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Old 06-03-2012, 02:54 PM   #1
stevefromga2000
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Jul 2011
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After my beer sat in my Primary for about 10 days, the recipe calls for 2 weeks primary and 1 week secondary, then it stopped giving me the bubbles showing in my airlock. I changed it to my secondary, mostly because I want to see how much it helps with clarity, and I still have no bubbles.

Does this mean that my yeast has stopped working? Do I need to add new yeast? How can I tell when it is ready to bottle? I am still learning about the OG/FG, so I don't know how to use that information to my advantage other than to tell how strong my finished product is.

Thank you for the help ahead of time.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
Ingvaroo
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The bubbles dont tell you anything except that the bubbles are moving or not moving.

Check gravity, thats the only way to know whats going on.

(If you have reached FG, let it sit 2 days and check again, if its the same outcome then fermentation has stopped, let it sit and clear for atleast a week, maby 2)

You cant tell if you are ready to bottle unless you check the gravity.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:03 PM   #3
Smithman
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Ten days is a pretty long ferment. The yeast is probably done. Take a specific gravity reading to see.

If the yeast is done and final gravity is reached and holds for a few days any other time in the fermenter is just aging. Bottle when you see fit after final gravity or hen the recipe tells you too.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
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Ingvaroo is spot on about the fermenting

As far as your yeast goes, it is probably fine. When it is stops fermenting, it means the yeast has eaten all of the fermentable sugar creating your alcohol.

When you add sugar at bottling time, the yeast will come back to life.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:10 PM   #5
duboman
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An airlock is nothing more than a valve that allows fermentation gasses to escape. If there is not enough pressure in the primary than no bubbles will be produced and no activity will be seen but that does not mean there is nothing going on.

There are three phases to fermentation. The first is the lag time it takes for the yeast to build up enough to start working, the second is active fermentation when the yeast really begin chewing down the sugars and this is usually when the bubbles in the airlock are really active. The third phase is when things settle down and the yeast begin the process of searching for more fermentable sugars and start cleaning up their own fermentation waste, off flavors, etc and begin to flocculate out of suspension in clearing the beer.

Your OG is the initial starting gravity of the wort before pitching the yueast and needs to be taken for every batch. This tells you that you are starting at what the beer is supposed to be. Your FG is is the expected final gravity of the beer once the yeast have completed their job. By taking the difference of these two numbers and multiplying by 133 (I believe) you calculate your ABV. In addition these values tell you when the beer has completely finished all phases of fermentation.

In order to properly determine the beer has completed fermenting it is important to get the same FG reading over a period of consecutive days, usually two or three days. If the numbers keep changing then the yeast is still working and the beer needs to be left alone until those numbers are stable.

Once you have reached FG it is safe to bottle or keg, but most people here will recommend you keep the beer on the yeast for an additional week to give the yeast time to settle out and allow the beer to really clear up

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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<---- waiting for Revvy, but I'll summarize. Airlocks are vents for gasses, not an indicator of anything not fermenting. Sometimes they bubble for no reason, cat loves up on the carboy, vacuum cleaner, you walk by and the floor shifts, etc. Take a hydro reading, it's the only way to know for sure.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:36 PM   #7
stevefromga2000
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that all makes a lot of sense. I do have my OG recorded, so I will just have to take a few samples to check my gravity now. Thank you for the help guys. It is appreciated

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:48 PM   #8
afr0byte
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OP, in your case the fact that the airlock stopped bubbling probably means you are at or close to your finishing gravity. You should use your hydrometer to be sure, though. In the future you can use it as a general indicator of fermentation. The bubbles will slowly increase in frequency at the beginning, reach a peak, and then slow down and eventually stop (or be infrequent). Keep in mind that you could develop a leak with use, so if at some point the airlock isn't bubbling when it probably should be (e.g. 2 days after pitching yeast), then you should check with a hydrometer to see if the gravity is dropping.

 
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