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Fermentation activity, or lack thereof??

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tetrylone

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Sup brewsters!

I brewed up the beginnings of a saison this weekend and after fermentation of about 72 hours activity certainly seems to be on the down stroke. I used 13# of belgian pilsner and mashed like so:

30 minutes at 124f (protein rest)
60 minutes at 148f (sacchrification)

I am using WLP810 (SF Lager yeast) in a 1 pint starter and active fermentation was visible after about 5 hours after pitch.

My problem:
Like a dumbass I forgot to test for total sacchrification before I mashed out

My question is:
Due to the fact that fermentation seems to be subsiding now, after only 72 hours (airlock down to about 1 bubble every 4 seconds), did I under mash? Is this acceptable? Should I shutup and RDWHaHB?




Your thoughts and help are very appreciated.
 

Revvy

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Any other thoughts??
You really had to ask...you really couldn't accept the brilliance that is the LLAMA???

Okay you asked for it..............*evil grin*

ctrl-v

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 trun over so fast that they are relatvely 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,

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:


Does that answer your question???

:D
 

Brewmasters Warehouse

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I agree that fermentation is winding down, and there is nothing to worry about. Did your gravity readings turn out as expected?

Ed
 
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tetrylone

tetrylone

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Damn Revvy, It's people like you that keep me locked into HBT. Thanks for the lengthy and thorough reply. Unfortunately, sometimes it is easier to rely on the airlock simply because it's a lot less of a production that extracting brew and getting a reading, but again you're spot on.

In response to Brewmasters warehouse: I haven't taken another reading yet as I haven't really had the time. Trust me though, I will be taking one tonight.

The major guidance I was looking for here is: Was 60 minutes at 148 good enough for this grain bill? My guess is that it was fine but I'm a bit newer to AG and sometimes need a little validation from my HBT bros (and hos?) !
 
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