Dunkelweizen Fermentation Help

Hey folks, new to the NB forum here. Just started to get back into brewing from a long absence.

Spent some time in Germany last fall…loved the Dunkelweizen we had so I got the NB kit a couple of weeks ago and brewed it last night.

Starting gravity per the kit was 1.053, mine looked to be about 1.056 so I was pretty close.

I got the standard dry yeast kit with it (Danstar Munich).

Using my wort chiller I got the work down into the mid to low 80 range in about 10-15 minutes, from there I had the yeast in 4oz of fairly warm water for about 15 minutes. Moved the wort into the fermenter that had a gallon of cold water in it, topped it off to 5 gallons, stirred the yeast, and poured it in.

I pitched about 7:45 last night.

How long does this fermentation take to start? The instructions said about 48 hours to begin, I am used to seeing things start earlier than that from past brewing (at least some small activity) but I have the carboy, with airlock, sitting in the wine cellar. It ranges from about 55-60 degrees, and is temperature controlled.

I was expecting to see maybe some small activity this morning before I left for work, but looks like nothing is going on at all.

Too cold? Should I move it outside of the cellar where is sits about 74-75? Or just wait?

Just kind of wondering, since I haven’t done this in awhile, I am a little nervous I may have pitched to early or have it in too cold of an area.


Definitely wouldn’t do initial fermentation at 74-75 degrees for a dunkelweizen. Probably better off where you are. 60 degrees probably ok but 62 degrees would be optimal if you can manage it. I believe you’re going to be fine and you should be seeing active fermentation by this pm. :cheers:


When I move it to the secondary what you recommend? The cellar is in the basement, and normally the room back there where it is stays 70’s to high 60’s depending on the time of year consistently.

As for moving the temp in the cellar, I’ll have to leave it alone…last thing I want to do is mess with the wife’s wine…and she could bust some serious glass over my head if I did. :lol:

Secondary temps in the high 60’s or even low 70’s should be fine. Controlling the first 3-4 days of primary fermentation is crucial, lower is definitely better. (as you will find out with time, doing a secondary fermentation is likely unnecessary )

Progress update:

24 hrs in this is what I have

Much darker and much clearer than last night so it actually looks like a dunkel now but still zero signs of activity from what I can see.

No airlock movement no bubbles with the exception of a few around the edges of the carboy.

I forgot to mention earlier:

Temp of the room is between 58-60 and there is a large amount of sediment at the bottom.

Did you aerate the wort?

Yes I actually put it in the fermenter through a funnel so there some pretty good sloshing going on as well as I rolled it around before pitching

Think I should roll it around some more?

Too soon IMHO to “rouse the yeast”. You aerated, you have used good temperature control, your yeast will make beer. RDWHAHB

( unless something unforeseen and catastrophic happened) :mrgreen:

Thanks guys,

This morning I checked…not an ounce of movement at all. Actually I had to get something out of the cellar and so I had move the carboy so there was some agitation…maybe that helped…we’ll see.

At the worst…I will order another kit and use liquid yeast 3068…I have another carboy. Not doing this in awhile I figured I would take the easy way and use the dry…thinking that may not have been such a good idea right about now.

Temp in the cellar is constant between 55-60.

Anyone think I should move it outside the cellar…to see if that helps start it? That room stays between 70-75 usually since it is down in the basement and fairly cool.

This is the first time I have had a yeast issue…normally my problem comes from not getting it cooled down quick enough…but that wort chiller they sell did the trick.

According to the timeline, 48 hours will be at 7:45 pm tonight…I dug into this a little and Danstar Munich can be a bit of a slow starter FWIW. I still think you will be fine with 48-72hours total …Should nothing be happening by late Friday night, then I might be concerned.

I would say you need to warm it up to the mid 60’s. Ambient of 55-60 is too cool, I think. Warm it up and give the carboy a swirl.

Interesting, there is another similar thread re dry yeast not (or under) performing going on right now. They pitched another dry yeast packet and it took off…theory being the dry yeast got “cooked” or compromised prior to brewing somehow…see my comment about “something unforeseen or catastrophic”!

You could try what Beersk recommends first. Do you have access to additional dry yeast?

[quote=“Voodoo donut”]Interesting, there is another similar thread re dry yeast not (or under) performing going on right now. They pitched another dry yeast packet and it took off…theory being the dry yeast got “cooked” or compromised prior to brewing somehow…see my comment about “something unforeseen or catastrophic”!

You could try what Beersk recommends first. Do you have access to additional dry yeast?[/quote]
Yes, I’d probably pitch another pack of yeast at this point. I get nervous if I don’t see signs in 24 hours.

Actually I don’t have quick access to some more yeast.

But…I did move it outside of the cellar so let’s see what happens. If by Sunday nothing is going on I will just get another kit, this time with the liquid.

It’s been ages since I have done this but I always used liquid previously…this time due to scheduling…I opted for the dry just in case my planned brew night didn’t happen.

It may have very well gotten cooked when I rehydrated…who knows…but the good thing out of all this is my process worked and things were kept clean…so lesson learned…I will just try again.

You guys as well as customer service has been a great help!

I have heard of Danstar having some serious QC issues. To the point where Notty, once a homebrewer-staple, has a damaged brand identity. I used it once a few years back (after the QC ‘rumors’ started), and won’t use it again. I didn’t know that it was a problem with all dry yeast. I think there are some awesome dry yeasts out there, so I’d be curious to know whether there is a widespread issue.

Sounds like you did everything right, and while fermenting in the high 50’s/low 60’s may not be ‘ideal’ for an ale yeast, it should still take off. Particularly since you pitched it likely in the low 70’s (80’s of the concentrated wort, then the cool water in the fermenter likely brought it down another 10 degrees).

Try to get your hands on another packet of yeast. I would actually give the feedback to NB and see if they will replace the kit. I would tell them confidently that the yeast they sent was unviable. There is no way your wort was too warm and THAT killed the yeast. If you pitched unviable yeast, the batch could very well be (but is not definitely) beyond saving.

Happy to report folks that as of Friday night around 8pm (probably earlier as I was not around)…fermentation started.

As of today there is a pretty good amount of activity, around and inch or so a foam on the carbouy and lots of bubbling…almost one per second that I can see the in the air lock.

Room temperature is probably around 73-74 so evidently the cellar is just too cold. No off flavors that I can tell, in fact it smells damn good…you can really smell the hint of banana.

So I am thinking I should be Ok.

Awesome!! :cheers:

Still as others stated earlier, your ambient temps weren’t that low. I’m thinking it still was compromised yeast from the manufacturer, but some viable yeast were present and they finally got going. Generally the dry yeast take off pretty quickly because there are so many in a packet…

For now I am going to let it goes folks, it seems to be doing well. Smells a little fruity and yeast like…nothing rancid.

We did have some home AC issues this past weekend but I have used a wet beach towel and fan to keep a cool environment around it.

Still bubbling fairly often.

Next question…I am going to secondary this in my other carboy…secondary temperature.

Ok to put it in the cellar…I have beeen taking readings in it and it is staying between 55-60 as it is supposed to…I just wanted to make sure that wasn’t going to do anything funky to it.

If I don’t keep it in the cellar I am assuming the room it is currently in that stays 74ish on a regular basis will be ok?


Actually no need to secondary most ales, including yours…I know the NB and other kits say to use a secondary but it isn’t necessary and is a needless source of complications. Now if you need your primary vessel for another brewday that is a good reason to secondary. Other reasons might include fruit or other additions, more complicated brews, etc. I do secondary all my lagers to get a clearer product(and to free up my glass primary for another lager).

Your cellar IS too cold for ale fermentation after the first 3-5 days of active fermentation. Cool is good then but not as good now when most brewers allow the beer to warm up a bit to allow the yeast to clean up a bit. I would shoot for 65-72 degree range but not cooler or warmer…I use a home depot 10 gallon water cooler with ice water around it to keep temps in that range. Probe thermometer in the water not the beer so it is an approximate temperature. Ice packs work well and last longer than ice.

I have found that during the most active part of fermentation, the beer temp will be about 2 degrees warmer than the temp of my water bath. Once the wort stops moving so much, the beer temp can get up to 3 or 4 degrees warmer. (That seems counter-intuitive, but I think the beer moving around so much during active fermentation keeps more of it in contact with the cold water bath.)