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Old 05-17-2005, 02:57 PM   #1
TDorty3
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Default first-timer freaking out

Well, as of now it will be 60 hours (2 and 1/2 days) since I pitched my yeast.

After a day, I saw signs of fermentation... the foam on top and crud on the sides. Yet I saw no airlock bubbles. I took my sanitized beer spoon and mixed it all up.

I peaked under the lid last nite (48 hours after pitching) and saw the foam and crud had returned.

One day after I mixed it up (right now) there have still yet to been airlock bubbles. I opened the lid today and saw a bunch of crud on the side, but the foam was nearly gone.

I swear I could have smelled what smelled like alcohol mixed with a slight smell of rotten eggs. Maybe that's just the yeast.

Why am I not getting airlock bubbles? Does it seem like the wort is fermenting? I am freaking out.

thanks for the input.

-tim

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Old 05-17-2005, 06:58 PM   #2
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Sounds like you are using a bucket. I also use a bucket but I have read that they often will leak so you don't see the bubbles. My lid is a tight pain in the a## to remove, for you to say you peeked under it makes me wonder if it is air tight. If it isn't the lid leaks and you won't see the bubbles. Here is what I do to make sure the bucket is air tight. After I pitch the yeast I wait 4-6 hrs and then push down on the lid top. You should be able to just barely touch the top and produce an air bubble. It is like a drum head, you press it and it forces air into the bubbler. If you can't do that, you're leaking.

It sounds like your fermentation has finished so you should have beer. It could use more time in the primary to finish or in a seconary for a week or more. Once you rack it out you might want to check the seal of your lid - or get another one since they are just $1.50 (I have a spare just in case).

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Old 05-17-2005, 09:08 PM   #3
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Don't freak out... relax. In a normal batch, crud on the side is good. The foam will settle back down and activity will slow down. That's normal. It sounds like the lid has a leak, or the hole where the airlock is leaking. All those bubbles on the surface of your beer were CO2 and it was escaping somehow.

OBX's suggestion about pressing down on the lid is good advice. Just be sure you have clean water in the airlock when you do this test, when the lid springs back up, it can sometimes suck water out of the bubbler into the fermenter. If you're using sanitizer in your airlock, it could be bad for the beer.

The rotten egg smell could be the yeast. I get a little whiff of that sometimes coming off the airlocks. Different strains of yeast will produce some pretty foul and strange smells. Don't worry.

What is it I read.... "worrying is like paying a debt that you may not have even owed..."

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Old 05-17-2005, 09:35 PM   #4
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Thank you for your input.

I feel much better.

I talked on the phone to a couple other local brewers who told me that the bubbles don't always come with a plastic bucket as a primary fermenter.

Next time I'll use glass.

I am hopeful I'll be drinking good beer.

-tim

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Old 05-18-2005, 01:51 AM   #5
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T,

I'm on my 2nd batch now. Both batches seem to ferment fine for me.
I have a fermenting pail. The lid is a TIGHT seal, hard to get on and off. The lid has a hole in it, the hole has a rubber grommet. My airlock fits snug in the grommet. I fill the airlock halfway with water.

That's just to give you an idea of what my set-up is like. When I 1st got my beginner's kit, I played with the equipment 1st. A dry run, if you will. The very 1st mistake I made was to over do sticking the air lock in the lid! It partially popped out the grommet. You may want to check for that. I blame the incident on me, but my son swears it wasn't on right to begin with.

Also, try spinning the lid while it's sealed on the pail. If you can slide it, it's too loose. You may have a defective pail/lid combo.

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Old 05-18-2005, 11:32 AM   #6
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And stop opening up the lid and stirring everything around. You are reintroducing oxygen to the brew and that is a no no. Pitch your yeast, close the lid tight and put on your airlock and forget about it until you don't see anymore bubbles in your airlock. If you need to know what is going on during your ferment, I would suggest you go to using a glass carboy for your primary ferment, otherwise, use what you got and leave it alone.

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Old 05-18-2005, 01:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubadude
T,

The very 1st mistake I made was to over do sticking the air lock in the lid! It partially popped out the grommet. You may want to check for that. I blame the incident on me, but my son swears it wasn't on right to begin with.

Also, try spinning the lid while it's sealed on the pail. If you can slide it, it's too loose. You may have a defective pail/lid combo.
My first and second batch both had the grommet pop out into the wort when I inserted the bubbler. The first batch had a funny aftertaste and after waiting 45 days to see if it cleared up, I dumped it. Was it the first grommet falling into the wort? Dunna know, but the second one was sanitized much better just in case it too went in - which it did. On the 3rd batch I was not going to let that happen again. I wet the bubbler with sanitizer and it went right into the grommet that time.
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Old 05-18-2005, 02:42 PM   #8
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don't stir it anymore after you pitch yeast.

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Old 05-20-2005, 03:29 AM   #9
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What is the temp of the fermenting wort?What kind of yeast?I know my first batch I I bought a beginners set up and it came with a beer kit.These kits(a can of malt extract with a packet of dry yeast tucked under the lid)can sometimes sit around for quite some time before being purchased.The yeast from my kit was old,and did not ferment.I had to buy a packet of fresh yeast and repitch,then everything was fine.How high above the wort on the side of your bucket was the crud?Did it look like a fairly active ferment took place?Or was there just a little bit of foam on the top?Could your temp be on the low side causing a slower ferment?I doubt this is the problem but its possible.Dont mean to worry ya all over again,more than likely it fermented just fine.The best way to check is a hydrometer Before you brew another batch go get yourself a good book.The info and knowledge you gain will save you many worries and batches of beer for that matter.A good one for beginers that I like is John Palmer's "How to Brew".It teaches how to brew from extracts to All Grain,has lots of helpfull tables and charts,and even shows ya how to build some of your equipment for brewing.Very informative.I use it for referance all the time.

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