Jump to content
Mr.Beer Community
Sign in to follow this  
Creeps McLane

Is my beer fermenting???

Recommended Posts

I know all beer may not produce large amounts of krausen... But if I was to test to see if my beer was fermenting, after what day would I be able to take a hydrometer reading and compare with my OG reading? If it's not fermenting can I just dump some yeast in quick?

This is day 3 and minimal krausen. Slight bubbling though. German wheat beer at about 70 degrees. Yeast not left in a hot car for a week this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you got action in the LBK leave it alone, it's doing ok. ferment for 3 weeks then bottle. RDWHAHB!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked it after 24 hours and theres a krausen line but really no krausen. There's only a slight foam over about 50%. I just get nervous. I'd rather be able to drink than dump my batches

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes you just plain miss the krausen happening. However you see where it did happen RDWHAHB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still kinda curious, when would I see a change in my hydro reading? To save a batch could i throw in more yeast after a few days? Wouldve saved my last batch maybe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at bottom. Layer of white is trub, indicates all is well.

While waiting for the three weeks to end, READ.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hydrometer testing wastes wort. you draw off a volume and unless you are super fussy and careful about sanitization and dump it back in, you waste it. it isn't beer yet.  if you aren't super careful and just dump it back into the lbk you risk infection, aeration, etc. also opening up the lid lets things fall in like dust, mold spores, bacteria.... potentially.

 

I have had fermentations take 2 days to get going. ive had some barely fizz for 3 weeks... and still finished.

 

if really really worried.. let it ride for 3 weeks THEN take a hydrometer reading. odds are it will be around 1.01... 1.02 if you use lactose or other un-fermentable sugars.

 

as mentioned:  if you see bubbles... if you see any foam on top.... if you see any crud in the bottom... the yeast are making beer. leave it alone. perv if you want and marvel at your wonderful yeast working so hard to make beer for you... but let them be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep - I have seen US-05 have barely half my wort covered in thin foam and finished just fine, to having champagne yeast (I was making cider/apple wine) that was supposed to "have no krausen, only a thin layer of bubbles" make enough foam to almost overflow the LBK and churned like the storms on Jupiter. You just can't tell what is gonna happen until it happens.

 

I keep hearing about how Nottingham is such a beast, takes off quickly and does its thing quickly. Well, this latest batch is one that does its thing quickly, but takes its sweet time getting going - 36-42 hours, three batches I've used and re-used this yeast.

 

*shrug* At least I know what to expect from the last wash from this first half of the packet, and what to expect from the rest of the dry packet I have in the freezer.

 

 :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my experience with 05...   same as yours. it's a dainty eater. it takes its time getting started and then barely produces a tiny krausen.

 

my super active yeasts :  Us04 (first volcano..diablo ipa and us04),   wlp028  Edinburgh ale...  non stop crazy mad fermentation for a solid week!,  notty- once it gets going

 

 

note: when you bring yeast out of cold storage allow them about 3 hrs of sitting on the counter to come to room temp before pitching....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using Wyeast Northwest Ale strain right now and I almost have a blowoff happening.  Which is amazing because the beer is supposed to finish around 5.5% and it's 5 g in a 6.5 g carboy.  So I have at least 1.5 g of krausen .  Last batch I did had 1/8 of krausen that I would have missed if I wasn't swapping ice bottles.  This 1/8 krausen was Nottingham but there was coffee and cocoa powder in it which I think made some limiting oils. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking of using a hydrometer for the first time next week when I brew a variation on the Horse's Ass Ale recipe (the original recipe + 1oz of Columbus Hops). If I understand correctly, I take the sample and the initial reading after I have closed the LBK and before I put away in the cooler to ferment. Is that correct? I would imagine it's best to, after taking the sample, to put the end of the spigot in a shot glass of sanitizer? I usually do this right before I bottle, but I suppose it's probably best to do it after taking the sample as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I understand correctly, I take the sample and the initial reading after I have closed the LBK and before I put away in the cooler to ferment. Is that correct?

 

Take the sample before you add your yeast, then pitch the yeast and close the lid. Be sure you mixed the wort and water well before taking your sample or your reading won't be accurate. Also be sure to do a temperature correction.

 

 

I would imagine it's best to, after taking the sample, to put the end of the spigot in a shot glass of sanitizer? I usually do this right before I bottle, but I suppose it's probably best to do it after taking the sample as well?

 

Yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

maybe it goes without saying, but the cylinder and hydrometer get sanitized too.  

 

as Josh said, take your sample once properly aerated and just before adding yeast... I always put my sample back in the LBK after taking the reading, then I add yeast, and set LBK wherever it is going to go, to ferment.   

 

I always end up having to wait for wort to come down in temperature to 65 or so before pitching yeast, and for taking my sample too.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't sanitize my hydrometer and tube because I never put the sample back into the batch. It's a bad practice that can still risk contamination, even with sanitation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't sanitize my hydrometer and tube because I never put the sample back into the batch. It's a bad practice that can still risk contamination, even with sanitation.

 

Boo, boo...   :lol:

 

I sanitize them, take my sample, pitch my yeast.  Read the hydrometer 10 mins later, another 5 and I pour it back in and then aerate again.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying it's not a good practice. But then again, I only use a hydrometer for final gravity so I usually end up drinking what's in the tube anyway. For OG, I use a refractometer because I only need a drop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drink the FG sample, but dump back the OG.

 

Kevin, there is a form at www.screwybrewer.com that you put in your OG and it's temp, your FG and it's temp, and it does all the calculations.

 

In short, the adjustments don't make a lot of difference unless you're way above 60 - in which case you SHOULD NOT be pitching your yeast anyway.  

 

Make sure you have a thermometer strip, not the free checkbox.

 

No adjustment IF you take the reading at 60.  If you take the reading at 70, then there is an adjustment to get it back to 60.

 

Of course, if both your OG and FG readings are at the same temp, then the adjustment doesn't change anything, because ABV = OG - FG x 131.25.  The difference between OG and FG, if both are the same temp, is the exact same with or without adjustment.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drink the FG sample, but dump back the OG.

 

Kevin, there is a form at www.screwybrewer.com that you put in your OG and it's temp, your FG and it's temp, and it does all the calculations.

 

In short, the adjustments don't make a lot of difference unless you're way above 60 - in which case you SHOULD NOT be pitching your yeast anyway.  

 

Make sure you have a thermometer strip, not the free checkbox.

 

No adjustment IF you take the reading at 60.  If you take the reading at 70, then there is an adjustment to get it back to 60.

 

Of course, if both your OG and FG readings are at the same temp, then the adjustment doesn't change anything, because ABV = OG - FG x 131.25.  The difference between OG and FG, if both are the same temp, is the exact same with or without adjustment.

Thanks -- I do have a thermometer strip aside from the free checkbox one I got from Mr. Beer so I can use that one when I go to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks -- I do have a thermometer strip aside from the free checkbox one I got from Mr. Beer so I can use that one when I go to do it.

 

That won't be very accurate. You should check the wort temp with an actual thermometer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drink the FG sample, but dump back the OG.

 

same - best to conserve up front and sample at the end :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, thermometer strip on the LBK during fermentation, thermometer for the temp of the wort at pitching and the hydrometer tube.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drink the FG sample, but dump back the OG.

 

 

same - best to conserve up front and sample at the end :)

 

Me too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback.

Is there a link for the proper way to do a temperature correction?

Just google hydrometer temperature correction. Any number of websites will come up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I often just drink the sample - is that a strange beer perversion?  1 - I like the taste.  2- gives me a means of comparison to other worts and to the final beer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drink the sample as well, surprising fermenting worts tastes very similar to me even though the cold beer they end up as don't

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to me? wort freshly chilled to pitching temp always smells and tastes like raisin bran minus the raisins.. no matter what style of beer. only when done does it take on a completely new dimension.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gave up drinking the OG sample as to me they taste nothing like the final brew, and often taste similar to all the others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm I keep seeing this concern about pitching the yeast with the wort cold - yet most of the literature I read from the yeast manufacturers indicate to pitch the yeast or start it at temperatures elevated from the fermenting temp, then cool it to ferment. Dehydrating always seems to start at really high temps 25-35 C depending..

e.g. Fermentis says you can pitch direct if over 68 deg - even for lagers and to increase pitch rate if pitching in the 50's so I cannot think they would say this if you were going to get bad results - it would look bad for them.

 

So I just pitch after mixing the hot extract in  the LBK and topping up. Typically that is around 80 deg but it cools fast. Then I wait until the yeast starts and then cool/heat to the temp I want to ferment at.  If I do not cool it, it will usually stay 5-10 deg above ambient due to heat of fermentation. Again depending on the beer that may be OK, if the style wants a different temp I cool it. Once it stops making a lot of heat, it will settle to my basement temp (often 62) and I many have to warm it a bit.

I started a lager yesterday and got bubbles in < 8 hours with wort holding at ~ 75 in 65 ambient, then I cooled it overnight - it is now in high 50's.

 

I don't seem to be getting bad results that I can tell - but maybe it is my taste buds :-P.

It seems to me here is quite a bit of flexibility in this process. I only got one apple/cidery beer ever.

 

Anyone else cavalier about the pitching temps?  And with what results?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...