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Old 01-27-2011, 03:14 AM   #1
jhouse59
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Default Fermentation stop and go

I made an pale ale Saturday (1/22/2011). Then I cooled it down with an wort chiller. Added a pack of "American Ale Wyeast Activator 1056" (smack pack). When I checked on it the next morning I didn't see any bubbles in the air lock. The temperature was 64 degrees so I wrapped a blanket. That night when I checked on it it was working.The temp when up to 68 degrees. Monday night when I checked on it. No activity in the air lock. When I've used dry yeast before seems like it works longer. I was wondering if this is normal for this type of yeast? Or, should I do something to try to get it to start back up? Should there be bubbles in the airlock when it's making alcohol?

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Old 01-27-2011, 03:24 AM   #2
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Bubbles mean fermentation but no bubbles don't always mean NO fermentation. let it go a couple of days and take a gravity reading... If it is lower then your OG, you have fermentation. Did your smack pack inflate and did you leave it the required time to start?

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Old 01-27-2011, 04:03 AM   #3
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let it go a couple of days and take a gravity reading... If it is lower then your OG, you have fermentation
I'm worried about getting air into the formentor. Or, is this a problem?

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Did your smack pack inflate and did you leave it the required time to start?[
Yes. It inflated real good. It thought it might explode.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
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It's probably finished with the most vigorous part of fermentation. I'd leave it for a few weeks and then keg/bottle it. You could take a hydro reading if you need reassurance.

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Old 01-27-2011, 06:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jhouse59 View Post
I'm worried about getting air into the formentor. Or, is this a problem?


Yes. It inflated real good. It thought it might explode.
There's already air in the fermenter. The airlock serves more to keep contaminants out than anything else.
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:44 AM   #6
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I took a gravity reading with my Refractometer today (1/27/2011). The reading was 6.00 degree or 1.024 specific. My OG was 1.048 So I guess I was worry for nothing. I also ordered me a FermWrap Heater and a digital temperature controller today to help control the temp. Thanks for the help. I also went ahead and added a pack of dry yeast.

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Old 01-28-2011, 06:26 AM   #7
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just to check, was that refractometer reading adjusted? they get thrown off by the ethanol

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Old 01-28-2011, 06:20 PM   #8
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just to check, was that refractometer reading adjusted? they get thrown off by the ethanol
I posted this on another forum. Someone gave me a link to a site that does that. http://www.brewheads.com/refract-currentgrav.php
Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:29 PM   #9
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Stop and go bubbles means......................Stop and go bubbles, NOT that anything is wrong with fermentation.

Airlock bubbling (or lack) and fermentation are not the same thing. You have to separate that from your mindset. Airlock bubbling can be a sign of fermentation, but not a good one, because the airlock will often blip or not blip for various other reasons...so it is a tenuous connection at best.

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. If it bubbles it is because it needs to, if it doesn't, it just means it doesn't need too...


Your HYDROMETER is the only BEST indicator of fermentation activity. Nothing else is accurate or consistent...

Unless you take a gravity reading you don't know what's really going on, not by airlock bubbling or by krausen formation. Neither of those signs are effective, they don't tell you exactly where on the fermentation process you are.

The amount of krausen can vary for whatever reason, it can come quick and depart quickly or it can linger long after fermentation is complete, and it all be normal.

And airlocks sometimes bubble or they don't. And airlock is a valve, a vent to release excess co2...NOT a fermentation gauge. It's important to make that distinction, or you'll be panicking everytime a an airlock doesn't bubble, or stops bubbling.

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.

That's why you need to take a gravity reading to know how your fermentation is going, NOT go by airlocks, or size of krausen, or a calendar, the horoscope or the phases of the moon (those things in my mind are equally accurate).

The most important tool you can use is a hydrometer. It's the only way you will truly know when your beer is ready...airlock bubbles and other things are faulty.

The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer. Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....

Fast fermentations/slow fermentations/big krausens/small krausens/bubbles starting and stopping, in the long run is really irrevelent....just that you have fermentation. Yeast don't normal normally die/stop fermenting/get tired, that's a premise new brewers believe, but it's not the truth. Yeast have been doing this for 4,000 years, and know how to ferment the beer, they WANT to ferment the beer, it's their entire purpose in life is to eat sugar, peer alcohol and fart co2 (along with some major screwing during the reproductive phase) especially modern 21st century yeast.

All those other things are really just superficial to the purpose at hand, if your yeast took off, unless you let the temp go down near 50, your yeast is still working happily away, despite what the supreficial signs like airlock may indicate.

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Old 01-29-2011, 03:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhouse59
I'm worried about getting air into the formentor. Or, is this a problem?

Yes. It inflated real good. It thought it might explode.
Your beer is protected by a nice blanket of CO2 while fermenting. cO2 is heavier than O2 meaning the O2 gets forced out of the headspace. My coworker and I did an experiment at work with CO2 and canister and an O2 analyzer. We pumped CO2 into the canister and watched the O2 level drop to almost zero in less than 10 mins. Don't be scared to take a sample. Use proper sanitation and you will be good
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