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Old 01-25-2013, 03:43 AM   #1
stumpie
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Default Peeking down the airhole

This is just a peak down the airhole in my plastic fermentor. Does everything look okay? I'm only getting a bubble about every 18 seconds or so from the lock.

There's some whole leaf hops from the 5 minute biol i left in there. Will definitely not make their way into the secondary.

The aroma off this pot has been, I hate to say it, but somewhat putrid. Just SOMEWHAT, though. And I think the main turn off has been maybe an excessive presence of CO2 gas.

The brew was a Ginger Pale Ale by mini-mash
2# grains (I don't know what exactly)
.5# specialty grain (don't know either)
5# xP LME
1 oz. NB @ 60
.75oz Cluster @ 15
.75oz dried Ginger @ 10
.75oz Cluster @ 5 (I substituted some whole Simcoe I had at this point : can't et enough of that unique, piney aroma). I left some of that whole leaf in the P1 that I'll filter out into the P2 come this week some time...
EDIT: threw in 1 peel of grapefruit with ~3minutes left in the biol. Skooped dem out after the wort tmp had cooled.

Here's the pics (from Tuesday-24hrs post brew) bubbles every 2 to 3 seconds


Tonight, bubbles 15-18 seconds apart


I'm seeing SOME improvement from my previous batches, but damn it, how can I achieve a solid 5 to 10 day F1? more yeast? different temps? This batch here is my third batch and has been maintained ambient temps from 66-69*F with bucket temps at 70-72. With one White Labs California Ale WLP-001 (right in the Attentuation range of 66-70)

My current plan is to let it ride until Wednesday (9-days in P1) or so then rack it to P2 and hopefully find a respectable FG. Then sit on it in a P2 for 3 weeks and bottle her up.
I don't know what else to do.

HELP!

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Old 01-25-2013, 12:54 PM   #2
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It looks like a beautiful ferment. Fermentation is an ugly process, sometimes stinky, sometimes not but it always makes an ugly looking bunch or gunk (called krausen) on top that usually drops back into the beer when the fast part of the ferment is over.

Why do you want a solid 5 to 10 day ferment and why are you sure you aren't getting it? Yeast goes through 3 phases. First is lag phase where the yeast use the oxygen present to multiply. It looks like nothing is happening but it is a critical part of the ferment and this is part of where the temperature is important. If this part is too warm, you get off flavors developing and if too cool the yeast will be dormant. Most ale yeasts do well in the low to mid 60's.

When the oxygen is used up the yeast go to work on the sugars, turning them to alcohol, CO2, and a host of other products. This is when you will see the krausen and the airlock bubble if the container is otherwise sealed. The yeast give off heat as they devour the sugars so the temperature in the fermenter will rise. If started too warm and not controlled you could have a 5 to 10 degree rise which will give you some interesting compounds, some of which will not disappear (fusel alcohol). With the fermenter in a cool location (my fermenter room is 62 degrees) the yeast eat slower and give off less heat but mine still show the fermenter to be 2 degrees above ambient temperature. I can live with that. After 2 or 3 days (usually, depends on the yeast variety) the sugars will be gone and the bubbling will stop. This is where the new brewers panic.

The yeast now enter the third phase. This is the cleanup phase, the time when the yeast begin to break down the intermediate products of fermentation. It looks like the yeast have died but they are far from that. The sugars that produce the CO2 are gone so there is no outward sign that anything is happening but give them time to complete this phase and your beer will be much better. If you take hydrometer readings you will see the gravity gradually dropping as the intermediate products are broken down into alcohol. When the yeast complete this phase they begin to clump up and drop to the bottom of the fermenter. This also takes time so don't rush it. Yeast that drop to the bottom of the fermenter don't go in your bottle so instead of a quarter inch of sediment in your bottle you might see only 1/16 inch.

Notice that I didn't mention a secondary yet. That's because it has been found that it isn't necessary for most beers and it adds steps to the process that can increase the chance of oxidation or infection. You have so much time and dollars into this batch now, why risk either. 3 to 4 weeks in the primary works well for most of us, then we bottle or keg.

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:09 PM   #3
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RM-MN has provided some excellent information about fermentation and how it works. I'll second that your fermentation looks normal. I would also advise to not judge a beer until it's ready...a lot of things can change and they usually do.

Why do you say that you don't think you're getting solid fermentation in a week? Some beers do take longer, but the only way to really know is to take gravity readings, which you don't mention in your post. Bubbles, quite frankly, don't tell you anything about what's really going on in the beer and can sometimes be misleading.

As for most of us here at HBT, we've learned to take the lazy route of letting our beers ride for 3-4 weeks and then go straight to bottle/keg, unless otherwise required. Personally, I've gotten to the point where I don't even bother with taking readings anymore, unless I'm brewing a sour or something huge where I might have a concern over attenuation in 3-4 weeks time. That said, I also use starters which I know will kick start the heck out of fermentation and the yeast just rip through the beer fast. Although not required, a starter would benefit your beer for several reasons and can be done with minimal equipment that you probably all ready have.

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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Excess Co2?????????Oh holy hell.

Your beer is F**KED

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:24 PM   #5
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Dude, that's BAD.
You're going to need to wait a few weeks for the stench to go down, then rack it to a bottling bucket, bottle it with a priming sugar mix, and I can come by and dispose of it for you. I'll be in town next week for work and I don't mind helping a fellow homebrewer out.

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyNameIsPaul View Post
Dude, that's BAD.
You're going to need to wait a few weeks for the stench to go down, then rack it to a bottling bucket, bottle it with a priming sugar mix, and I can come by and dispose of it for you. I'll be in town next week for work and I don't mind helping a fellow homebrewer out.
do you have a hazmat license? Didn't think so. I will come by and get those toxic co2 laden little monsters.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
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I'll tell you what. We can race for it, Cannonball run style. Leave first thing in the morning tomorrow, whoever gets there first, wins.

<Looks at recipe, unknown ingredients, ginger and simcoe?>

Never mind, it's all you!

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyNameIsPaul View Post
I'll tell you what. We can race for it, Cannonball run style. Leave first thing in the morning tomorrow, whoever gets there first, wins.

<Looks at recipe, unknown ingredients, ginger and simcoe?>

Never mind, it's all you!
Unknown ingredients are no big deal, I always use random unknown grains.....it is the presence of co2 during fermentation that has me concerned.

*EDIT*Nah, eff that. The guy has: from the hip brewing, disdain for recipes and styles, need to experiment, clever thread title abilities. As long as he chilled somehow and sanitized, I see this beer as a winner.

Reminds me of a young me. Worst beer I ever made was still way better than budweiser.

HEY BUDDY!!!! STOP LOOKING DOWN THE "AIR HOLE"!
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 View Post
Unknown ingredients are no big deal, I always use random unknown grains.....it is the presence of co2 during fermentation that has me concerned.
I really need to read the OP better. It's got co2 in it? WHILE fermenting? Eek, that's a little bit more worrisome than the ingredients, you're correct.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:47 PM   #10
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Lol, ok we need to back off a little. See my edit above.

This guy will be fine if he can stop looking down the air hole......(HE'S GONNA INFECT IT!!!!!!!!!!!)

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