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Old 03-04-2013, 10:56 PM   #1
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Default Is this strange?

I have an ESB in primary fermentation. It's been about a week, and fermentation seems to be done i.e no more bubbles in the co2 lock. But at the bottom of the fermenter, little BB sized balls of yeast are shooting up a few inches out of the sediment, stop, and drop back down. Is this normal? I've never seen it before.

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Old 03-04-2013, 10:57 PM   #2
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Totally normal, and still fermenting.

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Old 03-04-2013, 11:01 PM   #3
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English yeast strains can get very clumpy- I've had some yeast strains look like cottage cheese. It sounds fine!

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Old 03-04-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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No more bubbles in the airlock just means that there's no more bubbles in your airlock, NOT that fermentation is done...An airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it's a vent to bleed off EXCESS gas, be it oxygen or EXCESS co2. It shouldn't be looked at as anything else, because an airlock can bubble or stop bubbling for whatever reasons, including a change in temperature (gas expands and contracts depending on ambient temps) changes in barometric pressure (You can have bubbling or suckback in the airlock, depending on pressure on the fermenter) whether or not a truck is going by on the street, the vacuum cleaner is running, or your dog is trying to have sex with the fermenter. Or co2 can get out around the lid of the bucket or the bung...it doesn't matter how the co2 gets out, just that it is.

And bubbles don't coordinate with anything concrete within the fermenter either, "x bubbles/y minute" does NOT TRANSLATE to any numerical change in gravity....if an instruction says do something when bubbles do something per something, throw the instructions out.

Fermentation is not always dynamic, just because you can't see what's going on, doesn't mean nothing is going on. And just because your airlock starts up, and then slows down or stops in a few days, doesn't mean fermentation is over YET, it just means the excess co2 is not coming out of the airlock...not that the yeast is done.

The only way to know how your beer is doing is to take a hydrometer reading, if you're worried. But not until 72 hours have gone by. Then if you're still concerned, take one...then you'll know.

Counting bubbles does not equate to anything usable in fermentation. It's not like "x bubbles/minute= y gravity points." It just means that co2 is being released....but it could also NOT be bubbling, and still fermenting away.

Relax, leave your beer alone and let it do it's thing for a couple more weeks, and most importantly, IGNORE what your airlock does or doesn't do.

In fact you might find this discussion on the superfluousness of airlocks something that will help you get a handle on this. It was started by a newer brewing who just grasped this concept.

Sounds like you still have fermentation, since you see cavitation going on with the yeast moving. Even though it's "been about a week" doesn't mean the yeast have been active for a week, if you didn't pitch enough yeast intially, and especially if you didn't make a starter for liquid yeast, it could have taken your beer 3 days to get started actually fermenting the beer, if it took three days of lag phase. Therefore you could only be on day 3 or 4 of ACTUAL fermentation.

The only way to know is with a grav reading.


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