I brewed my BIPA #2 on a recent Monday when I was off from work. I worked the next two days and in my distraction never looked in on my beer. Ridiculous, I know. But when I checked it Thursday there was only the most minimal sign of fermentation. Did it never kick off? Did I miss it completely? What’s going on?
A gravity reading revealed that it was fermenting. The gravity had dropped from 1.081 to 1.031. Things were in fact well underway. Satisfied that it was humming along, I let it be for a couple more days. When I next checked, it was down to 1.023. A few days later it was still around 1.023 so I decided to rack to my secondary and dry-hop.
Dry hopping with Amarillo (you say, “am-uh-rill-oh,” I say “ahm-ah-ree-yo”) went smoothly and I was happy with my gravity readings but I was concerned about how less active the fermentation was. Last time my fermenter was a glorious mess – oozing krausen and splattering brown gooeyness all over the airlock and lid. This time, there were no raging bubbles, no excitement and definitely no mess.
I’m guessing I did not achieve the desired attenuation. I just re-read the directions on the vial of San Diego Super Strain (WLP090). It suggests an activator for beers with original gravity over 1.070 and my BIPA #2 was 1.081. But my yeast lab (read: disorganized heap of home brew supplies piled on a basement shelf) doesn't contain any activator. I've never used an activator, don’t know how to make a starter and can barely control temperature, much less when I pitch. But I didn't use one last time either so … who knows, maybe all will be well once it’s carbonated?...