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Old 02-10-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
JimFowler
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Default Newbie needs HELP

Brewed my first batch ever Saturday Feb 6th (bought kit from Midwest Brewing Supplies). Came with an Irish Red Ale. Put into fermenter Saturday afternoon (used a dry yeast - maybe Munstons). No action until Monday and then kicked in to a decent active bubbling on Tuesday (yesterday). Power went out (at least an hour) early this morning, and that is our only source of heat. I wrapped the pail in blankets (only option I had). By the time I was up and preparing for work, the activity had slowed considerably. I came home from lunch and it had subsided even more. I came home after work to discover the heat was off again (this time due to a tripped breaker). I have no idea how long it was off, but could have been up to 3 or 4 hours. Now the action is down to almost nothing.

What can I do? I doubt the fermentation could have been over that fast. Can I do a secondary, changing to the glass carboy?

Any help appreciated.

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Old 02-10-2010, 10:21 PM   #2
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First things first - check the gravity with your hydrometer. If it is still high (I'd say 1.020 or higher), warm up the fermenter. If fermentation doesn't restart (evident by a lower gravity), give the settled yeast on the bottom a tiny swirl.

Remember to be patient before each step. Warm it up, then wait at least a day. I'm betting warming it up will be enough.

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Old 02-10-2010, 10:22 PM   #3
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Airlock bubbling is not a good indicator of fermentation. It's a vent, a valve to release excess co2, nothing more. It slowed down, simply because it doesn't need to vent anymore. As fermentation winds down, so does co2 production and therefore the need to release EXCESS co2 decreases.

Your hydrometer is the only way to know what's going on. But really nothing is wrong, just let your yeasties do what they no how to do and ignore your fermenter for a week or two.

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Old 02-10-2010, 11:21 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys - gives me hope this thing is ok. From all I've read so far, I took it that I ought to be watching that airlock and that it ought to be rockin' ... glad to know that's not necessarily the case and I will do as you have suggested and relax a bit ....maybe have a beer or something.

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Old 02-10-2010, 11:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimFowler View Post
Thanks, guys - gives me hope this thing is ok. From all I've read so far, I took it that I ought to be watching that airlock and that it ought to be rockin' ... glad to know that's not necessarily the case and I will do as you have suggested and relax a bit ....maybe have a beer or something.
It's not uncommon for a beer to ferment out in 3-4 days (I've had Mutons done in 2 days). The airlock IS a good indication of active fermentation. You KNOW it has slowed down when the bubbles slow. Ultimately, use your hydrometer to verify the fermentation has stopped.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:10 AM   #6
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I just recently brewed my first batch and was scared with similar problems. I really only had action for about 1 full day. It seemed to come out fine. From what i have learned, the buckets sometimes have small leaks. Its not really a problem but it may bother you not to see the airlock bubbling. Just give it time.

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Old 02-13-2010, 12:12 PM   #7
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Ok, today is Saturday ....one week in and no action whatsoever. I'm going to try a hydrometer reading, but there is nothing happening in the airlock. If the gravity is right, should I bottle or does this need to sit at least another week?

If I need to add yeast, it will be a few days before I can as I will have to mailorder it. Is that a problem?

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Old 02-13-2010, 12:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimFowler View Post
Ok, today is Saturday ....one week in and no action whatsoever. I'm going to try a hydrometer reading, but there is nothing happening in the airlock. If the gravity is right, should I bottle or does this need to sit at least another week?

If I need to add yeast, it will be a few days before I can as I will have to mailorder it. Is that a problem?
I would suggest (as would others), 3 weeks to ferment, 3 weeks in the bottle.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:36 PM   #9
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+1 what ruggierm1 said.

If hydrometer readings taken 2 - 3 days apart have not changed then, yes the basic ferment is done. But give it another couple weeks in the fermenter to clear and clean up. Take a reading today and then taste the sample. Repeat at 2 weeks & again at 3 weeks. The gravity may not change but you'll see a dramatic change in taste over 3 weeks.

Advise on this board is 3 weeks minimum in the fermenter and min 3 weeks bottle condition. It's a long time to wait but it works!

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Old 02-13-2010, 12:51 PM   #10
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Thanks, man - hard to sit still and not worry. I will do as you suggest.

Also, I love IPAs - my absolute favorites. Are they hard to brew? I've had a few that I really like and would like to clone at some point from Stone Brewing and Lagunitas. I recently had a Terrapin Hopsecutioner that was great. Anything particularly different about brewing one? I'm guessing it's all about the hops...?

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