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Old 12-04-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default Big start them big slow

I brewed my first 5gal batch of extract two days ago. I didn't shake my wort for very long before pitching the yeast but my airlock started bubbling like crazy within 12hrs. I had to switch to a blow off rig at 18hrs. The bubbles were pouring out 2-3 per second. By 36hrs the bubbles have all but stopped. Can anyone tell me if this is. Mormal?

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Old 12-04-2012, 12:05 PM   #2
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Totally normal. In the intial stages of fermentation the yeast are producing co2 as a by-product of eating up the sugars and pooping out the alcohols and other by-products.

Visually active fermentation will slow after about 4 days +/- 1-2 days. This is when the yeast have eaten the majority of the sugars and are not working on the by-products to clean up the beer.

So yes, totally normal. The only way you will be able to tell if your fermentation is stuck is to take readings every 3 days to see if the gravity is changing. If it is not and it is still above your predicted FG then you have a stuck fermentation. If the gravity is still slowly dropping then you are still fermenting and are totally fine.

If you didn't aerate enough you will hit the 1.020 wall. I have hit is numerous times. Pretty much fermentation sticks at 1.020 because you didn't pitch enough yeast, aerate enough or fermented at too cold or too hot of a temperature. Aeration is normally the culprit though.

Best of luck, just be patient. Always gauge fermentation completion by the gravity measurements, not by visual activity or time.

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Old 12-04-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
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I brewed my first 5gal batch of extract two days ago. I didn't shake my wort for very long before pitching the yeast but my airlock started bubbling like crazy within 12hrs. I had to switch to a blow off rig at 18hrs. The bubbles were pouring out 2-3 per second. By 36hrs the bubbles have all but stopped. Can anyone tell me if this is. Mormal?
Yes, fermentation will slow after 24-48 hours. That's normal.

Keep in mind that a warm fermentation will go much quicker than a short one. From your description, it sounds like beer was above 70 degrees when the yeast was added and during fermentation. That will make it go quicker, but will often leave some fruity or "hot" flavors if it got too warm.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:35 PM   #4
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Can you re-aerate the beer at any point? Will this help the yeast or is it best not to mess. My og was1.055 so if I get stuck at 1.020 ill have a big brown with no bite... Doubbbttt....

I haven't checked the temp but my house stays around 68... I'll do this today.

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Old 12-04-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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Can you re-aerate the beer at any point? Will this help the yeast or is it best not to mess. My og was1.055 so if I get stuck at 1.020 ill have a big brown with no bite... Doubbbttt....

I haven't checked the temp but my house stays around 68... I'll do this today.
You do not want to introduce any more oxygen at this point. You will risk oxidization. Let the yeasties do their work. They know what they are doing.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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If you attempt to re-aerate, the only thing you really are going to do is oxidize the beer. Which will do more for ruining the flavor of your beer than just being patient and waiting until your gravity stops dropping.

Wait a solid 2 weeks and check the gravity, then check it again 3 days later. If there is no change, rack to secondary or bottle it depending on what your plan is.

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Old 12-04-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
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I just did some reading and it sounds like dry yeast with little aeration shouldn't be a problem but what about high temps? The fermentation temp is at about 74 right now but the kit instructions are telling me that Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast has an optimum temp of 65-70. Is this going to have a major impact on my final beer? Yooper mentioned the high temp fermentation will often leave some fruity or "hot" flavors if it got too warm. What is to warm?

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Old 12-04-2012, 01:56 PM   #8
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I just did some reading and it sounds like dry yeast with little aeration shouldn't be a problem but what about high temps? The fermentation temp is at about 74 right now but the kit instructions are telling me that Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast has an optimum temp of 65-70. Is this going to have a major impact on my final beer? Yooper mentioned the high temp fermentation will often leave some fruity or "hot" flavors if it got too warm. What is to warm?
It's handy to have a "stick on" thermometer on the outside of the fermenter so you can see the temperatures at a glance. You generally want to keep ales at about 63-68 degrees. The problem can be that fermentation itself produces heat, and can be up to 8-10 degrees higher than the room temperature!

It can really be a vicious cycle, especially if the yeast is added to the wort before the wort is down to the low 60s. Some kit instructions say to add the yeast when the wort is as high as 80 degrees- and then the beer never cools down enough. Since yeast love warm temperatures, they'll start up fast and furious. And since fermentation itself creates heat, it'll get hotter. And the yeast will get more active, producing even more heat. It's an issue all brewers have to deal with.

For next time, chill the wort to 62 or so before adding the yeast. If your room temperature is 68 degrees, you could try placing the whole fermenter in a water bath and adding frozen water bottles as needed to drop the temperature. That's what I do in the summer.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:58 PM   #9
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Yooper mentioned the high temp fermentation will often leave some fruity or "hot" flavors if it got too warm. What is to warm?
Yooper is right, as per usual. Too warm would be higher than the recommended temp range that you, yourself, listed. Accurate fermentation temperature control is what I would refer to as a "Critical to Quality" characteristic of brewing. Once you are able to accurately control the temperature of fermentation the quality of your final product will be much improved. That is not to say that your beer will not be "good" without it though.
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