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Old 02-19-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default Another newbie stopped/slowed fermentation question

OK, I just made my first brew. It was the Russian Imperial Stout kit by Brewer's Best. I had some vigorous fermentation that clogged and blew off my airlock within 24 hrs. I swapped my airlock for a blowoff tube that goes into a gallon jug with a little beach in the water. The bubbling continued through the blowoff setup.

It is now about 48 hours since the brew and I am getting no bubbles in the blowoff tube. I did do search before making this thread and I noticed people saying "dont worry about the bubbles just check gravity"

My question is: Should I just leave the brew alone to see if it starts bubbling again or take the lid off and get a gravity reading? I was afraid of infecting the beer by taking off the lid and allowing contaminates.

Also, my OG was 1.075 what should it be if the fermentation is going as expected?

Thanks in advance and I hope this question isnt too repetitive.

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Old 02-19-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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first off, RDWHAHB and step away from the fermenter. it's two days into a big beer, and nowhere close to time to take an FG reading. seeing as it was active, fermentation started, but there's no way to tell where it 'should' be if fermentation is going as 'expected'. many factors come into play here, yeast type, fermentation temps, how well you aerated your wort, etc.
that's a big beer, and will need to be in primary for a few weeks or more, then preferably bulk aged in secondary for a month or more. with my RIS i brewed last month, i left it in primary long after activity ceased, 4+ weeks. i took FG readings over the last 3 days of primary to make sure it was stable and then racked to secondary where it'll sit until August.

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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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Gravity, as I'm sure you've read, is the way to really tell you're brew is fermenting. If you have concerns about your fermentation go ahead and check the gravity. Sanitize like you should to help mitigate the chances of contamination.
Moreover, check over the corse of a few days to see the differences in the gravity over time.
Just clean and sanitize.
::cheers::

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Old 02-19-2012, 03:21 PM   #4
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first off, RDWHAHB and step away from the fermenter. it's two days into a big beer, and nowhere close to time to take an FG reading. seeing as it was active, fermentation started, but there's no way to tell where it 'should' be if fermentation is going as 'expected'. many factors come into play here, yeast type, fermentation temps, how well you aerated your wort, etc.
that's a big beer, and will need to be in primary for a few weeks or more, then preferably bulk aged in secondary for a month or more. with my RIS i brewed last month, i left it in primary long after activity ceased, 4+ weeks. i took FG readings over the last 3 days of primary to make sure it was stable and then racked to secondary where it'll sit until August.
Thanks. (I had to google RDWHAHB and unfortunalty this will be my first homebrew so I can't)

By nature, I am a very impatient man. I guess I will just relax and see if it starts bubbling again soon. Also, I think my aeration may have been lacking. I basically just stirred it for a little while. After I finished I saw a video with someone vigorously shaking their carboy.

You said you left it in the primary for a few weeks... the instructions said to only leave it in the primary for 4-6 days then bottle or transfer to secondary (or bottle) I will gladly wait if it means a better beer.
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks. (I had to google RDWHAHB and unfortunalty this will be my first homebrew so I can't)

By nature, I am a very impatient man. I guess I will just relax and see if it starts bubbling again soon. Also, I think my aeration may have been lacking. I basically just stirred it for a little while. After I finished I saw a video with someone vigorously shaking their carboy.

You said you left it in the primary for a few weeks... the instructions said to only leave it in the primary for 4-6 days then bottle or transfer to secondary (or bottle) I will gladly wait if it means a better beer.
i definitely know what it's like to be impatient, it's not one of my better qualities. but brewing has taught that me patience is a very good trait to have.
aeration is a very good thing, but stirring or shaking is better that not. also, just pouring the wort into the fermenter will aerate some. with a beer like that, i'd keep it in the primary fermenter until you have stable FG for several days, at the minimum. but leaving it for a couple weeks past that will definitely benefit a beer like this. you could bottle after primary, and let it age in bottles, but big, roasty beers like RIS benefit from some age, and the best way to do that is in secondary, IMO. either way, you have some time to decide what will work best for you, it usually takes around a week to reach FG, and with a big beer it could take a few extra days. maybe do some reading here on HBT about 'bulk aging' and 'high gravity beers', there's alotta great info here.
as far as RDWing, until you have some homebrew, RDWHACB (commercial brew) will work almost as well.
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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:47 PM   #6
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When bubbling slows down or stops,it just means initial fermentation is done. It'll slowly ferment down to FG from there. Not very eventfull at all,so don't worry. It'll take a while,but it'll get there,all other things being done right.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:56 PM   #7
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It may not bubble again soon. It doesn't matter if it ever bubbles or not and airlock is just a vent to allow excess co2 to escape, it's not a magic fermentation gauge.

The reason the airlock stopped is because fermentation has slowed down, as is normal, and in doing that less EXCESS co2 is being produced. It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped, JUST THAT THE AIRLOCK DOESN'T NEED TO BUBBLE ANYMORE.

Don't stress about what an airlock does or doesn't do. The rate or lack of or whether or not it bubbles at all, or if it starts and stops has more relation to the environment the fermenter is in, rather than fermentation itself. All it is is a vent, a valve to let our excess gas, especially co2, nothing else. It's not a fermentation gauge whatsoever.

It could just as easily be bubbling due to changes in barometric pressure, temperature, or whether or not the cat or vacuum cleaner bumped into it, as it could be to because it's still fermenting.

Fermentation is not always dynamic...just because you don't SEE anything happening doesn't mean that the yeast aren't happily chewing away at whatever fermentables are in there....the only way to know comes from gravity readings, and nothing else.

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Old 02-19-2012, 09:30 PM   #8
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It may not bubble again soon. It doesn't matter if it ever bubbles or not and airlock is just a vent to allow excess co2 to escape, it's not a magic fermentation gauge.

The reason the airlock stopped is because fermentation has slowed down, as is normal, and in doing that less EXCESS co2 is being produced. It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped, JUST THAT THE AIRLOCK DOESN'T NEED TO BUBBLE ANYMORE.

Don't stress about what an airlock does or doesn't do. The rate or lack of or whether or not it bubbles at all, or if it starts and stops has more relation to the environment the fermenter is in, rather than fermentation itself. All it is is a vent, a valve to let our excess gas, especially co2, nothing else. It's not a fermentation gauge whatsoever.

It could just as easily be bubbling due to changes in barometric pressure, temperature, or whether or not the cat or vacuum cleaner bumped into it, as it could be to because it's still fermenting.

Fermentation is not always dynamic...just because you don't SEE anything happening doesn't mean that the yeast aren't happily chewing away at whatever fermentables are in there....the only way to know comes from gravity readings, and nothing else.
Thanks, I had read a 2009 post of yours basically stating to not worry about the bubbles. I was just a little confused about taking a gravity reading after it started fermenting and before FG along with my fears of infection.

I will take everyone's advice and just wait. I hope to start a mead later this week so that will help take my mind off pestering the RIS.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:21 PM   #9
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It's much easier to let the beer take its time once you have a few batches under your belt and lots of bottles to drink. My third batch is on Day 15... I haven't taken a gravity reading yet... and the krausen is still pretty thick. But I'm feeling nowhere near the rush to get it into bottles for conditioning and tasting.

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Old 02-19-2012, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaHomebrewer

I will take everyone's advice and just wait. I hope to start a mead later this week so that will help take my mind off pestering the RIS.
A mead? Those take forever I thought (never done one).
Why not do a beer w/ 10-14 day turn time like a low OG session beer?
Your RIS won't be ready for at least another month and will probably taste best in 3- 4 or so months with bulk aging and time to carb up in the bottle, bc of the roasty flavors & high OG.
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