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Thread: No Oxygen = slow fermentation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Athens, NY
    Posts
    416

    No Oxygen = slow fermentation

    So I brewed a batch of our house Red Ale on Saturday (14 plato) and after starting to knock out the batch through the HE and into fermenter I noticed that we were out of Oxygen. We had just changed the tank on the previous brew and had a leak. I don't have access to an air compressor so I kinda had to shrug my shoulders and say "oh well, we'll see what happens!"

    The yeast is WL 001 and it was a brand new 7 bbl pitch from BSI. We're currently on day five of fermentation and activity has been very slow. The beer is only about 25% attenuated (still bubbling away slowly but constantly) and currently at 10.5 plato. Even with a new batch of yeast normally I would expect fermentation to be just about over by day 5. My forced-fermenation test shows that I can expect a final gravity of around 3.8 (74% app. attenuation), so available sugar isn't a problem. Clearly lack of O2 is.

    Any ideas on what would be the smart thing to do? I expect an O2 delivery tomorrow, but I'm thinking that this far into fermentation it's a bad idea to add more. I've always thought adding O2 after more than 12 hours was a no-no. However, we're still only 25% attenuated so.....?

    Should I wait it out as long as the beer keeps fermenting (however slowly)? Should I try and pump some O2 in there tomorrow? Any thoughts? I will run out of this beer in the next week and could really use this batch getting finished asap.

    Any advice is always appreciated. Probrewer rocks!
    Hutch Kugeman
    Head Beer Guy
    Crossroads Brewing
    Athens, NY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    134
    if possible, use a package of dry yeast.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    60

    Call BSI

    I brewed 9/6 with a 7bbl BSI WL001 Pitchable slurry received 9/4. 15 og --9 today. Did not have your oxygen issue but the yeast action is slow as well (to say the least). I am calling BSI today and will never cheat on White Labs again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Athens, NY
    Posts
    416
    I suppose it could be BSI, but I've been using them for a while and have never had a problem. I'm pretty convinced that the lack of O2 is the problem
    Hutch Kugeman
    Head Beer Guy
    Crossroads Brewing
    Athens, NY

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    83
    Hi Hutch-

    I'd call David at BSI ((719) 460-0418.) I've always found him to be a wealth of practical help in situations like this. My recollection (always an iffy resource) from previous discussions with David is that he'd advise oxygenation *up to* 25% attenuation on stuck ferments. Might be your only best shot in this situation.
    Clarke Pelz
    North Star Brewing

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    407
    Oxygenate and rouse thoroughly as soon as you have O2. Also, if you have facility to examine your yeast, I'd be inclined to check the viability.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Plattsburgh, NY USA
    Posts
    220

    aerate and pray

    In the past I've had this happen trying to dial in the proper oxygenation (I went way too low). My yeast didn't really do anything after 24 hours so I attached a stone to the bottom of the fermenter and aerated not too vigorously until I had used about 100 psi out of the tank (after about ten minutes). The next day it was rocking and finished from there on out in three days as normal. The one issue is of course oxidation but it sounds like your yeast is new and therefore healthy so the yeast should gobble all of those o2 molecules. I had absolutely no flavor issues. It was also the house red and it took two months to finish (PB is a tuff craft beer market) and it still tasted great. The sooner the better though, as you want that yeast to out-compete any stray bugs before they get a chance to start respiration. Good luck and damn the leaks!
    Jay Stoyanoff
    Brewmaster
    Plattsburgh Brewing Co.
    Plattsburgh, NY

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    17

    Add O2

    Ditto what monkeybrewer said. I had the same problem with the same fix. Beer turned out great.

    Cheers,
    John Dean
    Blind Tiger Brewery

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    802
    If you have a side racking valve on the tank, set up a pump and circulate from the side valve and back into the bottom valve of the tank with your aeration fitting in the loop ( with O2 or air bubbling in). Preferably, keep the tank under pressure (1-2 psi) to help with any foaming. Do this for ten minutes, wait four hours and see if things improve. They should.

    Pax and luck,

    Liam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Chandler, AZ
    Posts
    209
    There's a big difference between catching this 24 hours later and 6 days later. You can save this by oxygenating 24 hours later, but 6 days & 25% attenuation later is a completely different story. I think that if you oxygenate now you'll definitely have staling issues down the road. Your yeast cell growth phase is passed, and you have a very low cell count in your fermenter right now, so I'd suggest pitching some more yeast from another fermenter if you have it, and don't be shy. Obviously, this will dilute your new yeast, so you'll have to decide if the yeast or the batch is more important. I'd only oxygenate if you want to save the new yeast and want to roll the dice on the batch of beer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    13
    If you were to try oxygenating now it will create problems with the alcohol you have produced. Try pitching in some fresh wort, o2 extensively, allow time for yeast to soak o2 up, then pitch into main ferm. Or try the dry yeast route. Either way be careful about the yeast that has most likely already floced out.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, VT
    Posts
    190

    cell count

    I am fairly certain that the 7bbl pitchable from BSI only provides 7 million cells per ml. You state that your Red Ale was 14 Plato - thus, not only did you not oxygenate, but you also under pitched your first generation. I never use a straight 7bbl pitch for 7bbl of wort. I always propagate first - no stuck fermentations. Yeast labs *notoriously* cell you pitchable quantities that are under their own recommended pitching rates...
    Next time: make a starter.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Greeneville, TN
    Posts
    224
    Call Crosby Baker up and get a brick of the US-05 Fermentis yeast. Rehydrate it and pitch it in. That should get you going and will only cost you like $50.

    I use it nearly exclusively and aerate with sterile filtered compressed air. I never run out of oxygen and get great results. Plus it is much cheaper!

    R/
    Mike Pensinger
    Chief Brewer
    Holston River Brewing Company
    Bristol, TN

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    601

    O2 source

    Hutch,
    If this happens again just run over to the nearest retirement home. Theres usualy plenty of O2 bottles there to grab and those folks are old so they dont put up much of a fight.....
    -LOL, Ted
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    46

    How d'ja make out?

    Hi Kugeman,

    I sent you a PM just wanting to know how you made out as I presently find myself in the same situation.

    Cheers,

    Conan

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