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Old 09-02-2009, 01:52 PM   #1
pretzelb
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Default Longest ferment time so far

My 4th batch has been in my BB carboy for 10 days now and I'm a bit concerned because the airlock shows bubbles every 10-15 seconds or so. It's a rye ale and my first kit from AHS and some new variables were introduced with this batch that may be a factor.

  • First time using liquid yeast
  • First time using a starter
  • First time using cooler full of cold water / t-shirt
  • I screwed up and let the water get too cold (58 degrees)

I know I can't do much about it since I have to let it ferment until it's done. I also know (from reading here) the only way to be sure of when that happens is to take the gravity readings for 3 days and wait until they don't change. But I would like a bit of help on the following:
  1. Should I be worried it's bubbling this long?
  2. Should I move to a secondary (at least I'd free my primary for another batch)?
  3. Should I use my thief and do some testing?
  4. Should I remove from the cooler and let it warm to room temp (I know have the water at a nice 70)
  5. Should I panic?

TIA for all the help. I am still amazed at what great advice, coaching, and information I get here.


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Old 09-02-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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1. nope
2. nope, I'd buy another primary
3. nope...still bubbling, still fermenting. Gravity will continue to go down.
4. nope. 70 is close to perfect.
5. nope.



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Old 09-02-2009, 02:06 PM   #3
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If you have read much at all on these forums you should already have some general answers to the questions you have asked. Here goes a few direct responses:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
  1. Should I be worried it's bubbling this long?
    It hasn't been bubbling "long."
  2. Should I move to a secondary (at least I'd free my primary for another batch)?
    No, not until it is at least somewhere in the vacinity of your expected FG.
  3. Should I use my thief and do some testing?
    Whenever you feel it necesarry. Personally I wouldn't even worry about taking a reading until it's been in the primary for 14 days.
  4. Should I remove from the cooler and let it warm to room temp (I know have the water at a nice 70)
    Why would you move it before you know anything about what's going on from a gravity reading? RDWHAHB
  5. Should I panic?
    No...the yeast do the fermenting, you have little to no control at this point. Be patient.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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6. What was the original gravity?

7. What is the current gravity?

The airlock bubbles don't mean anything. Gravity readings will reveal ALL.

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Old 09-03-2009, 12:04 PM   #5
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6. What was the original gravity?

7. What is the current gravity?

The airlock bubbles don't mean anything. Gravity readings will reveal ALL.
I didn't get an OG so I can't answer that. I could take a gravity reading but I'm not sure what that would tell me. From what I've read in the short time I've been here, I would agree that the airlock doesn't mean anything when determining if the ferment cycle is done. However, only when looking at no activity in the airlock. If there is activity in the airlock then clearly something is still active and there is no way it can be done.

I assume that trying to bottle now would result in huge explosions so getting a gravity reading is pointless. Again, I've only been around a short time so I could be wrong but from what I've read the key to the final gravity reading is determining when activity is over. With an active airlock I didn't think I'd need a reading and why open the carboy up if it's not needed?

I can try to get a reading tonight.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThickHead View Post
If you have read much at all on these forums you should already have some general answers to the questions you have asked. Here goes a few direct responses:
Excuse me but I have read what I consider a decent amount but I've only been around for a short time. Here's my justification though I'm not sure it's needed.

My previous batches all stopped showing activity after maybe 4 days and this was more than twice that. All other posts I've seen on the topic suggest the airlock stops showing signs in 7 days or less. I have not read any posts suggesting an airlock can show activity for 10+ days. On top of that, most posts I read are about the opposite (no activity) and how to tell when a batch is done. I haven't seen many or any posts like mine with a concern over long activity. Finally, there are all the other "new" things I listed which I don't know the effects of.

So .... with my past experiences (all 3 batches of them), and with what I've read (however small that might be), and with my new variables in the equation, I didn't know that 10+ days of activity was "normal". Hence the question.

Sorry for the trouble, I'll keep reading.
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Old 09-03-2009, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
I didn't get an OG so I can't answer that. I could take a gravity reading but I'm not sure what that would tell me. From what I've read in the short time I've been here, I would agree that the airlock doesn't mean anything when determining if the ferment cycle is done. However, only when looking at no activity in the airlock. If there is activity in the airlock then clearly something is still active and there is no way it can be done.

I assume that trying to bottle now would result in huge explosions so getting a gravity reading is pointless. Again, I've only been around a short time so I could be wrong but from what I've read the key to the final gravity reading is determining when activity is over. With an active airlock I didn't think I'd need a reading and why open the carboy up if it's not needed?

I can try to get a reading tonight.
The OG would be handy, but we could probably approximate it if this is an extract batch, we knew how much LME/DME went in, and what the final volume was. A gravity reading taken at this point in the fermentation could be used with the approximated OG to figure out attenuation. That would give us an idea, based on the type of yeast you used, if you were getting close to the end of fermentation.

A better way of doing it would be to take 1-2 gravity readings, spaced 2-3 days apart. If the gravity doesn't change, then the beer is done fermenting. No hurry to get it out the primary fermenter though, and a secondary isn't necessary for this type of beer. Yeast may not be actively fermenting, but they may still be active, cleaning up the nasty byproducts of fermentation.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:32 AM   #8
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Call me crazy, but I give every single one of my beers the exact same amount of time to ferment; a month. Yup, 30 days. The only exception is Apfelwein, I give it two months. I figure everything that I could brew will have finished fermenting, and any extra time is simply making the beer better.

Don't rush it, give it time.

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Old 09-04-2009, 06:19 AM   #9
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As others have said, your beer sounds fine.

You now have two options:
a. chill out and wait
b. take some readings so you can transfer the beer

Like others, I go 3 weeks or a month in primary, not taking readings and not paying attention to airlock, no secondary. So I would pick option a, which might mean buying a few more primaries.

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Old 09-05-2009, 02:21 AM   #10
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Well it's still going. I have to say this is radically different from the first 3 batches I made. I am tempted to take a reading (and taste) but I think it's pointless until the bubbling stops.

I also bought another recipe from AHS and will brew #5 this weekend. I'm going to use my "cleaning" bucket as the primary. It's a 6g bucket I bought just to help clean stuff while brewing. I'm going to install a grommet into the lid and use an extra air lock I have. Hopefully it will be fine - I mean it's just a bucket, right?

I might need to get another cooler down to put the bucket in to keep the temps down. The main risk now is taking over space in the house. I'm starting to show on the better half's radar and that is NEVER good. Hopefully I can bottle batch #4 soon and get back to just one primary at a time.

Thanks all for the help. I'll try to just hang in there.



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