basic fermentation question

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docmoran

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Roughly how long is appropriate for the nice CO 2 bubbles in the airlock fluid or the blow off tube fluid to be present? If it stops does that mean I have a stuck fermentation or aret the yeasties still working?? Is stuck defined by more scientific SG measurements further down the road? My first AG went nuts for 24 hours with co2 blowing steady stream bubbles then stopped -- am I in trouble or is the fact that 2 vials of yeast in 5 gallons was sufficient and the action only 6 hours out from pitching is good?? pleas help understand thanks, doc
 

Monk

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You're probably fine. Active fermentation usually takes anywhere from 24 hours to 4-5 days. The warmer the ambient environment, the more yeast, the lower the wort gravity=the faster it will finish. Also, particular strains of yeast are faster than others. You probably had a really strong ferment and it's died down because there isn't much sugar to eat anymore. Wait a week and take a gravity reading, if you're worried. But I wouldn't worry if I were you.
 

double_e5

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And don't rely on an airlock to guage fermentation. The only way to really know is to use your hydrometer.
 
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docmoran

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Appreciate the commmets

Monk,

I had a post boil SG that was right on target -- used two vials of White lab California Ale yeast pitched at 74 degrees, vigorously aerated and then kept at 70 degrees solid for the action I got. Sound ok? thanks, doc
 

Monk

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I'm always kinda conservative on fermentation temp, having had some bad experiences with even slightly hot fermenting. So, in the future, I'd pitch down in the sixties, and keep it around 68 for fermentation. For this brew, if the fermentation really happened around 70, and kicked off quick because you were in the 70-74 range and aerated well, you'll be fine, and that explains the fast ferment. Again, I'm probably over-conservative when it comes to avoiding high temps, so you'll probly be fine. In my experience, cali ale yeast (dry or liquid) tends to be very forgiving temp-wise. Doesn't throw as many off flavors even when it's a bit warm.

Good luck!
 

wilserbrewer

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Appreciate the commmets

Monk,

I had a post boil SG that was right on target -- used two vials of White lab California Ale yeast pitched at 74 degrees, vigorously aerated and then kept at 70 degrees solid for the action I got. Sound ok? thanks, doc
IMO pitching at 74 is too warm. Fermentation will generate heat and raise the temp a bit depending on batch size and ambient temps.

Next time try and pitch in the low sixties and maintain mid sixties during fermentation. This will take longer but yield a cleaner brew.
 
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docmoran

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Excellent -- thanks guys. I am committed to the temps now but will definitely pitch lower and hold lower now that I am moving to a fridge instead of in house towel baths etc. Again thanks for the encouragement - hope it comes out well. doc
 

Monk

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will definitely pitch lower and hold lower now that I am moving to a fridge instead of in house towel baths etc. doc
that's a great way to go, Doc. Fermenting in a fridge is actually the one thing that improved the results of my brewing the most. Good luck.
 

rico567

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I ferment in my basement, which is a very constant 59-61F for most of the year. Most of my batches of beer so far (all extract) have been pitched with Wyeast Activators, and I'd gotten used to a very predictable fermentation profile. Airlock activity starting in 12-18 hours, building over the next 24, with steady action for the next 24-48 hours, then a gradual decline in action for a couple of days, with little or no action by the end of a week. Then (with a few exceptions) I'd take a hydrometer reading, the beer would be attenuated, and I'd rack it.
Then came my latest batch, which I dumped right on top of the previous yeast cake. I had vigorous airlock activity within an hour, declining within 48, and pretty much no activity at all after 72-96 hours. I'm waiting a week, so I haven't popped off the lid & taken an SG reading yet, but I expect this batch illustrates the comments by "monk": if you change any major variable, the fermentation profile will change accordingly.
 
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