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Old 01-29-2013, 05:15 AM   #1
Nov 2012
Posts: 2

This is my first home brew so I am all panicky about whats going on. I have been reading a lot of the other forums on here about airlock activity and what it means. I did my first batch of Irish Red Ale with 3 gallons on saturday the 26th. Once in the fermentor I used and S shaped airlock and it was bubbling like crazy. My question is this morning it was still going nuts and when i came home from work it there was no activity at all in the airlock. It hasn't done anything all night long. I used muntons yeast and the temp has been between 66-72 degrees. With under 36 hours of visible activity from the air lock is the yeast still active or should i be worried? Thanks

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:18 AM   #2
Jul 2009
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totally normal. let it sit as is for 3 weeks. bottle it for 2-3 weeks, then try it
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:20 AM   #3
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Jan 2012
Birmingham, AL
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An airlock is a vent, nothing more. Vigorous bubbling tells you that yes, there is fermentation - but lack of bubbling does not mean a thing.

Lack of bubbling can mean that the CO2 is escaping elsewhere; around the airlock, or, in the case of a (notoriously leaky) bucket, around the seal.

The ONLY way to know if fermentation is done is by taking gravity readings with your hydrometer.

And yes... 36 hours can absolutely be the end of visible, active fermentation - especially if your temps are warm. This doesn't mean that the beer is done, however. Give it at least a few days. Many of the vets here give it ~3 weeks.
Check out the priming sugar calculator, yeast starter calculator, and the beer calorie calculator.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
Nov 2012
Posts: 2

Awesome thanks guys! I am glad to read that! Like i said I'm a nervous first timer that just wants to get it right. Ill let it sit for a few weeks.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:21 PM   #5
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When the fast bubbling slows or stops,initial fermentation is done. It'll then slowly,uneventfully creep down to FG. After FG is reached,give it another 3-7 days to clean up & settle out clear or slightly misty. Then package.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:02 PM   #6

Originally Posted by homebrewdad View Post
Give it at least a few days. Many of the vets here give it ~3 weeks.
In my experience, 3 weeks is longer than necessary for most styles. In fact, I am drinking many beers by 3 weeks. If you manage your fermentation well, off-flavors won't develop and extended primary is not necessary to clean them up.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:51 PM   #7
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Depending on your setup, airlock activity can mean a lot, or nothing at all. A carboy with a snug stopper will *probably* give a somewhat accurate account of what's going on. A bucket might never bubble at all, due to leaks in the seal. Or it might bubble some if the fermentation is going faster than the leak can allow to escape. Then once the fermentation slows down it might stop altogether as the Co2 can now get out past the seal again.

Also, change in temperature can cause Co2 that was once in solution to come out of solution and start the bubbling again. This generally happens when the fermenter goes form colder to warmer, or if the fermenter was bumped.

I think the important thing to know is that fermentation HAS TAKEN PLACE. Now it's up to you to find out when it's finished so you can package your beer. Take gravity readings and when the stabilize over a couple of days, you can bottle if the beer is clear enough for your personal taste.

I usually do 2-3 weeks if I'm not busy with other things. If so, it doesn't hurt to wait a bit longer. Some people even rack to secondary for some reason.

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:57 PM   #8
Nov 2012
Altoona, PA
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The airlock on my red ale did the exact same thing, on day 2-3 it bubbled like crazy (was fun to watch) then it quit one day and nothing since for the last two weeks. Samples I've taken seem fine, but I haven't done another gravity reading yet. I know it will be okay for bottling on Sunday.

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