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First Batch with Air Lock

I have brewed about a dozen batches with Mr. Beer (all very successful) and am finally moving to the 5 gallon batches.
I picked up the bucket kit NB had on sale and started the Amber Ale on Friday.

It has been three days I have yet seen any bubbles in the air lock. This is the first time I have used an air lock so my expectations may not correct but I expected to see something.
As in my other batches I was very diligent with cleaning and sanitizing everything. The lid was hard to get on bucket but I think it is on tight.
I cooled the wert down to 100 degrees before adding it to the bucket with refrigerated water. I did not take the temperature before pitching the yeast but side of the bucket was not hot.
It is sitting in the basement in the dark at 68 to 70 degrees.
It is hard to see inside the bucket but using a flashlight on the side I see “crud” on the side walls of the bucket above the liquid line so I think it is fermenting but nothing from the air lock.
I have a hydrometer and will take a reading before bottling to make sure, planning on waiting three weeks for that.
Hate to open it up now to check but I curious if this is normal or not.

Now I wish I got the Big Mouth Bubbler kit so I could better see what is going on.

Thanks for any feedback.

Your fermentation is normal if you see a krausen ring above the beer in the bucket. Not seeing bubbling activity through the airlock is sort of normal when using a bucket. The CO2 produced during the fermentation can escape around the rim of the bucket even though the lid seats tight. This is not something that will affect the quality of your beer.

Check the SG in about 5 or 6 days. Check again a few days later. Your fermentation may be near completion today. This fermentation may have been on the warm side. The fermenting beer will be at least 3°F to 5°F warmer than the ambient temperature for beers 1.054 OG and lower.

The planned three weeks in the primary will be enough time for the excess yeast and CO2 suspended sediments to drop out of solution into a compact trub layer.

I’ve always had good experiences with buckets sealing well but I’ve heard this before. My first NB starter kit buckets sealed well and I’ve been using BSG buckets with gaskets in the lid now. I’m in the process of moving to carboys mostly because I like the idea of being able to see the progress. I wouldn’t worry if you can see the krausen higher than 5 gallon mark. Air lock activity isn’t a good indication of fermentation anyways. I would leave it be. RDWHAHB. In the future I would try to adjust your temp. Like @flars mentioned 68-70* is on the high side if that was ambient temp the actual temp could be 5-10* higher during active fermentation. Cheers!

Thanks for the feedback, I feel better.
I agree the temp is higher than I would like and that temp is from a probe that is taped to the side of the bucket. It is at 68 right now, ran closer to 70 on day one of the fermentation. I am looking at going with a thermalwall if I go to the Big Mouth Bubbler.
I live in central Colorado up at 9425 foot elevation so most of the year my issue will be keeping the fermentation warm enough. The basement utility room where I have it will get down into the upper 50’s at night. I have an Inkbird Temperature Controller with a plastic fermentation heater that I will tape to the side. It kept my little Mr. Beer keg at 65 this past winter and hope I can do the same with the 5 gallon batches now.
I had to google “RDWHAHB”, I like it.
Thanks again.

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I normally use a stainless fermenter that seals very well and I like the reassurance of seeing the airlock bubble. I’ve been brewing since 1990 and know the yeast cells don’t need my supervision to do their job, but the bubbling is a convenient indicator. Occasionally I use an 8-gallon Vittles Vault fermenter because it’s the only other container I can squeeze into my fermentation freezer with the stainless one. The lid does not seal well, so I stretch tape over the seam between the lid and the top of the vittles vault so I can watch the airlock bubble.

I don’t trust the airlock on either fermenter to tell me when fermentation is complete.

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