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Old 12-06-2009, 11:00 PM   #1
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Default Primary ferm started bubbling again after 2weeks

I brewed a IPA two weeks ago. Almost immediately it started bubbling like mad for 4 days. So much, in fact, it bubbled over a couple of times the first 24 hours. After four days, the bubbling came to a dramatic halt. However, the water in the air lock was pushed over to one side (I was trying to find a the pict Revvy posted a while back to show this but had no luck). In any case, I felt confident the CO2 was sitting happily above the beer and everything was normal. However, after a week I noticed the water in the airlock was going back the other side (towards the entrance of the carboy). Then a week later (currently) the water went back to exit side of the airlock and it began bubbling again. In summary, it fermentated, then resided, then started fermentating two weeks later. Is this normal? I can't read my hydrometer inside because the hops and bubbles of the beer.

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Old 12-06-2009, 11:07 PM   #2
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I have no idea. You could have had a change in the weather, and the airlock will bubble. A change in barometric pressure will cause the airlock to bubble. A change in temperature might cause "suckback" in the airlock, or bubbling in the airlock. That's why they're not relied on for a reliable indicator of fermentation, especially after most of the fermentation is finished.

I don't know what you mean you can't take a sample because of too many hops and foam. If you've got a krausen, fermentation is going on. But you can still take out a sample from below the krausen if you really want to know what's going on. Either it's still fermenting or it's not. I'd say you have a 50/50 chance of either.

You could have had a stuck fermentation that restarted. Or a fermenation that is really just starting. Or what's going on now could be related to weather. Or an infection. I really have no idea without any hydrometer readings.

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Old 12-07-2009, 04:16 PM   #4
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Yes, it is inside. I thought at the time it would save the risk of contamination when taking samples.

I think you are on to something about the weather. It started raining and being cloudy right around the time it started bubbling. I'm hoping it is not contamination, but I suppose I'll find out soon enough when I dry hop this week.

Thanks for your help!

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Wait- your hydrometer isn't INSIDE the fermenter is it? If it is, take it out.
This actually sounds like a great idea. Why would you recommend removing the hydrometer? In what way would this create a problem?
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:38 PM   #6
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This actually sounds like a great idea. Why would you recommend removing the hydrometer? In what way would this create a problem?
Well, for one, you can't read it anyway when it's covered with dried krausen and other remnants of fermentation. Secondly, you won't be able to see where the line is if there is still any krausen in the beer. Third, it could break in there, and ruin the entire batch. Fourth, you can't take readings now anyway, so why not take it out, clean it, and pull out at sample? Fifth, if it's in a bucket, not really a problem, but if it's in a carboy, how are you going to get it out? And how are you going to check the final gravity anyway, since it's all gunked up? You'd have to take it out, clean it, and sanitize it before getting an accurate reading anyway.

I can't see any reason to leave it in there, to be honest. The easiest way to take a hydrometer reading is to sanitize a turkey baster , put the liquid into a test jar, and float the hydrometer into it. Very sanitary, and no risk of breaking the hydrometer into the beer.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:42 PM   #7
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Well, for one, you can't read it anyway when it's covered with dried krausen and other remnants of fermentation. Secondly, you won't be able to see where the line is if there is still any krausen in the beer. Third, it could break in there, and ruin the entire batch. Fourth, you can't take readings now anyway, so why not take it out, clean it, and pull out at sample? Fifth, if it's in a bucket, not really a problem, but if it's in a carboy, how are you going to get it out? And how are you going to check the final gravity anyway, since it's all gunked up? You'd have to take it out, clean it, and sanitize it before getting an accurate reading anyway.

I can't see any reason to leave it in there, to be honest. The easiest way to take a hydrometer reading is to sanitize a turkey baster , put the liquid into a test jar, and float the hydrometer into it. Very sanitary, and no risk of breaking the hydrometer into the beer.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:12 PM   #8
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Well, for one, you can't read it anyway when it's covered with dried krausen and other remnants of fermentation.
Fair enough and good points. I still prefer my refractometer; it was well worth the money.
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