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Johnny D

No Fermentation, Advice Requested.

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A little background.... this is my 6th batch brewing with Mr. Beer LBK.  The first five were simple refills.  These had varying levels of Krausen, from extremely foamy to small amounts of bubbles.  Being new to home brewing I didn't know what fermentation looked like when it was actually happening.

 

Fast forward to batch six and I'm trying the Poor Richards Ale recipe.   I have decided to add a packet of booster to it and I researched and decided to hydrate the yeast before pitching, other than that I'm following the recipe. 

 

Everything went as planned.  I follow strict sanitation (I work in pharmaceutical science and understand sanitation), I even use sterile rubber gloves throughout the process.  I use water from a filtered, chiller from my fridge.

 

The recipe calls for hops and a boil of the LME, which I did.   Added the HME (American Ale) to the hot LME + Booster + Hops mixture.  Added the wort to the keg, half filled with cold water, let it sit.  Meanwhile I've hydrated the yeast in ~98F water, ~1/2 cup.  I add the hydrated yeast to the keg, which has been set to cool longer than any previous batch... point is that the keg mix isn't hot at this point.

 

What I did forget to do was 'vigorously stir' after adding the wort.  I know this is to add oxygen for the yeast to use during proliferation, but I forgot.  Now the recipe specifically states to not stir the batch after pitching the yeast.... so I was at a cross roads here and decided to 'gently' stir the batch and did, but not enough to produce a froth on the surface, just a gentle stir.

 

Tonight will be 48 hrs since pitching the batch.   The keg is stored in my basement at between 70-72F.

 

Problem:

It's been 48 hours.  In the hours after pitching I could see some activity on the surface and some movement in the batch.  24 hrs later, a few bubble groups on the surface, but definitely not what I'd call Krausen.   48 hrs later the surface is glass smooth. 

 

Questions:

1.  Have I don't something to inhibit yeast proliferation?

 

2.  Should I re-stir with a sanitized spatula?  I've read mixed advice on this, some say it's ok to restir.  I have a friend who used to work at Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City and she didn't think this would be an issue this soon after pitching based on the amount of aeration that the yeast got when they pitched it at the brewery.... I've read others that say you shouldn't do this, not sure why.

 

3.  Should I just swirl the keg?  This goes along with #2 a bit..... if I don't stir should I do this?  I've heard that you should disturb the yeast cake to get them going again.

 

4.  Should I move the keg to a warmer temperature?  it's mid to high 70's in the main house.

 

5.  Should I re-pitch yeast?

 

6.  Should I just wait?  How long?  Then what?

 

Any help is appreciated.  I tried to give as much information as possible, understanding that the science is in the details but if I've left something out please bring it up and I'll try to provide it.

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OK, does not seem like a sanitation issue. The temp is OK, you have food for it in the wort, but for some reason the yeast has stopped or not started. It does need oxygen and nitrogen to start off multiplying again.

 

When you hydrated it, it looks like you used plain water. Nothing for the yeast to eat. I think it would be good to put some food for yeast in next time (maybe a little bit of malt/wort or even plain sugar) and then it will start to eat and multiply in the rehydration liquid. You may also see bubbles.

 

I would just give it a real vigorous stir to get oxygen/air in the water with a sterile agitator, and if the yeast is at the bottom get it up in the liquid. I can't see any issue with doing that since it has not seriously started fermenting and then leave it another couple days. If still nothing I would add more dry yeast and see it that will make it  take off.

 

Others more experienced may have other ideas.

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DO NOT stir at this point.  

 

Do you have trub on the bottom of your LBK?  Some batches have little krausen, or the krausen happens when you are sleeping.

 

I'm not seeing that you started with a gallon of cold water, added the wort, then topped off to the 8.5 mark, although this has nothing to do with fermentation happening.  

 

I'm also not seeing where you followed proper rehydration process - you bring water to a boil so it's sterile, let it cool, then add the yeast when it's in the 90s (as you did), then let it sit so it can get to work, then pitch it.  You do NOT need any wort in it.

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Yeah and to go further with RickBeer, some brews almost finish visible activity in 24 hours it seems so get very quiet after then.

 

This is one downside of not having a bubbling airlock with this setup - you could have watched bubble rate.

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DO NOT stir at this point.  

 

Do you have trub on the bottom of your LBK?  Some batches have little krausen, or the krausen happens when you are sleeping.

 

I'm not seeing that you started with a gallon of cold water, added the wort, then topped off to the 8.5 mark, although this has nothing to do with fermentation happening.  

 

I'm also not seeing where you followed proper rehydration process - you bring water to a boil so it's sterile, let it cool, then add the yeast when it's in the 90s (as you did), then let it sit so it can get to work, then pitch it.  You do NOT need any wort in it.

 

There is trub on the bottom, yes.  

 

I did add a gallon of cold water prior to adding the hot wort and then topped off with cold water to the 8.5 mark + the 1/2 cup of tap water+yeast solution.

 

I followed hydration procedure by boiling water and letting it cool to ~98F then added the yeast, gentle stir and let sit for 10 min, restirred then pitched.

 

Why should I not stir now?  Is your advice to wait?

 

Thanks for the replies guys.  This isn't a big deal to me, as in the world's not going to end, I just don't like the time investment to be wasted and I want to try the new recipe.   I've had 5 successful batches, but I followed the recipe and instructions to a T, this is my first attempt at a more advanced style and I immediately leave out a step.

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There is nothing to do.  Fermentation happened just fine - that's why you have a layer of trub.  You did nothing wrong.  Do NOT stir it up, there is no reason to do anything.

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Wow.  Ok, thanks.  I figured with the booster and the LME it would take the little boogers a little bit longer to eat that feast.

 

Thanks Rick

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One thing of note,

 

when you rehydrate yeast, you should NOT stir the yeast after you initially put the yeast into your boiled and cooled water. Just pour it in there and let it sit 10-15 and THEN stir it, let it sit another 10-15 minutes then pitch (as long as your wort is to temp).

 

Also, don't put wort or malt into the rehydration water. Many many dry yeast cells die in the intitial pitch if pitched directly into wort, but that's why we get 5gm packets (more than enought to ferment 2.1 gallons of beer) and why most 5 gallons kits come with 11gm packets, also many more than would be necesarry if using a liquid yeast suspension. The dry yeast manufactuerers know that many yeast die in the initial direct pitch so they over build their product.

 

Rehydration avoids this mass die off of the initial pitch because the plain water doesn't compromise the cell walls of the yeast like wort with a ton of disolved material in it does.

 

My take: If you're rehydrating yeast for a beer recipe with an OG under 1.060 you're probably over pitching (which I personally think is fine also, just food for thought).

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A little background.... this is my 6th batch brewing with Mr. Beer LBK.  The first five were simple refills.  These had varying levels of Krausen, from extremely foamy to small amounts of bubbles.  Being new to home brewing I didn't know what fermentation looked like when it was actually happening.

 

Fast forward to batch six and I'm trying the Poor Richards Ale recipe.   I have decided to add a packet of booster to it and I researched and decided to hydrate the yeast before pitching, other than that I'm following the recipe. 

 

Everything went as planned.  I follow strict sanitation (I work in pharmaceutical science and understand sanitation), I even use sterile rubber gloves throughout the process.  I use water from a filtered, chiller from my fridge.

 

The recipe calls for hops and a boil of the LME, which I did.   Added the HME (American Ale) to the hot LME + Booster + Hops mixture.  Added the wort to the keg, half filled with cold water, let it sit.  Meanwhile I've hydrated the yeast in ~98F water, ~1/2 cup.  I add the hydrated yeast to the keg, which has been set to cool longer than any previous batch... point is that the keg mix isn't hot at this point.

 

What I did forget to do was 'vigorously stir' after adding the wort.  I know this is to add oxygen for the yeast to use during proliferation, but I forgot.  Now the recipe specifically states to not stir the batch after pitching the yeast.... so I was at a cross roads here and decided to 'gently' stir the batch and did, but not enough to produce a froth on the surface, just a gentle stir.

 

Tonight will be 48 hrs since pitching the batch.   The keg is stored in my basement at between 70-72F.

 

Problem:

It's been 48 hours.  In the hours after pitching I could see some activity on the surface and some movement in the batch.  24 hrs later, a few bubble groups on the surface, but definitely not what I'd call Krausen.   48 hrs later the surface is glass smooth. 

 

Questions:

1.  Have I don't something to inhibit yeast proliferation?

 

2.  Should I re-stir with a sanitized spatula?  I've read mixed advice on this, some say it's ok to restir.  I have a friend who used to work at Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City and she didn't think this would be an issue this soon after pitching based on the amount of aeration that the yeast got when they pitched it at the brewery.... I've read others that say you shouldn't do this, not sure why.

 

3.  Should I just swirl the keg?  This goes along with #2 a bit..... if I don't stir should I do this?  I've heard that you should disturb the yeast cake to get them going again.

 

4.  Should I move the keg to a warmer temperature?  it's mid to high 70's in the main house.

 

5.  Should I re-pitch yeast?

 

6.  Should I just wait?  How long?  Then what?

 

Any help is appreciated.  I tried to give as much information as possible, understanding that the science is in the details but if I've left something out please bring it up and I'll try to provide it.

The only thing I see is;  Like adding fish to an aquarium, you just don't dump re-hydrated yeast in the wort, the shock can kill 'em.  You got to add a little wort and wait, add a little wort and wait, etc. etc. etc. until you get the yeast with in 10f of the worts temp(should take 15-20 min to keep from stressing the yeast)

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Pitching hydrated yeast into wort will not shock the yeast nearly as badly as dry yeast directly into the wort, and it is worth adding a LITTLE wort to the hydrated yeast if you want to stress them even less so. Anyway, as mentioned, trub = fermentation.

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Yes it all sounds very normal, Stirring the wort or even the yeast was a fable when MB started early especially for High ABV fruit batches. I am new but came across an old book.

These days we avoid introducing oxygen as much as possible and never open the fermentation chamber (LBK) during the 21 days.

 

I see no problem with the batch as trub is forming and Klausen was evident.

 

The yeast pitch temp might have been high but the yeast are happy, I am sure you will have a satisfactory beer. Please observe  best practice when pitching the yeast and taking care of the temperature during fermentation.

 

your beer will love you as much as you love beer. The next always is better. Hardest lesson to learn is patients and temperature.

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Hmm, John Palmer does recommend stirring if it is stuck.  I see several folks saying DONT , but other than possibly getting infection in the LBK what problems can it cause?

THis is his page on potential problems in the fermentation.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-1.html

 

 

 I see several folks saying DONT , but other than possibly getting infection in the LBK what problems can it cause?

 

 

I found this comment on another forum that maybe answers my question somewhat.

 

"Yeast have 2 phases: aerobic and anaerobic. During the aerobic phase (while oxygen is present) yeast cells will consume the oxygen and multiply into more yeast cells. During anaerobic phase (no more oxygen), they are digesting sugars and making alcohol and CO2.

 

Not enough oxygen can lead to too few yeast cells. Too few yeast cells will cause a slow start where other anaerobic critters (bacteria, wild yeast) can get a foothold. You want to be sure your yeast are warm and ready and itching to ferment when you pitch!

 

An over abundance of oxygen, on the other hand, can lead to too many yeast cells. When the yeast are done, they will settle out and eventually start to break down. You also don't want to ever introduce oxygen to fermented beer, as this can lead to 'cardboard' off flavors. I wouldn't worry about over-oxygenating with a gentle stir."

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Also I see comment that a lot of the dried yeast cells are not viable or do not survive pitching.

I would think this is a good thing then, based on other comments about using old yeast as a yeast nutrient, here you get that built in without adding anything.

Is this a fair observation?

 

 

I also found this comment on another forum:

 

"Charlie Papazian recommends rehydrating the yeast in the "bible" of home brewing, "The Complete Joy Of Homebrewing, 3rd Edition" (page 80 - 81). Following his instructions:

To do this, boil 1.5 cups of water for 10 minutes, then cover with foil. Add the dried yeast at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and add the yeast and wait for 30 minutes before pitching"

 

 

I also see folks saying they stirred or not and did not see any difference  in the result.

I have swirled up LBK that seem to have stopped or had yeast rafts. I have not tried enough experiments with any stable condition to be able to tell.

All my brews are different recipes or some other difference - winter or summer.

Only one I have seen this cidery flavor - all others are drinkable - I seem to have more variability with carbonation than anything, even after the 3 weeks fermentation.

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I usually follow the rehydration instructions of the yeast manufacturer (fermentis or dannstar). I rarely use Mr. Beer (Coopers) yeast except as a yest nutrient in the boil, and have never rehydrated it.

 

Here are the official (?) Mr. Beer rehydration instructions:

 

http://support.mrbeer.com/support/solutions/articles/5000561668-do-i-need-to-rehydrate-my-yeast-

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Problem:

It's been 48 hours.  In the hours after pitching I could see some activity on the surface and some movement in the batch.  24 hrs later, a few bubble groups on the surface, but definitely not what I'd call Krausen.   48 hrs later the surface is glass smooth. 

 

You have mentioned that you have trub, you didn't mention an original gravity measurement and based on what you have described regarding fermentation observations, I would say that you just missed Krausen. Without a hydrometer you can't measure your gravity to know for sure. It sounds as though you rehydrated and pitched an entire 11gm packet of yeast into 2.13 gallons of wort. That is a lot of yeast (especially rehydrated) but that is not really an issue, it will make your beer finish quicker because it doesn't need as much time to build a size able enough population to do the job requested.

You could buy a hydrometer at this point and test it in another couple of weeks just to find that you have a final gravity of 1.010 or lower. Or since all indications are that you made beer, just bottle at the three week mark.

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Problem:

It's been 48 hours.  In the hours after pitching I could see some activity on the surface and some movement in the batch.  24 hrs later, a few bubble groups on the surface, but definitely not what I'd call Krausen.   48 hrs later the surface is glass smooth. 

 

You have mentioned that you have trub, you didn't mention an original gravity measurement and based on what you have described regarding fermentation observations, I would say that you just missed Krausen. Without a hydrometer you can't measure your gravity to know for sure. It sounds as though you rehydrated and pitched an entire 11gm packet of yeast into 2.13 gallons of wort. That is a lot of yeast (especially rehydrated) but that is not really an issue, it will make your beer finish quicker because it doesn't need as much time to build a size able enough population to do the job requested.

You could buy a hydrometer at this point and test it in another couple of weeks just to find that you have a final gravity of 1.010 or lower. Or since all indications are that you made beer, just bottle at the three week mark.

 

Right, I don't own a hydrometer at present.... I made another post about that.   I'm considering buying one depending on the answers I get there.

 

I pitched 5g of yeast, not 11g, into the LBK at the 8.5 mark and gave it a very gentle stir after I realized I forgot to stir prior.

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RDWHAHB. It is fine. Trub = fermentation. Bottle it in 18 days.

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I plan to.  Thanks for your comments Rick, it really put my mind at ease.

 

I was just answering his questions.

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I pitched 5g of yeast, not 11g, into the LBK at the 8.5 mark and gave it a very gentle stir after I realized I forgot to stir prior.

More than enough yeast for the job. FWIW forgetting to stir really makes no difference. Yeast is alive, and will seek out food.

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If you buy a hydrometer get 2, 1 always seems to want to commit suicide(IMHO).

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FWIW, it's been now 3.5 days since pitching.  Yesterday, against most recommendations I gave the keg a semi-gentle swirl (no stirring, just a swirl, not opening the keg), enough to knock some of the trub loose and it floated to the surface.

 

This morning I have full on krausen, huge bubbles, lots of activity.  Meanwhile the new batch I set up last night (didn't rehydrate yeast for this one) is in full on krausen sitting right next to it's brother in the basement.  Maybe the guy just needed some competition to get in the game?

 

I'm not gonna lie, I gave out a serious mad scientist laugh when I saw it!  Like when Dr. Frankenstein's monster came to life!

 

NOTE:  My family are now positive that I'm insane.

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First photo is the batch I started the thread over. You see the bubbles and there's hella activity the photo couldn't capture.

The second photo is my new batch.

post-66224-0-85393500-1433118494_thumb.j

post-66224-0-91159000-1433118514_thumb.j

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At least you did the laugh before sampling the homebrew.

 

Many years ago I made some homebrew in a bucket and my neighbor walked around for an hour with a colander on his head after sampling it. SO strange things can happen....

Of course it WAS - All Grain with hop flowers not pellets. So who knows what I got.

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