Airlock bubbling

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StallionMang

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Hello, all. I am new to the forum.

I just started my first homebrew, using a pre-hopped extract for English Pale Ale.

It's been fermenting for about 60 hours now. During this time, the fastest I've seen the airlock bubble is about 10 times per minute. Now it is down to about 6 times per minute. And when it does bubble, it's hardly what you would call "vigorous". The bubble just slowly forms on the surface of the water and then pops. But it is so subtle that it does not even make a sound.

In addition, there are no sounds emanating from the pail itself, and there is no aroma yet. If I put my nose close to the bucket, I can smell a little something, but it is definitely not powerful.

Does this sound abnormal? Many people post about the "vigorous" bubbling that they are getting, and I'm just not seeing that.

Any help would be most appreciated!


Thanks!

Rob
 

kaptain_karma

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Everything sounds cool. Really vigourous fermentations usually occur with bigger beers, or beers fermented with very active starters.
 
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StallionMang

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Thanks, Kaptain!

Before I read your reply, I decided that I wanted to make sure there was nothing obstructing the airlock. So I pulled it out of the bucket and looked at it. No serious obstructions, just a little brown gunk on the tip.

So I went ahead and cleansed the airlock with detergent, rinsed it, re-inserted into the bucket, and added water. Now, it is no longer bubbling.

I am guessing this is because when I removed the airlock, a large amount of CO2 escaped through the open hole, so now it won't start bubbling again until CO2 pressure has accumulated again. Is this correct?

Thanks.
 

eddie

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StallionMang said:
Thanks, Kaptain!

Before I read your reply, I decided that I wanted to make sure there was nothing obstructing the airlock. So I pulled it out of the bucket and looked at it. No serious obstructions, just a little brown gunk on the tip.

So I went ahead and cleansed the airlock with detergent, rinsed it, re-inserted into the bucket, and added water. Now, it is no longer bubbling.

I am guessing this is because when I removed the airlock, a large amount of CO2 escaped through the open hole, so now it won't start bubbling again until CO2 pressure has accumulated again. Is this correct?

Thanks.
It sounds like you're having a normal fermentation to me. You can expect your primary to bubble anywhere from three days to a week depending on circumstances and what you're brewing. I've even heard of it going longer than that but I haven't experienced it. Once your beer lets off enough CO2 to fill up the dead space in the fermenter, you'll probably get some bubbling again.
 

malkore

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everything here sounds normal. the type of yeast strain used also has a big effect on 'vigorous' fermentation.
 
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StallionMang

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Okay, so now I am at the one week mark, and tonight, I am going to rack to the secondary fermenter.

However, there is one thing that concerns me. Last night, in order to prepare for the racking, my brother and I carefully hoisted the primary up onto the kitchen countertop so that I can siphon. We did it as gently as possible so as not to stir up any sediment that had collected at the bottom.

However, when I arrived home from work this evening, I found that the airlock is bubbling at approximately 4 times per minute. Before we moved the primary, it was down to a rate of just less than 1 per minute.

Is this cause for alarm? Does the acceleration of the bubbling indicate that there may be a bacterial infection?

Thanks.
 

Yooper

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It's probably just fine- just some outgassing of co2 or maybe you started up a little fermentation when you roused the yeast (if fermentation wasn't quite done). The only way to know for sure is to check the specific gravity with a hydrometer and that will tell you if fermentation is done. I usually do it just before I rack- and then if it's too high, I would cover it back up and wait (that only happened once or twice, though).

When you rack and take a sg sample, make sure you take a taste! It should taste like flat beer. And it'll get better and better.
 

malkore

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I should've mentioned this before too. Sometimes 'vigorous fermentation' isn't referring to the airlock activity, but the actual beer itself. when you have a glass carboy, you get to see all the crazy activity inside.

check this video out to see what I'm talking about: [ame]http://youtube.com/watch?v=3yFeWF2N_tw[/ame]

In a bucket you miss out on some of the visuals. I like a bucket for primary though, its convenient.
 
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StallionMang

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OK, so I successfully racked to the secondary fermenter. Transferring to the secondary, I siphoned the first little bit into a pint glass to taste. I tasted it, and it definitely wasn't foul...a bit sharp on the tongue though. It tasted like beer that isn't quite ready yet, so I guess I'm on the right track. However, sitting in the glass, it looked almost like coffee, especially toward the bottom of the glass. I am assuming this is because of all the yeast. Is this normal for the one week mark, or should the beer have been clearer by this point?

Thanks for all your help,

Rob
 

eddie

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Also, if you're using a bucket for your fermenter you may be exhausting some of the gases around the rim seal rather than the airlock. It sounds like you're having a normal fermentation.
 

eddie

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StallionMang said:
OK, so I successfully racked to the secondary fermenter. Transferring to the secondary, I siphoned the first little bit into a pint glass to taste. I tasted it, and it definitely wasn't foul...a bit sharp on the tongue though. It tasted like beer that isn't quite ready yet, so I guess I'm on the right track. However, sitting in the glass, it looked almost like coffee, especially toward the bottom of the glass. I am assuming this is because of all the yeast. Is this normal for the one week mark, or should the beer have been clearer by this point?

Thanks for all your help,

Rob
It'll clear as it conditions in the secondary fermenter.
 

sudbuster

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StallionMang said:
OK, so I successfully racked to the secondary fermenter. Transferring to the secondary, I siphoned the first little bit into a pint glass to taste. I tasted it, and it definitely wasn't foul...a bit sharp on the tongue though. It tasted like beer that isn't quite ready yet, so I guess I'm on the right track. However, sitting in the glass, it looked almost like coffee, especially toward the bottom of the glass. I am assuming this is because of all the yeast. Is this normal for the one week mark, or should the beer have been clearer by this point?

Thanks for all your help,

Rob
Rob, you did good. Now that you got it in a secondary, IMHO, leave her rest, and let the yeast do thier job. When absolutely nothing is happening, then go on to bottling. You will have a good beer. :)
 
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