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You need to make starters busmanray...24-36 hours is too long lag time...the 48-72 hours you're talking about after stirring is WAAAY too long. If you make an appropriate starter, stirring should never be necessary.
 

bikebryan

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I don't agree with "always" needing to make a starter. It depends on what you are using for yeast.

I've brewed many batches. The first two were at a brewpub, and they were 15 gallon batches. After the wort was pumped into the fermenting vessel, they had you pitch your yeast, which was a packet of dry brewer's yeast, directly into the wort. You then kicked the barrel around for 10 to 15 minutes to aerate. Both times the beer came out perfect.

At home, I really like using they Wyeast 175XL packs. I take them out of the fridge when I wake up the morning I brew; I activate them when I start the burners and by the time I'm ready to pitch the thing is almost ready to burst.

Of course, I guess you could argue that the XL packs have a small package of nutrients in them so you could call that a "starter," just not in the traditional sense.
 

rightwingnut

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I've had "success" without a starter, although it took longer and the beer wasn't that good. I've had success with dry yeast also. I think with a liquid yeast, and a starter, you are more likely to have success, and the end result will be better tasting beer, because it will ferment almost immediately, with a healthy colony of yeast that is raring to go. You may get away with a yeast that starts fermenting in 24-36 hours, but you won't have the cleanest tasting beer. I speak not from many batches of experience, but a few, and what I've heard from others on the subject.
 

bikebryan

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rightwingnut said:
I've had "success" without a starter, although it took longer and the beer wasn't that good. I've had success with dry yeast also. I think with a liquid yeast, and a starter, you are more likely to have success, and the end result will be better tasting beer, because it will ferment almost immediately, with a healthy colony of yeast that is raring to go. You may get away with a yeast that starts fermenting in 24-36 hours, but you won't have the cleanest tasting beer. I speak not from many batches of experience, but a few, and what I've heard from others on the subject.
I've had great success using the XL Yeast packs from Wyeast without making a starter. Just smack, wait a couple of hours and pitch. Withing 8 hours the airlock is bubbling away very rapidly. Everybody loves the beer I provide.

To each their own. I really think it depends on what type of yeast you are pitching!
 

Janx

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The Wyeast packs are just like a small starter. It serves the same purpose in terms of getting the yeast to multiply and "wake up". For the 10-12 gallon batches I make, I want more of a starter, but the smack packs are definitely better than nothing.

I honestly think that no matter what yeast or what scenario, you are better off if you make a starter. A shorter lag time and more vigorous ferment *always* makes for better beer. IMHO, using liquid yeast and always making a starter is one of the best things you can do to improve your beer.
 
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