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Old 10-26-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
Oct 2010
Oxnard, CA, California
Posts: 3

First off, I am a newbie.

I am brewing a Ballantine XXX Ale Clone, and it has now been bubbling for over 14 days! The fastest I saw it bubble was once every 3 seconds, and it stayed at that rate for about a week, now it has slowed down to a bubble every 20 seconds, but I am not sure when it will ever stop (like the Energizer Bunny!).

I am now convinced that my problem is pitch rate. I used a white lab tube of yeast, which spewed like champagne when I opened it, losing close to half of the vial. Being a newbie I figured all was well when it started bubbling about 30 hours later.

Does anyone have any advice at this late juncture? From what I have read it sounds like I can expect some off-taste in my brew, but would it help to pitch some more yeast now (2+ weeks later)? (I live an hour from nearest brewing supply store).

How long will this go on? Is it a lost cause?

Any advice from the brew-sages out there would be appreciated!

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Old 10-26-2010, 12:27 AM   #2
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,945
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Counting bubbless is useless and idiotic. It has very little bearing on what is happenning in your fermenter.

AND there's NOTHING WRONG. You fermentation is simply winding down. That's normal.

the airlock has slowed down because the largest amount of fermentation is over and there's not a lot of excess co2 that NEEDS to be vented out.....That is ALL your airlock is a valve, a vent to release EXCESS co2, it's not a magic fermentation gauge. Whether it blips or not, whether it stops or starts or not really bears little resemblance to how fermentation is going, just how much co2 is being released or not. That's it.

You don't know that your fermentation is slow, or fast for that matter, all you know is that your airlock isn't bubbling in a way you THINK it should.

The fact that bubbling has slowed down doesn't mean your fermentation has stalled, it just means that there isn't enough excess co2 for the airlock or the blowoff to need to vent. All either of those are are vents, valves to release excess co2, but it is not a direct gauge of what's happening in your fermenter. Sometimes airlocks never bubble, but they ferment just fine. Sometimes beers never bubble in the fermenter....Sometimes they stop after a day or so...and that doesn't mean fermentation isn't happening. Just that the airlock is not bubbling.

It's perfectly normal for fermentation to slow down as the most sugar is consumed initially, but that doesn't mean fermentation is done nor that fermentation is stalled.

There is still more than likely a ton of work that the yeast are still doing behind the scenes, it's just not dynamic.

Just leave your beer alone. Everything fines....and don't rely on airlock activity or even krausen formation to give you accurate info on what you beer is doing.

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?

Forget what your airlock is doing and take a gravity reading.

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Old 10-26-2010, 02:12 AM   #3
Sep 2010
Red Deer, Alberta
Posts: 864
Liked 27 Times on 22 Posts

Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Counting bubbless is useless and idiotic. It has very little bearing on what is happenning in your fermenter.
same rule applies if I didn't see any bubbles at all? I'm on second batch and making Kolsch with 2565. I made starter and all was good, it developed krausen of about 2-3 inches after 12 hrs but my air lock activity is nonexistent. I have not seen a single bubble from airlock after 4 days, no sulphur smell, etc! Thats worries me, I was trying to keep fermenting temperature around 60 F and its been down as low as 58 F. This just doesnt make sense, if sugars converting to alcohol should I always have some CO2 released? I will wait a week and check my gravity. First batch finished fermenting in 4 days flat acording to hydrometer reading, but I used dry Coopers yeast

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