Stout not fermenting

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by fargofallout, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. fargofallout

    fargofallout Initiate (57) Nov 30, 2010 Minnesota

    I am very new to homebrewing, and on my fourth beer ever, I decided I would try to be fancy and do a yeast starter. I took the yeast I had purchased and, per some instructions I found online, pitched that yeast into some amount of water and extract and let it sit for two days at room temperature to increase the cell count before pitching it into the stout. There were plenty of signs of fermentation in the starter batch, so I figured everything was cool.

    Now, about 60 hours after putting this beer into fermentation, I see almost zero signs of fermentation. I'm not sure if I should 1) let it sit longer, 2) go purchase some yeast and pitch it try to save it, or 3) pour it and try again. I'm asking this question because I honestly don't know if pitching more yeast to try to get this going is a viable option.

    I can't give many details as to yeast type or whatever else would be helpful because I'm not taking particularly good notes yet (although now I see that I should be taking better notes), and the yeast didn't come with the recipe kit. The original gravity was 1.056, and the recipe kit, from Nothern Brewer, is here:

    Thank you for any help anyone can offer.
  2. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    So some questions:
    Was it liquid yeast or dry yeast that you made your starter with? Starters aren't really useful for dry yeast, but I will assume that it was liquid.

    Based on what you wrote, did you boil the water and extract before putting the yeast in the starter? Again, asking because of how it was written, You did say it appeared to be going in the started, so kind of an odd question.

    Is your fermentor a bucket? If so, do you have a Krausen (the foamy-ness that happens and leaves gunk at the top of the fermentor) ring above your wort?

    Have you checked the gravity again? If you used that kit, you gravity was rather low, but you should notice if it has changed.
  3. fargofallout

    fargofallout Initiate (57) Nov 30, 2010 Minnesota

    It was liquid yeast. Yes, I boiled the water and extract for 15 minutes or so prior to pitching the yeast into that starter. My fermentor is a carboy. I have not checked the gravity again yet, but I agree, the gravity seems low.
    Granitebeard and GormBrewhouse like this.
  4. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    So I would say, check the gravity. Also any signs of krausen on the glass?
  5. boddhitree

    boddhitree Zealot (559) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    So you boiled the water of the starter and threw in the yeast before it cooled down?

    The sterilized starter must cool down to around 20ºC/68ºF or less before you pitch the yeast in the starter, otherwise, at worst you'll kill it, and at best stress the living shit out of it and give you all kinds of off flavors.

    You don't need to boil water and extract for 15 minutes. Basically, you will sterilize any liquid by bringing it up to at least 70ºC/ 158ºF for about 5 minutes. Anything more than that is overkill.

    Also, as an aside, I make 40 L or more batches, but I don't have a 40L (4L = 1 gal) pot, though I do have a 22L, 15L & 12L pot, so I do my major boil of 60 minutes with the hops and any adjuncts in the 12L pot, and for the others I simply bring up to 70ºC for 5 minutes, then combine the pots into a single batch in my fermenter.

    Like everyone else said, check to see if any fermentation has occurred with your hydrometer. If no fermentation has happened, i.e. your current gravity is still at OG levels, go out and buy some dry yeast to toss in. I always have some dry yeast for just this occasion - when the planned yeast turns out not to be viable. There are lots of good dry yeasts. Mangrove Jack is one of my favs, but Safale is also good in a pinch.