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72 hrs & no visible fermentation??

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stevenryals

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Hi all, I helped a neighbor get started on his first home brea... and he's having some probs.. wanted to get the experts opinion:


Brewed an oatmeal stout on sunday @ 3pm (so we're almost 80 hours in now)

recipe:
6.6lb light malt extract (liquid)
8oz flaked oats
8oz muntons chocolate
8oz muntons torified wheat
6oz muntons crystal 60
4 oz muntons roasted barley

7 aau target bittering
.25oz kent golding aroma...

went through the normal procedures..
everything went fine, well sanitized and airated.....

went straight to the basement (not on the floor) where it is roughly 65 degrees.. no fermentation, so after seeing this; neighbor moved it upstairs to his bathroom where its' roughly 68-70 constant yesterday, and still no visible bubble showing fermentation..

any instructions? thoughts? advice?

Not even pushing the water to show a positive pressure at this point..

thanks
 
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stevenryals

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Should I let it have a couple extra days in the primary? is it running late or what?????
 

Eves

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Not trying to be a jerk or anything but....I don't see yeast listed. You did pitch the yeast, right?


OK...so assuming you did pitch the yeast... Personally I'd wait til the brew has been in the primary for 7 or more days and then check the gravity. Odds are you would be at or near your target FG at 7 days (not saying its done but it might be done fermenting). Airlock activity means nothing. My first 10 brews all had wild and very active airlock activity and then my 11th batch had zero airlock activity. Yet after a gravity check at 7 days the hydrometer reading was really close. After 3 weeks in the primary it was perfect. Sometimes you just have a brew without visible fermenation and all is still well.
 

cytokine

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Airlock activity means nothing.
This.

As the previous poster has rightly pointed out, if you pitched yeast you are fermenting. Let your hydrometer answer this question after a week in the primary fermenter and you will likely find that all is well.
 

steelerguy

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If there is no visible sign of fermentation (krausen, wort swirling around, airlock activity...) within 36 hours you should check the gravity. If it is not going down you should pitch some viable yeast.

The longer your wort sits around not fermenting, the greater the chance some bacteria or other fungus will start eating your glorious sugars and making your beer taste nasty.
 
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stevenryals

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I went over to his house last night to check it out, and low and behold... not enough vodka in the airlock!!! lol.... i walked into the bathroom where he had it and i could smell it straight off... added a bit of vodka, and instantly the bubbles started..

he went from depressed loser, to happy father of a baby beer in minutes lol
 

EvilTOJ

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See, glad it was a simple fix. Well, not for the depressed loser part, he's still that.


I keed, I keed! :D
 
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stevenryals

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lol.. he was like me on my first brew though.. he was like "i killed it didnt i? DAMMIT I'VE KILLED MY BEER!!!!" lol...

i had a right laugh at him while I drank a home brew in front of him.. lol
 
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stevenryals

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lol, nice one.. maybe that's my problem at work today...
 

TimmysPaleAle

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Stupid question: but do you reccomend using vodka in the air-lock? I have read that a sanitizer solution or water is fine. Alcohol makes sense, and would provide a nice piece of mind. Advice?
 

LaurieGator

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I usually use cheap vodka in my airlocks.

Is it necessary? I don't think so but YMMV (your mileage may vary). You are letting CO2 escape from the carboy (or bucket) and since CO2 is heavier than air, it is difficult for things to creep into the airlock. I do it because it makes me feel more secure just in case anything creeps into the airlock. If you do use vodka in the airlock, be sure to check it every couple of days since the vodka will evaporate faster than water.

I have used vodka in my airlocks for mead for about the last year and I have found it doesn't alter the taste of my mead in any way. I just like the little extra peace of mind...
 

Beau815

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im on about 30 hours with no activity on mine... my 1st 7 batches all bubbled within a day. I guess if its not bubbling tomorrow i should check gravity if its not changed then ill get some more yeast, but my lhbs is only open wed thurs fri :(
 

dagamore

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Check the temps, it should be warm (i ferm at 23-25c)
make sure the lid/stopper is on right/tight it might be outgassing at another point.
make sure you have the right amount of water/vodka/starsan in the air lock too little and it might now show activity but be outgassing just fine.

can you smell the bready/yeasty/barly smell from the yeast going on? if you are in a glass carboy/better bottle, can you see the yeasties moving around, is there any sediment on the bottom? did you airate the sweet wart nice and good?
 

Revvy

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Guys, Guys Guys....(or ladies) How many times do we have say...Don't go by the airlock...

I wish Orfy had left the original title of the thread alone...I think the "visible signs" of fermentation line is once again confusing to some of you..Even though he says repeatedly the Airlock Bubbling or lack of is not a good indication of activity...

People keep going with bubbling airlocks as a sign and worry if they don't see bubbling.....

And if you look around the forums you might think there is an epidemic of stuck fermentations...when in reality it is simply an epidemic of not bubbling airlocks...once the new brewer takes a hydro reading he/she is surprised to find that they worried for nothing...Becasue fermentation did occur, despite the lack of bubbling.

I'm sure I've posted this in here before...and many of us say it over and over and over...so here I go again...:D

You should never rely on the bubbling or lack of on a cheap plastic airlock as a "fermentation Gauge," it's not...It's an airlock, nothing more, a VALVE to release excess CO2, to keep from blowing the lid off the fermentor...

If it's not bubbling that just means that there's not enough CO2 to climb out of the airlock, or the CO2 is just forming a nice cushion on top of the beer like it's supposed to, or the airlock is askew, or it is leaking out the cheap rubber grommet, or you have a leak in the bucket seal, or around the carboy grommet...all those are fine...if CO2 is getting out then nothing's getting in....

Over half of my beers have had no airlock activity...AND that is spread out among carboys, buckets. water bottles, and anything else I may ferment in, and regardless of the type of airlock...I have 9 different fermenters...

That's why I and many others say repeatedly that the only gauge of fermentaion is your hydrometer (or refractometer) . Those are precision calibrated instruments...

More than likely your fermentation is going nicely at it's own pace but for a dozen possible reasons your airlock isn't bubbling...simple as that. Get out of the habit of thinking it is a precision instrument and you will find you are less worried...The only precise methid of gauging fermentation is taking gravity readings.

Back in the bad old days, the predominant airlock was an s type...and often they were made of glass and sat relatively heavy in the grommet, and that's where people like papazain and those who influenced him got into the habit of counting bubbles...but now adays with 3 piecers being the norm, and most things being made crappy these days...it's just not a reliable means anymore.


The trouble is, that even the authors for the most part have been brewing so long that they don't pay attention to the airlock, yet the perpetuate the myth from the old days of bubbles meaning anything....though I figure, as a writer myself, they have long moved past the basic methodology that they wrote about...it's easy to do...to "preach" something very basic, while doing a process somewhat more complex...or like most of us who have been brewing awhile, taking shortcuts.

Co2 is heavier than air...there can be plenty of co2 going on, plenty of active fermentation happenning but there is not enough excess co2 rising or venting out to actually lift the plastic bubbler

The 3 piece airlock is the most fallable of them all, often there is simply not a strong enough escape of co2 to lift the bubbler. Or they can be weighted down with co2 bubbles, ir hteir is a leak in the grommet or the bucket seal, anynumber of factors.

If you push down on your bucket lid often you will suddenly get a huge amount of bubbling as you off gass the co2 that is there present but no needing to vent on it's own.

I find that the older S type airlocks, even plastic are much more reliable...in face I have started to use those old school ones exclusively. Not to use them as a gauge of fermentation...but because I like to watch the bubbles..

But even those don't always bubble..BUT you can tell theres CO2 pushing out because the liquid will be on the farthest side away from the grommet or bung hole.


Even not bubbling. you can see that something has pushed the water to the other side...


There's quite a few people on here who do not use an airlock at all, they simply loosely place their lids on the bucket, or cover with saran wrap, or tinfoil or pieces of plexigalss, these just sit on the top and if the CO2 needs to void out it doess...Because as I said before if the co2 is pushing out, then NOTHING is getting in.

If you look around on here at all the supposed "stuck" fermentation panic thread are not true Stuck fermentations, or deads yeasts, but are simply people like you using treating the vent like some precision instrument...And they, just like you use the words "Signs of fermentation." And that is our clue that you are going by arilocks.

And 90% or more come back and say they took a hydro reading...and everything was fine...

Rarely do yeasts these days get stuck...this isn't like the 70's when there was one or two strains of yeast, and they came from Europe in dried out cakes, and nowadays with our hobby so popular, even most tinned kits with the yeast under the lid turn over so fast that they are relatively fresh most of the time.

So nowadays the only way our yeast "dies" or poops out is 1)If we pitch it into boiling wort 2) There is a big temp drop and the yeasts go dormant and flocculate out, or 3) if there is a high grav wort and the yeast maxes out in it's ability to eat all the sugar...and even then the yeast may poop out at either 1.030 or 1.020...But other than that most fermentations take....


AND this is regardless of any airlock bubbling...

Seriously, many of us pitch our yeast, walk away for a month and then bottle, and our beers have turned out great...The yeasts have been doing this for 5,000 years...they know what they're doing,

Hope this helps!

You will find you are much more relaxed and able to RDWHAHB...if you ignore the airlock...

and read this as well...http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Revvy/Think_evaluation_before_action/

:mug:
 

Beau815

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mines bubblin away now... took 2 days... i also had to stir and aerate a little last night... phew!
 
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