Have Questions?
Give Us A Call!


Cold Weather Brewing - My Yeast is not Starting, Why?!!

We brewers tend to brew our beer in locations often depending on the weather. We ALSO tend to put our fermentor in the same place, regardless of temperature.

Problems with Yeast Starting...

Most of us brewers brew our beer either on the back porch, in the garage, or in the kitchen, depending on the weather, right? We also tend to ferment our brew in a single favored place...regardless of the weather. Every year, just as it gets consistently cold, I get calls from brewers who brewed a week ago, pitched their yeast and even after a week, not much is going on in their fermentor. Ever been there?

Again, the cold weather often sneaks up on you and you find yourself with a unique problem, like no fermentation. Really, this happens to all of us some time or another. The solution is pretty simple. If the temperature of your brew is in the lower 60's or less, the ale yeast is going dormant because of the cold. It needs warmer temperature at least to get started. After it gets off to a good start, you can move it to the cellar and it will complete fermenting normally.

If you find yourself in the position where you have the fermentor in the garage or some other cool place, simply bring the fermentor to a warmer place, like the kitchen counter. To speed things up, you can place it in a sink full of warm water. You will find fermentation will begin quickly as the temperature rises above 70F. Once it gets off to a good start, you can move it to a cooler location. Remember, the core temperature of the fermenting brew is about 10F warmer than the outside temperature. If your cellar is 62F, the brew will be fermenting around 72F

When you get into lagering and you want to cold ferment, you need to increase the amount of yeast you pitch. Lagers need often twice the yeast as ales. For a great tool on yeast pitching rates, go to Mr. Malty's Pitching Rate Calculator.