Airlock activity stopped after 24 hrs

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vapicker

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I brewed my 3rd beer on Sunday night. It was an American Amber using Windsor Ale yeast which I rehydrated about 2 hrs before pitching. I pitched the yeast when the wort had cooled to 80. I set the fermenter in a room at about 72 degrees. I woke up Monday morning and my Airlock was going crazy with activity. I got home from work about 10 hrs later and it had slowed to a crawl. This morning there is no activity at all. My LHBS instructions that came with the kit say to transfer to secondary once airlock is bubbling once every 10 to 15 seconds. I know most people would say to wait at least a week before doing so. I guess I'm wondering why no activity after only a day and should I go ahead and transfer to the secondary? Thanks.
 
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Here are a few very important lessons in homebrewing:

1) Don't listen to kit instructions
2) Don't use an air vent as a fermentation guage. Buy a hydrometer.
3) Even if fermentation is done, the yeast still do alot of work cleaning up after themselves scrubbing away any off flavors they may have produced during fermenting.
 

schweaty

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The airlock is not a tool to indicate when fermentation is done. That is what your hydrometer or refractometer is for. The airlock is a cheap piece of plastic to let air out and keep unwanted stuff from getting in, period. Take a sample and check the gravity!

Your pitching temp was very high, many people will pitch between 65-70. Not to mention that your fermentation temp of 72 degrees was high as well. Yeast is exothermic and it gives off a lot of heat during fermentation. So if your ambient temp was 72 your looking at the inside of the carboy being 77-82 degrees. The recommended range for Windsor Ale Yeast is 64 to 70 degrees, so always make sure to check that info when selecting yeast. There are some more durable strains out there as far as temperature is concerned, but not by much. Also, the Danstar website states that fermentation can be done as soon as 3 days above 64 and you were well above that.

The reason your airlock has slowed down is probably because the fermentation was fast and vigorous due to the temps. Do not transfer to secondary for at least 14 days, let the yeast clean up their byproducts.

Fret not, in the end you will have still made beer! This hobby is a learning process and each batch you brew is a new experience. Relax Don't Worry Have A Homebrew (RDWHAHB) and welcome to HBT!
 

Yooper

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Well, 80 degrees is HOT to pitch the yeast, and in a 72 degree room, the fermentation temperature probably never got below 80 degrees. So it would have went fast and furiously.

Keep it in the primary for at least a week, so that the yeast have a chance to clean up some of the off-flavors from a hot ferment like that. Windsor yeast may be quite fruity at such a high temperature. Even though the active fermentation is about done, the yeast will be finishing up the ferment and then starting to digest its own waste products.

Next time, pitch the yeast no higher than 70 degrees, and try to keep the fermentation temperature in the high 60's. You can buy a stick on thermometer for the outside, to gauge the temperature on the inside of the fermenter.
 

Revvy

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Generally speaking kit manufacturers, especially kit an kilo manufacturers, are concerned with selling more and more kits NOT with the brewer making the best beer possible. They know that if they say in the instructions to wait, they may loose some people to hobbies that have more instant gratification.

They also know that the time that a homebrewer will remain buying kits is relatively short...they know that after a few kits, the brewer will either give up, start brewing extract batches from recipes in books and places like this, formulate their own recipes, or go all grain...so they want to sell as many kits as possible to the new brewer before he moves on to bigger and better things.

SO they no that even their beer will taste better if you leave it longer...but they know that in the time you wait you will be reading and learning and be less likely to buy another kit...They can sell three or four kits to you if you follow their directions in the same time frame that listening to us and waiting a month and bottle conditioning for another 3-4 weeks.

Most of us wait 3-4 weeks and skip secondary...but if you choose to secondary you should wait til your Hydrometer tells you fermentation is complete.

Usually on the 7th day you take a hydro reading, and again on the 10th day, if the reading is the same, then you can rack it...

If I do secondary (which is only when I am adding fruit or oak) I wait 14 days then rack for another 2 weeks...

But honestly you will find your beer will be the best if you ignore the kit instructions, and don't rush it.

But Even Palmer says you should wait with kits...

How To Brew said:
Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermentor for a total of 2-3 weeks (instead of just the one week most canned kits recommend), will provide time for the conditioning reactions and improve the beer. This extra time will also let more sediment settle out before bottling, resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring. And, three weeks in the primary fermentor is usually not enough time for off-flavors to occur.
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...

Like I sad 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.....


But really, don't be in such a hurry to rush your beer into secondary...wait til the beers been in for 7 days, take a hydro reading and again when it's 10 days...OR just wait 14 days and rack, if you still want to use a secondary...personally many of us like i said, prefer to leave our beers alone for 3-4 weeks, then bottle. We feel our beer is better than when we secondary, or rush it off the yeasts.
 
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vapicker

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Thanks for all of the quick replies! I'll just leave it alone for another week or so and then take a reading.
 
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