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Fermentation Concern: Air Lock isn't bubbling

Hi All,

So I had a fun and exciting first homebrew, extract, brew day this past Sunday. Used the B.S.E. Starter Kit with the Amber ale but added Bavarian hops to the end of the boil. OG was at 1.043.

I woke up Monday morning to my dog barking at my closet and noticed the airlock bubbling vigorously and thought I was golden until I came home and noticed that all of the bubbling has completely stopped. Thinking their may have been another exit of oxygen from the lid not being secure I’ve checked about 50x to be sure it was and also place a 20lb weight on top since bubbling would only occur when pressing on the lid.

It now day 3 since brew day, still no bubbles since about 12 hrs after brewing and I am curious if there’s something wrong here? The bucket is in my guest bathroom of my new home in the tub with the fan going and temp is about 68 degrees. Reviews online states it could be a yeast issue or lid issue with the bucket. I was thinking to test the gravity with my hydrometer but have been scared to disrupt the beer by opening the lid. Any suggestions for help?

What was the temperature of your wort when you pitched the yeast? I’m guessing it was quite warm and fermentation finished up very quickly. Best to keep wort temperature in the low to mid 60s for ales yeasts, at least for the first 3-4 days.

Wow that’s good to know. Per the recipe instructions I cooled it to 80° as instructed and now I’m worried the instructions are misleading/confusing since it came with two instructions. I followed the sheet associated with my kit

Let it sit for another 5 days then take a hydrometer reading. The fermentation may be near complete but not done. Try to hold an even temperature. The ambient temperature of 68°F would be a good temp for the water since fermentation had already been active. Having water in the bathtub to absorb heat from the fermentor will moderate the fermentation temperature. Your bathtub will be a large swamp cooler.

I was thinking of adding about an inch of water to the tub or wrap a soaked towel around the bucket but didn’t know if that would be a good idea. Are you saying that water in the tub could help?

Nothing much you can do to change what’s going on with this one now. Just let it ride as @flars suggests. Room temperature is fine for now.

For future batches putting frozen water bottles in a tub of water will help control term temps. Google “swamp cooler” for ideas.

And yes the instructions with the kits are notoriously bad.

That sucks to hear about the instructions, especially for first timers. It comes off like a money grabbing fail attempt to buy more. My tub water was pretty chilly and replaced it (fresh inch fill in the morning, 2nd after work). Done it just yesterday and think I should keep it up to stay consistent. I’ll give til this Sunday before doing another test for OG. Thanks for the tips fellas

do you have one of the stick on thermometers on your fermenter? What’s the temp been on that?

I don’t but now I know I should have some. Sucks that these kits make it seem like you have everything needed to start brewing but just a few added essentials would be great to add at checkout. All a learning experience lol. Think I’ll be picking some up in the next day to slap on and to use for my next brew which I may go with glass carboys this time

When you get the stick on fermometer, just make sure not to let it get submerged in the water of the tub. Keep it dry and it will work just fine. I always keep my water level just below the level of the beer in the carboy (so the carboy doesn’t try to float). In my laundry sink, I’ve been successful at keeping the temp of the fermenting beer in the mid 50’s through diligent swapping of frozen water jugs–gallons, half gallons, and 20 oz, bottles. You can go to Lowes or walmart and look for a plastic tub that is almost as tall and maybe double in diameter than your carboy and use it instead of your bathtub-much less hassle in my opinion. After a few tests, I confirmed that the temp of the water in my swamp cooler was never more than 1 degree lower than the actual temp of the beer-even during active fermentation.

Keep brewing!
Cheers,

Ron

hope your brew comes out till so far me no problems with fermenting it could be your fermenting still active .like what flars said keep the room temp down me using a bucket with water and ice bottels this seem to work . indeed the recipy sometimes not acuarate .me with my brewing did read lots on this forum and got good info and talk to brewers they do give good advice me a extract brewer but use different steps with my brewing and it seems to work good luck

The kits supply everything you absolutely need to brew beer. May not be great beer, but it will be beer.

Think of it another way; how many people would start brewing if the base kits had all the nifty, must have gadgets available. I started with the base kit and have added to my collection (the latest were a couple of Little Big-Mouth Bubblers).

The instructions are the same, you CAN make beer with them, I have; you are. Now that you know that there is more you can make better beer.

I’ve decided to just leave this batch alone and let it do it’s thing, fingers crossed and hoping for the best. Still no air lock activity since day one and this has been with options of sitting in a tub of iced water for 24hrs then moved to a warmer place lol. Tomorrow makes one week since brew day, may give it another 4-5 days to ferment. All a learning experience but not as confident in this as when I’ve started.

If you still haven’t taken a hydrometer reading then what makes you think fermentation hasn’t started, or much much much more likely, been completed.

Open the lid. If there’s a ring of gunk around the bucket then it fermented and the krausen dropped.

Never thought it didn’t start, I’m sure that happened when the airlock was bubbling. I’m sure it done what it needed to do as I can see a ring above the level of beer through the sides of the bucket without opening the lid. Just going to let it work for a few more days

Sorry, I meant stuck fermentation rather than never started. Buckets are notorious at leaking. Even if you try your hardest to get the lid to seal as you’ve done. The point is without a hydrometer you can’t be sure if it’s stuck or done. For some yeast a reading is important as they are know to slow down drastically or flocculate early.

Don’t let this get you down. We’ve all have to learn before. Take this opportunity to make appropriate changes to improve your beer. Don’t worry, you’ll get bit by the bug and you’ll end up like many of us on here. Heck, I’ve got a microbrewery set up in my basement!

First, thank you all again for all of the helpful tips during my first brew process. After 15 days of fermentation I have transferred and bottled the brew that came with my kit. FG is about 1.018 if I am calculating correctly

That’s pretty low attenuation. What yeast did you use? You said “if I am calculating correctly.” You used a hydrometer for gravity reading? Did you do a partial boil and top off with water afterward?

Hey Danny, I did hydrometer testing the last two days (3 total tests) and 1.008 was where it was sitting so I figured it was done doing it’s work and bottling was safe. Not sure what included dry yeast was used, started with an M, I think. Partial boil of a little over 2gal then topped off with filtered water

Oh. Above you said 1.018. That’s a big difference.

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