Originally Posted by superfly24
I am using a airlock on the primary, still bubbling!
Then you really DON'T know whether you have fermentation or not, all you know is that your airlock is bubbling...
Airlock bubbling and fermentation are not the same thing
. You have to separate that from your mindset. Airlock bubbling can be a sign
of fermentation, but not a good one, because the airlock will often blip or not blip for various other reasons
...so it is a tenuous connection at best.
If your airlock was bubbling and stopped---It doesn't mean fermentation has stopped.
If you airlock isn't bubbling, it doesn't mean your fermentation hasn't started....
If your airlock starts bubbling, it really doesn't matter.
If your airlock NEVER bubbles, it doesn't mean anything is wrong or right.
Your airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it is a VALVE to release excess co2. If it bubbles it is because it needs to, if it doesn't, it just means it doesn't need too...
Often an airlock will bubble if the fermenter has been disturbed in some way, like a change in temperature, change in atmospheric pressure, the cat brushing against it, opening it up to take a hydro reading, any number of things. The co2 has sat in stasis for a period of time, then it was disturbed so it is not longer at equilibrium with everything else now. And therefore it is blipping in your airlock...
Or you could indeed have fermentation happening, since maybe your fermentation was laggy and a change in temp restarted fermentation.
Airlock bubbling only tells you that co2 is coming out of the airlock, it is not telling you why.
And there's various reasons. That's why it's not a good idea to equate airlock bubbling with fermentation...It could be because it is fermenting, or it could not be because of fermentation...so it's not a trustworthy tool.
Your HYDROMETER is the only BEST indicator of fermentation activity. Nothing else is accurate or consistent...
Unless you take a gravity reading you don't know what's really going on, not by airlock bubbling or by krausen formation. Neither of those signs are effective, they don't tell you exactly where on the fermentation process you are.
The amount of krausen can vary for whatever reason, it can come quick and depart quickly or it can linger long after fermentation is complete, and it all be normal.
And airlocks sometimes bubble or they don't. And airlock is a valve, a vent to release excess co2...NOT a fermentation gauge. It's important to make that distinction, or you'll be panicking everytime a an airlock doesn't bubble, or stops bubbling.
Fermentation is not always "dynamic," just because you don't SEE anything happening, doesn't mean that any-thing's wrong,, and also doesn't mean that the yeast are still not working diligently away, doing what they've been doing for over 4,000 years.
That's why you need to take a gravity reading to know how your fermentation is going, NOT go by airlocks, or size of krausen, or a calendar, the horoscope or the phases of the moon (those things in my mind are equally accurate).
The most important tool you can use is a hydrometer. It's the only way you will truly know when your beer is ready...airlock bubbles and other things are faulty.
The only way to truly know what is going on in your fermenter is with your hydrometer.
Like I said here in my blog, which I encourage you to read, Think evaluation before action
you sure as HELL wouldn't want a doctor to start cutting on you unless he used the proper diagnostic instuments like x-rays first, right? You wouldn't want him to just take a look in your eyes briefly and say "I'm cutting into your chest first thing in the morning." You would want them to use the right diagnostic tools
before the slice and dice, right? You'd cry malpractice, I would hope, if they didn't say they were sending you for an MRI and other things before going in....
Thinking about "doing anything" like repitching, or bottling, or racking, without first taking a hydrometer reading is tantamount to the doctor deciding to cut you open without running any diagnostic tests....Taking one look at you and saying, "Yeah I'm going in." You would really want the doctor to use all means to properly diagnose what's going on?