Nothing for 36 hrs... finally bubbling airlock after shaking

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thatshowyougetants

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I am making the None More Black Vanilla Stout recipe (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/none-more-black-vanilla-stout-96969/) using White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast.

This is my first time using White Labs yeast and I don't think I shook it hard enough. When I pitched it, some came out as a 'clump'. This worried me. I pitched at 5pm Saturday.

Fast-forward to 7am Tuesday… 36 hours since pitching and still no signs of bubbling in the airlock. However if I shine a flashlight into the lid of my Ale Pail (a good trick I figured out) I can see what looks like probably an inch of krausen above the wort level. Kindly save your breath about how a bubbling airlock is not a fermentation indicator. I have never had a batch go this long without bubbling CO2 out the airlock.

So this morning I gave the fermenter a few shakes just in case that might do something (incidentally I also pressed the airlock into the grommet a little more, but I don't think it was loose - I had already done this a few times)… well 5 minutes later the airlock was bubbling more than once per second. A half hour later it was still bubbling away.

I think it's so weird that shaking seems to have encouraged it to start bubbling. I wonder if a crusty krausen had kept the CO2 in solution in the beer until I disturbed it?

:mug:
 

freisste

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thatshowyougetants said:
I am making the None More Black Vanilla Stout recipe (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/none-more-black-vanilla-stout-96969/) using White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast.

This is my first time using White Labs yeast and I don't think I shook it hard enough. When I pitched it, some came out as a 'clump'. This worried me. I pitched at 5pm Saturday.

Fast-forward to 7am Tuesday… 36 hours since pitching and still no signs of bubbling in the airlock. However if I shine a flashlight into the lid of my Ale Pail (a good trick I figured out) I can see what looks like probably an inch of krausen above the wort level. Kindly save your breath about how a bubbling airlock is not a fermentation indicator. I have never had a batch go this long without bubbling CO2 out the airlock.

So this morning I gave the fermenter a few shakes just in case that might do something (incidentally I also pressed the airlock into the grommet a little more, but I don't think it was loose - I had already done this a few times)… well 5 minutes later the airlock was bubbling more than once per second. A half hour later it was still bubbling away.

I think it's so weird that shaking seems to have encouraged it to start bubbling. I wonder if a crusty krausen had kept the CO2 in solution in the beer until I disturbed it?

:mug:
First, Saturday night to Tuesday morning is more like 60 hours, not 36. Now that that's out of the way :)))...

A bubbling airlock is not a good indicator of fermentation activity. Now that that's out of the way :)))...

Airlocks let out EXCESS CO2. You did not have excess in your situation. It formed from fermentation, then dissolved into solution. Shaking it brought it out of solution. Likely it would have started bubbling soon anyway. I think it was just good timing.

If you didn't use a starter with liquid yeast, it was probably just a little longer lag time than you are used to.

Everything is fine.
 

BlackGoat

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first thing, it sounds like you didn't use a starter? Part of the problem is that you likely underpitched the yeast and it took awhile to really get going. Second, its very likely that your fermenter doesn't have a tight seal. Since you have krausen, which clearly indicates active fermentation, the CO2 has been going somewhere. My guess is that it has been seeping out of the fermenter wherever it had an opening (path of least resistance) and that when you shook it you got the pressure up enough that it eventually started working its way through the airlock too. I wouldn't worry about it, and just let it finish its fermentation, just pop it open in a week or two to check on the gravity.
 
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thatshowyougetants

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first thing, it sounds like you didn't use a starter? Part of the problem is that you likely underpitched the yeast and it took awhile to really get going. Second, its very likely that your fermenter doesn't have a tight seal. Since you have krausen, which clearly indicates active fermentation, the CO2 has been going somewhere. My guess is that it has been seeping out of the fermenter wherever it had an opening (path of least resistance) and that when you shook it you got the pressure up enough that it eventually started working its way through the airlock too. I wouldn't worry about it, and just let it finish its fermentation, just pop it open in a week or two to check on the gravity.
Thanks.

It bothers me that it seems a starter might be needed with White Labs yeast... they shouldn't sell the product in a quantity that is insufficient for pitching unless you do a starter. I have never done a starter with Wyeast and always had plenty of activity after 12 - 24 hours.
 

BlackGoat

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you should do a starter with wyeast too, both are insufficient quantities for pitching into a 5 gallon batch most of the time... so in that case wyeast isn't sized appropriately for a 5 gallon batch either. Obviously, it can work just fine most of the time, especially when you are brewing something with a modest starting gravity, but when you underpitch you risk the potential for some off-flavors and a greater chance of infection due to the longer lag time (more opportunity for bacteria to get a foothold). Keep in mind that the age of the yeast can play a big role, so even if the quantity in the White Labs vile was larger, if it was sitting in the fridge at the LHBS too long you'd still need a starter. Its a quick and easy process to make one, and I'm a fan of being able to get yeast fermenting whether its a 1 liter starter or a 5 gallon batch so I kind of like the process of making a starter. Also, when you pitch a starter, you KNOW that the yeast is viable and active.
 
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