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Old 05-16-2012, 07:44 PM   #1
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Default Broken airlock during fermentation

Our home brew has been fermenting for over three weeks now. I've checked the hydrometer reading once every week. It's been sitting at 1.026 almost two weeks now. The OG reading was on target at 1.071. And the FG is suppose to be at 1.017. This was an all grain DIPA with Zythos hops. This morning I went and racked to carboy for 2nd fermentation. Noticed that the airlock was cracked at the bottom just before it went into the plug. So air has been getting into the bucket all this time. Am I screwed with this batch? Or can it be saved or still be able to drink. It smells and looks like tea. I racked to a 5 gallon carboy with a new airlock in place. Should I wait another week or two? Or is my FG going to be at 1.026?

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Old 05-16-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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What makes you think air has been getting in? More than likely there's been a positive pressure from the CO2 inside, or at least a "blanket" of CO2 over the surface. As for your FG, you may be stuck or you may have had issues with mashing, or maybe it's the hydrometer (unlikely, but it could be). If you racked it, you should have stirred up some yeast even though there was still plenty in suspension, so maybe it will start up again.

Don't dump it, though! Never bail on a brew until you've bottled it and aged it. Even bad beer in the bottle has been known to clean up after extended aging.

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Old 05-16-2012, 07:59 PM   #3
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What temperature are you fermenting at? If it is low, the yeast may work very slowly.

If you are in the yeast's ideal range, then your mash temp may have been a little high leaving you with more unfermentable sugars. If this is the case, it is probably done since it has been stable for two weeks. How does it taste?

As for the airlock, I wouldn't worry about it. As long as it was just a crack and there are no insects in your fermentor, you will probably be just fine.

Also, you are probably going to get some posts about racking to a secondary. Many brewers on this forum only rack if they are doing something special (complicated addition or dry-hop) or aging for long periods. IF it is stuck, then racking removes the wort from the bulk of the yeast needed to finish. (Although three weeks should be plenty.)

I would say let it sit for two more weeks, and if the gravity is still the same go ahead and bottle.



Edited for spelling ...
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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You're fine, some folks don't even use airlocks, or they don't snap the lid down, or they use plastic wrap instead of a lid, or use a piece of plexiglass. An airlock is just a vent to release the co2 coming out. It doesn't make a fermenter air tight. There's plenty of co2 coming out, even through the crak to have protected your beer.
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