No fermentation?!?!

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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No fermentation?!?!

Postby StranegBrew » Thu Aug 21, 2003 6:43 am

I just cooked up a batch up Oktoberfest over the weekend. Everything seemed to go well except for the fact that i have absolutly zero action from my blow off tube. I made sure the lid of my bucket was on tight and that all of my connections to the blowoff tube were a nice tight fit and found nothing. I rehydrated the yeast and then proofed it to make sure it was nice and lively, and it was. I added it to my wort which was at about 70 degrees, placed the top on and shook it up really good. Waited and waited and nothing ever happened. After more than 24 hrs i added a whole fresh pack of yeast to the wort and STILL nothing is happening. I am totally stumpped! I don't know what to do now. Should I add some yeast energizer and shake things up? I thought about measuring the S.G to make sure that it really hasn't fermented yet, but i just don't see how that would have been possible for me not to have noticed it. This batch never even bubbled once that i know of. It has been sitting there since saturday evening, so i am beginning to really worry now. If it hasn't started fermenting by now, is my beer salvageable at this point, or has it sat around for too long a time? I would hate to have to dump it out and waste it if i don't really need to, but i certainly don't want to waste my time and effort racking & bottling if the beer is going to be totaly nasty either. Any ideas or thoughts anyone?
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how do you

Postby fitz » Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:30 am

how do you sanitize, and what was the recipe?
What type of yeast? What Temp? Was the yeast dated? Where was it stored?
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Here's the details

Postby StranegBrew » Thu Aug 21, 2003 8:05 am

The way i sanatize the bucket, spigot, etc is by soaking the whole lot in water that is mixed with the ratio of 1 gallon of water to 1 tbs bleach. I let everything soak about 45 min to 1 hr, and then rinse. The yeast i initally tried to use came with the cans of extract, which is why i rehydrated and proofed to make sure it was still healthy. The 2nd time i added yeast it was a pack of Dan-Star dry ale yeast. The yeast from the can was questionable, but the Dan-Star was without a doubt fresh. I didn't measure the temp of the yeast solution when i added it to the wort, but i know the wort was about 70 deg. I store all of my yeast in the fridge, and when i get it from the brew shop it is stored in the fridge there as well. I keep my primary vessle in the dining room, some what close to a a/c vent in the floor (of which i have never had a problem with before), and the ambient air temp in the house stays at a constant 70 -72 deg. For the recipe i used 2 cans amber malt extract (some german brand, i can't recall the name), and 1 lb of 4 lov german crystal malt steeped in 1 gal of 150 deg water for 1/2 hr and the sparged with 1/2 gal cold water. I also added 3 oz of hallaterau hops. 1 1/2 oz @ 60min , 1oz @ 30 min, and 1/2 oz @ 15 min. The only mishap i can think of was after i cooled the wort to about 80 deg from an ice bath, i was straining out the trub with a wire strainer atop my primary when i acccidentally bumped it and the whole 9 yards fell into the bucket. The entire strainer was sanatized, so i figured that i would just end up with extra sludge and the bottom of my primary. Surely this wouldn't have sabotaged my whole batch would it? :-(
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Aeration

Postby jayhawk » Thu Aug 21, 2003 11:07 am

Did you aerate it adequately? Maybe you should open it up and give it a good stir to aerate it more.
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Second that.

Postby Freon12 » Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:48 pm

I'm going with no oxygen also.
Get a fish pump and a stainless stone with a filter to add oxygen to your wort from now on.

I only have this problem if I kill the yeast at too high of a tempreture, so it must be air.
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Brew Shop

Postby StranegBrew » Fri Aug 22, 2003 5:42 am

I guess it's time to make another trip to the brew shop then. I remember seeing some kind of rig using a small bottle of oxygen and a stainless airstone (i think). I thought to my self what a waste of money, i'll never buy something like that. Guess that's what happens when you say things like that. I just hope that it works. Thanks all for the sugesstions.
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Not 100% essential

Postby jayhawk » Fri Aug 22, 2003 7:41 am

You don't have to use a "sophisticated" aeration system involving O2 pumps and stones. Just make sure you are, in one way or another, agitating the wort well enough to introduce a large amount of oxygen in to it. I accomplish this by letting the wort free fall from my chiller outflow in to my primary. The outflow stream splashes around as it fills the bucket, and in doing so absorbs oxygen. Just for good measure, I shake the living heck out of the primary after I pitch for a good 5 to 10 minutes (ie. I shake the thing 4 times for about 2 minutes each time). Another way to aerate is to simply pour the wort from your kettle directly into your primary, making sure you are pouring fast enough that the wort splashes around (and I don't mean on to the floor). You may want to try one of this more rudamentary methods before buying an aeration kit.
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Shake It, Baby

Postby Push Eject » Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:55 pm

I have to agree with Jay... I bought every !@#$ gadget when I started brewing; including oxygenating goods.

Three years later it seems I have weeded the wheat from the chaff. For me, shaking the piss out of a freshly-filled fermentor with a square of foil pressed over its top has proven to be all the aeration my wort needs. I shake it until it has a huge head of foam and it "looks" oxygenated. You'll know what I mean when you do it.

I ferment in glass so the "shaking" occurs entirely on the floor. It's more of a vigorous rocking while balanced on edge, I guess.

Try it before you blow the money... if your wort doesn't ferment out you can always buy the stone and oxygen later, but I'd be willing to bet something other than oxygenation is the culprit.

Cheers!
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I'd bet the bleach

Postby fitz » Mon Aug 25, 2003 3:37 am

I'd bet the bleach had something to do with it.
I can see the oxygen being the cause for a slow or stuck fermentation, but if the yeast didn't start at all, I would assume the bleach. Did you rinse really well? If you are going to continue to use bleach, rinse with some salt water too. This will help get rid of some of the traces of bleach. a real killer to yeast, that's why you use it to get rid of bacteria.
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Seems to have worked

Postby StranegBrew » Mon Aug 25, 2003 5:10 am

This weekend I finally had some time to attend to the homebrew. I thought i should take a reading before i did any thing, just to make sure, and low and behold the S.G. went from 1.050 to F.G of 1.017 The weird thing about it is the fact that i didn't see a bunch of left over krausen on the sides and top of the fermentor. The was a small ring of hop sludge maybe about a 1/2 inch about the water line but that was it. I don't know what happend but it seems to be ok, and dosen't have any off falvors or anything. I really would like to know why this is because normally i have brown junk every where (top of the lid, sides of the bucket) from the leftover fermentation. Maybe this is why there was no bubbling? The real question is why would the primary fermentation have been so slow / minimal? What would cause something like this, or is that just the way certain extracts or combination of ingredients behave?
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what type

Postby fitz » Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:07 am

what recipe did you use, and more importantly, what kind of yeast was it?
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Who knows

Postby StranegBrew » Wed Aug 27, 2003 4:49 am

I have no clue as to what kind or brand of yeast I used. All i know is that it came with the German amber malt extract that I bought. I proofed the yeast and it seemed to be ok, but who knows, maybe it was just feable yeast. Lesson learned. Next time I think I will simply add the yeast that comes with the extract to the boil and use it as nutrients for the yeast that I buy seperatly.
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my cheap aquarium pump setup

Postby donosborn » Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:02 am

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Lager Yeast

Postby michaewa » Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:24 pm

Just a guess, but wouldn't a lager yeast (used with an Oktoberfest style beer) have less 'visible' evidence of fermentation? I don't have a lot of experience with it, but don't think you'll get the kind of fireworks that you get with an ale yeast.
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Liquid Yeast

Postby StranegBrew » Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:54 am

Would a lager yeast even ferment @70 degress? I have never tried doing a lager as I don't have a fridge that I can dedicate to that task. Who knows what they included with the can. All I know is next time I am going to use liquid yeast and even make a starter with that. White Labs claims their vials are good enough for a 5 gal batch, but i've had some disapointments in the past not using a starter.
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