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Old 01-04-2012, 02:16 AM   #1
loafimus
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Default New brewer, fermentation stuck?

Like a lot of people here I'm sure, I got one of the homebrewing starter kits as a gift this Christmas. I decided to try my luck at the red ale extract kit and followed the instructions pretty much to a tee. The first 24 hours of fermentation was pretty cool, it was bubbling like crazy and going well. I'm concerned now that my fermentation is stuck though.

The airlock is bubbling about once or twice every minute at the end of day 3 now. The beer is really cloudy still. I'm hoping everything is going well with it still, but like I said, it's my first batch and don't know really what to expect.

A couple of notes: when it was crazy bubbling, the temperature said it was 70 degrees. Now it says 64. That's the same as the room temperature in the basement. I have it wrapped in an old black sweatshirt. I really don't have any warmer place to put it right now. Could this be my issue, if there is an issue?

After typing all this, I'm guessing all I need to do is play the waiting game. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve waiting for Santa Claus.


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Old 01-04-2012, 02:31 AM   #2
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First, welcome to the hobby. It gets really addicting really fast. Just let it take you where it wants lol

Second, I would definitely pick up How To Brew second edition. Great book for beginners to all grain brewers. Also spend a lot of time reading on this forum. I usually spend 2 hours at least readying and posting here. I have learned a lot in the year or so I have been brewing.

You will probably hear this a lot...your airlock is not a hydrometer. To actually know what your beer is doing you need to take a gravity reading. I assume your starter kit came with a hydrometer. Some brews you will notice a lot of bubbles. Some brews you might not get any. Bubbles is just sign of CO2 coming out of the bucket/carboy. For a beer to be finished, you will need a steady reading 3 days in a row. Beers can be done after 3 days. Some will take longer. It all depends on what you brew. My advice is to let the beer and yeast do their thing for 10 to 14 days before checking anything. Don't even open it to look at it.

Now with the temperature...it really depends on the yeast but you will find that most people like to keep the beer temperature around the low 60s (63 to 65). Notice I said beer temperature. The ambient room temp and the beer temp will be different especially during the primary fermentation stage. The beer temp can be 10* higher or more. The best thing to do is to get one of those stick on thermometers (called fermometer). You stick this onto your bucket/carboy and it tells you the temp of the beer. You want to make sure that reads in the low 60s (again that can be different depending on the yeast). If you keep your ambient temp at 70, your beer temp can be 75 or more which is on the high side. My basement is between 58 and 61 right now which is a pretty good temp range to be at.

Read, read and read some more.

Oh and yes patience is key. RDWHAHB is a big saying around here. It means relax don't worry have a home brew.


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Old 01-04-2012, 02:35 AM   #3
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Sounds like you have a healthy fermentation going. It probably fermented very quickly, causing the temperature increase, and is now slowing down. 64 also sounds good too. In the future you will want to try and keep the temp lower during the early part of fermentation, depending on the type of yeast, but I am sure your beer is fine. My advice is to wait 3 to 4 weeks to bottle and read all you can. Welcome to the wonderful world of home brewing!
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:37 AM   #4
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Awesome. Just eased my mind that everything will be good =)

I have been trying to read as much as I can and I feel like I'm pretty hooked already. My brother and I have been collecting whale beers for the past couple years and this seems like the next logical step in the addiction. In the meantime I'll have to relax, don't worry and have a craft beer while I wait.
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:51 AM   #5
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Don't worry about it, it's not uncommon for fermentations to be practically done in 3 days like that.


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