You always want "active" fermentation, not one that just chuggs along slowly for weeks. But active does not mean the lid is blowing off and a blow off tube is necessary. The crazy fermentations that fill up the airlock are a result of several factors that are hard to quantify: Grain bill, gravity, yeast strain, yeast amount, yeast health, temperature, aeration, mash schedule.
In short, an active fermentation will have healthy yeast and ferment completely, giving cleaner beer with less chance of yeast derrived off-flavors.
Fermenting:#160 Apollo/Calypso Pale Ale
Kegged:#153 Old Helicon Barleywine 2013, #157 Irish Red, #158 Mosaic IPA, #159 Bravo/Delta ESB
Up Next:Brown Porter, American Stout, Imperial Stout
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