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Old 11-30-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
Nov 2012
Posts: 12

Hello all. So my first batch ever has been fermenting for exactly a week now. My airlock was bubbling a lot up until today. What could this mean? I brewed a european pilsner if that helps

Is it time for me to move it to the secondary? Thanks!

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
IffyG's Avatar
Oct 2009
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It means.... absolutely nothing. Got a hydrometer? Time to break that sucker out.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:30 PM   #3
Jan 2011
Tallahassee, Florida
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Originally Posted by IffyG View Post
It means.... absolutely nothing. Got a hydrometer? Time to break that sucker out.
+1. Airlock activity means close to nothing. Take hydro readings and when you get no change after 3 days you should be ready to bottle.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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It means.....your airlock stopped. Which means....


Bubbling in primary SHOULD slow or stop eventually...Bubbling stopping or slowing down doesn't mean fermentation has stopped it ONLY means bubbling has. An airlock is a VENT, a VALVE for EXCESS CO2. It's not a magic fermentation gauge. When the majority of sugars are eaten in the initial burst of fermentation, lots of co2 is released. As it slows down, bubbling ceases or stops altogether because there's not as much EXCESS Co2 being released.

But that doesn't mean fermentation is over, just that it's slowed down.

Fermentation is not always dynamic...just because you don't SEE anything happening doesn't mean that the yeast aren't happily chewing away at whatever fermentables are in there....the only way to know comes from gravity readings, and nothing else.

People who rack to a secondary too soon based on bubbling often get stuck fermentation, because they've taken the beer off the yeast while it was STILL FERMENTING.

It could just as easily be bubbling or stop bubbling for that matter, due to changes in barometric pressure, temperature, or whether or not the cat or vacuum cleaner bumped into it, as it could be to because it's still fermenting.

Activity, action, bubbles, even krausen can be affected by the envoironment just as much as it being caused by the going by that is NOT reliable.

If you want to know what's going on with your beer, then take a gravity reading. 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....

Going by airlocks is the same thing. There's still things going on under the surface despite what an airlock is or isn't doing.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:00 PM   #5
Nov 2012
Posts: 12

Okay great info y'all, much appreciated.

I will do a hydro reading, thanks again!

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Old 11-30-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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Dec 2011
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I wouldn't touch it for another week at least. Then check it with a hydrometer.


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Old 11-30-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
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Feb 2011
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An airlock is just a one way check valve,like an aitomatic trans or the valve in your sump pumps out line. The only thing it can tell you in my experience is when a vigorous initial fermentation is done. It'll then slowly,unevetfully creep down to FG. 3-7 days after that to clean up & settle out clear or slightly misty.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:04 PM   #8
Oct 2012
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
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Well if you're making a lager, I'm assuming that you have it fermenting at lower temps. One week of airlock activity sound normal, I'd just wait another 2-3 weeks before even thinking about taking a sample for SG reading and tasting.
Fermenting: Group brews: ESB; Nut Brown; Strong Ale [8/22 brewday]
Bottled/Kegged: None
On Deck: Porter? I hardly know her [9/5 brewday]

Thinking about racking to a secondary? Read this first.

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