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Talk me off the ledge: no visible fermentation at 50 hours

Brewed up an extract version of NB’s Evil Twin on Sunday, using a yeast starter (stir-plated) of Wyeast 1056. Hit my O.G., etc.

I’m at about hour 50 with no signs of visible fermentation. I’m using a blowoff tube, and I’m seeing or hearing nothing. I have the bucket in the coolest room in the house, with temps right around 68-70. Pressing on the bucket lid doesn’t feel as if there’s any pressure inside, either.

Yes, I’ve read the posts about patience, but now I’m the one freaking. Seems like 48 hours was the “relax” cutoff.

I have a Safale US-05 dry yeast pack. Am I safe to pitch that in a few days if I’m not seeing/hearing activity?

Are you sure the bucket lid is sealed? You might take a peak in the bucket, I’d be willing to bet the ferm is already going. Its unusual for a brew to have that much of a lag with a starter. If you don’t see activity thn a pack of US05 would be a good idea, its the same yeast.

^Second. Give it a looksee and then decide. Did you see any visible fermentation on you starter? If you did you should be good to go although it seems odd that a starter would take that long. If you do open it and see nothing pitch additional yeast

How do you have the blowoff tube connected to the bucket? This could be another site of a possible CO2 leak. Buckets are notorious for leaking so I agree with the others there.

My buckets must be getting older because I have had 2 of my last 3 batches not show airlock activity. But a quick look revealed solid fermentation. I ferment at right around 60 degrees, so mine start pretty slowly and generally take their time.

Just took a look in the bucket and there is krausen, so I guess it’s doing something.

I have the blowoff tube going into the hole in fermenting bucket lid, wrapped in sanitized tinfoil for added protection.

[quote=“pointyskull”]Just took a look in the bucket and there is krausen, so I guess it’s doing something.

I have the blowoff tube going into the hole in fermenting bucket lid, wrapped in sanitized tinfoil for added protection.[/quote]

So you are using a pretty small tube? Seems one that size could still clog.

[quote=“pointyskull”]Just took a look in the bucket and there is krausen, so I guess it’s doing something.

I have the blowoff tube going into the hole in fermenting bucket lid, wrapped in sanitized tinfoil for added protection.[/quote]

The foil probably wrecked the seal; the C02 is escaping your whole blowoff tube water bucket setup. Skip the foil next time, your “added protection” negated the protection of your blowoff tube. I wouldn’t mess with it though, you’ll probably be fine…

How long do the seals on bucket lids last? I just bought my first 3 bucket fermenters. I loved the price, the ease of cleaning, and the handle. I never thought about the leaking factor.

I lost count on how many brews I’ve got on mine; they last plenty long. Just don’t stick anything else (like foil) in there and you’ll be fine!!

I use 8 buckets as fermenters. I would say that 70% of the time I see little or no “traditional” airlock activity as far as steady bubbling. The leaking is not a big deal - although, it can be a little unsettling at first since it is always nice to see that visual confirmation that everything is “ok.”

If I am wondering, I just take a quick peak to confirm.

The problem is that the buckets don’t really have any sort of gasket to create a real seal. It is just plastic touching plastic. When I sanitize my lids, I shove them down into my fermenting bucket of starsan and it deforms the bucket for a short while. At some point the lid begins to sit less flat or whatever. My guess is that they never made anything resembling a perfect seal. Just enough that more of the Co2 when through the airlock that the top of the bucket.

As long as you have fermentation going on, the seal does not matter, other than piece of mind of watching the bubbles, which is entertaining, I admit.

I brewed a beer on Saturday that has not shown any signs of activity from the airlock and it’s now Wednesday. Not worried. I’ll pop it open tonight and take a look. My buckets are from our host (NB) and the lids don’t have rubber seals, so I assume over time they loosen up a little. I’ve noticed my last few beers that I used my buckets for have shown less signs of fermentation (at least from the airlock). But they all turned out well. So I’ll check it tonight and if I see krausen, I’ll leave it go. If not, I’ll take a gravity reading.

I did not make a starter due to laziness, but did pitch two packs of yeast to make up for it.

Conclusion: Take a gravity reading then RDWHAHB! :cheers:

Buckets are great, as long as you don’t scratch them! :x

[quote=“560sdl”]The problem is that the buckets don’t really have any sort of gasket to create a real seal. It is just plastic touching plastic. When I sanitize my lids, I shove them down into my fermenting bucket of starsan and it deforms the bucket for a short while. At some point the lid begins to sit less flat or whatever. My guess is that they never made anything resembling a perfect seal. Just enough that more of the Co2 when through the airlock that the top of the bucket.

As long as you have fermentation going on, the seal does not matter, other than piece of mind of watching the bubbles, which is entertaining, I admit.[/quote]

I can’t remeber where I got mine (a competing website I think) but it has a “true brew” logo on it with a beer and wine symbol. It’s 7 gallons to the brim and has a press on type lid with a rubber gasket that fits tight for a great seal. It also has a rubber gasket in a hole in the lid the perfect size for an airlock. It sounds to me like you are using a bottling bucket rather than a pail designed to be a fermenter. It obviously works but is less than ideal especially if you are going to do a single stage ferment.

I’d never try to jam the lid down in the bucket to sanitize it; you deform the lid and bucket, plus scratch it up leaving places for bacteria to hide…

[quote=“Demus”]

I’d never try to jam the lid down in the bucket to sanitize it; you deform the lid and bucket, plus scratch it up leaving places for bacteria to hide…[/quote]

So how do you sanitize your lids? Spray?

Paper towel soaked with starsan. Things don’t need to be completely submerged in a starsan solution to be sanitized. They just need to be wiped down. They only need to come in contact with the solution for something like 30sec to 1min.

[quote=“560sdl”]

So how do you sanitize your lids? Spray?[/quote]

I have a large plastic storage bin that I fill with 5 gal of water (with 1 oz Star San) that I use to sanitize the odd sized items: lids, racks, brushes etc.

That’s also what I store all my homebrew tools in when I’m not brewing.

+1 to Pointyskull’s process.

I brew in carboys so the only experience I have with buckets is the bucket that came with the NB wine starter kit. I put 3 gallons of mead in it late one night and early the next morning the airlock was very active and the lid bulged outward. Tons of headroom since its really meant for 6 gallons of wine. The lid has a gasket and it obviously makes a great seal. I do have to say, that my wife prefers the gentle airlock sounds of my carboys to the glugging bucket noises which sounded like Jabba the Hut was camped out in the corner of the room.

(speaking of bucket lids, does anyone use Gamma seal lids?)

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