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Old 05-17-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
Steve-n-Son
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Default IPA: Fermentation seems slowed/stopped, no aeration

Hello All,

this is my first homebrew, using an ingredient kit from brewer's best, and I'm pretty sure I've followed all the instructions properly. Just wondering if anything I've done is wrong or if I should just be patient.

I'm brewing an IPA with malt extracts and grains, as well as three types of hops (2 bittering, 1 aroma). The recipe (aka my only guidance) didn't say to aerate the wort so I didn't. The first two days it fermented vigorously and overflowed the airlock just a little bit. I cleaned it out and sanitized it and it hasn't made a bubble for 2 days, which is when the recipe instructs to bottle it but I can't imagine it's ready to bottle after 4 days.

The OG reading was 1.058 (target was 1.060) and I haven't measured since then. Just wondering if it's time to take a reading and move it to the secondary or if I should just keep waiting.

Thanks in advance for any help, and happy brewing!

-Steve

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Old 05-17-2012, 06:20 PM   #2
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A gravity reading is the best way to know if it's done. Don't trust your airlock as a gauge of fermentation.

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Old 05-17-2012, 07:24 PM   #3
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+1, Airlock is not a good indicator. I like to see the gravity hit bottom and hold for 2 or so days. Then I know it's done. It sounds like it was a good yeast pitch and warmer temps for the fermenter. Can speed things along.

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Old 05-17-2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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It may be done fermenting in just a few days, but you need to check with your hydrometer. Just because it is done fermenting doesn't mean you should bottle it. I think you will have much better results if you let it sit in primary for at least two weeks

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Old 05-17-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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Relax the beer is fine. The yeast knows what it's doing, just give it the time to do it. Your brew should sit in the primary for at least two weeks. At this point, check the gravity. Then wait a day or two and check it again. If it's stable, go ahead and bottle. A ton of the "in the box" instructions rush the process and keep your beer from being it's best. My first batches were done by only following the instructions in the box. Meh... they were way too green and I was getting discouraged. Then I read "The Joy of Home Brewing", changed my timetable, and *presto* my beer got better.

A general rule is three weeks in the fermenter plus three weeks in the bottle = beer.

Have fun.

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Old 05-17-2012, 07:26 PM   #6
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My brewing experience is mostly limited to wine, which I have a very extensive background in. When it comes to wine v. beer, wine is harmed significantly by oxygen, but still needs it to complete fermentation. I will often agitate my wine during the fermenting process to make sure the yeast is getting the oxygen it needs. Check your SG to see if fermentation has completed or not. If it has not, stir everything up and give it a few more days and check again. You're yeast may have died from lack of oxygen or simply just shut down.

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Old 05-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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Just step away from the bucket. Wait two weeks; then if you can, wait another. Then bottle.

In a perfect world, the airlock will indicate fermentation. But... we don't live in a perfect world! CO2 can escape in other ways, for other reasons - or, it may ooze out so slowly that we think nothing's happening, when it is. Just let it be.

After three weeks have passed, check the gravity. I will confess that I have never actually followed the advice of checking gravity twice, 2 or 3 days apart. I just bottle it, checking gravity at that time. Suit yourself. But I would argue against agitating or stirring up the bucket. Just let it sit. You will be fine.

Cheers!

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Old 05-17-2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markm2151 View Post
My brewing experience is mostly limited to wine, which I have a very extensive background in. When it comes to wine v. beer, wine is harmed significantly by oxygen, but still needs it to complete fermentation. I will often agitate my wine during the fermenting process to make sure the yeast is getting the oxygen it needs. Check your SG to see if fermentation has completed or not. If it has not, stir everything up and give it a few more days and check again. You're yeast may have died from lack of oxygen or simply just shut down.
Yeast only makes alcohol during anaerobic respiration. Swirling the fermenter or rousing the yeast does not introduce more oxygen, it gets the precipitated yeast back into suspension to finish off any sugars left behind.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:25 PM   #9
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wait. 2-3 weeks for a start. trust your hydrometer. not an airlock, not some boobles, not a calendar. just RDWHAHB

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Old 05-17-2012, 09:09 PM   #10
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Thanks to all of you for such great and prompt advice!

I'll sit tight as long as I can. I took a hydrometer reading which gave me 1.014, which is spot on the finishing gravity. It has been fermenting in an almost perfectly stable temperature of 70F. Should I let it sit or bring it to the secondary?

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