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Old 01-29-2014, 07:12 AM   #1
brandonman
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On January 26th around 7PM or so, I brewed up my first beer, Brewer's Best's English Brown Ale kit. I had some hiccups involving my kettle and the size of my sink regarding cooling it, but everything eventually worked out. The next day around 2PM when I returned from class, the airlock was bubbling away (3 piece airlock), with a huge bubble plopping up every few seconds.

This morning when I checked it, however, I didn't notice any huge bubbles. Thanks to weird tricks of refraction, I also didn't notice another thing - the stopper piece thing in the airlock that rises and falls with the bubbles was essentially "stuck" up, so in retrospect, I guess I was still fermenting. I figured that part out this afternoon.

This evening, I wasn't seeing this thing as stuck up, and wasn't seeing bubble activity. I'm getting a little worried, so I did some googling on the "safety" of opening up my plastic fermenter, and read that a quick peak won't hurt anything, so I wiped my hands down real good with sanitizer (I've had to become Obsessive compulsive with this stuff for a while on Doctor's orders, but that's a whole NOTHER story), and I opened it up to see that it had already risen to a high point, had Krausen, but also noticed something else - this greenish-brownish sludgy sort of deposit at the high krausen point. Obviously I didn't poke it or anything for sanitation concerns, so I can't comment on its physical texture beyond how it appears in this image.



This stuff definitely SMELLS like beer, and minus the sludge, it looks like what I've seen for beer. I'm THINKING this is leftovers from the hops - I noticed after I had chilled my wort that there was a fairly similar looking ring of hops type stuff in the kettle. Is it possible that's what this is a result of? Or is this standard beer behavior and I just haven't seen it in the forums yet? Also, with this airlock activity - is this normal? Should I be concerned by it having bubbled well for a day then just slowed completely? The fact that this Krausen is here and that I noticed some slight bubbling still when I actually opened seems to indicate it's at least still going to some extent. When I poured out of the kettle, I did try to leave some in the bottom as it looked sludgier. Might I just have collected some of that in the pour by accident?

Thanks for taking the time to read. I'm going to bed now, I'll be checking back in the morning! Can't wait to HOPEFULLY have my own Brown Ale I can crack open with my buddy

Also, if a larger image might help identify it, here's a link - I don't want to post a giant picture here and throw off the forums.
http://imageshack.com/a/img849/5429/hj20.jpg


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Old 01-29-2014, 07:23 AM   #2
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What you are seeing is a ring of hops. This is normal.
Normally I drain the wort into my fermenting bucket through a fairly tight strainer that catches most all of the hops and a good part of the traub that inevitably gets drained as well.
I use the "S" type airlocks for that great visual and percussion that lets me know it is still fermenting, the three piece airlocks are much less visual.



 
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:29 AM   #3
brandonman
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Well, I'm glad that got settled before I even got done dicking around on the forums! Thanks for the reply, and I'm glad this isn't some bizarre looking thing. I'll have to be a bit more careful next time, if only for purely aesthetic reasons!

Any cause for concern that the fermentation was only vigorous enough to bubble for less than 24 hours? I could take a specific gravity reading again tomorrow afternoon if that might help, although when I transferred to the fermenter, I didn't know the spin technique, and just kind of loosely cleared the bubbles with the Hydrometer, so it was a little difficult to get an accurate reading to compare to, as they quickly reformed.
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"This is Romeo-Foxtrot. Shall we dance?" -Lt. Cl. Killgore, Apocalypse Now
In the Fermenter - Empty
Bottled - English Brown Ale, Brewer's Best Weizenbier, George Washington's Small Beer
On Deck - Possibly BOMM?

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonman View Post
Well, I'm glad that got settled before I even got done dicking around on the forums! Thanks for the reply, and I'm glad this isn't some bizarre looking thing. I'll have to be a bit more careful next time, if only for purely aesthetic reasons!

Any cause for concern that the fermentation was only vigorous enough to bubble for less than 24 hours? I could take a specific gravity reading again tomorrow afternoon if that might help, although when I transferred to the fermenter, I didn't know the spin technique, and just kind of loosely cleared the bubbles with the Hydrometer, so it was a little difficult to get an accurate reading to compare to, as they quickly reformed.
No, that short amount of time bubbling is pretty normal if you ferment the beer a little warm. For now, simply ignore your beer for another 2 weeks before you take another hydrometer sample. The yeast are doing their thing and they know what to do to make beer.

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
No, that short amount of time bubbling is pretty normal if you ferment the beer a little warm. For now, simply ignore your beer for another 2 weeks before you take another hydrometer sample. The yeast are doing their thing and they know what to do to make beer.
That seems about right I suppose, considering it's 71 degrees in my apartment (although the temperature gradient gets significantly chillier towards the balcony, and the fermenter is in a closet about 1/3 of the way down the length of the room from the balcony. Next batch I'll neglect my nuts and turn it down a few degrees

Also - Man I love this forum! Quick replies in the first couple of hours that were succinct and to the point from people who know what they're doing, without any condescending nature towards newbie-ish questions.
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"This is Romeo-Foxtrot. Shall we dance?" -Lt. Cl. Killgore, Apocalypse Now
In the Fermenter - Empty
Bottled - English Brown Ale, Brewer's Best Weizenbier, George Washington's Small Beer
On Deck - Possibly BOMM?

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:28 PM   #6
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Fermentation produces heat. The wort temperature of high gravity beers in a warm room can increase 10 over the ambient air temperature. The temprature increase happens in the first few days. Low to average gravity beers 3 to 5. A 60 corner would be a good place for the fermentor.

After 4 or 5 days warmer temperatures can be good while the yeast take care of the last of the fermentation and clean up.

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flars View Post
Fermentation produces heat. The wort temperature of high gravity beers in a warm room can increase 10 over the ambient air temperature. The temprature increase happens in the first few days. Low to average gravity beers 3 to 5. A 60 corner would be a good place for the fermentor.

After 4 or 5 days warmer temperatures can be good while the yeast take care of the last of the fermentation and clean up.
This, or in a tub of water with an ice pack (frozen water bottle) to keep the temperature down. Hopefully you have a thermometer to tell what the beer temp is. The stick-on "fermometers" work good for that if they are below the top of the beer. I have a non-contact infrared thermometer that I bought for a different putpose but is lets me "shoot" it at the fermenter from across the room if I want so I don't have to get down on my knees to read a fermometer.

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:53 PM   #8
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The floating stuff on top of the beer is krausen. It's a sign of active fermentation. The "rings" on the side are where the krausen once was- it raised up during the most active part of fermentation and it always leaves a ring like that. Soon, the entire krausen will disappear, and fall back down the rest of the way into the bottom of the beer. When you rack to the bottling bucket, don't disturb that krausen ring (or take much of the trub on the bottom with the siphon) as that stuff is very bitter tasting.

In short, it looks perfect! And you'll have beer to bottle in another week or so.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
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When all the rapid bubbling slows or stops,only initial fermentation is done. It'll then slowly,uneventfully creep down to a stable FG. then give it another 3-7 days to clean up & settle out clear or slightly misty before priming & bottling.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:16 PM   #10
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You mentioned sanitizers from another story. If these are hand sanitizers, be careful, they probably have moisturizers etc in them. If you might get your hands in the wort use a brewing sanitizer.



 
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