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First time...stalled fermentation?

Last Sunday I brewed my first batch (NB Irish Red Extract Kit) my OG came out to be 1.04X (how do you read to the thousandth? it was just a bit more than 1.04…) with the original recipe calling for 1.044. I am storing the primary in my basement which has been a stable 62F all week.

I pitched at 68F with the Danstar Nottingham Yeast. I had bubbles in the airlock within 6 hours. Then it went very active (2 bubbles/sec) till Tues. afternoon when it slowed to 1 bubble/30seconds. By Wednesday, there was no action in the airlock, but the temp still read 66 (room air temp is 62). So I figured I was still ok. The temp was 64 on Thursday, and yesterday it matched the 62 in the room.

I told myself that I wouldn’t open the bucket to peak until next week (oxidation and introducing infection has me freaked out). I did put a flashlight to the side to see if I could see krausen and all I can see is a layer that looks “dried” to the side of the bucket about 2 inches above the level of the liquid.

Should I be worried about a stalled fermentation? I honestly was expecting airlock activity or a higher temp. in primary for more than just 5 days. I understand airlock activity or lack thereof doesn’t mean much, but I just really didn’t think the yeast would be done so quick.

It is probably fine. It’s hard to do at first, but leave it alone.
I would leave it in primary 2 weeks, then bottle.

So I take it that you are new to homebrewing… what you have just wrote sounds perfectly normal fermentation. Just because your airlock stops bubbling does not mean that fermentation has ended or stalled, in fact the yeast is still working away at you Irish Red. Many of my ale fermentation have high krausen for only a couple of days ~2-3 days and then drops and activity ceases in the airlock, but i leave it fermenting for atleast a month.
The dried up crud you see on the side of your bucket is when the krausen has dropped and it is perfectly normal. I have included a picture of my first brew that is beginning to krausen, notice how the foam is about an inch or 2 above the beer line. So do not worry it is perfectly normal.
Now it seems like you have a hydrometer, in order to know that your fermentation is truly over take readings after perhaps 3 weeks then take another reading a week after, if your fermentation is over the readings should be the same. If your fermentation stalled you will have a high reading perhaps something like 1.025, I highly doubt your Nottingham yeast stalled because this yeast is wonderful from what I see on the reviews.
Honestly just relax dont worry have a homebrew and wait atleast 2 weeks before doing anything, you can even wait longer if you would like.
I have left an Irish Red fermenting in primary for 2 months because i forgot about it tasted amazing and was beautifully clear.

You’re fine. I’ve never seen a stalled fermentation ever. Maybe for some temperamental yeasts and some very high gravity beers, but in almost all cases, it’ll finish with no problem at all if you keep it in the temp range. I wouldn’t touch it for 2 weeks, rack to bottling bucket, and then bottle.

Thanks everyone for the reassurances. Doesn’t matter how much you read up on it, it’s easy to doubt and second guess.

I was going to go to secondary after 2 weeks to clear up the primary for another brew (NB Cream Ale). Once I have some brew stored up I plan on skipping secondary on most brews. Would I lose anything by going directly to bottle at the 2 week mark?

You don’t NEED to use a secondary. Unless it’s a beer that needs time to age. You don’t always want it on the yeast cake while it’s aging, like big barleywines or imperial stouts for example. And leaving it in te primary for two weeks then strait to bottles should be fine for smaller gravity beers. It’s really a matter of preference on the whole secondary thing.

I still do with every batch just to allow it clear up and I usually have at least one batch going that I’m dry-hopping.

When you say straight to bottles I hope you mean bottling bucket then bottles. You don’t want to mix sugar in your primary.

Well of course to a bottling bucket.

So would I lose any flavor by bottling at 2 weeks (assuming FG is met) as opposed to “bulk aging” in either the primary or secondary for an additional 2 weeks?

It really depends on the beer and style. In a lower gravity beer, you should be fine. Just make sure the FG is where you want it. The flavors will mellow and blend together as it bottle - conditions.

And most importantly, just relax, most times it cones out just fine. And when your starting off, IMO it’s all about getting the process down and enjoying the final product.

Cheers!

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