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On Saturday I got my December edition of BYO magazine and saw a holiday brew in there for Better Not Pout Stout. Got all my ingredients that day and whipped up my first yeast starter. Brewed up the stout yesterday, my first stout, and so far so good. Less than 12 hours after pitching the yeast I already had an inch thick krausen that had formed and a swirling vortex of yeast activity. The aroma coming out the top of the airlock is amazing. The OG was supposed to be 1.068 and I came in close at 1.062. Now I really can't wait for the holidays!

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Comment by Scott Murray on November 16, 2010 at 11:26am
No need for a blow off tube, I do 5 gal bathes in a 6.5 gal carboy, so far I've been safe from needing to throw one on there. Its looking like the massive swirling vortex has already subsided after only 2 days. Checked this morning and the krausen has already fallen.
Comment by Scott Murray on November 16, 2010 at 5:58pm
Oh good to know Mike! I was always under the impression I would be safe using a 6.5 carboy but next time I'm out at the brew shop I'll pick up a blow off tube just in case.
Comment by Scott Murray on November 18, 2010 at 5:05am
well so much for that great feeling I had. The brew started off so well and now the thing is not fermenting at all out of nowhere; not one bubble in 5 minutes of staring at the airlock. I did have a problem with monitoring the temp because the probe for my ranco controller was sticking out the top it thought the temp was cooler than it really was. Tonight I sanded down the probe so I could slide it all the way down into the thermowell and it read 77 degrees; and at that point the heater was off. The yeast was supposed to be at 68. I think the high temps ticked off the yeast. Any suggestions?
Comment by Scott Murray on November 18, 2010 at 1:33pm
Meanwhile 8 hours later I just checked and now the temp is back down to 69, back to within a degree and I can see some airlock activity. Bubbling once every 90 seconds. It's been 4 days since I started the batch and normally I would be moving to the secondary at this point but not sure if this is a lost cause or not since it looked like fermentation completely stopped for about 24 hours or so.
Comment by Scott Murray on November 19, 2010 at 4:14am
The recipe called for an OG=1.068 and a FG=1.020. My OG was lower, 1.064. I just took a hydrometer reading now and its 1.012. There are also no noticeable off flavors. I suppose I'll rack it off to a secondary and let it sit for a few weeks and take another reading, see where I'm at.

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Comment by Jeff Louella on November 19, 2010 at 10:48am
The warmer you ferment the quicker it will go. It seems like you may have fermented quick. should be fine. It may be a little more eatery, but that may tie in well with some holiday flavors. The heat may have attenuated the beer more than you expected, though i think the original recipe had a low attenuation value and you got a good one.
Comment by Scott Murray on November 20, 2010 at 8:51pm
I racked to the secondary this morning, keeping my fingers crossed! So far so good :)
Comment by Scott Murray on November 26, 2010 at 2:55pm
Not much (if any at all) activity in the airlock; its been in the secondary for almost a week now. I'm wondering if at bottling time there is enough yeast left to consume the bottling sugar for carbonation or if I need to do something else to help this batch along.
Comment by Scott Murray on December 21, 2010 at 8:29am

So I finally tested one of my bottled holiday brews but I have zero carbonation. Since I tasted the batch on bottling day, I know it tastes exactly the same so it's like no carbonation took affect at all. I am assuming that because of the initial issues I encountered that there was not enough active yeast left to work with the bottling sugar I added.


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Comment by Jeff Louella on December 21, 2010 at 9:35am
Try placing the bottles in a warmer place. Somewhere around 70 degrees. I always had issues bottle conditioning in the winter. I actually would put a heat blanket over the boxes sometimes. You don't want to cook them, but getting those bottles warmer usually help.

If that doesn't work, you can pop the top of each bottle and use a dropper to drop some liquid yeast into each bottle, but I think you should be fine just warming them up,

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