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Old 12-18-2012, 05:42 PM   #1
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Default Checking on fermentation

Not sure if this is the right section for this, but I brewed my 2nd batch (Octobest lager) last Friday night. I have kept it at 63 degrees since putting into the fermenter and was told to move to a cooler climate once there was visible fermentation. Assuming that is good advice, I am currently a little stuck. I am "that guy" and failed to take a hydrometer reading before starting. I also do not see visible bubbles in the air lock (know that isn't always bad). The latter could be because the air lock may not be 100% sealed. The little ring on the lid around the lock looks to be slightly pushed it and there may be an ever so slight hole there.

My question is...without the initial hydrometer reading or the air bubbles, when is the first instance I would be able to tell something went wrong? Should I just proceed to move to colder climate and then taste it when transferring to carboy? Any help would be appreciated...thanks!
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bitburger88 View Post
Not sure if this is the right section for this, but I brewed my 2nd batch (Octobest lager) last Friday night. I have kept it at 63 degrees since putting into the fermenter and was told to move to a cooler climate once there was visible fermentation. Assuming that is good advice, I am currently a little stuck. I am "that guy" and failed to take a hydrometer reading before starting. I also do not see visible bubbles in the air lock (know that isn't always bad). The latter could be because the air lock may not be 100% sealed. The little ring on the lid around the lock looks to be slightly pushed it and there may be an ever so slight hole there.

My question is...without the initial hydrometer reading or the air bubbles, when is the first instance I would be able to tell something went wrong? Should I just proceed to move to colder climate and then taste it when transferring to carboy? Any help would be appreciated...thanks!
63 degrees is way too high for a lager yeast. If you're using lager yeast, ferment at 50 degrees. If it never started, you can add a couple more packages of yeast and put it at 50 degrees. If it's started, then keep it at 50 degrees.

As for how to tell, you can open it and look. If it's got krausen, bubbles, debris on the side, etc, fermentation has started (and possibly even finished by now).
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:52 PM   #3
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lowering the temperature is going to put some of the yeast to sleep. Next time your probably better off pitching at or just below the temperature you want to ferment at. It's probably just going to be a little slower than it would have been otherwise. Like Yooper said, 60 degrees is too warm for a lager, you'll have to drop the temperature if you want it to taste like a lager. Then let it go for a few days. Unless you did something really out of the ordinary it will be fine. If curiosity has the better of you take a gravity reading now. While it is open, check to see if there are bubbles on the top. If there are, you are golden. Gravity might not really start to drop until 1-2 days after pitching. Or more if the yeast isn't healthy.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies! The instructions that came with my kit told me...

"Place your fermenter in a warm area. (60-65F) Approximately 1-3 days after adding the yeast you should start to notice a healthy fermentation taking place. A head of foam (called krausen) will have formed and CO2 should be bubbling out of the airlock. Lagers are fermented cool and stored for a lengthy time at an even cooler temperature. If you do not have control over the ferment temperatures just try to keep it as cool as possible. At this point, move your fermenter to your cool fermentation area (48-60F)."

Is that just plain bad advice? Or did I interpret that wrong?
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:15 AM   #5
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Is this proper fementation? The krausen didn't looked to be terribly thick but I didn't do more than peek. I moved to basement at roughly 50 degrees.

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Old 12-19-2012, 05:19 AM   #6
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Looks like beer to me.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:13 AM   #7
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Seems that fermentation started.
Try not to open lid frequently since you are risking infection.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #8
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See that ring around the bucket above the level of the beer? That's a krausen ring and it tells you that fermentation has started and is well on its way, probably too far for a proper lager. It's OK, you still made beer but you'll know that for the next lager you need to get the wort cooler.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for the tip RM-MN. To make sure I understand, next time, I should move to a cooler area sooner? At this point, when would I want to move to a secondary fermenter and how long should I keep there before bottling?
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tip RM-MN. To make sure I understand, next time, I should move to a cooler area sooner? At this point, when would I want to move to a secondary fermenter and how long should I keep there before bottling?
See post #2 above by Yooper? Follow her advice, she knows her stuff.

I've read that you can start you lager a little warmer (like you did, just not for as long) to get the yeast started but very soon you need it colder.
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