My first batch of porter and it's not fermenting

I am really feeling bummed. My husband and I spent the better part of the afternoon and evening making our first batch of beer. We waited until the temperature got down to 80 Degrees and then pitched the yeast (a liquid yeast in a container that has been kept refrigerated and its expiration date is not until 12/2005). This darned beer is not fermenting at all and I don't know what to do about it now.
Have any of you got any ideas? Is this batch going to have to be thrown out and we start all over?
Linda H.
Reply to
Linda H.
The key question is how long have you been waiting? Maybe you need to give things a little more time. Also, did you activate the yeast?
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Bill

"Wise fool"
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Reply to
Bill O'Meally
Bill, Thanks for responding. In about 2 more hours, it will be 24 hours since we pitched the yeast. The kind of yeast I bought is already liquid in a vial. All I was supposed to do with it was bring it up to room temperature and then when the wort got down to 80 degrees we were supposed to pour it in. Linda
Reply to
Linda H.
How do you know that it's not fermenting? Have you taken gravity readings?
If you're answer goes along the lines of "the airlock isn't bubbling" then I wouldn't worry too much just yet, give it another day before getting concerned. It sounds like you didn't make a starter for your yeast which means that it's going to take a little while longer for the yeast to start producing CO2, have a look at
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Reply to
Spanky

Don't throw it out just yet. You don't mention if the liquid yeast was proofed? One of those break the vile Mylar (metalized polyester film) packaged wonders? Did the package expand?
Another neat trick is pouring the cooled concentrated wort into a carboy and not mixing it with the water or aerating it. It is possible to have the denser concentrate stay at the bottom of the fermentor if it isn't mixed (rocking the carboy). Fermentation will be slow or non-existent in that case.
I use dry yeast almost exclusively. I proof it in some wort or corn sugar and water. I'll usually get it pitched around 5PM and it will be in vigorous fermentation (blowing off) by midnight. Evening the next day, fermentation will subside enough to put the airlock on.
The airlock or blow off tube may have a leak if you are relying on bubbles to tell you it is fermenting - The cheap plastic airlocks will frequently have mold marks on them that prevent sealing in the rubber stopper if that is your type of lock . . . Scrape them smooth with a knife or use a bit of food grade silicone grease on the stopper.
You should see the fermentation in the carboy. Foam on the surface?
If this is your first ever batch; relax. Troubleshoot. It is always a good idea to proof brewer's yeast before you pitch it. Some of the liquid varieties are slow starters and start times do vary quite a bit. That is one reason I prefer dry yeast.
Nothing like having the wort ready to go and the yeast isn't cooperating.
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Thanks for your comments. The bubbling started the next day. The type of liquid yeast I used was in a plastic vile. It was called Ale Yeast (I don't know what brand). The more we read, the more we learn. This is our very first time making beer. Since my husband likes Guiness so much, we thought we would start off with a Porter.
Anyway, thanks a lot.
Linda H.
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Reply to
Linda H.

One of the reasons for proofing is it gives the yeast a head start (and also checks its viability). The head start is desirable because it overwhelms any wild yeast that may have gotten into the wort, so you get the flavor you want.
The liquid yeasts do have better and more varied flavors; the down side is they cost a little more and seem to be slow starting. I like to proof the liquid (in the Mylar package) a day or two before - if it starts working before I'm ready to pitch, it goes in the refer to wait.
My first ever batch was nothing to brag about . . . I brewed it in plastic and didn't rack it to a second fermentor and didn't use a blow off system. It took me a while to catch on (and the "Complete Guide to Home Brewing" helped a lot - now all the info one needs is on the Internet)
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It sounds like you're well on your way then. The Porter kits I've bought (from Listermann's) have always fermented quickly. I don't know about yours, but mine clogged up the airlock with foam and had the lid of the plastic fermenter bulging up. I put the fermenter into my shower and drew the plastic curtain shut, then reached in and pulled the airlock out of the lid. It gushed foam like a beer geyser! I cleaned the airlock out and got everything back into place, and the beer ended up good enough (eight months later) to help welcome my nephew back from the middle-east on R&R.
As a rough guess, I'd say you're about five weeks from opening your first bottle of Porter. Can you wait that long? (grin)
Karl S.
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And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.
Matthew 20:27 KJV
Reply to
Karl S.

Major pruning
Karl, the yeast plugged the airlock? Never had that happen (but never used Listermann's). Is the flocculation so firm that it can clog the airlock?
I did blow a stopper or two when I tried putting pelletized hops in the carboy (cold hopped).
Took the carboy out on the deck and pulled the stopper, when the blow off tube stopped bubbling first time it happened- and decorated the ceiling when I didn't catch it in time.
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