White Labs-NO Fermentation?!

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agroff383

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Hey all, made a generic IPA Sunday afternoon, got it chilled to around 75 I'd say, pitched a tube of White Labs American Ale liquid yeast directly into my fermenter, shook it before and after pitching the yeast, also shook the tube of yeast before pitching. This was Sunday around 5pm. I go to the house today around 4pm and nothing. No krausen, no bubbles, no nothing? Could I have had dead yeast? It stank bad when I smelled the tube, but this is the first time I used liquid yeast so I had no idea how it was supposed to smell.

So I tossed a packet of Notty in and did it the cheap way :), this is my 7th extract batch, and I ferment in my parent's basement, and always by Tuesday after a Sunday brew it was bubbling like an SOB every time.

So what did I do wrong? Not enough aeration? No starter?
 
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agroff383

agroff383

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My OG was 1.052.

I didn't take a hydrometer reading yet, but I always keep a bottle with a sample next to the fermenter to keep track of the gravity. I looked in that bottle and there was NO signs of any fermentation so I didn't think to take a reading.
 

Pappers_

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I've used dozens of white labs yeast and all have worked. It is possible you killed the yeast (by freezing or cooking it) but it's unlikely.

There is a sticky thread somewhere here about fermentation taking up to 72 hours to take off - I'd copy the link but i'm on my iPhone now and can't, but take a look for that thread.

The likely reason your fermentation was slower to take off this time is related to the yeast. Dry yeast has a much higher cell count and is basically ready to go when you pitch it. Liquid yeast needs to reproduce itself first - that's why many folks make a starter with it before pitching.

You're white labs yeast was likely getting itself ready (by reproducing) and would have started a more active fermentation shortly.
 

Revvy

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First off unless you take a hydrometer reading of your FERMENTER then you don't know what's going on.

The only "signs of fermentation" that you should go by is numbers on a hydrometer scale.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in.....

Thinking about pitching more yeast before taking a hydrometer reading after waiting an intial 72 hours, is the same thing....thinking about a "cure" before we even know if the beer is even "sick."

And actually that "satellite fermenter" idea that you are employing, will only tell you WHAT YOUR BEER WILL FINISH AT, NOT when your 5 gallon batch of beer will be done.

It's used to measure attenuation of the yeast, not rate of fermentation.

It's probably one of the most misunderstood "brewing myths" it's really useless.

It will take yeast a lot less time to chew through 12 ounces of wort than it will 5 gallons.....so don't trust that silly thing that someone came up with because they are too afraid to take samples from their beer as being accurate.

If you do take that as "gospel" you more than likely are rushing your beer off the yeast way to soon. You know "bottle Bombs" or suddenly posting an "is my beer in secondary ruined?" thread because now that you moved it to secondary because the "satellite" said it was done, you now have this scary looking growth that you have never seen in your bucket (because the lid is one) that suddenly grew on top of your wort and is ugly as sin....which we of course will tell you to rdwhahb because that is just krausen and it formed because you racked too soon and the yeast is still trying to work to make beer for you.

The idea came from commercial breweries, but you have to realize when they are using in it a 3 or 7 or 10bbl fermentaion setup, that their sattelite looks like this.



And they are drawing off hydro sample out of that bucket just like we do.

And they are STILL going to be taking readings and tasting the REAL beer in the ACTUAL FERMENTER, before making any determination.

It's been adopted by some home brewers, and unfortunately gets perpetuated by people (mostly noobs scared of taking real hydro readings) but it's about as accurate as airlock bubbling, (and you know where I count that in terms of fermentation gauges- slightly below the astrological calender :D)
 

Revvy

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With Liquid, If you've underpitched or not made a starter which the yeast has come out of a dormant period, then when it find it self surrounded by 5 gallons of food, before it starts truly diving in the yeastit has start growing an army to best eat it, so they have a wild orgy and then make a bunch of yeast babies. Then they get to work.

So that is why it can take up to three days before the really get going..the first part of it is called lag time, the waking up part, lag time, then the sex part is obviously called the reproductive phase....
 
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agroff383

agroff383

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First off unless you take a hydrometer reading of your FERMENTER then you don't know what's going on.

The only "signs of fermentation" that you should go by is numbers on a hydrometer scale.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in.....

Thinking about pitching more yeast before taking a hydrometer reading after waiting an intial 72 hours, is the same thing....thinking about a "cure" before we even know if the beer is even "sick."

And actually that "satellite fermenter" idea that you are employing, will only tell you WHAT YOUR BEER WILL FINISH AT, NOT when your 5 gallon batch of beer will be done.

It's used to measure attenuation of the yeast, not rate of fermentation.

It's probably one of the most misunderstood "brewing myths" it's really useless.

It will take yeast a lot less time to chew through 12 ounces of wort than it will 5 gallons.....so don't trust that silly thing that someone came up with because they are too afraid to take samples from their beer as being accurate.

If you do take that as "gospel" you more than likely are rushing your beer off the yeast way to soon. You know "bottle Bombs" or suddenly posting an "is my beer in secondary ruined?" thread because now that you moved it to secondary because the "satellite" said it was done, you now have this scary looking growth that you have never seen in your bucket (because the lid is one) that suddenly grew on top of your wort and is ugly as sin....which we of course will tell you to rdwhahb because that is just krausen and it formed because you racked too soon and the yeast is still trying to work to make beer for you.

The idea came from commercial breweries, but you have to realize when they are using in it a 3 or 7 or 10bbl fermentaion setup, that their sattelite looks like this.



And they are drawing off hydro sample out of that bucket just like we do.

And they are STILL going to be taking readings and tasting the REAL beer in the ACTUAL FERMENTER, before making any determination.

It's been adopted by some home brewers, and unfortunately gets perpetuated by people (mostly noobs scared of taking real hydro readings) but it's about as accurate as airlock bubbling, (and you know where I count that in terms of fermentation gauges- slightly below the astrological calender :D)
Tell me how it is ruined.
 
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agroff383

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And I use the hydro (every other time but this, I am serious) and I am not scared of it thanks to everyone on here and their advice. I am just not keen on screwing with the beer all the time with whatever I need to do to pull the beer out, I have no means to do that and don't want to infect the thing, I let my primaries sit for minimum 3 weeks...also due to advice on here! SO it is tough learning but I don't want to half ass it.
 
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agroff383

agroff383

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So Revvy you are telling me to not bother with a 12 oz bottle to make a satellite fermenter? I have had a few hobbies and this one takes the cake for as much conflicting info there is out there. I am an auto technician for a living, there is only one way to change oil or repair a misfire! This is ridiculous! I read books, I am on here every night, and no matter what I do it is wrong to somebody! But thanks for the info the more I read the more confident I am with this and I am having fun with it so that is all that matters.
 

Revvy

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And I use the hydro (every other time but this, I am serious) and I am not scared of it thanks to everyone on here and their advice. I am just not keen on screwing with the beer all the time with whatever I need to do to pull the beer out, I have no means to do that and don't want to infect the thing, I let my primaries sit for minimum 3 weeks...also due to advice on here! SO it is tough learning but I don't want to half ass it.
Well without "screwing around" as you call it, meaning taking a hydrometer from the fermenter, we really can't help you....The hydrometer is the best diagnostic tool we as brewers have. So don't fear it, or consider it "messing with your beer" consider it understanding your beer.

Otherwise there is really nothing we can do....we're not psychics....so without knowing by the numbers what is happenning, then really we are at a standstill. :D
 

carnevoodoo

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So Revvy you are telling me to not bother with a 12 oz bottle to make a satellite fermenter? I have had a few hobbies and this one takes the cake for as much conflicting info there is out there. I am an auto technician for a living, there is only one way to change oil or repair a misfire! This is ridiculous! I read books, I am on here every night, and no matter what I do it is wrong to somebody! But thanks for the info the more I read the more confident I am with this and I am having fun with it so that is all that matters.
A satellite fermenter will not give you a good indication of what is going on in your main fermenter at all. Did that advice come from this board?
 

Revvy

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So Revvy you are telling me to not bother with a 12 oz bottle to make a satellite fermenter? I have had a few hobbies and this one takes the cake for as much conflicting info there is out there. I am an auto technician for a living, there is only one way to change oil or repair a misfire! This is ridiculous! I read books, I am on here every night, and no matter what I do it is wrong to somebody! But thanks for the info the more I read the more confident I am with this and I am having fun with it so that is all that matters.
Exactly, like I said in the passage that you quoted that will tell you what the beer will finish at, NOT when your 5 gallon batch will be done...

12 ounces will be done much faster than 5 gallons.
 

COLObrewer

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I've never had to re-pitch yeast, I have however had to wait a week for fermentation to start. Mainly because I underpitched with liquid yeast.
 

Pappers_

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Hi Revvy - I was going to comment on the restraint you showed in your first post - LOL!! Your comments are, as always, full and helpful.

Hi Agroff - your beer will be fine. Repitching wasn't necessary, but won't do anything to ruin it. Now you've got yourself a little experiment going - mixing both kinds of yeast and seeing what the outcome is!
 

bjzelectric

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I had a similar problem with the exact same yeast. My lag time was almost 4 days. I brewed on a saturday and fermentation didnt start til wednesday. I didnt do anything out of the ordinary as far as my starter and brewing process. Might be a bad/abnormal batch back at the plant.
 

Revvy

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Well if you don't want my help, or my suggestions...I'll leave to your fermenter...You won't find other people will have any different suggestions, at least those with experience.

Good luck!

:mug:
 
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agroff383

agroff383

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I had a similar problem with the exact same yeast. My lag time was almost 4 days. I brewed on a saturday and fermentation didnt start til wednesday. I didnt do anything out of the ordinary as far as my starter and brewing process. Might be a bad/abnormal batch back at the plant.
Basically I should have posted here before I threw in more yeast, I was used to short lag times with dry yeast.

I am going to look for posts about the advantages of liquid yeast and I also researched stir plates tonight as well. Thanks everyone so much!
 
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agroff383

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Is a wine thief a good thing to use to get beer from the fermenter? I am using a 6 gallon Ale Pail.
 

Yooper

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Basically I should have posted here before I threw in more yeast, I was used to short lag times with dry yeast.

I am going to look for posts about the advantages of liquid yeast and I also researched stir plates tonight as well. Thanks everyone so much!
Is a wine thief a good thing to use to get beer from the fermenter? I am using a 6 gallon Ale Pail.
Liquid yeast is great- but usually it's best to make a starter with it. If you consult mrmalty.com, he has an awesome pitching calculator that can tell you how big of a starter you should make, based on yeast age, your OG, etc. (It's Jamilz's site).

I know- the vial says "pitchable" right on it. But if you go to the yeast manufacturer's website, they will also tell you to make a starter for any beer over 1.060, and for other beers with slightly "aged" yeast. Since your yeast was shipped in the summer to a homebrew store, and then brought home by you, the conditions are less than optimal.

Dry yeast works great- it has a higher cell count in the package, and it usually shows visible fermentation signs within hours. That does decrease the lag time- but it doesn't necessarily make it a better way to do it.

I like dry yeast for convenience, and I like liquid yeast for the variety they offer.

If you pitch the optimum amount of yeast (again- check out mrmalty.com's pitching calculator)- both work very well.
 

dr_finklestein

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And I use the hydro (every other time but this, I am serious) and I am not scared of it thanks to everyone on here and their advice. I am just not keen on screwing with the beer all the time with whatever I need to do to pull the beer out, I have no means to do that and don't want to infect the thing, I let my primaries sit for minimum 3 weeks...also due to advice on here! SO it is tough learning but I don't want to half ass it.
I use a sanitised 99 cent turkey baster. Works great!
 

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If you could have made a starter for your yeast. Things may be perking right along. I have brewed for a long time and "Proofing" your yeast lets you know before you put it in 5 gallon$ of hard work that its going to do its job. Its going to do much better or at least quicker since there will be more yeast.

Proofing yeast makes better bread too.

David :)
 

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The starter is your friend with liquid yeast, repeat after me, the starter is your friend. It's not difficult and once you make one and see the difference, you will be hooked.

I can taste a clear difference between beers that I just pitched a single vial of liquid and left to reproduce on their own, and beers that I pitched a big starter at high krausen. The fermentation is cleaner and quicker, and best of all, the lag time on a liquid starter can be almost immediate. Fusels and esters have almost no chance if you pitch a proper liquid starter at the right temp and then maintain that temp for the first 3-5 days.

After a long afternoon or evening of all-grain brewing, it's way more satisfying to pitch a starter and watch it take off like a rocket, versus watching the airlock for multiple days afterward looking for any sign of life and worrying about needing to re-pitch. I can go to bed on brew night knowing that my fermentation is already under way and will be done quickly and cleanly.
 

wildwest450

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If your an auto technician, you know you need to lift the hood of a car before you can diagnose an engine problem. With beer, you need to peel the top off of your fermenting beer and check a sample.
 

JKoravos

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And actually that "satellite fermenter" idea that you are employing, will only tell you WHAT YOUR BEER WILL FINISH AT, NOT when your 5 gallon batch of beer will be done.

It's used to measure attenuation of the yeast, not rate of fermentation.
I'd argue it doesn't do a very good job of gauging attenuation either, particularly for homebrewers, most of whom lack temperature control. The conditions of the satellite fermenter will almost certainly be different than the main fermenter and if you don't have temperature control the smaller fermeter (depending on the size) is likely susceptible to large temperature swings throughout the day, which gives you a good shot of not attenuating fully.

Just my $0.02


Hey all, made a generic IPA Sunday afternoon, got it chilled to around 75 I'd say, pitched a tube of White Labs American Ale liquid yeast directly into my fermenter, shook it before and after pitching the yeast, also shook the tube of yeast before pitching. This was Sunday around 5pm. I go to the house today around 4pm and nothing. No krausen, no bubbles, no nothing? Could I have had dead yeast? It stank bad when I smelled the tube, but this is the first time I used liquid yeast so I had no idea how it was supposed to smell.

So I tossed a packet of Notty in and did it the cheap way :), this is my 7th extract batch, and I ferment in my parent's basement, and always by Tuesday after a Sunday brew it was bubbling like an SOB every time.

So what did I do wrong? Not enough aeration? No starter?

Did you get the liquid yeast within a few degrees of your wort before pitching?
 

ChshreCat

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+1 on the wine thief. I never could use a turkey baster without getting it everywhere and/or squirting a bunch of it back out of the baster and into the beer.

With my wine thief I just sanitize it (inside and out), dip it in, put my thumb over the hole and I get a bunch of beer to transfer to my sample tube. Usually takes a few dips to get a full sample, but it works great!

They're also usually longer than a turkey baster, so if you move to a carboy or better bottle as a fermenter or secondary it's easier to get the sample with a wine thief.
 
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agroff383

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+1 on the wine thief. I never could use a turkey baster without getting it everywhere and/or squirting a bunch of it back out of the baster and into the beer.

With my wine thief I just sanitize it (inside and out), dip it in, put my thumb over the hole and I get a bunch of beer to transfer to my sample tube. Usually takes a few dips to get a full sample, but it works great!

They're also usually longer than a turkey baster, so if you move to a carboy or better bottle as a fermenter or secondary it's easier to get the sample with a wine thief.

Good deal I am going to buy one right now. Thanks again everyone for the advice.
 
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agroff383

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The starter is your friend with liquid yeast, repeat after me, the starter is your friend. It's not difficult and once you make one and see the difference, you will be hooked.

I can taste a clear difference between beers that I just pitched a single vial of liquid and left to reproduce on their own, and beers that I pitched a big starter at high krausen. The fermentation is cleaner and quicker, and best of all, the lag time on a liquid starter can be almost immediate. Fusels and esters have almost no chance if you pitch a proper liquid starter at the right temp and then maintain that temp for the first 3-5 days.

After a long afternoon or evening of all-grain brewing, it's way more satisfying to pitch a starter and watch it take off like a rocket, versus watching the airlock for multiple days afterward looking for any sign of life and worrying about needing to re-pitch. I can go to bed on brew night knowing that my fermentation is already under way and will be done quickly and cleanly.
Yes I will definitely be making starters from here on out, I guess even with dry yeast if it would make a difference.
 

Pappers_

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Yes I will definitely be making starters from here on out, I guess even with dry yeast if it would make a difference.
Dry yeast already has a huge cell count - no need to make a starter. The reason to make a starter with liquid yeast is to increase the cell count. Now, if you wish, you can make a "proof" with dry yeast - just a little warm water and sugar, to make sure the yeast is alive. Personally, I never do that - just sprinkle the dry yeast on.
 

Revvy

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+1 on the wine thief. I never could use a turkey baster without getting it everywhere and/or squirting a bunch of it back out of the baster and into the beer.

With my wine thief I just sanitize it (inside and out), dip it in, put my thumb over the hole and I get a bunch of beer to transfer to my sample tube. Usually takes a few dips to get a full sample, but it works great!

They're also usually longer than a turkey baster, so if you move to a carboy or better bottle as a fermenter or secondary it's easier to get the sample with a wine thief.
I had just the opposite...I started with the theif, and hated it...I personally found that a long turkey baster works easier for me....With the theif I ended up dripping all over the place....
 

ChshreCat

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With the theif I ended up dripping all over the place....
See your doctor, a little penicillin should clear that right up for ya. ;)

If you hold the top of your sample container over the opening of your fermenter, you can transfer right into it from the wine thief.
 
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