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Little airlock activity after 48 hours

So I brewed my first batch this past Sunday. I made the Irish Red that came with my starter kit. I pitched my yeast (Danstar Nottingham) directly into the fermenter at 78deg F. I put my S-shaped airlock on and put it in my basement. Seeing no activity the first 24 hours i took the top off real quick to take a peek inside and there was a good 1 inch of foam at the top so something was going on in there.

I decided to switch to a 3-peice airlock and after doing so it finally started to bubble a bit (about one bubble every 5 seconds). Not sure why the S-shaped airlock wasn’t bubbling. I checked it again about 4 hours later and all activity had stopped. It’s not even 48 hours later and I see no activity in the airlock.

Should I be concerned? Should I take any sort of action?

No need to worry about fermentation happening. The krausen shows it is. With the S-airlock on the bucket lid probably was not sealed and CO2 escaped around the lid. When you changed airlocks the bucket probably had a better seal for awhile and then loosened again. Fermentation will safely continue. Use a flashlight from the opposite side of the bucket to track krausen height.

(or) You pitched a 78°. What is the wort temperature now? Irish Red would be better fermented in the mid 60° range. Fermentation allowed to go at to of high temperature can finish in 2 or 3 days.

Two things:

  1. Airlock activity is a very poor indicator of fermentation. Remember, the only purpose of the airlock is to keep air from getting in while allowing CO2 to escape. It was never meant to gauge fermentation. Many kit instructions and even books talk about using airlock activity to know when primary fermentation is complete, but this just isn’t realistic. Too many variables (yeast, fermentor seal, beer style, gravity, etc) will alter bubble rate. Due to a loose fitting lid, I’ve had several batches that I never saw a single bubble, yet they attenuated just fine.

  2. As stated above, keep those temps down, b/c 78° is pretty dang warm. Fermentation could easily finish within 2 days at that temperature. Again, a lot of kit instructions just say to pitch below 100°, but in reality you usually want to pitch colder than your target fermentation temp.

The ambient temp in my basement is in the high 60’s. Should I wait another day and take a gravity reading?

If it is in fact a poorly sealed bucket, should i consider buying a new one or is this small air leak nothing to worry about?

[quote=“mattnaik”]The ambient temp in my basement is in the high 60’s. Should I wait another day and take a gravity reading?

If it is in fact a poorly sealed bucket, should i consider buying a new one or is this small air leak nothing to worry about?[/quote]

The krausen activity showed that it fermented, so I’d just let it ride for a couple of weeks and then bottle. You can take gravity on bottling day. As far as the leak, no worries; the CO2 pressure will keep any nasties out.

Oh, and if your ambient temp is in the high 60’s, the temp in your fermentor is in the low- to mid-70’s. Keep those temps down.

:cheers:

[quote=“CliffordBrewing”]
The krausen activity showed that it fermented, so I’d just let it ride for a couple of weeks and then bottle. You can take gravity on bottling day.[/quote]

I was hoping to move it to secondary but wanted to make sure the primary fermentation was complete before doing so. I was going to wait till the krausen settled and take a reading on 2 subsequent days and see there is no change in gravity and move it to secondary.

I think I’m speaking for a majority of brewers here by telling you not to bother with transferring to a secondary fermeter. 2-3 weeks in the primary should suffice.

When I got home from work today, I pushed down real hard on the lid and sure enough it wasn’t completely sealed. Weird cause I swear I did that when I put it on.

Hey mattnaik,

How did this finish out for you? I am brewing the same kit and I took a hydrometer sample today (day 8 of fermentation), which is at 1.010. Wanted to see what your finished at.

Thanks!

Great thread. I had the same question. Thanks!
:cheers:

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