Fermentation non existent?

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KoreyB

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I am sure this is posted previously but I have looked and figured I's ask for some help. I just tried my hand at my first batch and am not sure if I am heading in the right direction. The boil went great and then transferred to the fermenting bucket with my airlock. I'm on day 5 and I have not actually visualized any active bubbling but did notice some distension on the bucket lid that would burp through the air lock when I placed gentle pressure on it. I looked last night to draw a sample and had no krausen layer but some small foamy looking spots. I have also noticed the distention on the bucket lid has stopped with no pressure against the airlock. Any help would be appreciated.
 

D.B.Moody

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By day five it is likely your beer is through its active fermentation phase. Leave it alone until more like two weeks. You might get better advice if you provide more information about what you brewed, the yeast you used, and the temperature where it was fermenting. Also, do you have a hydrometer?

Welcome to brewing and HBT.
 
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KoreyB

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Thank you, It was the Block Party Amber Ale extract kit from Northern Brewers containing a wyeast dry packet. The storage temp in about 70 degrees as I am in Haiti and the power is unstable so the A/C doesn't run much. I have a refractometer but sadly bough tit on amazon so I don't know how accurate it is. I can take a standard hydrometer reading tonight and will have to look at what my initial reading was. Is there a problem with letting it ferment too long? I am heading home Friday for three weeks and could bottle it when I return or can bottle it next Thursday before I leave giving it 10 days to ferment total.
 

nwhall3

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It's possible--maybe even probable--that the bucket didn't seal 100% and so pressure had other egress locations besides your air lock. I'd definitely rely on your hydro reading, even from a cheap one off Amazon, more than airlock activity.

Regarding waiting or bottling soon: I'd wait until you returned. You can have problems with off-flavors from autolysis if you leave the beer on yeast too long, but this is really only a concern when we're talking about months rather than weeks. I'd rather give the yeast a bit more time to clean up any fermentation by-products than try to get it in bottles too soon.

As a side note for your future brews: if ambient temperatures are 70F the temp in your bucket during active fermentation is likely several degrees warmer. I know you're early in your brewing journey (and welcome!), but there are some economical ways to keep temperatures closer to the mid- to high-60s, where this yeast would produce better results (higher temps can create more off-flavors from higher ester and phenol production). Swamp coolers (just a big bucket full of water that you set your fermenter in) and frozen bottles of water are a cheap and pretty effective way to regulate temperature.

Anyway, welcome to brewing!
 

D.B.Moody

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At that temperature, it will probably be all done, but it won't hurt to let it sit. Bottling too early, on the other hand, can create over carbonization and possible bottle bombs. As a new brewer, you would be wise to play it safe. Enjoy your visit home. Where's that?

Edit: @nwhall3 posted while I was drafting mine. He has given good advice.
 
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KoreyB

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Thank you for all the help. I will let it sit in the fermenting bucket until I return and then bottle it. This is my first batch so any advice would be valued. Worth moving to a secondary fermenter?
 

D.B.Moody

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I use a secondary; I transfer to a glass carboy. Current wisdom, however, is that it is unnecessary and just a chance to introduce unwanted oxygen and risk of infection. I am exploring changing, but in 27 years of brewing I've never had a problem doing a secondary.
 
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nwhall3

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Thank you for all the help. I will let it sit in the fermenting bucket until I return and then bottle it. This is my first batch so any advice would be valued. Worth moving to a secondary fermenter?
I don't think secondary is really worthwhile unless you're bulk aging something for many months. Keep in mind that any time you put your wort/beer in contact with new tubes/carboys/buckets you're risking infection and oxidation; your sanitation and low-oxygen procedures really have to be on point (though as Moody has pointed out, if done correctly it will not hurt your beer). I only secondary now for big beers I want to age (barleywines, imperial stouts, wee heavies).
 
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KoreyB

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Thank you for all the advice. I'm new and been studying for a while before my first attempt but wasn't anticipating anything out of what the instructions said. I'll leave it in the original fermenter and bottle when I get back. That will have given me 4.5 weeks total to ferment.

I'm sure ill be asking many more questions. I'm anxious to learn from everyone's experience.
 

DannyBoy270

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I made this same kit for my first batch. If it's like my kit was you're not seeing alot of bubbling in the airlock because it's leaking through the lid. Before I switched to using fermonster carboys, I did 3 batches in that bucket and never saw much activity in the airlock - all 3 turned out just fine tho btw!

Welcome to the hobby!
:mug:
 
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KoreyB

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I made this same kit for my first batch. If it's like my kit was you're not seeing alot of bubbling in the airlock because it's leaking through the lid. Before I switched to using fermonster carboys, I did 3 batches in that bucket and never saw much activity in the airlock - all 3 turned out just fine tho btw!

Welcome to the hobby!
:mug:
Thank you! I am really looking forward to all there is to learn
 
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