Stupid Stuff All Brewers Should Know But Often Don't: Fermentation & Cellaring Tips
by Jamie Martin, Brewmaster, Dells Brewing Co.
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Cleaning and SanitationFermentation & Cellaring Tips
What do you do if fermentation doesn't start?
If this happens to you, here are a few places to look first:
Did you oxygenate enough? For those of us that don't have the luxury of dissolved oxygen meters, oxygenation is a guessing game; this problem can be quickly resolved by bubbling oxygen in through the bottom of the tank.
Temperature is another good place to check when troubleshooting.
Temperature Too High? - If the temperature was too high during wort transfer from the brew kettle to the fermenter then you could have cooked your yeast. To correct this problem, cool the fermenter down to optimal temperature for fermentation, and then pitch fresh active yeast slurry.
Yeast any good? - If temperature is not the issue you might have dead or very unhealthy yeast. If this is the case:
Transfer your wort off the bad yeast. Filter it if necessary, you don't want to take the chance of yeast autolysis which will produce off flavors in your beer and/or compromise the health of the new yeast.
It might not be stuck; it might just be done. If you had a high temperature during your mash it is likely you did not get the full extract you expected from your malt. This will, of course, affect your final gravity, resulting in a higher final gravity and a lower final alcohol content. There is really not much you can do to correct this but it's not the end of the world. The beer will probably be a little sweeter due to the extra residual sugars, and the alcohol content will be a little lower. The change in taste will be so slight most people will not notice, and maybe you'll find you like the beer better this way; you never know. The history of beer is filled with happy accidents.
Tips for Reusing Yeast
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