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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Sudden Airlock activity after repitch
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:27 AM   #1
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Default Sudden Airlock activity after repitch

Oh, I can tell I am about to get yelled at

So we brewed a batch of the double IPA from keg cowboy on Saturday, my third. From what I can tell, nothing was amiss, cooled wort to 80, added cold water, sitting around 70, oxygenate beer, pitch rehydrated yeast, and wait.

24 hours goes by, and nothing... I have a room in the house that sits at 66 degrees on the dot. I change from a 3 piece to an S because the 3 piece seems like it is sucking air in (odd). On doing so, I peek inside, no krausen, just the hops that went in with it.

What I can do, though, at that point is hear what sounds like soap suds. I take this as a good sign, and resume daily life.

60 hours in, still no airlock activity, still no krausen. Buddy advises to repitch, so I do, same process, sterilize water by boiling, cool to 75 degrees, wait a bit, oxygenate beer (this seemed logical if I had killed previous yeast), and pitch. This time, before oxygenating, I shook the bucket, and it foamed like it had been waiting all these years to foam, foam foam.

WTF? Was the yeast waiting for me to shake the bucket? Note that this was a 2" layer of hops on top, with no activity at all. I would have taken a gravity reading but I don't have a tube tall enough yet (its ordered). At that point, bucket was already shaken, so I proceeded with oxygen and pitch.

Now for the weird part. I seal it up, stick the airlock on it, and immediate activity, like 1 per second activity. I suspect that is the oxygen coming out of solution?

I have looked around, and am newb enough to get nervous when things aren't the way they were. Any thoughts on this would be very appreciated.

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:31 AM   #2
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Sounds like you had a bad seal initially man, the oxygenation a couple days in may have been bad, if the yeast were okay and you didn't know it that is..... Good luck and you'll prolly be fine....

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:38 AM   #3
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I thought that, too, but the airlock was very responsive to a touch on the lid... I took a picture and waited 24 hours, and it did not move a bit (split 60/40, so not equalized).

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:40 AM   #4
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Why do you have 2 inches of hops in there? That's probably why you couldn't see any krausen forming. If you're dry hopping, it should be done after fermentation is finished. Not during or before fermentation.

If this batch was already actively fermenting and if it was very far along, then the oxygenating you did the second time will likey oxidize the beer. When it's done, if it's indeed drinkable you might want to drink it quickly before off tastes start to develop from the oxygen.

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:46 AM   #5
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That is getting to the root of the question, but how can there be fermentation without CO2 release?

My thoughts were, 1) I could have killed the yeast
2) For some reason, the yeast could have been sitting around not doing their job
-- But why? This kit, at the very end (end of boil, and 5 minutes left) you had 2 ounces of whole hops.
3) Everything was indeed fine, just no outward activity.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by govya View Post
That is getting to the root of the question, but how can there be fermentation without CO2 release?

My thoughts were, 1) I could have killed the yeast
2) For some reason, the yeast could have been sitting around not doing their job
-- But why? This kit, at the very end (end of boil, and 5 minutes left) you had 2 ounces of whole hops.
3) Everything was indeed fine, just no outward activity.
1) I seriously doubt you killed the yeast unless you rehydrated at a temp that was too high.
2) It's not uncommon for yeast to be working without much visual signs. Airlocks off-gasing co2 is not indication of fermentation. All fermentations are different. The hops sitting on top were likely holding the co2 suspended in the liquid, and when you shook it the co2 was released. That's why it foamed up on you like you described.
Late kettle hop additions are not meant to stay in the wort. You're supposed to remove the hops before you put the wort in the fermenter. Fermentation will scrub any aroma or flavor from the hops, which is why you add dry hops after active fermentation has ended. Plus excessive hops that are in a beer for too long can create grassy/vegetal flavors.
3) As I mentioned before, visual signs of outward activity are not indication of fermentation. The only way to tell if beer is fermenting is to take a reading with your hydrometer to see if gravity is dropping.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:10 AM   #7
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Well, darn. At least I keg, so it will be drank pretty quickly. To clarify, those were my thoughts before, not after.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by govya View Post
Well, darn. At least I keg, so it will be drank pretty quickly. To clarify, those were my thoughts before, not after.
For future reference, fermentation can take as long as 72 hours to show any progress. So, always give it that long before you even think about re-pitching or re-aerating. But don't do either of those things unless you check gravity first. I bet that 10 times out of 10 you won't need to re-pitch.

I'm sure your beer will still be good. It's all a learning experience.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:17 AM   #9
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How come you didn't take a gravity reading BEFORE you felt the need to repitch? Who did you KNOW you even needed to?

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....

The fact that your airlock is now bubbling should lead you to understand that an airlock is not a fermentation gauge it's a vent, a valve to release excess co2, or air in the fermenter...like, you know when you open the lid to do smething like take a grav reading, or pitch more yeast that you really didn't need, then snap the lid down on the fermenter, which pushes air into the headspace....which then OFF GASSES and bubbles the airlock as it exits.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
...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....
http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-li...-of-york/n8661
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