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Old 07-07-2010, 07:49 PM   #1
Causedawg
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Default Airlock Problem

I started brewing an India Pale Ale Saturday morning, and it is now Wednesday afternoon. I should probably be close to bottling it now, but I wouldn't know, because my airlock hasn't bubbled once.

The mistake is mine and my friend's. You see, we haven't brewed a batch of beer in over 5 years, so we've largely forgotten all the little ins and outs to everything. When we filled the 3 piece airlock and put it on the fermenting bucket, we didn't realize that the lid to the airlock was missing (or ever there in the first place) and we stuck it in the fridge not knowing our mistake. All these days later, I began getting concerned that it wasn't bubbling, and realized after looking at my spare 3 piece airlock that it had a lid, and this one we put on the fermenting bucket didn't. So, as far as I know, that would mean it can release CO2 but not necessarily keep air out. Am I right? Have I ruined it? Is there anything I can do pronto to salvage my batch or am I too late?


Also, you should note that the only place we had cool enough was my beer fridge in my garage, and the coolest we could get it was about 60 degrees, when the required temperature range was 64-72, I believe. We didn't think that would be a problem, just might cause a longer fermenting period.


Thoughts?

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Old 07-07-2010, 07:55 PM   #2
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No, you shouldn't be close to bottling, give it at least three weeks in the primary.

If you filled the airlock I am not sure what putting the lid on it was going to do....if it's filled it's filled. Where did your liquid go?

Even if it wasn't filled you would prob be ok as the releasing CO2 would help to keep oxygen out.

Fermentation may well take a bit longer and you will have a more crisp, clearer beer.....not a bad thing.

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Old 07-07-2010, 07:56 PM   #3
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OK where to start. First a bubbling airlock should not be used as an indicator of fermentation. Use you hydrometer. Secondly, the missing lid on the airlock should not be a major problem. Since I see that you are making an Ale 60F is way too low. Take it out of the fridge shake gently to rouse the yeast a bit and then try to maintain temps around 68F. Lastly once it picks back up 5 days is definately not enough time to bottle. I would add another 3 weeks to it and then bottle. This will give it time to clear and the yeast to finish cleaning up creating a cleaner tasting beer.

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:00 PM   #4
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Wow. Ok, so I'm not worried about the missing lid, then. I am concerned about the temperature, however. I've got my fridge set as warm as it will go, and it's been sitting around 60F. The only way I know to increase that would be to buy an expensive refrigerator thermostat and install it, which I don't know how to do.

Thanks for the responses, guys.

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:06 PM   #5
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You may not see any bubbles if you are using a bucket. They generally don't have an airtight lid. When I used buckets in the past, I had a fermentation that never bubbled at all, yet it fermented out fine.

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:12 PM   #6
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60 degrees might not be too low, depending on the yeast strain you used. Some work down to 57-59 degrees, but not most of them. Usually, you can ferment ales at 62-68 degrees.

I'd get a hydrometer, sanitize it and check the SG of the beer. If it's under 1.020 or so, then you can leave it where it is for another week. Then take it out of the fridge for a day or two before bottling.

Are you going to dryhop your IPA?

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Are you going to dryhop your IPA?
No I'm not.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:20 PM   #8
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dryhopping is when you take an amount of hops (an ounce or two or more) and toss them in the primary for about a week after fermentation is done before bottling. This gives a nice bright hop aroma and flavor addition to your beer.

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:21 PM   #9
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How warm is it in your house? Can you place it in a closet somewhere where the temperature would be in the low 70's? I live in Vegas and my house is a constant 73 to 75 degrees because its hot as hell outside. I have fermented two ales and haven't needed a fridge yet. Was your OG on target before you sealed your fermenter? If your fridge isn't a constant temperature and varies too much, then your yeast could go in to shock and needs time to acclimate before they go back to work.

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:26 PM   #10
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Well, we keep our house at 78-82F. We try not to lower it too much since that tends to cause huge electricity bills.

I'm wondering what the temperature is in one of our closets, though. I'll swing by Walmart on the way home and pick up a thermometer I can drop in a closet. If it happens to stay around 75F or so, I guess I can transfer it there.

Does that sound like a solution?

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