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Old 08-09-2010, 05:41 AM   #1
lukem5
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Default First batch! slowed fermentation?!?!?

I just started my first batch 2 days ago. after about 12 hours the fermentation was going crazy, the airlock was bubbling rather rapidly and I understand thats normal, now less than one day later, the airlock has slowed to bubbling maybe once every minute?!?!?!? is this normal??


JUST SO YOU KNOW: I sanitized EVERYTHING very carefully, but I bummed out on the sanitation when I added the water (to top off to 5 gallons), I didn't pre boil, straight from the tap to the fermenter (I transported it in a sanitized pot though).

Im thinking maybe there was so much bacteria in my tapwater, that its already taken over and slowed/stopped my fermentation?!?!?
But AFAIK tapwater here is already sanitized, hence why I didnt want to pre boil (plus my wort was already chilled and I didnt have any preboiled on hand)


So you think I spoiled my first batch? I smelled the top of the airlock, it smells OK, like fermenting beer I guess.

EDIT: some more info, its at about 65 degrees or so, im using a water bath with ice (in a cooler, like the kind you bring to the beach with drinks...) and it varies from the bottom of the cooler to the top ( at bottom few degrees warmer at top so 64-67)

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Old 08-09-2010, 06:10 AM   #2
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Check your gravity. It might have already fermented out.

What is the recipe? What was the OG?

Don't rely on your airlock to indicate fermentation. Is there still a kreusen?

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:14 PM   #3
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OG was 1050, recipe is "paradise pale ale" which I think means "simple ale" (it came with my starter kit from my local homebrew shop)

Heres the recipe: http://www.homebrewinparadise.com/Br...Pale%20Ale.pdf

for those who dont like to read:
YEAST: 2 pkgs. Muntons Yeast
GRAINS USED: 1 pound Crystal Malt 10L
EXTRACTS USED: 6 pounds of Pale malt extract
HOPS: 1.5 oz of Cascade hops at 60 minutes. (beginning of boil).
1/2 oz of Cascade hops at 5 minutes (end of boil).

Would it be ok to open the spigot and check the gravity? What should it have fermented down to? Is it really possible to have it ferment this fast already?!?!?! am I asking to many questions??

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukem5 View Post
am I asking to many questions??
Nope, just worrying too much.

Fermentation can be fast or slow, gentle or wild. Your beer is fine and you're doing a good job of controlling temp. It may have just started big and then is going to do a nice low and slow finish. If you're really chewing your nails over it, go ahead and check the gravity to see where it's at. Won't hurt a thing. Or don't. Wait a week. That won't hurt a thing either. You're doin' juuuuuust fiiiiine.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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What kind of yeast did you use? I've found that dry yeasts (particularly Nottingham yeast) will ferment out very quickly. Check your specific gravity. Also, just because fermentation may be done, it is still a good idea to let the beer sit in the primary fermentation bucket for 1-2 weeks (at least). This allows the yeast to 'clean itself up', making your beer cleaner, etc.

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Old 08-09-2010, 10:30 PM   #6
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First thing to do is panic, worry, and drink a 64 calorie beer.

Oh, wait, I got that wrong, it's RDWHAH. First batches are tough what with the lack of homebrew to keep you going, but there must be a good commercial beer available to you.

Chances are your beer is nearing completion. Check with a hydrometer. I've had beers take between 30 hours and 3 months to hit terminal gravities. It's always different, and can be difficult to predict in the best of circumstances. In any case, as others have stated above, give it another couple weeks, or more, to finish up and then start thinking of bottling.

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Old 08-11-2010, 05:16 AM   #7
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checked my gravity at 4 days in, its at 1020 (down from 1050), seems to me like its done fermenting, tastes like beer, thats good. airlock shows no signs of bubbling at all now (maybe once every 10 minutes or so? if that, I haven't seen a bubble now in 2 days) but i think its still just barely fermenting. Does fermentation pick up or anything in secondary?

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Old 08-11-2010, 05:24 AM   #8
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You don't want to move it to secondary until it's fermented out completely.

First batch? I'm guessing it's an all-extract brew or did you skip a few steps like I did when I started?
Some extracts can have a high amount of unfermentables in them that can leave you with a higher FG than you expect. 1.020 wouldn't be out of the question, but I'd leave it for a while and see how it does.
Even if it's done, it will benefit from another week or two in primary. Gives the yeast a chance to clean up byproducts they've been spilling out during fermentation.

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Old 08-11-2010, 05:57 AM   #9
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wow thanks chshrecat, good info. So lets get a little more complicated...

So for the best tasting beer would it be bet to keep the temperature at the "recommended" 70-75? I have seen around these forums, for more complex brews, fermenting at different temps (usually from lower to higher).

Should I try to "aim" for a temperature, like maybe get a little colder as I get closer to putting it in secondary or anything? or just keep it at around 70-75. I have kept it at about 65 or so since the beginning, because honestly I am worried about infection and want to keep the temperature as low as possible to inhibit bacterial growth while keeping the yeast happy. Plus I want a more "clean" tasting ale, not so much all the fruity estery compounds, so I thought 65 would be good (right?)

My main concern about keeping it in primary for so long (despite pretty much every experienced brewer here recommending it) is infection, aren't I just asking for infection the longer I keep it?

If anybody can handle that wall of text a response would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: of yeah as far as ingredients
YEAST: 2 pkgs. Muntons Yeast
GRAINS USED: 1 pound Crystal Malt 10L
EXTRACTS USED: 6 pounds of Pale malt extract
HOPS: 1.5 oz of Cascade hops at 60 minutes. (beginning of boil).
1/2 oz of Cascade hops at 5 minutes (end of boil).

so it isnt all extract, there was some grain steeping in there

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Old 08-11-2010, 11:17 AM   #10
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Still a newer brewer myself but it sounds like you are doing great with the temp control. As far as worrying about infection I wouldn't transfer to a secondary for that reason. The more you play with it the more likely you are going to get an infection. ( I hope that doesn't get quoted) Your primary is a good place to keep it until you transfer to the bottleing bucket after about three weeks. I was the same way on my first batches wanting to move it to secondary and start another batch but now that I have enough in the pipeline I just leave them in the primary for about three week, transfer to bottleing bucket and bottle.

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