Airlock not bubbling?

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nikolaki

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Hi all, first time poster from Australia. I've only done a few brews in the past which turned out okay. I've just started up again as summer soon kicks in here.

Anyway, i've put down 2 brews, an Amber Ale (currently bottled) and a Beljian Ale (in the fermenter). I noticed that the airlock isn't bubbling. The first batch i measured with a hydrometer and the SG levels had dropped over 4-5 days so after 6 days (temp around 26 C ... i mean 79 F) i bottled.

For the second batch I used PVC tape around the rubber grommet as i suspected the tiniest of chips in the plastic ... still it hasn't bubbled.

Firstly, in your years of experience, will the beer turn out okay if I follow all other procedures correctly despite the lack of bubbling?

Secondly, should I try replacing the O-ring and/or grommet or should i just get a whole new lid altogether?

Cheers,
Nick.
 

Truble

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Was there any noticeable krausen? If so, then your yeast is active. You then could wait a couple days and see if the gravity measurements change.
 

Darth Konvel

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It sounds like your lid isn't sealing all the way around. As long as the fermentation is active (ie, krausen, gravity dropping), the escaping CO2 should prevent anything getting in, so it should be safe.
 

david_42

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If you are using a plastic bucket, the easiest way to check the seal is to press lightly (one finger) on the lid and see if the airlock level (bubbler) changes. If you can't get the lid to seat properly, replace it.

Bubbles are good, but the SG changes are what matters.
 
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nikolaki

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Thanks for the tips. I'll get a new lid. Hopefully the current batches turn out all right.
 
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nikolaki

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seanhagerty said:
let me ask the stupid question here....you did put water in the airlock didnt you?
lol yes i did.
 

mther

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My airlock isn't bubbling but the lid looks like is ready to explode so I removed the airlock to let the air go out. How important is to have an airlock on? Is it OK to do the same method to let the air out or wait till the airlock starts bubbling? Thanks.
 

twistr25

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My airlock isn't bubbling but the lid looks like is ready to explode so I removed the airlock to let the air go out. How important is to have an airlock on? Is it OK to do the same method to let the air out or wait till the airlock starts bubbling? Thanks.
Can you see the krausen building up? If it reached your airlock, it could have clogged it and is increasing the pressure and could blow your lid off, makes a big mess. Typically for a best practice tip, it is good to install a blow off tube, can usually stick it over the outlet of a three piece airlock, and have it going into a gallon jug filled partially with a StarSan solution for the first 48 to 72 hours, then you can switch back to the regular airlock.

I would remove the airlock though and make sure it is not clogged or you could end up with a mess.
 

IFMracin

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The first batch i measured with a hydrometer and the SG levels had dropped over 4-5 days so after 6 days (temp around 26 C ... i mean 79 F) i bottled.


Was the gravity steady at that 6 day point?
Also, allowing the beer to sit for a while longer will reward you. (couple weeks at least)
 

unionrdr

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It does sound like the airlock is clogged. Sanitize the end of a skewer & remove the airlock center piece. Poke the skewer around down through the other end to unclog it.
 

mther

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Hi guys thanks for your replies. No it doesn't look clogged, should I remove the airlock's lid by the way? Because I had it on so far!

For now I am just opening the bucket's lid to free the gas by pressing it (the lid) down. I hope it won't explode as twistr25 said! :)
 

unionrdr

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Here's another thought. Since the co2 isn't escaping,maybe you filled the airlock all the way to the top? There's a fill line on the side of the airlock not quite half way up. This is the proper fluid level. Filling it all the way up might cause it to act as if it's clogged.
 

mther

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Hi thanks again for your replies.

Yes I got some gravity readings. On the 5/8/12 before adding the yeast was 1036, on 8/8/12 was 1012 and today 10/8/12 was 1005. I think the fermentation goes well. What do u think?

No unionrdr I didn't fill it up to top. Maybe because i was adding the water in the airlock before i set it on the bucket lid? I tried now otherwise, I ve put the bucket lid, then the empty airlock on, and then I added the water, we ll see what happens.

Thanks
 

RBelanger

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Some beers just have little to no airlock activity...not sure why this is but there's lots of threads about it. There's nothing to worry about as long as your beer is fermenting. Just keep an eye on the hydrometer.
You were mentioning about small chips in the plastic? Maybe you should just get a new lid and airlock to rule out the possibility of faulty equipment.
What kind of Belgian beer are you making?
Cheers
 

mther

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I am making an Irish Stout RBelanger. I will probably start bottling tomorrow or Monday unless gravity changes which I doubt about. Its been a week now.

What is FV unionrdr? Guys should I remove the airlock's red lid? :D Cos I had it on so far.
 

kh54s10

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Check the airlock. I had one that came unfinished. The bottom end was supposed to have been cut off but was not. It was sealed. Once I cut off the tip it was fine.

Also 6 days to bottle seems way too early. You need to be absolutely certain you have hit final gravity or you risk bottle bombs. Usually that means getting the final reading over the period of 3 days. So if you took a reading on day 6 and the same on day 9 then it is safe.

It is fairly well accepted that the yeast continue after the active fermentation by cleaning up off flavor byproducts created by the fermentation. Some suggest leaving the beer in primary for a month or more, others say 2 weeks is enough. I split the difference and ferment for 3 weeks.
 

kh54s10

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I am making an Irish Stout RBelanger. I will probably start bottling tomorrow or Monday unless gravity changes which I doubt about. Its been a week now.

What is FV unionrdr? Guys should I remove the airlock's red lid? :D Cos I had it on so far.
I would let that stout ferment a little longer. See my previous post.

FV = fermentation vessel = your bucket
Does the top have holes in it? If so leave it alone. Make sure that air can actually pass through the airlock.
If you need to remove the airlock, a piece of sanitized foil can be placed over the hole. That is enough to keep the nasties out.
 

RBelanger

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If you're not planning on transferring the stout to a secondary, you should let it sit in the primary for 3-4 weeks...you'll be glad you did.
 

mther

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Hi guys I am not really bothered about the airlock anymore, I will just use it as decoration I suppose hehe
Thanks anyway.

The fermentation worked fine I guess. It is day 7 now, and since day 5 the gravity is stable at 1005. Should I wait for more days or is it ok to bottle them tomorrow (day 8) for the second fermentation?

RBelanger, secondary do you mean the bottles or a keg? I am thinking to do as I said above (bottle tomorrow) and leave them in there for 3-4 weeks. Will that be OK?

Many thanks for your tips kh54s10.
 

RBelanger

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I meant a secondary fermenter like a carboy. 8 days from fermentation to bottling seems way too early to me. But Im not saying dont do it...just make sure your gravity is stable.
 

mther

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Oh, I don't have a carboy, but I would like to know what are the advantages of putting it in a carboy? Also do you have any suggestions how to increase the ABV in my beer? It always give me 4-4.5%
 

RBelanger

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You could of added more sugars during the fermentation and the yeast would of produced more alcohol but this is usually practiced in higher ABV beers like belgian tripels and quads when you want to hit 10-12% ABV. It also drys the beer out. There's nothing wrong with 4.5% for a stout.

Most people rack off to a secondary vessel to let the beer age and clear or to dry hop. Ive been practicing without a secondary (unless the beer is dry hopped of course) by keeping the beer in the primary for 3-4 weeks...then kegging or bottling. The beer is still young at this point so it generally still needs to age for weeks depending on its syle. Most home brewers starting off (including myself) dont have the patients to let it age and consume the beer before its actually in its prime.
 

mther

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hehe I am not patient either! I bottled the beer today after 10 days, the hydrometer was showing stable gravity for 4 days now, but this weekend I will try to brew the next beer (wheat beer probably) and let it age for 3 weeks to see what happens. So as a quick conclusion is the longest u let the beer to age the better?

Thanks!
 

unionrdr

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It depends on the gravity of the beer. Pale ales are good after 4 weeks,my Burton (read strong) ale after 32 days at room temp & 2 weeks fridge time. My whiskely ale after 9 weeks & 6 days conditioning time,2 weeks fridge time. It depends on gravity & ABV,but patience is the key to all here.
 

kh54s10

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Oh, I don't have a carboy, but I would like to know what are the advantages of putting it in a carboy? Also do you have any suggestions how to increase the ABV in my beer? It always give me 4-4.5%
There is no real need to do a secondary if that is what you mean by "putting it in a carboy". You can just leave the beer in primary until the beer is finished.

Read the prior posts about how long to ferment.

The best way to boost ABV in a beer is to brew a recipe that has the ABV you are looking for.

Trying to raise the ABV in a beer that is not designed to be that way has unintended consequences. Usually it thins out and dries out the beer.
 

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