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Forgot to dissolve sugar! GB not fermenting.

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brewer boy

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Hi y'all,

I attempted a brew of ginger beer on the weekend. However, I forgot to put the sugar in with the hot water and it was only after I topped up to 23 litres of cold water (at which point the temp was not hot enough to dissolve the sugar) that I realised I forgot to add the dextrose.

I put it in and gave it a very vigorous stir before letting it cool a bit more and then pitching the yeast.
There has been no sign of fermentation in the brew. Since Sunday I have been monitoring it, taking SG readings and giving it a gentle swirl each day to try and get it started but to no effect.

I'm just wondering if I've got 2 kgs of sugar sitting on the bottom that the y est isn't eating up.

Here's the recipie:
1 Kit of ginger beer (could have been Morgans?)
2kg of dextrose
fresh grated ginger
1 packet of yeast.

The initial SG reading was 1.034

I took another reading on the hydrometer on Wednesday (which confirmed my suspicions that there had been no activity - same SG reading). I I did take another reading on the hydro this morning and it had actually dropped to 1.028 but it has been 6 days and there is no sign of anything really happening.

I'm not sure where to from here. My best thought is to pitch some more yeast. Perhaps prepare a starter this time around?

Any other thoughts or advice would be much appreciated. A reccomendation on a good yeast for GB would also be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

manticle

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The yeast will find the sugar and the fact that it has dropped suggests that it is fermenting. Dropping gravity is the best sign there is of activity.

I'd leave it and see over a few days.

I'll leave yeast recommendations to others as I've not made a GB for a few years and that was KK with the kit yeast.
 

Bludger

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As manticle said the yeast will find the sugar.
It is not actually necessary to disolve the sugar, it just speeds things up. The sugar will dissolve slowly and form a thicker layer at the bottom of the fermenter. The yeast will start on that and as it gives off gas you will get currents forming in the fermenter as it rises to the surface. Over time these currents will mix all the layers.
This is part of the reason why brews naturally go clear after the end of fermentation, no rising gas to mix the contents. (Not the full reason, it is more complex than that).
 

brewer boy

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Thanks for the replies.
I hear what you are saying about the yeast but it is clear now that something is not quite right.
It has been 8 days now - SG is still at 1028 (it hasn't moved in about 4 days now).
I think i'll throw some more yeast in it tonight and see how it goes.
Will post an update - hopefully with some good news!

cheers
 

brewer boy

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A quick update.
I have tried warming up the brew to try and get a reaction. At first I thought this helped as it started bubbling away almost straight away.
However, it soon stopped. I gave it a gentle swirl and it started again! IT seems that whenever I gently stir it, the yeast starts to get active but over the course of a few hours it stops again!
Another gentle stir - and another few hours of action. I'm happy that it is working some of the time but it is also such a slow process. I've never expereinced anything like this before.

As of this morning, the SG was at 1.020 (from an initial 1.034. Still a way to go yet. I just want to get this thing in bottles so I can drink it!!
 

bum

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The bubbling you get after stirring and raising the temp may actually be CO2 coming out of solution.This sort of bubbling is not really sustainable as there is only some much CO2 that is likely to come out this way. So what you're looking at may not actually be "action" but that is not to say that nothing is going on. Trust your hydrometer and not your airlock. Your gravity is still dropping so things are happening.

Good luck with it.
 

brewer boy

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Hi all,
Thanks for the advice so far. I'm after a bit more now if that is ok :)

So the update is that the airlock keeps bubbling regulalry (every 30 seconds or so). I know this is not a reliable sign of fermentation.

Hydrometer readings have been stable at 1.010 for the past 3 days. Usually, I know that if readings remain stable it is time to bottle. However, given that readings were also stable at 1.024 for about 5 days last week before I managed to get it going again I am trying to figure out if this has actually finished fermentation. Clearly, following the rule of bottling after of 2 days of stable hydrometer readings would not have been a good idea on this occaision.

Given that I put 2kg of dextrose (as opposed to the instructions which was only for 1kg) in as I'm looking for a higher alcohol perecentage than the stated 3% I expecetd that the FG would be around the 1.004 level. At the moment, given readings haven't dropped to a level I expected, and that the alcohol content is still quite low, I'm inclined to think that this isn't ready for bottling yet. On the other hand, it has been 2.5 weeks and readings are stable.
Am I just sitting on a really slow batch? Would anyone reccomend bottling at this point? Obviously i'm keen to avoid exploding bottles...

Cheers folks, any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

dicko

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Apart from not dissolving the sugar you should have pitched more yeast if you nearly doubled the fermentables.

Gently rouse the brew again and if the FG doesn't drop any more then bottle it.

Cheers
 

brewer boy

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G'day dicko,
sorry, I should have added that I did pitch another 7g of yeast.
I also gave it a gentlre rouse last night. Will tkae another reading tonight to see what/if any affect that has.

cheers,
 

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