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Hey guys,

 

I checked on here to see if maybe this topic wasn't addressed, I don't think it was.  I tried my hand at my first (extract) stout.  I did a starter and after a few hours it was literally blowing the top off my flask.  I had about 1700ml of liquid in a 2l flask.  I put a blowoff on that and then cold crashed and decanted.  I brewed this past sunday and by monday morning ferm was going great.  Worried about the same problem I quickly switched out to a blowoff tube.  Now ferm has slowed to a crawl and I took a quick peek in the fermenter and it looks like the krausen has settled and ferm is almost completely done.  The airlock maybe bubbles every minute.  Am i worrying over nothing?  I've just never had a batch that has gone through it this quickly.  I know temperature isn't a problem as my basement has been in optimal conditions all week. 

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What kind of yeast did you use? Some ale yeasts, especially English, work quick then drop out of solution.
I think you would be alright. Along the lines of what Christian was saying. Some yeast can ferment quick and drop out.

Though your basement is at optimal temperature, an active fermentation will increase the temperature in the beer. Once fermentation slows, the beer will come back down to temperature. If your beer got up to 75 degrees and your basement is 65 degrees, that 10 degree shift will make the yeast drop to the bottom. That's why steady temp is important throughout fermentation.

With a good starter and an average OG wort, you beer may just be done. The only way to tell is to take a reading and measure final gravity.

If you are still pretty high, try warming the beer and stirring up the yeast a little to kick it back in suspension.

Let us know how it goes.
Thanks guys,

Jeff- I pitched at 72 degrees and it's stayed in that range. It hasn't gone below 68.

Christian- It was White Labs irish ale.

I'll take readings tomorrow and friday and see what that says.
Hey Tom,

As you probably will find plenty of forum posts about elsewhere, the presence or lack of airlock activity does not necessarily tell you what's going on with the fermentation.

In my short brewing career, I've had batches go crazy for a couple of days, blowing lids and airlocks off and spewing joy around my basement office, only to settle down within a day or so and make me agonize and wonder if something went wrong. It hasn't so far - but I would worry myself sick, and check the airlock almost every hour to see if things were picking up or slowing down.

Although I know some sources don't recommend it (for fear of splashing and getting oxygen into the wort at the wrong time), I've actually had pretty good luck with rousing the yeast by "rotating the carboy" a bit and getting the yeast back in suspension. If you don't seem to be hitting that final gravity, I think that in many cases patience is the best recipe, but I know it can be tough to wait...

Sounds like you're doing great, though! I didn't get around to doing starters and blow-off tubes until I had create both unholy messes and needless ulcers...

Look forward to tasting the Stout!

-e
Well I warmed up the fermenter with my heat wrap and even still the airlock was pretty inactive. So I took a reading and it's at 1.030 which is only slightly down from my OG which was 1.040. But the funny thing was when I pur the lid back on, the airlock was bubbling alot more than before. So I'm thinking either I didn't have it closed well or somehow introduced something into the beer that caused ferm to kick back up. If it was that I didn't have the lid on fully then i'm worried about contamination. But at this point I guess there's nothing to do. I'm going to wait a few more days and then transfer to the secondary. I have two other beers bottled and I'll be doing another one in a week or so. So if this one turns out bad and the others are ok then I'd be 3/4 and that's still plenty of good beer to go around.
Don't transfer to secondary yet. Better to pitch some more yeast (perhaps something flavor neutral) and let it ferment out before you move it :)

-e
yeah? how long should I let it sit? Should I just pitch and then forget about the secondary all together, then bottle in like 2 weeks? and what's a flavor neutral yeast? I have two packets of dry yeast in the fridge, I forget what they are.
Throw one of those packs in. See what happens. It should have fermented out by now, so the new yeast should take off and help get the FG lower.

A Flavor neutral yeast ferments pretty clean. Some are Wyeast 1056 American Ale, White Labs 001 Cal Ale, and SafAle US-05
Check your gravity, then pitch yeast as Jeff suggests, and then do gravity readings to determine when you're getting down to your desired Final Gravity.

A second round of yeast could do it's job "too well", so you want to monitor it (every few days), and then move to secondary (or bottle) when you have hit your target.
I've never re-yeasted before. So I would kill fermentation whenever I'd transfer to secondary or bottle? if I use dry yeast maybe half a pack or is that not enough?
When you move to secondary, you leave most of the yeast behind at the bottom. There will still be some yeast left in suspension, but not enough to sustain any significant attenuation. The objective of a "secondary" is usually to help clear the beer, although some styles call for adding more yeast in this phase.

There's little danger in using a whole pack of dry yeast. For best results, some recommend rehydrating the yeast (dissolve it in warm 95-105F water - http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-5.html)

Sanitize well before adding the yeast to the carboy and swirl it very gently to avoid splashing. Then sit back and wait for round two to begin.

Before you add the yeast, make sure you do a gravity reading so you know what your "starting point" is, and then monitor the attenuation over the next few days. Transfer to secondary when you have hit your target, and you'll be golden.

-e
So i checked the gravity and it was going down still. So I did eventually put it in the secondary. It was at the final and I just bottled it tonight. It was really clear, well, clear for stout, ie no visible floating sediment, etc. Actually there was nothing that came over into the bottling bucket so that's good. And I did taste it and I think it should be good. I'd like a little more body, but for a first stout, not bad. I'm hoping it will be ready by the meeting. If not my Double White should be.

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