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After years of finding excuses to not home brew, I finally gave in and bought a starter kit from Brewers Best and ingredients for my first batch; Muntons Connoisseurs Export Pilsner.

Anyway, it's been 3 days fermenting in the primary bucket and no action in the bubbler. I have gone through everything that I did in my head and today it hit me. I used the wrong corn sugar packet; the small one.

Is there anything I can do to save this batch? As a newbie, I don't know if this is q big deal or not. PLEASE HELP!

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Take a deep breath. My guess is that it'll be just fine! So you added the 5oz of priming sugar instead of a larger bag? How big was the other bag? What temp is the fermentor at? What was the temp when you pitched the yeast? If you can edit in a few more details, that might help. –  yhw42 Jun 25 '11 at 21:18
    
Brian, I'm with yhw42, don't worry too much about the suger. You'll end up with a less alcoholic beer. Just call it a session pilsner and you're fine. As long as you didn't throw in the sanitizer you should end up fine. Does the beer in your bucket look kinda like this? jimsbeerkit.co.uk/images/brewing_24hr_yeast_head.jpg –  Nathan Koop Jun 27 '11 at 16:18
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Any update on this Brian? –  Poshpaws Jun 29 '11 at 18:14
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1 Answer 1

Not all fermenting buckets are air-tight, which means that occationaly you'll have a bucket where the airlock on top does not bubble properly. This by itself is not a problem. Also, your mistake with the corn sugar won't really hurt you, and it is not the reason you have no bubbles.

What you need to do now is take off the lid of the bucket and see if you've had any fermentation. Signs of fermentation include, but are not limited to:

  • Scummy looking foam on the top of the liquid.
  • A brown ring above the line of the liquid
  • Floating yeast clumps on top
  • The presence of C02 in the head space of the bucket (you can smell this, it's a "sharp" sort of smell)

If you don't see any of these things, the best thing for you to do is to buy a hydrometer from the store and a new packet of yeast TODAY and go take a sample from the beer. If the hydro sample is at or near to the starting gravity of the beer (which should be on the kit instructions) then fermentation has not begun and you need to add the new packet of yeast.

If the hydro sample is significantly* lower than the starting gravity, or if you see the signs in the list above, then you are fine. Just seal the lid back up and leave it alone for 3 weeks before doing anything else.

* Edit: By "significantly", I mean something like .02 points lower or more. So 1.045 is not "significantly" lower than 1.050, but 1.030 is.

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obvious note (that sometimes is easy to overlook), you should sanitize the beer thief before using it. (or sanitize your hydrometer if you're putting it directly into the fermenting beer) –  Nathan Koop Jun 27 '11 at 17:11
    
Note also: Don't necessarily leave it alone if the starting gravity is lower, as the amount of sugar added was less than the required quantity - as per the question. The deficit of sugar will give a lower starting gravity - less than the recipe's starting gravity - even if fermentation has not got going. –  iWeasel Jun 27 '11 at 18:19
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Very true iWeasel. My intent was if the sample was "significantly" lower than OG, but a new brewer won't know how to interpret "significantly". –  Graham Jun 27 '11 at 19:17
    
+1 for your clarification comment @Graham. I still feel it is a little misleading, though, as even if it were significantly lower, that alone is not sufficient. I feel it should be 'significantly lower AND if you see the signs listed...'. I have never witnessed a drop in gravity (from start) without other signals that fermentation is on the go. –  iWeasel Jun 27 '11 at 20:31
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