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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Tracking Yeast Activity
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:25 PM   #1
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Default Tracking Yeast Activity

I know the airlock is not an accurate account of when fermentation is done, but I would like to use it to sort of keep track of how the yeast are working.

I just want to do a simple track of all the yeast strains I use and mark how vigorously the airlock bubbles during the first few days of fermentation. It's not a scientific experiment, it's just for curiosity's sake.

My only question is how do you guys label your "days" of fermentation. The day you boil the wort and pitch your yeast, do you usually refer to that as Day "0" or Day "1?" I know it sounds like nit-picking, but it would help with my notes as I track the airlock activity.

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Old 04-24-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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Tracking the airlock activity isn't an accurate measurement of the intensity or fermentation. Additionally, counting days is an arbitrary statistic.

You could have a poor seal on your fermentor and thus inaccurate accounting of the 'vigorousness' which in itself is a subjective measurement.

As far as Day 0, Day 1, etc. This too can have too many variables to accurately measure. Low pitch count, temperature variations (can you accurately control the yeast and wort temp consistently for EVERY brew and strain?)

If you were to do an experiment and keep detailed notes, which is a great idea, I would just take accurate notes and readings of your process. Over time this will give you reliable feedback on which strains ferment better at what temps. This measurement is attenuation and is indeed valuable information. But counting days and number of bubbles in an airlock isnt. You will want to take gravity readings and temperature readings in detail to get the information you desire

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Old 04-24-2009, 03:24 PM   #3
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Didn't you start this thread once already?

Something to remember is that with yeasties, you are dealing with living creatures...every fermentation is different...you can split a batch in half put them in 2 identical carboys, and pitch equal amounts of yeast from the same starter...and have them act completely differently...for some reason on a subatomic level...think about it...yeasties are small...1 degree difference in temp to us, could be a 50 degree difference to them...one fermenter can be a couple degrees warmer because it's closer to a vent all the way across the room and the yeasties take off...

Someone, Grinder I think posted a pic once of 2 carboys touching each other, and one one of the carboys the krausen had formed only on the side that touched the other carboy...probably reacting to the heat of the first fermentation....

I've found that you should never assume anything where the yeasties are concerned except that they are in charge...not us...and they've been doing this beer making stuff for 5, 000 years...so basicially we just need to trust them, and not bug them...and give them plenty of time, and they will make us very very happy.

You could pitch yeast a in a beer today....then in a month make the same recipe, in the same fermenter, and pitch another packet of the same yeast strain, and it may behave entirely different...maybe because the yeast was simply from a different batch run.....the beer may taste exactly the same, but activity during fermentation may be totally different. It may take longer to start, have a different krauzen shape, anything really.

So unless you repeat the exercise with each yeast strain multiple times and figure out the average, you can't assume it's gonna behave exactly the same time next time you use it...

And again the only accurate measurement of activity is by your hydrometer....

If I were going to try something like this, I would do multiple tries of each yeast strain, and go by a daily or twice daily hydrometer reading (Along with fermentation temp at the time of hydro reading) and chart that..but like I said, it will only be a generalization any way.....not a bible of repeatable behavior...since when we are talking about living microorganisms mother nature can be a fickle wench.

Good luck. And post your generalized results.

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Old 04-24-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Didn't you start this thread once already?
Not that I recall? But you guys probably see the same threads over and over anyway.

The only reason I asked about the Day 0 versus Day 1 thing was because I was looking at the chart that Papazian has in his book. It showed the "circle of life" of yeast over the course of 5-6 days. I was just wondering what was generally considered to be Day 1, since in the scientific community sometimes it will vary.
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