Irish red and no fermentation activity

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

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Irish red and no fermentation activity

Postby beerguzzler » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:15 am

Brewed some irish red ale yesterday. I used Wyeast 1084 smack pack. Unfortunately, I didn't start it 3 hours beforehand to see the package swell and pulled it out of the fridge about 2 hours before I smacked and pitched it. The wort was at about 75F when pitched and aerated with a spoon for about 3 minutes. It had a Jan 3 08 manuf date on it. 18 hours has gone by and no airlock activity at all. I have it in a 7 gallon closed pail fermentor with a bubble airlock. It is sitting at about 67F. I'll give it some more time, but would trying a dry yeast be a good idea if I don't see anything else happen. Or should I use another liquid yeast? Will this effect my beer if the first yeast doesn't work?

Great forum by the way.
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RE: Irish red and no fermentation activity

Postby wottaguy » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:14 pm

Hello beerguzzler,

Some yeasts take a while to get going. I would recommend that you wait for another 24 hours before you start worrying and before adding any other additional yeast. I had a batch that took 30 hours to get going (with an active starter), but when it did it went crazy! Keep an eye on it and have a blowoff tube ready just in case.

Hope this helps!

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Postby brewmeisterintng » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:59 pm

Even with the best sanitary conditions you will circum to a bacterial infection or wild yeast taking hold of your brew if you don't have a yeast ready to do the job. I wouldn't wait anymore than 24hrs before desperation kicks in and I add dry yeast. Now, with that said... an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure every time. I have found through the school of hard knocks that if I don't have a viable yeast starter going, I am not brewing. I have had too many liquid yeasts fail on me. Just my two cents...
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Postby beerguzzler » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:48 pm

Turns out that I was worrying for no reason...I needed to relax and have a brew. I came home from work and it was foaming in the fermentor and lots of activity out the airlock and it is just 24 hours since I pitched the yeast.

Thanks for the suggestions and ideas. I'm learning lots here.
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Postby wottaguy » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:56 pm

Great to hear bg..! I usually find that a little patience goes a long way. I brewed up a German Pils this past Sat, used 4 packets of Saflager 23 (11 gallon ferment) and am still waiting for activity to show up. I have it holding @ 50 degF, so it may take a little while more.

Thanks for the input brewmeisterintng and the pils recipe is the one that you made. I left out the crystal and honey malt and went with Durst Pils malt and included a small portion of American 2 row jsut to make up the gravity difference. I did pitch it a little bit on the cool side, but it has warmed up a bit since then. I should be seeing some activity within the next day or so. (I am not worring yet...LOL!!)

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Postby beerguzzler » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:17 am

Not that I'm getting nervous or anything, but how long should I expect vigorous activity with my primary? I pitched on Sunday afternoon, it started bubbling out the airlock on Monday afternoon and seemed pretty active...gurgling every 2 seconds or so. Now it is Thursday AM and I get one gurgle every 30 seconds. I have planned on leaving it in the primary until at least Sunday before I move to the secondary (7 days)...but nothing I have read tells me what to expect as far as activity and how vigorous in the primary. Can anyone help educate me on what to expect? This is a blast by the way!
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fermentation vigor

Postby slothrob » Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:25 pm

THere's quite a wide range of vigorousness and length of fermentation dependent on yeast strain, temperature and gravity, so it's hard to give one description that fits every occasion. Your's sounds pretty normal, though.

Let it ferment until it is done, don't rush it. If you move it too soon you can remove most of the yeast before it has cleaned up compounds that can lead to off-flavors. With 1084, this can mean diacetyl. So, you really want the fermentation to finish and then wait another couple days for the clean-up process.

I really feel that a 2 week primary is a better rule of thumb than 1 week.
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Postby wottaguy » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:56 pm

What I usually do when fermenting a normal gravity ale is to let it ferment for 3 weeks in the primary. This extra time allows the yeast to clean up and to settle to the bottom along with other precipates. After that I just rack, prime and bottle it or keg it and condition it. You will need to make sure that you can maintain cool fermentation temps during the entire 3 weeks to prevent the yeast from going belly up and causing off flavors to your beer.

The only beer that I'll put into secondary mode would be high gravity brews as they usually take longer to ferment all the way out.

Hope this helps!

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