Brewing with Wyeast liquid activator...slow ferment times?

My brew-buddies and I recently stepped into all-grain brewing( 6 batches ,so far). The last few we have used Wyeast smack-packs for the fermentation process. The packs say to allow yeast to incubate for 3 hours before pitching. We have, and pitched at the proper temperature, but there doesn’t seem to be much activity in the air lock. Our Dunkelweisen has been in the primary for 2 1/2 weeks. After 8 days, I stirred the brew and got some activity, and I am ready to stir again. Our Cream Ale (an extract brew) has been in the primary for only 3 days…and still no activity. Should we expect longer ferment times with the liquid yeast?

Did you make a starter? or look up the pitching rate for said beers? also did you chill your wort down to the temp. you are meaning to ferm at?

that’s all I have. Good luck

Actually, the ferment times for the Dunkel were not given (it’s a recipe out of Homebrewing For Dummies…both are from HBD). The Cream Ale is an 8 day primary and 2 day secondary…hardly seems not worth only a 2 day secondary, I vote for a week minimum.

You pretty much need to make a starter for any beer with an OG over 1.040. If you don’t you will have a sluggish fermentation and increase the chances of off flavors. And don’t worry about a schedule in a recipe. Every batch is a bit different and the beer makes its own schedule.

A number of beer and liquid yeast varieties should always have a starter.

I find most of the ones I do work pretty well without, but they are usually beers between 1.04 -1.05 - never higher, and are usually using a pretty no fuss strain of yeast.

And on top of that, I would only go with very fresh yeast. For someone who does not really bother with starters this is a must. Or I’d just end up using a dry yeast.

What kind of vessel are you fermenting in??? Bubbles do not equal activity necessarily… I use buckets and at least 50% of the time I get absolutely no bubbles in airlock at all, because the lids on buckets leak (not a big deal) - but it eliminates airlock activity.

You mentioned “stirring” so I am thinking you are using buckets and not carboys???

Also… I don’t think you mentioned anything about the gravity of the beer - how do you know that the fermentation is not progressing? Did you take gravity readings to confirm this assumption?

I would not probably want to be stirring my beer days or weeks into fermentation…

+1 on the use of starters - a smack pack is “ok” - but you really, really need to make starters if you want consistent, quality results.