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No airlock activity but MASSIVE krausen

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Unibrow

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I've done almost 15 batches now, and this was the first time I've seen anything like this. I did a PM variation of BierMuncher's SWMBO slayer with the same grains. I used washed WLP 400 yeast, first time using washed yeast...and that, of course, added to my nerves.

I made a 1L starter with the washed yeast, and the krausen/foam was crazy on the starter after 24 hours, so I pitched the entire 1L into my cooled wort and attached a blow off tube. When I do a starter, I always see activity in 12 hours but this was doing nothing after 36 hours. I had an extra packet of dry Nottingham in the fridge so I wanted to throw it in there. I was convinced that there wasn't enough yeast in my "booming" starter.

I lifted the lid on my bucket and behold: there was about 2-3 inches of thick foam/krausen rising up! Woah! Didn't think that was going to be there...

I ended up pitching about half the packet of Dry Nottingham anyway - was this overkill?
 

Revvy

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Why did you pitch more yeast. You had krausen, you had fermentation. An airlock not bubbling, just means the airlock isn't bubbling. It's not a fermentation gauge. It's a vent, a valve to release excess co2, and keep beer off the ceiling, doesn't mean anything at all.
 

statseeker

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You had a leak in your bucket. Buckets arent exactly always air tight and airlocks dont indicate fermentation for exactly that reason.

I think your beer will be fine. But it was an unnecessary infusion of yeast when it was doing fine on its own. The half packet of notty was your loss. Oh well. Live and learn. Dont trust the airlock.
 
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Unibrow

Unibrow

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Thanks Revvy and Stat - I know about the "don't trust the airlock" mantra, and I thought it was engrained in my brain, guess not.

I'm not upset about losing the notty, it was cheap. I'm more upset that I didn't keep calm and realize that my fermentation was fine despite the lack of activity in my blow off tube. Rookie mistake!

I pitched less than half of the Notty packet, but I wanted the WLP 400 yeast character to shine through, and that's probably not going to happen now. Ultimately, it will still be great beer me hopes
 
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Unibrow

Unibrow

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Thanks Homer - take 90 East over here and you can haves it ;)

Or we can meet at Cedar Point and bottle it on the Mean Streak
 

AnOldUR

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An airlock not bubbling, just means the airlock isn't bubbling.
Well, actually an airlock not bubbling during initial fermentation means that you have a leak. Could be fine. Could be a problem later in the process when there is no longer positive pressure in the vessel. If there are contaminants in the air and something to stir them up (pets, drafts, ect) they could be sucked in. Not to mention the effects of oxygen. (A lasting CO2 blanket is a myth.)

Bubbles are only one of the visual signs of fermentation that need to be taken into consideration. The krausen should have been enough to reassure you. The additional pitch wasn’t necessary, but won’t hurt either. It’ll just end up at the bottom of your fermenter.

I have dogs and ferment in a damp basement. If it were me, I’d seal the thing up.
 

badmajon

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I use a brew bucket and I use a regular lowe's lid. It is not air tight at all, but it doesn't matter since co2 is heavier than air. It pushes all of the air out, and leaks out of the said gasket-less regular paint bucket lid. Never had a problem with it. The only purpose of the lid is to keep bits of junk out. Don't sweat it.
 
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Unibrow

Unibrow

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Cool, thanks everyone. This is the first time I'm using just a hose from the lid to my blow off container, no 3 piece airlock. Maybe that has something to do with a leak?

However, when I gently push on the lid, I get instant bubbles into my sanitizer when the hose ends...so it seems like everything is air tight. I had to jam that hose into the grommet and it seemed extra secure in there.

Still, I'm just baffled that a huge krausen wouldn't produce ANYTHING visible in my blow off jar.
 
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Did you just make that? That's awesome!!!!!! I'm going to use that I'm sure.....:mug:
Made it a couple of weeks ago. Ever get tired of typing all that stuff and want to just cut/paste ;) I like the flow chart. I think some people don't "do" charts though.

BTW, check my gallery. I have a couple of them of different sizes. If you want the orignal, just copy the URL for the pick into a browser and remove the "/medium" in the URL, you'll get a superlarge version.
 
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Unibrow

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Yes, cool chart and great name. Passed Pawn is easier to understand than En Passant
 

AnOldUR

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That’s a cute flow chart passedpawn, but useless in reality.

Below the krausen block you have airlock activity. Don’t you know that bubbles really mean nothing. And some fermenters never bubble. And even if an airlock stops bubbling it doesn't mean fermentation is finished. So it's really useless.

All that work on drawing something that means nothing.

:cross::D;)

But bubbles really mean nothing. And some fermenters never bubble. And even if an airlock stops bubbling it doesn't mean fermentation is finished. So it's really useless.

All that work on programming something that means nothing.

It's cute, but useless in reality.
 
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That’s a cute flow chart passedpawn, but useless in reality.

Below the krausen block you have airlock activity. Don’t you know that bubbles really mean nothing. And some fermenters never bubble. And even if an airlock stops bubbling it doesn't mean fermentation is finished. So it's really useless.

All that work on drawing something that means nothing.

:cross::D;)
I know you are goofing, but it's true sometimes the airlock will bubble because of other reasons than fermentation (Revvy's right). There is so much to say about any brewing subject that it could fill a book. New brewers haven't read the book, so "rules of thumb" and simple charts like this help get them started.

So while there are exceptions to every rule, I'll stick with this chart; I think it's not useless 99% of the time.
 

AnOldUR

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I know you are goofing. . .
Yes, goofing in saying that it's useless. I like it a lot. The only thing I'd change is to put the airlock block above the krausen block. A carboy is normally covered and you can't see in a bucket, so the first visual observation will be airlock activity. If it's absent, look inside. No krausen, then take a reading. (After 72 hours, of course.)


It's Revvy's insistence that observational tools are useless that I have a problem with.
 
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Unibrow

Unibrow

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Not sure if this is because I pitched a little more Nottingham (less than 1/2 the dry pack) after 36 hours...but at 48 hours I had no airlock activity - now almost 72 hours later, this is what I have below



Moral of the story = airlock activity means nothing!!! I should have trusted my eyes when I first lifted the lid and saw foam/krausen.
 

mlyday

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I disagree on the looking at the airlock for signs of fermentation. If you are looking at an airlock embeded in the ceiling, then you have fermentaion.
 
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