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Old 04-30-2012, 01:42 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation stuck or just too concerned?

Hey guys. I am brewing a porter. It went in this past Saturday afternoon, and began fermenting sometime during the night Saturday night. The airlock was bubbling clearly for that whole day, and all last night. However, today it is not really bubbling. The bubbling must have slowed drastically.

I was planning on doing 1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, 3 weeks bottle. However, if the beer isn't done fermenting I don't really want to put it into secondary. Any thoughts on this? Is it alright to open my bucket and take a hydrometer reading in a few days, or do I risk infection?

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:50 PM   #2
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You shouldn't judge fermentation based on airlock activity. Only trust gravity readings. If your gravity readings are consistent for three days then it's done. Your time schedule looks fine by me. I would actually leave it on the cake until ready to bottle. I never do a secondary honestly. Since keeping it on the cake my brews have come out better. If your going to open the fermenter just make sure you sanitize everything that touches your beer and everything around it. Practicing excellent sanitation will relieve your worries on infections.

Cheers.

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:56 PM   #3
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You didn't post a gravity reading so therefore I don't see why you think you have a stuck fermentation? All I see is you talking about your airlock which means absolutely nothing....

Except that your airlock stopped....

Airlock bubbling and fermentation are not the same things, so a slowing airlock doesn't equate with slowing fermentation, or really anything....

Airlock activity is irrevelent. Just gravity points on a hydrometer. And yes bubbling slows down eventually.

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.

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.

Fermentation USUALLY slows down after a few days, which means then that less co2 is being produced, which usually means there's no EXCESS co2 to NEED to come out of the airlock.

But that does NOT mean fermentation has topped.

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.

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopcop View Post
You shouldn't judge fermentation based on airlock activity. Only trust gravity readings. If your gravity readings are consistent for three days then it's done. Your time schedule looks fine by me. I would actually leave it on the cake until ready to bottle. I never do a secondary honestly. Since keeping it on the cake my brews have come out better. If your going to open the fermenter just make sure you sanitize everything that touches your beer and everything around it. Practicing excellent sanitation will relieve your worries on infections.

Cheers.
Yeah I like the idea of leaving it in primary the whole time, but the one time I did it it got infected. This is just the first beer that I have done where the airlock hasn't been going nuts for at least 2-3 days lol. I know that it's possible that the CO2 is leaking around the seals to the bucket, though.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:56 PM   #5
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I wouldn't worry too much. My experience is that buckets are notorious for leaky lids. You wouldn't hurt anything opening and resealing it. Just keep it clean.

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Old 04-30-2012, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
You didn't post a gravity reading so therefore I don't see why you think you have a stuck fermentation? All I see is you talking about your airlock which means absolutely nothing....

Except that your airlock stopped....

Airlock bubbling and fermentation are not the same things, so a slowing airlock doesn't equate with slowing fermentation, or really anything....

Airlock activity is irrevelent. Just gravity points on a hydrometer. And yes bubbling slows down eventually.

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.

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.

Fermentation USUALLY slows down after a few days, which means then that less co2 is being produced, which usually means there's no EXCESS co2 to NEED to come out of the airlock.

But that does NOT mean fermentation has topped.

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.
Knew this post was coming! lol. Honestly, opening it up and taking the hydrometer reading worries me more. I will just spray the hell out of the outside of the fermenter and the turkey baster before I take a reading.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:34 PM   #7
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Honestly, opening it up and taking the hydrometer reading worries me more. I will just spray the hell out of the outside of the fermenter and the turkey baster before I take a reading.
In homebrewing there is so much that we advise folks not to do, yet the one thing that EVERY book, podcast, magazine and website talks about is gravity readings....

How do you think we get them?

Do you think the advice to take them is a vast conspiracy by us old timers to ruin millions of new brewer's batches, so that they flee the hobby and give it a bad rap? Or so they make crappy beer and we kick your asses in contests?

With simple sanitization practices openning the fermenter to take a reading is perfectly safe. You won't spoil your beer.

I know it's a scary premise, but it is really silly to avoid something scientific like a gravity reading because you're afraid of that and instead rely on something faulty like counting bubbles.

Our beer is much stronger than that.

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

Sorry but that really is the only answer that is accurate or consistant, the numbers on the little stick. I have had evrey airlock bubbling/non bubbling/slow bubbling/fast bubbling/little krausen/big krausen/slow forming krausen/krausen staying 3 weeks after the hydro showed terminal gravity scenario imaginable in nearly 1,000 gallons of beer, and none of that stuff is as accurate as 30 seconds with a hydrometer.

With simple sanitization practices openning the fermenter to take a reading is perfectly safe. You won't spoil your beer.

This is what I use, and it works with both buckets and carboys.

I replaced the plastic one a year ago with an extra long stainless baster from a kitchen ware store and it is awesome. But the plastic one from any grocery store works fine.



And



Here's what I do....

1) With a spray bottle filled with starsan I spray the lid of my bucket, or the mouth of the carboy, including the bung. Then I spray my turkey baster inside and out with sanitize (or dunking it in a container of sanitizer).

2) Open fermenter.

3) Draw Sample

4) fill sample jar (usualy 2-3 turky baster draws

5)Spray bung or lid with sanitizer again

6) Close lid or bung

6) add hydrometer and take reading

It is less than 30 seconds from the time the lid is removed until it is closed again. More like 15 if you ask me.

Probably less if you have help. And unless a bird flies in your place and lets go with some poop, you should be okay.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
In homebrewing there is so much that we advise folks not to do, yet the one thing that EVERY book, podcast, magazine and website talks about is gravity readings....

How do you think we get them?

Do you think the advice to take them is a vast conspiracy by us old timers to ruin millions of new brewer's batches, so that they flee the hobby and give it a bad rap? Or so they make crappy beer and we kick your asses in contests?

With simple sanitization practices openning the fermenter to take a reading is perfectly safe. You won't spoil your beer.

I know it's a scary premise, but it is really silly to avoid something scientific like a gravity reading because you're afraid of that and instead rely on something faulty like counting bubbles.

Our beer is much stronger than that.

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

Sorry but that really is the only answer that is accurate or consistant, the numbers on the little stick. I have had evrey airlock bubbling/non bubbling/slow bubbling/fast bubbling/little krausen/big krausen/slow forming krausen/krausen staying 3 weeks after the hydro showed terminal gravity scenario imaginable in nearly 1,000 gallons of beer, and none of that stuff is as accurate as 30 seconds with a hydrometer.

With simple sanitization practices openning the fermenter to take a reading is perfectly safe. You won't spoil your beer.

This is what I use, and it works with both buckets and carboys.

I replaced the plastic one a year ago with an extra long stainless baster from a kitchen ware store and it is awesome. But the plastic one from any grocery store works fine.



And



Here's what I do....

1) With a spray bottle filled with starsan I spray the lid of my bucket, or the mouth of the carboy, including the bung. Then I spray my turkey baster inside and out with sanitize (or dunking it in a container of sanitizer).

2) Open fermenter.

3) Draw Sample

4) fill sample jar (usualy 2-3 turky baster draws

5)Spray bung or lid with sanitizer again

6) Close lid or bung

6) add hydrometer and take reading

It is less than 30 seconds from the time the lid is removed until it is closed again. More like 15 if you ask me.

Probably less if you have help. And unless a bird flies in your place and lets go with some poop, you should be okay.
Thanks Revvy. I'll make sure I keep the windows closed!
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:12 PM   #9
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Thanks Revvy. I'll make sure I keep the windows closed!
SG = 1.013

Beer smells fantastic and looks good except it looks lighter than I thought it would.

However after looking at this chart and noting that it's supposed to be about 24 SRM, looks like I'm right on the money.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_D1BRubh0vh...olor+Chart.jpg
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:35 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=arringtonbp;4043311]SG = 1.013
Beer smells fantastic and looks good except it looks lighter than I thought it would.
QUOTE]

You should drink the sample - the taste will tell you something, too.

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