Apparently active yeast, but no bubbling in the lock

I have a strange fermentation going on now. I made a barleywine with safale-05. It bubbled vigorously for two days, then slowed measurably on the third day and stopped completely by the fourth. The strange thing is, the krausen is still sitting on top with quite big bubbles and the wort itself is completely tan with yeast, it hasn’t flocculated yet. What’s going on here? Is it still fermenting or do I have a problem?

What kind of fermenter are you using? I wouldn’t worry just yet - the yeast will still be busy even after active fermentation, so there won’t be much bubbling going on but they’re still going to work on some of the fermentation by-products. You might have a slight air leak in your fermenter as well, which could cause the airlock to not show any activity.

Sounds pretty normal. Wait at least 2 weeks and take a gravity reading.

Thanks for your quick responses guys. Since it bubbled well for the first three days, I don’t think it’s an issue with the seal. In fact, this kind of thing has been fairly normal for me with every brew that I’ve done, but I’ve heard that a high-gravity beer like a barleywine should take much longer… Have you all every had a high-gravity beer ferment so quickly?

One of my buckets has a slow leak, so the airlock bubbles plenty during active fermentation but once activity dies down it doesn’t generate enough pressure to get through the airlock and leaks around the lid. I can tell because the airlock is partially lifted, showing higher pressure in the bucket, but once fermentation is complete the liquid is level in the airlock.

I had a 1.105 IIPA ferment that quickly when I pitched on an entire yeast cake of WY1272. The bucket also exploded. How much yeast did you pitch, and what was your fermentation temperature?

I used safale 05, fermented at 65 degrees (5 degrees up from the minimum in the ideal range). I made a 2.5 liter starter, which produced about a cup of yeast slurry.