Question about cold fermenting

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by PackerDan, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. PackerDan

    PackerDan Member

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    This is the first time I'm trying cold fermenting. I have a czech amber lager fermenting at 50 degrees F. It's been three days and no activity in the airlock. Should I be worried? I'm assuming fermenting at cooler temps results in slower fermentation but not sure. How long should it take to see some activity? The bucket is pretty full so there isn't a lot of head space.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    that cold it should take up to 2 weeks fermenting, the first sign of activity varies assuming you used a lager yeast?
     
  3. PackerDan

    PackerDan Member

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    Thanks. I forgot to mention I used Wyeast 2124 - Bohemian Lager yeast. Temp range is 45 to 68F. The recipe I'm using says to keep it at 50F for a week then start gradually bringing the temp up to 68 for the second week. Should I hold at 50F until I get some activity or follow the recipe and start increasing the temp next week?
     
  4. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    #4 BOB357, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    Bucket lids are notorious for not sealing well. This is one good reason not to trust airlock activity as an indication of fermentation. Don't worry about a leaky lid. That said, lag times are generally longer at lower temperatures, so I wouldn't panic just yet. The amount of yeast required for a good ferment at lager temperatures is approximately twice what is needed at ale temperatures. Adequate aeration/oxygenation is very important as well.
     
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  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    You could easily not see airlock activity at all. When everything gets going after the lag phase (which you are likely still in), you may only see the level of the liquid in the lock change slightly and never see any bubbles at all. Even in a carboy, airlock activity is extremely low and slow with a cold fermented lager. The lager I have ready to keg now started so slow that it was the evening of the 4th day before I saw full krausen. Ideally you pitched a lot of yeast and either oxygenated or aerated very well. It'll go.
    Be patient.
     
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  6. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    A hydrometer reading will tell you if fermentation has started. When brewing lagers you will need to pitch a larger amount of yeast than you would for an ale. With the proper pitch rate 2124 usually takes off pretty quickly ( for me at least ). Did you make a starter or just pitch what was in the smack pack? If you didn't use a starter and the yeast wss even a few weeks old then I would expect that fermentation would be sluggish
     
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  7. PackerDan

    PackerDan Member

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    Just wanted to say thanks for all the good advice. Patience paid off and fermentation was successful.
     
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