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Old 02-12-2013, 12:30 AM   #11
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I would have taken a gravity reading, had I a vessel to measure with. It's on the way.

The interest here was not to get a lecture, I want to understand the microbiology. If it is fermenting, which produces CO2, where did that CO2 go? Where was the expansion required? Can the hops store CO2 in solution at a greater density?

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:38 AM   #12
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Your "theory" only works if your fermenter is a truly airtight environment, like a keg with an airlock that is welded in place, not even connect via a grommet, or where there is any chance of a leak, AND where the headspace is smaller than any co2 present.

Bubbling doesn't really mean anything other than the airlock is bubbling. And airlock is not a fermentation gauge, it's a vent to bleed off EXCESS gas, be it oxygen or EXCESS co2. It shouldn't be looked at as anything else, because an airlock can bubble or stop bubbling for whatever reasons, including a change in temperature (gas expands and contracts depending on ambient temps) changes in barometric pressure (You can have bubbling or suckback in the airlock, depending on pressure on the fermenter) whether or not a truck is going by on the street, the vacuum cleaner is running, or your dog is trying to have sex with the fermenter. Or co2 can get out around the lid of the bucket or the bung...it doesn't matter how the co2 gets out, just that it is.

For example a couple weekends ago if you lived in most of the United Sates, you experienced an unseasonable WARM UP over the weekend which could very easily result in gas expansion in your fermenter or secondary...In other parts of the states you had storms, which meant a change in barometric pressure...It was an active weekend weather wise. We had a TON of new brewers starting panic threads because suddenly beers that they had in secondary from their Christmas presents, that were doing nothing for weeks (like they should do in secondary,) suddenly their airlocks started bubbling. So they, having equated an airlock as a fermentation gauge and NOT a vent, suddenly started assuming that fermentation was happening (and in their nervous noobishness were just SO SURE that their beer was infected).....NOT for once even thinking in terms of airlocks merely being vents, and that gas expands when it is heated, and contracts when it is cooled. And that's going to cause airlock to bubble or stop....Just as much as fermentation.

That's why I tell folks to ignore what the airlock does or doesn't do. It really means little to the yeast.


And bubbles don't coordinate with anything concrete withing the fermenter, "x bubbles/y minute" does NOT TRANSLATE to any numerical change in gravity....if an instructions says do something when bubbles do something per something, throw the instructions out.

Fermentation is not always dynamic, just because you can't see what's going on, doesn't mean nothing is going on. And just because your airlock starts up, and then slows down or stops in a few days, doesn't mean fermentation is over YET, it just means the excess co2 is not coming out of the airlock...not that the yeast is done.

The only way to know how your beer is doing is to take a hydrometer reading, if you're worried. But not until 72 hours have gone by. Then if you're still concerned, take one...then you'll know.

But don't try to discern what the yeast is doing by what the airlock is or isn't doing. All it is is a cheap piece of plastic, not a calibrated gauge of anything.

New brewers have a tendency to think they need to hover over their beers and try to fix something.....Next time before you try to fix something that may or may not need to be fixed, come here and look around first, OR start a thread...You will find that there will probably be a dozen threads just that day alone with EXACTLY the same situation you're in, with the solution. And the solution will be more than likely to relax, and wait, OR to ignore your senses and how you "think" it should behave, and use the proper tools.

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Old 02-12-2013, 12:58 AM   #13
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Ok, got it, I'll do better next time.

I still want to know why the change happened, else I would not have posted.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:17 AM   #14
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It "foamed" because you added nucleation points to to the fermenter by adding billions of little particles into an environment with co2 and oxygen present in it.

Just like adding mentos into diet coke.

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:16 AM   #15
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So the CO2 that is coming out now was in suspension in the fermenting liquid? And (may be reaching here), because it is a higher gravity beer, and I had crap on top that I (learned) that I am not supposed to have on top, the capability of the liquid to maintain a suspension of CO2 was greater than in, say, water?

Hey, at least I am not wishing you well about your surgery

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:18 AM   #16
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Open a bottle of soda. Let it sit for a day. Now take the same soda and give it a good shake and you'll notice it might start fizzing again. That's what we call CO2 in suspension and is what Revvy is talking about.

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by govya View Post
Can the hops store CO2 in solution at a greater density?
I can't answer this question with any sort of certainty or track record, as I've never had 2 inches of hops in my primary. My gut and experience tells me that the hops might act as a "lid" or "cap" because of their density, which would cause the liquid below to absorb and suspend the CO2 more easily. It reminds me of a scenario; I make starters in 2L mason jars. If I put the lid on very tight and shake the hell out of the jar it makes a very small layer of foam, but the second I crack the lid open the foam expands all the way to the top of the jar in an instant. I would think that the hops in your fermenter are working the same way, and when you disturbed the hops it was like me cracking the lid on my mason jar.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stauffbier View Post
I can't answer this question with any sort of certainty or track record, as I've never had 2 inches of hops in my primary. My gut and experience tells me that the hops might act as a "lid" or "cap" because of their density, which would cause the liquid below to absorb and suspend the CO2 more easily. It reminds me of a scenario; I make starters in 2L mason jars. If I put the lid on very tight and shake the hell out of the jar it makes a very small layer of foam, but the second I crack the lid open the foam expands all the way to the top of the jar in an instant. I would think that the hops in your fermenter are working the same way, and when you disturbed the hops it was like me cracking the lid on my mason jar.
That's what I would tend to believe as well. Hops have oils in them after all which would likely form a "skin" of sorts over the solution preventing any off-gassing until that lipid layer was disturbed. I'm not a chemist or anything remotely related so that's just an electrician/mechanic's semi-educated opinion
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