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A couple of weeks ago I brewed a Robust Porter with Cherrywood smoked grains and chocolate added at flameout.

 

OG was approximately 1.080, it was properly chilled and had lots of oxygen in it - in fact so much foam was in the 6gal carboy that it "foamed over" when I added the 1l starter of Ringwood (dated 11/20/2010).

 

The starter itself was made two days before, but didn't seem to want to take off - no krausen, and only weak little bubbles coming up from the bottom of the flask.

 

1-2 days after pitching, there was a little bit of activity - thin krausen and a little bubbling in the airlock.  Then it stopped more or less completely.

 

Another 4 days later, I pitched another 1 liter Ringwood starter (dated 12/10/2010) which was nice and active, good krausen.  I swirled the yeast well into the carboy and placed it back at about 67F ambient temperature.

 

But, another 3-4 days later, and nothing is happening - no krausen, no bubbling, no nuthin'.

 

At this point I'm not sure what's going on, as I've never had a non-starter like this.  Granted, I haven't done a gravity reading yet, but I find it unlikely that it fermented out "under the radar" with an OG like that, but I guess stranger things have happened...

 

Any suggestions to a) what's happening and/or b) what to do next?  Try more or different yeast?  Siphon the wort off its current yeast cake and try again?  Make yeasty malt shakes?

 

Thanks,

 

-e

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First thing... take a gravity reading!  

 

Have you ever used Ringwood before?  (I haven't.)  I've seen a lot of different (mostly negative) stuff on the web about it.  Some say it should only be used in open fermentations (to help dissapate excessive diacetyl & esters).

 

I wouldn't rack off.  If the gravity hasn't dropped as much as you'd like, I'd pitch a different yeast.  Also, take a taste.  If it seems really estery, I'd pitch a clean ale yeast to balance it out and clean up diacetyl... dry US05 so as not to dilute with another starter.

 

 

Thanks a million for your sage advice, Sam - a little cool-headed common sense was what I needed.

 

I did a reading, and it's at 1.024, only 4 more points to go!  I've never seen a beer ferment so quietly (other than my Brett beer some months ago), so I was really wondering what was going on.

 

The flavor is great, both the smoke and chocolate are coming through - should be pretty awesome after a few months of aging.

 

Thanks again!!

Yeah, I've learned that different strains of the little guys don't always act the way you'd expect. Only after you've gotten to know them well can you go by looks.  Until then I break out the trusty hydrometer to see what's going on.

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