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No crausen/foam; maybe not fermenting?

I made a partial mash oatmeal stout 2 nights ago of my own made up recipe/grain ratio which was supposed to be similar to velvet merlin by firestone. It doesnt seem to be fermenting. i used irish ale wyeast smack pack and i did a starter using light DME. I am thinking there was probably not enough sugars in the brew because i didnt mash correctly or maybe there just wasnt enough sugars in the grains i chose. here is my grain list:

1.2lb 2-row
.25 munich
.15 caramel 40L
.10 roasted barley
.10 carafa III
.10 caramel 120L

and 3.15 lb maris otter syrup

I realize i probably should have used maris otter grain and maybe 6 lbs dark malt syrup or some dark DME because the next night i did the Toad Spit stout that called for 4 LBS Dark DME and 3 lbs syrup. So, im trying to learn what could cause low fermentation or bad fermentation and how to identify those things? I am sure there’s a myriad of things that could go wrong with several aspects of each so I am hoping someone could give me the basics?

Unfortunately, i did not do a gravity test :frowning: i do have one though.

Maris Otter Syrup = lots of fermentable material. I am guessing your mash grains converted as well. Can you post your mash schedule?

What temp is the beer at now? Bear in mind, beer temp and ambient temp are two different things.

What was your total batch volume?

What was the temperature you pitched at? What temperature is it now? Did you oxygenate the wort before pitching? If that’s a 5 gallon batch that’s going to be a very low gravity. If so, finished ABV is going to be around 2%.

It was a 5 gallon batch. i pitched at around 70-80 and i did do aeration. it is being kept at 68-70 now. How can you tell ABV by the grains etc? :o

Has anyone ever added a cup or so of rum or whiskey with bottling sugars for flavor/alc?

With that high ferment temp it was probably done in about 12 hours :shock: why did you think it didn’t ferment? Did you use a carboy or a bucket?

there’s no oatmeal in that oatmeal stout

A gravity reading will tell you whether or not it fermented.

If you mashed correctly, and that’s a 5 gallon batch. your OG would be around 1.030, which is very low. At 70 degrees and with so little of an OG, i’m sure it fermented out very quickly and you didn’t even notice. It might also be pretty light in color.

As far as adding rum or whiskey, you wouldn’t be able to add enough for it to affect the alcohol content dramatically, while keeping the flavor from being overpowering.

I’d just call it a “session” beer. It could be pretty good

oops, i forgot to put the oatmeal down. i used half a pound of oats.
i used a bucket to ferment in. i didnt hear any airlock activity, which isnt that unusual, but when i took the lid off the next morning to check it out there was very little/no foam so i figured it was gonna turn out to be pretty low abv. well that’s too bad… it’s just gonna be a drink then i guess. i still have enough grains etc to make another one…but i was hoping there might be a way to salvage this. :roll:

so if i make it again what do i need to have better fermentation? more grain or extract or lower pitch temp?

If making your recipes is something you plan on doing often, a tool like BeerSmith2 is pretty invaluable. You add in all your ingredients, it will give you an idea of things like color, bitterness, OG, estimated FG, and how close all those parameters are within the style of beer you are attempting to make.

I’m sorry I read it as 8lbs of LME. Yes, as Naik says, very low gravity, and the fermentation may have already happened.

www.howtobrew.com

Order a copy of the book and read it if you haven’t already. I just gave it to my brother who just got his first 1 gallon kit. I still reference it after years of brewing.

As Mr. Kesuke Miyagi of Reseda, CA once said, “first learn stand, then learn fly”.

I would grab a kit and follow the directions to a T from our sponsor before you start trying to design your own beers. Brew kits for a few go-rounds while you are reading How to Brew. The kits on here are awesome and there are ones for every style of beer you would want to brew.

[quote=“Pietro”]
I would grab a kit and follow the directions to a T from our sponsor before you start trying to design your own beers. Brew kits for a few go-rounds while you are reading How to Brew. The kits on here are awesome and there are ones for every style of beer you would want to brew.[/quote]
Best advice.

They even have an oatmeal stout partial mash

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/oatm ... h-kit.html

Other than being too warm, I’m sure your fermentation was fine. Take a gravity reading to make sure. Don’t ever judge fermentation by appearances, a gravity reading is the only way to know if something has happened. the extract you used had sugar in it, if the gravity is below 1.030, you’ll know it fermented. More extract next time will give you more sugars (higher OG)

the issue isn’t with fermentation, it’s with the recipe. It’s very low in sugars, so there wasn’t much for the yeast to ferment (hence very little activity).

Next time use a recipe calculator to make sure you get enough sugars to mimic whatever beer you’re trying to make, OR use a northern brewer recipe or other recipe that’s been tried-and-true. If you’re making your own recipes, post them on the beer recipe exchange for constructive critiques

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]Other than being too warm, I’m sure your fermentation was fine. Take a gravity reading to make sure. Don’t ever judge fermentation by appearances, a gravity reading is the only way to know if something has happened. the extract you used had sugar in it, if the gravity is below 1.030, you’ll know it fermented. More extract next time will give you more sugars (higher OG)

the issue isn’t with fermentation, it’s with the recipe. It’s very low in sugars, so there wasn’t much for the yeast to ferment (hence very little activity).

Next time use a recipe calculator to make sure you get enough sugars to mimic whatever beer you’re trying to make, OR use a northern brewer recipe or other recipe that’s been tried-and-true. If you’re making your own recipes, post them on the beer recipe exchange for constructive critiques[/quote]

thanks, man. that’s what i figured it was. i will check out that site recipe calculator site. that sounds pretty helpful.

hey, thanks for all the advice! i’ve made like 3-4 of my own recipes, aside from kits, already and i havnt had any trouble. this one was just the only partial mash one i’ve made without any real idea of how much grains/extract i should use. i’ve been brewing for a year or so and have made like 30 kits so i understand what’s going on for the most part and i did figure there wasnt enough sugar in this one as i posted in my original post.

I’ve had beers ferment without a krausen before, it’s the weirdest thing I’ve had happen to me in my brewing. Interestingly enough, it happened on 2 beers, both dark beers.

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