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Old 09-26-2011, 07:21 PM   #21
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Once you see that, regardless of conditions, you know fermentation has started.
Even if this statement were to be true (which it is not), airlock activity is still not a reliable indication of fermentation.

Show me an airlock that can tell me when fermentation has finished.

The original poster saw activity for a few days, then nothing. As a result, they did they took a measurement to determine if fermentation has taken place. Based on the results, it appears that it had (or more likely still is) taken place.

At this point, it has been less than a week since pitching the yeast. I would wait another week or two before taking another reading.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:37 PM   #22
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That was my point as well...
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #23
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I don't like the advice that airlock activity isn't a good determinant of fermentation. I know that it is the gospel of Revvy and many here. But from a purely scientific standpoint, fermentation produces CO2. No two ways about it. If you are fermenting, you are producing CO2. If you have a sealed system, the co2 MUST go someplace - and that place is out of the airlock. If you have a perfectly airtight system, and you are fermenting. You WILL have airlock activity. If you don't, you are not fermenting. End of story. I know this is a point of contention and that's fine. But science is science. No two ways about it.

I know that hydrometer readings are far more accurate. That is what you should go by. Its what I do go by. But saying airlock activity isn't a good measurement of fermentation, it's just not right.
I highlighted the part that you have to look at. It assumes all systems are sealed. The brew may be producing CO2 but may be escaping someplace else and the airlock may not bubble.

Sure we all love to see the bubbles, but we cannot use the airlock as a fermentation guage.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:07 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by KurtB

Even if this statement were to be true (which it is not), airlock activity is still not a reliable indication of fermentation.

Show me an airlock that can tell me when fermentation has finished.

The original poster saw activity for a few days, then nothing. As a result, they did they took a measurement to determine if fermentation has taken place. Based on the results, it appears that it had (or more likely still is) taken place.

At this point, it has been less than a week since pitching the yeast. I would wait another week or two before taking another reading.
Airlock activity is definitely a sign of fermentation. CO2 is a byproduct of fermentation. You can't ferment beer without producing co2.

Show me a beer that can ferment and not produce co2. It's impossible. I agree co2 can still b produced after you've reached FG, but there's still yeast fermenting byproducts releasing co2.

Everyone says not to rely on bubbling as a indication of when fermentation is complete. I agree with this, but this is advice for the noobs.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:13 PM   #25
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Good ol' flow chart. We had to make those in college programming back in the early 80's.
I've been doing some docs for a new product at work and got bored with that.

Visio rocks. Whipping these out is super simple.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:42 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by KurtB

Even if this statement were to be true (which it is not), airlock activity is still not a reliable indication of fermentation.
100% shenanigans. I stayed away after posting because we're all getting a bit off topic. But after the sane thing has been mis stated again and again, I had to speak up.

In what world is constant airlock activity not a sign of fermentation? And don't talk about temp or pressure changes. Sure, those can produce the odd handful of bubbles. Somebody else posted that "many things can produce lots of bubbles." Just not true.

I agree that to determine the end of the ferment, you need a hydrometer. But if you are bubbling regularly, your beer is fermenting. There is no logical way to debate this.

But yes, if you don't have a sealed system, you may not get bubbles (heavy emphasis on "may.". In my early days, I used scotch tape and paper to cover small holes in my bucket and that was more than enough to ensure bubbles a plenty!).
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:57 PM   #27
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Using a bucket. When I saw kreusen without airlock activity the first thing I thought was a leak. I used wide tape to seal the outside of the lid. Checked the airlock for leaks. I am using a rubber stopper in the lid to hold the lock. I still had no airlock activity. The leak had to be somewhere.

Yeast pitched at 75 degrees. My fermenter is stored in a room where the air temp is 68 degrees.

The batches I have brewed before always had vigorous activity for three to four days after original airlock activity. I have never used Safale S-04 before and was unsure of it's eccentricities.

The flow chart helped to put my impatient mind somewhat at ease. The posts have really help me to stop overreacting....Thanks

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Old 09-27-2011, 05:11 AM   #28
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100% shenanigans. I stayed away after posting because we're all getting a bit off topic. But after the sane thing has been mis stated again and again, I had to speak up.

In what world is constant airlock activity not a sign of fermentation? And don't talk about temp or pressure changes. Sure, those can produce the odd handful of bubbles. Somebody else posted that "many things can produce lots of bubbles." Just not true.

I agree that to determine the end of the ferment, you need a hydrometer. But if you are bubbling regularly, your beer is fermenting. There is no logical way to debate this.

But yes, if you don't have a sealed system, you may not get bubbles (heavy emphasis on "may.". In my early days, I used scotch tape and paper to cover small holes in my bucket and that was more than enough to ensure bubbles a plenty!).
I agree... air lock activity is a sign of fermentation... I don't think anyone is trying to deny that. However, no airlock activity is not a sign of a stuck ferment. I think that is what everyone is saying, and so, that air lock activity is not the best indicator of fermentation. If it bubbles yay we know its fermenting. If its not bubbling we dont know if it is or not because of earlier stated small escape hole, slightly loose lid, small black hole in fermenter pulling all the co2 into it, etc.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:20 PM   #29
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We are way off the original topic.

Cimirie, I can agree that given a sealed system, and ruling out things like temp and pressure changes, what most people would consider "constant airlock activity" would probably be an indication of fermentation. Your statement however, said "regardless of conditions", which is what opens the door to things like temp and pressure changes as well as infection (which I am guessing may also create airlock activity, but I don't that for sure as I have not had an infected batch yet).

Mpavlik22, I don't think anybody has stated that fermentation will not produce CO2. The discussion strayed off topic from the original post into where does that CO2 go, and if the airlock can be used as a reliable indication of fermentation. I still contend that it cannot. It certainly can be one indication of fermentation, when the system is sealed, but I guarantee that my last fermentation did not produce "constant airlock activity" as the lid on my bucket had a crack which allowed the CO2 to escape. A crack that was not noticed until I opened the bucket to transfer the beer to a secondary. Because I did not see bubbles, does that mean my wort did not ferment? Of course not.

Remember, this is the Beginners forum. From the original posters own words, this was his first batch that did not have much airlock activity. Is it not reasonible to reassure him that the lack of activity may simple have been caused by a leak somewhere in his system and that the lack of airlock activity does not mean anything went wrong, simply give it more time and then recheck the gravity with a hydrometer?

I am going to the garage now. I have an APA that I need to check the airlock on to see if it is fermenting...

First round is on me.

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Old 09-27-2011, 04:01 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtB
We are way off the original topic.
Agreed and a lot of that is my fault so I apologize.

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Originally Posted by KurtB
Your statement however, said "regardless of conditions", which is what opens the door to things like temp and pressure changes as well as infection.
Temp: with the temps us brewers deal with, there's not nearly enough variation to produce consistent bubbling.

Pressure: unless you're taking a carboy from Denver to Miami or racking on the tail end of a hurricane, pressure won't either.

Infection: with all sincerity, I'll say thank you. This is the first legit retort I have ever heard on this issue. My guess would that the type of infection would dictate byproducts, but some would produce gas - ie a wild yeast infection. That said, it would still be a fermentation, no?

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Originally Posted by KurtB
From the original posters own words, this was his first batch that did not have much airlock activity. Is it not reasonible to reassure him that the lack of activity may simple have been caused by a leak somewhere in his system and that the lack of airlock activity does not mean anything went wrong:
Not at all. We're right to slow people down. My reaction (and others) was to the statement that was made here and in other threads that airlock activity doesn't mean it's fermenting. That is what is misleading. Your statements are not. Enjoy the APA!
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You guys joke around with this all you want, but let me tell you something: I tried making my own beer one time and wound up with herpes!


Primary: Billy Corrigan Ale, malted cider experiment, Optimator clone
Secondary: Sorachi Ace IPA
Bottled: Dark Lord Clone Imperial Stout, Winter 2010 Spiced Ale Ambassador Brown Ale, Michigan Berry pLambic
Kegged: Old Woodward ESB, Strawberry Blonde
On Deck: Honey brown ale, dry stout
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