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Old 01-28-2011, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation taking longer than expected....

Okay, I'm new here and new to the hobby so bear with me. Two weeks ago I brewed my first batch of beer. It was a Mild Ale extract kit from NB. Documentation that came with the kit said fermentation would be completed and the beer would be ready to bottle in two weeks. Tomorrow will be two weeks. I just took a peek at the carboy and I am still getting a bubble through the airlock at a rate of about one every 60 seconds (down from about one every 45 seconds a couple days ago). So that tells me I still have active fermentation going on (am I wrong?).

Also, during the early stages of fermentation a cap of kraussen about 1" thick developed. My understanding is that fermentation will be complete when the kraussen receeds and falls back into the beer. Well, I still have a little less than a half inch of it still floating on the top of my beer and it's been like that for days....it doesn't appear to be receeding any further.

I guess I just expected (based on the recommended fermentation period) that the bubbles in the airlock should have stopped by now and that the foam should have receeded by now. Do you guys think I have a problem? I know the "real" way to know when fermentation is complete is to take gravity readings for a few days to determine if the gravity has stabilized. But I don't see any point in taking a gravity reading if all visual signs still suggest active fermentation is taking place. Do I have any reason to be concerned that my low-alcohol simple mild ale extract kit appears to be taking so long to ferment?

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Old 01-28-2011, 02:55 PM   #2
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Krausen and bubbles are very, very poor indicators of fermentation. You can have bubbles but no fermentation, or fermentation and no bubbles. I've had batches go ape wild with no krausen to show for it, and I've had krausen stick around for weeks after I knew fermentation had long since completed. (I knew it had competed because I took a gravity reading, which -- as you say -- is the only thing that counts for anything).

Seriously. Take a gravity reading. Probably 1/3 of the posts in the beginners forum here are because people are surprised by how their fermentation looks. Fermentation is weird. It's different every time.

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:45 PM   #3
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Which kit from Northern Brewer did you make and which yeast did you use?

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Which kit from Northern Brewer did you make and which yeast did you use?
It's their Mild Ale Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains (item #U1050). It was one of the kits that the guys at NB recommended to me as a good one to start with. I used the Wyest 1945 NeoBrittania smack pack that came with the kit. I brewed on 1/15/11.

My original gravity reading was 1.033 just before pitching yeast. On MalFet's advice in the first reply to this thread, I just used my thief to punch down through the foam and grab a sample for my first gravity reading since brewday. It came in at 1.011. Guess I'll take another reading tomorrow morning? Or should I wait a couple days?
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Trailerhook View Post
It's their Mild Ale Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains (item #U1050). It was one of the kits that the guys at NB recommended to me as a good one to start with. I used the Wyest 1945 NeoBrittania smack pack that came with the kit. I brewed on 1/15/11.

My original gravity reading was 1.033 just before pitching yeast. On MalFet's advice in the first reply to this thread, I just took my first gravity reading since brewday. It came in at 1.011. Guess I'll take another reading tomorrow morning? Or should I wait a couple days?
Give it a couple of days. You're getting close to the standard attenuation for this yeast, but still a bit under. I bet you'll still drop a couple of points over the next few days.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:11 PM   #6
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Just took second gravity reading. It may have dropped a half point over the last 48 hours. This reading came in just over 1.010. I'll wait another 2-3 days to see if it ever gets under 1.010. Krausen still sticking around and showing no signs of going away. Will this cause a problem when it comes time to rack to the bottling bucket? I don't want any of that nasty looking stuff making its way into my bottles.

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
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Just took second gravity reading. It may have dropped a half point over the last 48 hours. This reading came in just over 1.010. I'll wait another 2-3 days to see if it ever gets under 1.010. Krausen still sticking around and showing no signs of going away. Will this cause a problem when it comes time to rack to the bottling bucket? I don't want any of that nasty looking stuff making its way into my bottles.
If you rack carefully, it shouldn't be a problem. Half a point isn't much to drop. Can you nudge the temp up a bit?
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:45 PM   #8
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Leave it alone, and let the yeast do what they do. Let the krausen fall, or wait a month. Then take gravity reading two days apart. If they match, then taste it. If it tastes at all buttery, leave it be for another week. When the diacetyl subsides, bottle it. The biggest thing, is to leave the beer alone.

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