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Newbie Help: No fermentation?

Hi all, New to homebrewing and had a blast on brewday (I got the Irish Red Ale)! So my question is after 48hours I have noticed no activity in the Airlock and i’m concerned there is no fermentation going on. I looked online and couldn’t find any answers so i took a quick peak inside and didn’t notice the krausen on top (no idea if it was a sin to open it up) i got a yeasty smell but it was faint. Is everything alright? The room is a dark basement that is at mid 60’s to 70’s when it gets hot. I am going to be gone for two weeks so i want to make sure my little yeasty’s are good to go.

What yeast did you use? How much yeast did you add to the fermentor? Did you aerate the wort before adding the yeast?

You will need a swamp cooler, a.k.a. a tub of water and wet towel over fermentor, if the basement gets into the low 70°F range. Yeast produces heat as it begins fermenting the wort. Most ale yeasts are best at 65° to a maximum of 70°F.

What is the current wort temperature??

With some yeasts there can be a long lag time.

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At what temp did you pitch the yeast?

Thanks for the reply guys, and i followed the instructions on the kit that came with the kit i bought. I dont remember the yeast name as i threw out the package. I did notice that the room got very cold recently low 60’s high 50’s i hope the cold did killed the yeast or something. I pitched the Yeast around 78 degrees as the instructions said too (also correction: it was the American amber ale). and whats the best way to get a reading on the current temperature of the wort? open it up and stick the sanitized thermometer? the fermentor feels kinda cold to the touch.

Was it a dry yeast or liquid yeast? If dry, did you rehydrate? If you had an older yeast it could be less viable, and if the temps are upper 50°s to lower 60°s it could take awhile for them to start.

Although you didn’t see any krausen on top, was there anything stuck to the sides of the fermenter?

You can stick a sanitized thermometer in it to get a temp.

If you live up north your basement floor could be so cold it is pushing your fermenter temp a lot cooler than your room temp. It will help to put the fermenter on a milk crate or somehow get it off the floor. On the other hand that cold floor will help when your fermenter gets too warm.

I took it out of the basement since it got so cold and im warming the sucker up now. ill try and get a reading later tonight. And i didnt rehydrate the yeast. i just sprinkled the dry yeast on top of the wort. There was some kinda stuff on the side of the fermenter when i opened it but i couldnt tell if that was remnants from the foam when i airated it or from the krausen.

I live in mass so its been kinda chilly today and my floor in the basement is freezing so that probably is why the fermenter feels so cold thank you for the tip.

The stick on thermometer strips are very accurate. Just have to interpolate to 1°F when an even number degree isn’t green.
Like this one

Stick it on at the upper three-quarter point of your wort. They don’t work well if submerged in the water of a swamp cooler.

I would suspect the starting temp at 78*, was very warm and the yeast started, maybe stressed a bit, then as it cooled, it went into shock, slowing any multiplying way down. So the yeast are in a wide temp swing and caused a delay…. Do yer best to git it as near 65 and be sure yer lid is on well and when you return, you’ll find out how the temp swings affected yer yeast, if any… Sneezles61

Looks like the default yeast for the American Amber is Safale US-05. This is a very neutral flavored yeast I always keep a packet or two on hand. It would be well worth getting some “just in case” to pitch if you don’t see any sign of fermentation soon. If it does take off just put the new yeast in the fridge for some other time. It will last a long time.

I’m not sure why the instructions with these kits say to pitch when the temp is 78°. That is a little high for most any brewers yeast. Even if you can’t maintain mid 60’s it would be better to at least start out that cold.

SO i have checked the temperature after warming it up and apparently i might have really messed up. It read 100 on the thermometer. But i did notice small amounts of bubbling on the surface of the wort in the bucket. smelled a bit yeasty. hopefully i havent really killed them, i moved it out of the warmer room and to a colder one off the floor as Stoney pointed out. Wondering when i should just give up and start over or if this beer can even be saved. lid is on tight as i check the airlock by lightly pressing the lid to see if it bubbles at all.

I think you need to check the calibration of your thermometer. That would have to be an extremely hot room to get the wort temp up to 100°. And even if you didn’t chill it the temps would have dropped past 100° already.

It was in direct sunlight apparently, someone in my house moved the fermentor to get at something and never moved it back. did the spike in heat kill the yeast? or is there still hope in this batch?

Well if that’s the case, and any fermentation had occurred the riboflavin produced by the yeast will combine with the hops and severely skunk the beer. This is unless the fermenter was covere.

One day your wort was freezing and the next day it’s over 100 ? Flush it

I would just put it back in the basement, but off the floor. Do a taste test when you get back in two weeks. The beer may or may not be any good. Sitting for two weeks will not hurt it if it is good. Sitting for two weeks will not change anything if it isn’t any good.

Start planning to do another when you return. Your basement being in the mid 60° range is good. A swamp cooler will take care of the fermentor for those days the ambient temp rises into the low 70° range. Let us help out when you are ready to start the next one.

NB’s American Amber Ale is one of my favorites.

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