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Old 06-27-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
bibowski
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Default When should I expect bubbles?

I'm VERY new to homebrewing, but I did everything pretty much by the book for a batch 2 nights ago and I ran downstairs this morning excited to see some bubbling from the fermentation in my brew... but alas... there was nada.

The brew was sealed and put in my laundry room exactly 38 hours ago, am I still too early to expect to see anything?

The reason I'm worried it might not have started, is because my laundry room was a freezing cold 16 degrees celsius. From what I understand, that will just slow down the yeast dramatically, not kill it.

I've since moved it (very carefully) to my basement where it's a bit warmer, about 18 or so.

The brew is a pilsner, which apparantely can still ferment at a very low temp, but is there anything else I should watch out for?



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Old 06-27-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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knowing what yeast you used as well as your gravity and or process would be helpful.



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Old 06-27-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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It was a Coopers malt extract kit.

The yeast came with the kit, and I never took gravity readings before the airlock went on. The bin doesn't have a spigot unfortunately so I would have to siphon some out to get a reading.

The process was :

  1. Boiled 2 litres of water, added malt extract can and 1 cup of dextrose
  2. dumped wort into 20 litres of water
  3. got temp to approx 22C
  4. pitched yeast
  5. put on lid and airlock
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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You may have a leaky lid and/or grommet. That'd be my first guess.

16c (about 60f) isn't too incredibly cold. Are you using ale yeast or lager yeast? If you're using lager yeast you're a little bit on the warm side.

Did you make a starter? Lagers need a lot of yeast because they are fermented cold(er than ale). If you didn't make a starter you may just be in the lag phase while your yeast multiply.

Did you aerate well? That really speeds up how fast the yeast multiply and gets them rocking your airlock faster.

Don't use the airlock as an indicator. There are a lot of reasons why the airlock won't bubble and many reasons why it will that have nothing to do with how your wort is fermenting. That said, I think we all gain a little reassurance when our brew is bubbling away, just don't do anything rash based on that alone.

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Old 06-27-2012, 05:12 PM   #5
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You may have a leaky lid and/or grommet. That'd be my first guess.

16c (about 60f) isn't too incredibly cold. Are you using ale yeast or lager yeast? If you're using lager yeast you're a little bit on the warm side.

Did you make a starter? Lagers need a lot of yeast because they are fermented cold(er than ale). If you didn't make a starter you may just be in the lag phase while your yeast multiply.

Did you aerate well? That really speeds up how fast the yeast multiply and gets them rocking your airlock faster.

Don't use the airlock as an indicator. There are a lot of reasons why the airlock won't bubble and many reasons why it will that have nothing to do with how your wort is fermenting. That said, I think we all gain a little reassurance when our brew is bubbling away, just don't do anything rash based on that alone.
I'll be going away for all of next week to a cottage anyways, so hopefully when I get back it will have done something. I just don't want to wait 3 weeks only to find a tepid pool of brown muck in the plastic bin.

Is there any safe way to test or see if it's doing anything? Opening the lid will surely screw something up, right?
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bibowski View Post
I'll be going away for all of next week to a cottage anyways, so hopefully when I get back it will have done something. I just don't want to wait 3 weeks only to find a tepid pool of brown muck in the plastic bin.

Is there any safe way to test or see if it's doing anything? Opening the lid will surely screw something up, right?
Did you take a gravity reading before you added the yeast? If so you can open the lid and take another sample and compare to your O.G. (original gravity) measurement. If it has changed then you're in business. If you open the lid and there's a lot of krausen (foamy stuff) that's a pretty good indication the yeast are active as well.

I don't usually open the lid on my fermentor until I'm ready to rack the beer, but it's perfectly okay as long as you use good sanitation. I usually use a spray bottle with a starsan solution to spray things as I go.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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You could always take a gravity reading to see if it has changed if you want. I'm guessing for the generic Coopers dry yeast you pitched cool and then warmed it up to the lower end of the range for that strain (it's a good thing).

My advice: RDWHAHB

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Old 06-27-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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When should I expect bubbles?
When you pour your chilled and carbonated finished beer into a glass.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:35 PM   #9
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I never took a gravity reading before I added the yeast :-S

Chalk that down to me being quite new at this... and a bit impatient hehe.

I didn't know if opening the fermentor would toss the entire process out the window. I will make sure I sanitize everything and then siphon out a small bit from the bucket.

Also, I'm not 100% sure, but I could have sworn I saw a bit of the vodka that I used in the airlock go into the inner tube. If a bit of vodka got into the fermentor, how bad would that be... I'm talking 2 or 3ml tops.

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Old 06-27-2012, 06:04 PM   #10
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Yeast that comes with a "kit" can sometimes be very old. I would add something like hydrated US-05 to the wort to get things moving along. Waiting too long for fermentation can lead to infection problems. I did make a lager one time though (with proper pitch rate) that never once bubbled from the airlock that I saw. This was a glass carboy with firm fitting top to boot. Colder temps can lead to more CO2 in solution though and the beer tastes great.



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