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Old 12-30-2009, 04:15 PM   #1
BOBBYTBREW
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Default Airlock stopped bubbling after 48 hours

I am brand new to home brewing and I'm brewing my very first batch of Amber Ale using Munton's dry yeast (cheap stuff). I had a lot of bubbling activity in the airlock in the first 24 hours -- which was exciting to see -- but now after 48 hours or so it is not bubbling at all. I waited about 5 minutes and -- nothing -- no bubbles. Is there something wrong or is that normal after 48 hours in the fermenter?!

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Old 12-30-2009, 04:18 PM   #2
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So what? The bubbling just means that it is venting excess CO2, nothing more. If it's not bubbling, that only means that it is not producing enough co2 to need to vent.

Nothing else....

If your airlock was bubbling and stopped---It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped.

If you airlock isn't bubbling, it doesn't mean your fermentation hasn't started....

If your airlock starts bubbling, it really doesn't matter.

If your airlock NEVER bubbles, it doesn't mean anything is wrong or right.

Your airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it is a VALVE to release excess co2. And the peak of fermentation has already wound down, so there's simply no need to vent off any excess co2.

Fermentation is not always "dynamic," just because you don't SEE anything happening, doesn't mean that any-thing's wrong,, and also doesn't mean that the yeast are still not working diligently away, doing what they've been doing for over 4,000 years.

You'll be much happier if you get out of that habit, of worrying about your airlock...you will find that fermentations rarely don't take off, or just Stop...In fact I've never had a beer not ferment. BUT half of my fermentations, spread out across 9 different fermenters, never blip once in the airlock.

What is happening is that fermentation is slowing down, and therefore not produce excess co2.

Just leave it alone for at least another 8 days, they you can take a hydrometer reading and decide if you want to secondary it...OR you can do what many many many of us do and leave your beer alone for a month, that will let the beer finish fermenting and then let the yeast clean up after themselves, that way they will get rid of all the byproducts of fermentation that often lead to off flavors, and if new/impatient brewers move to soon, they end up stuck with.

Even John Palmer talks about this in How To Bew;

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Originally Posted by How To Brew
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
Everything is perfectly fine.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:21 PM   #3
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as im sure Revvy will soon tell you. an airlock is not a fermentation indicator. its a pressure release valve. are you brewing in a bucket? if so thats your problem. the lids are hard to get a proper seal sometimes and the CO2 escapes out that way.

in any case take a gravity reading. wait a few days and take another. if they are different then fermentation is still going on and you have nothing to worry about.

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Old 12-30-2009, 04:24 PM   #4
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as im sure Revvy will soon tell you. an airlock is not a fermentation indicator.
.



Missed it by that much.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:34 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the quick response Revvy (and Tipsy Dragon) for the advice. I obviously need to buy some books and do some more reading because the information I've received so far makes it sound like the Airlock IS an indicator that fermentation is going on.

I have no problem being patient (even though that goes against my very nature!!) with this batch because a good tasting beer is ultimately the goal, right?! I'll just leave it be for another 10 days or so and then begin taking gravity readings to see where it is at (I don't have a secondary fermenter yet)

Thanks everyone!!

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Old 12-30-2009, 04:37 PM   #6
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Missed it by that much.
would you believe it.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:41 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the quick response Revvy (and Tipsy Dragon) for the advice. I obviously need to buy some books and do some more reading because the information I've received so far makes it sound like the Airlock IS an indicator that fermentation is going on.

I have no problem being patient (even though that goes against my very nature!!) with this batch because a good tasting beer is ultimately the goal, right?! I'll just leave it be for another 10 days or so and then begin taking gravity readings to see where it is at (I don't have a secondary fermenter yet)

Thanks everyone!!
Bobby,
To be clear, air lock activity IS a sign of fermentation. The absence of air lock activity does not necessarily mean an absence of fermentation. It could be CO2 is escaping elsewhere.

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Old 12-30-2009, 04:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BOBBYTBREW View Post
Thanks so much for the quick response Revvy (and Tipsy Dragon) for the advice. I obviously need to buy some books and do some more reading because the information I've received so far makes it sound like the Airlock IS an indicator that fermentation is going on.

I have no problem being patient (even though that goes against my very nature!!) with this batch because a good tasting beer is ultimately the goal, right?! I'll just leave it be for another 10 days or so and then begin taking gravity readings to see where it is at (I don't have a secondary fermenter yet)

Thanks everyone!!
Over half of my beers have had no airlock activity...AND that is spread out among carboys, buckets. water bottles, and anything else I may ferment in, and regardless of the type of airlock...I have 9 different fermenters...

That's why I and many others say repeatedly that the only gauge of fermentaion is your hydrometer (or refractometer) . Those are precision calibrated instruments...

More than likely your fermentation is going nicely at it's own pace but for a dozen possible reasons your airlock isn't bubbling...simple as that. Get out of the habit of thinking it is a precision instrument and you will find you are less worried...The only precise methid of gauging fermentation is taking gravity readings.

Back in the bad old days, the predominant airlock was an s type...and often they were made of glass and sat relatively heavy in the grommet, and that's where people like papazain and those who influenced him got into the habit of counting bubbles...but now adays with 3 piecers being the norm, and most things being made crappy these days...it's just not a reliable means anymore.

The trouble is, that even the authors for the most part have been brewing so long that they don't pay attention to the airlock, yet the perpetuate the myth from the old days of bubbles meaning anything....though I figure, as a writer myself, they have long moved past the basic methodology that they wrote about...it's easy to do...to "preach" something very basic, while doing a process somewhat more complex...or like most of us who have been brewing awhile, taking shortcuts.

Co2 is heavier than air...there can be plenty of co2 going on, plenty of active fermentation happenning but there is not enough excess co2 rising or venting out to actually lift the plastic bubbler

The 3 piece airlock is the most fallable of them all, often there is simply not a strong enough escape of co2 to lift the bubbler. Or they can be weighted down with co2 bubbles, ir hteir is a leak in the grommet or the bucket seal, anynumber of factors.

If you push down on your bucket lid often you will suddenly get a huge amount of bubbling as you off gass the co2 that is there present but no needing to vent on it's own.

I find that the older S type airlocks, even plastic are much more reliable...in face I have started to use those old school ones exclusively. Not to use them as a gauge of fermentation...but because I like to watch the bubbles..

But even those don't always bubble..BUT you can tell theres CO2 pushing out because the liquid will be on the farthest side away from the grommet or bung hole.


Even not bubbling. you can see that something has pushed the water to the other side...


There's quite a few people on here who do not use an airlock at all, they simply loosely place their lids on the bucket, or cover with saran wrap, or tinfoil or pieces of plexigalss, these just sit on the top and if the CO2 needs to void out it doess...Because as I said before if the co2 is pushing out, then NOTHING is getting in.

If you look around on here at all the supposed "stuck" fermentation panic thread are not true Stuck fermentations, or deads yeasts, but are simply people like you using treating the vent like some precision instrument...And they, just like you use the words "Signs of fermentation." And that is our clue that you are going by arilocks.

And 90% or more come back and say they took a hydro reading...and everything was fine...

Rarely do yeasts these days get stuck...this isn't like the 70's when there was one or two strains of yeast, and they came from Europe in dried out cakes, and nowadays with our hobby so popular, even most tinned kits with the yeast under the lid trun over so fast that they are relatvely fresh most of the time.

So nowadays the only way our yeast "dies" or poops out is 1)If we pitch it into boiling wort 2) There is a big temp drop and the yeasts go dormant and flocculate out, or 3) if there is a high grav wort and the yeast maxes out in it's ability to eat all the sugar...and even then the yeast may poop out at either 1.030 or 1.020...But other than that most fermentations take....

AND this is regardless of any airlock bubbling...

Seriously, many of us pitch our yeast, walk away for a month and then bottle, and our beers have turned out great...The yeasts have been doing this for 5,000 years...they know what they're doing,

Hope this helps! You will find you are much more relaxed and able to RDWHAHB...if you ignore the airlock...

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Old 12-30-2009, 06:51 PM   #9
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Wow Revvy! All great information...sounds like you've been doing this awhile. Hopefully someday I'll be able to "pay it forward" to another new brewer like you've done for me. I'm going to sit back, relax, and wait a few weeks. I appreciate all the info!

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