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Old 11-19-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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Default Should Airlock activity be completely stopped at Terminal Gravity

I have read a lack of airlock activity does not mean a lack of fermentation, but how about the reverse - Should there be zero airlock activity when your are at final gravity and ready to bottle? The airlock is moving for me about once a minute or so.

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:16 PM   #2
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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.

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. And the peak of fermentation has already wound down, so there's simply no need to vent off any excess co2.

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?

Sorry but that really is the only answer that is accurate or consistant, the numbers on the little stick. I have had evrey airlock bubbling/non bubbling/slow bubbling/fast bubbling/little krausen/big krausen/slow forming krausen/krausen staying 3 weeks after the hydro showed terminal gravity scenario imaginable in nearly 1,000 gallons of beer, and none of that stuff is as sccurate as 30 seconds with a hydrometer.

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
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Not necessarily, your beer could continue to release co2 way after final gravity reached. My stout still bubbles once every 5-10 minutes and it's been sitting for over 5 weeks.

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:26 PM   #4
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Great answers - thanks!

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:32 PM   #5
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BDMA - bubbles don't mean anything.

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:40 PM   #6
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I see mine off gassing dissolved co2 after FG is reached. That's what is being seen most of the time,barring infections.
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:43 PM   #7
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I knew these answers were coming. But it really is all about the hydrometer readings. That's the only way you you'll know for sure.

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Old 11-19-2011, 05:02 PM   #8
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Yup,I measure mine a few times. But this is about continued bubbling,he wanted to know why.
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Old 11-19-2011, 05:12 PM   #9
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The rate or lack of or whether or not it bubbles at all, or if it starts and stops has more relation to the environment the fermenter is in, rather than fermentation itself. All it is is a vent, a valve to let our excess gas, especially co2, nothing else. It's not a fermentation gauge whatsoever.

It could just as easily be bubbling due to changes in barometric pressure, temperature, or whether or not the cat or vacuum cleaner bumped into it, as it could be to because it's still fermenting.

All an airlock tells is whether it's bubbling or not... hydromter can tell you why.

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Old 11-19-2011, 05:38 PM   #10
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For a little background on what I have going - my beer was holding at like 1.034 or 1.035 over several days after 2 weeks, so I posted this thread -

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/high...-weeks-280815/

We keep our house pretty cold during the day when no-one is here to save energy. Anyways, I ended up stirring my yeast, and keeping the heat on during the day, and now the gravity doesn't seem to have changed a whole lot (1.033?) but there is a bunch of sediment in my beer. Maybe all I did was introduce an infection. I'm at week 3 tomorrow. See link above for "before" pic, and pics below for "after" - where I am at now:

imag0154.jpg   imag0156.jpg   imag0160.jpg  
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