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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Shaking the bucket?
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:11 AM   #1
tex3030
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Default Shaking the bucket?

I started my first batch of beer about 44 hours ago. I did not have any bubbles coming up through the airlock, popped the top off after 36 hours or so and saw some bubbles on top. Put the lid back on and waited for 8 hours to let it start bubbling.

Came back and still nothing coming out of the airlock, so I started worrying. I shook the bucket and more than half the water in the airlock blew out and the airlock now looks like it is holding beer (light beer) instead of water.

For the record I was more worried about the seal not being good or the airlock somehow being stopped up.

Questions that I now have to ask:
1. Is it bad to shake the bucket of beer while sealed (doesn't seem like it would, but I have been wrong once or twice in my life)?

2. Can the "S" airlocks have too much water in them, making it too hard to let out the CO2 (and risk making a big mess)?

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Old 06-24-2010, 02:23 AM   #2
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Shaking your bucket after fermentation has started is not a good idea. Leave that thing alone for a few weeks.

It really doesn't matter if you have a seal or not, your beer ferments just fine either way. As you may have noticed, bubbling doesn't mean anything. The yeast knows what to do without you checking on it throughout the day.

Airlocks can be overfilled but not because the CO2 can't escape. It merely causes the CO2 to push the excess water out the top. No big deal about that either.

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Old 06-24-2010, 03:00 AM   #3
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Wait 72 hours before doing anything..

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Old 06-24-2010, 03:07 AM   #4
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Be patient! wait at least a week. then check the gravity. If it hasnt moved, then something is wrong, likely with the yeast (if your using an extract recipe). Either the yeast died because of storage temp, or the wort was to far above 80 degrees and it killed the yeast.

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Old 06-24-2010, 03:08 AM   #5
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1. There really isn't anything wrong with shaking it, but more importantly, there is absolutely no need to do it....

2. I personally don't have experience with S-type airlocks so I couldn't tell you...

You may want to read this blog post: Beer Not Fermenting

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Old 06-24-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tex3030 View Post
I started my first batch of beer about 44 hours ago. I did not have any bubbles coming up through the airlock, popped the top off after 36 hours or so and saw some bubbles on top. Put the lid back on and waited for 8 hours to let it start bubbling.

Came back and still nothing coming out of the airlock, so I started worrying.
Airlock activity does not indicate fermentation or the lack of it. It's just a pressure release. A loose seal between the bucket and lid, which is fairly common, will allow air to escape from the bucket and you'll see no bubbling in the airlock.

Wait at least 72 hours before you start even thinking that fermentation may not be happening. It's very rare that it does not. If after 72 hours you are concerned that fermentation is not happening the only true way to tell is to use a hydrometer to see if the gravity has fallen.

Quote:
I shook the bucket and more than half the water in the airlock blew out and the airlock now looks like it is holding beer (light beer) instead of water.
Which may happen when you do that. A bit of beer might make its way into the airlock.

Quote:
For the record I was more worried about the seal not being good or the airlock somehow being stopped up.
Don't worry about the seal. Really, the lid is just there to keep stuff from falling into the beer. There will be enough of a pressure difference plus a CO2 blanket to protect it otherwise. An airlock is not likely at all to get "stopped up" without it being really noticeable (i.e. full of krauzen). If you're worried about that, just press on the lid of the bucket, you should see the lock bubble.

Quote:
Questions that I now have to ask:
1. Is it bad to shake the bucket of beer while sealed (doesn't seem like it would, but I have been wrong once or twice in my life)?
Not in my experience. I almost always give the bucket a swish about a week in just to re-suspend some yeast and maybe get a few more point drop in gravity (got a fermentation stuck at 1.02 to 1.015 doing that).

Quote:
2. Can the "S" airlocks have too much water in them, making it too hard to let out the CO2 (and risk making a big mess)?
No. The amount of water in an airlock is very small and the pressure created by fermentation is more than enough to overcome that.
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:36 PM   #7
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I've had more than five batches in witch I never saw a bubble in the airlock and all of them fermented right. It had nothing to do with sealing, I know because they were different buckets, and I have seen bubbles in following batches with those buckets. I just don't know why they didn't bubble, but they didn't.

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Old 06-24-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
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Why do you feel the need to possibly ruin your beer just so your airlock bubbles?

#1 http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ferm...e-signs-43635/, and by visible signs we don't necessarily mean a bubbling airlock.

It IS a sticky at the top of the beginners forum for a reason, afterall.

As already stated in the linked sticky, Fermentation often can take up to three days to start. And by visible signs they do NOT mean airlock bubbling.

BUT without a gravity reading all you are telling me is that your airlock wasn't bubbling....That is NOT the same thing as a fermentation happening.

Whether it's in a conical, a bucket, or a carboy, it's the same thing. An airlock is a VENT, a VALVE to release excess co2, nothing more.

If it's not bubbling it just means that there no excess co2 to be vented out.

In your case, more than likely hadn't even started yet, or that it was working fine, and just didn't need to vent any co2 yet.

A beer may ferment perfectly fine without a single blip in the airlock.

That's why you need to take a gravity reading to know how your fermentation is going, NOT go by airlocks. 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" without 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?

Wait 72 hours, and then take a grav reading, what happens to 99% of the nervous new brewers like you, is that when they open their bucket to take the reading, they see a beautiful krauzen on top of the beer, which means that fermentation is indeed happening.

Yeasts just don't "NOT WORK" these days. That's an old idea from 30 years ago, not the reality these days. Given enough time the yeast does what it needs to do.

Now......


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Old 06-24-2010, 04:26 PM   #9
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When I shook the bucket I thought that it had been going for 3 days (by memory); turns out it had only been going for 2. I did read the Fermentation can take 24 to 72 hrs to show visible signs thread, which is why I waited for what I thought was 3 days.

I have also read the thread why beginners should use a blow off (or something around that) and the pictures scared the crap out of me. It would make for a bad morning trying to clean that up off of carpet.

When I shook the bucket the beer/water blew out of the airlock over a foot; that seems like an awful lot of pressure being released at the same time. I am not sure if I caused all of the CO2 that was held within the beer to release at once, or if the top layer was making a seal.

How large should a blowoff tube be in diameter? I am thinking about putting a piece of 3/4 or 1 inch PVC threaded pipe on top of the bucket so that I can cap off the blowoff hole after a week or so on my next batch. With a blowoff in place will I still have to worry about it making a big mess? Or should I just use the fermtabs that someone in the blowoff thread suggested?

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Old 06-24-2010, 04:31 PM   #10
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I don't buy the argument that new brewers NEED to use a blowoff tube. I've only needed one once in the last 5 years. I think it's more important to have the stuff handy to make them if you need them, then to actually use one all the time.

take your bottling wand hose or other suitable one, put a small slit in it...Heat it for a few minutes in hot water to soften, then do this.





One thing that I do to all my airlocks is saw or break off the little criss/cross of plastic on the bottom of them.

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