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Sequence of Events:

  1. March 21st - Boiled water and honey and placed in sanitized plastic bucket with airlock (containing sanitary solution: Iodophor). Bucket placed in basement to cool overnight.
  2. March 22nd - Airlock was empty and the sides of the bucket had sucked in. Pitched yeast. Refilled Airlock.
  3. March 31st - Racked into carboy.

Current State:

I just went to move the Must from the primary fermentation stage (plastic 6.5 gal bucket) into a carboy for the secondary fermentation. The airlock was not bubbling and the must had strange traits:

  1. Very little sediment. I would expect about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch at the bottom, but there was scarcely more than a Tablespoon total.
  2. There were little round floating spots (whitish, from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch diameter, seem to be about 1/16 inch thick) on the top. There were about half a dozen or so.
  3. The must didn't have the carbonated/yeasty aroma I would expect at this point. It mostly smelled like it did before pitching the yeast.

I went ahead and syphoned it into the carboy, avoiding the top portion with the spots (most of which adhered to the side of the bucket during syphoning). There doesn't seem to be any activity from the yeast. If I agitate the must, no carbonation is generated.

Question:

I have a two fold question: What did I do wrong and how do I fix it without throwing the must out?

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2  
Have you measured the gravity? –  baka Apr 2 '11 at 2:14
    
It also sounds like you are doing a lot of moving around of the liquid without even giving it time to start. I think you are just seeing yeast on the surface. Be a little patient and let that yeast get going. –  brewchez Apr 2 '11 at 12:59
    
@baka: Initial specific gravity was 1.101. I didn't measure it again when I racked it, but certainly could. @brewchez: I suppose it could have been yeast, though I've never seen that behavior on previous batches, particularly ones where I've used the same process. –  Aaron Apr 2 '11 at 13:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

After putting a heating pad against the carboy for a few days, I've started to get yeast activity. I'm speculating that the must was too cold for the yeast when I pitched it.

Next time, I'll check the temperature when I pitch the yeast.

I'm still not certain what the spots were, but they haven't shown back up.

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