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New Brewer needing some help

First time Brewer so bear with me. I started a batch of Caribou slobber on Sat. (Followed instructions down to the wire.) It was probably around 4 pm before I added the yeast to the wort. I woke up Sunday around 9 am and immediately went to check. There was a lot of action in the fermenter and in the air lock. A nice head of foam on top as well I was surprised at this since everything I had read said 24-48 hours. This morning I checked before work and my head of foam seems to have dropped already and the action in the fermenter and air lock has almost stopped. The temp seems to be holding steady around 66 degrees F according to the temp strip. I was under the impression this would take 1-2weeks. Did I mess something up? Should I leave it alone and let it continue to work? Dump it out and start over? Please help.

You’re fine. You’ll have a faster ferment at warmer temperatures. 66 is on the high side for fermenting, yeast create heat when they’re doing their thing so it’s likely the temperature in the fermenter was in the low 70’s range. In the future you should aim to ferment in low 60’s ambient.

That said, just because there is no visible activity doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. I would recommend letting it go another week or so then check the gravity with your hydrometer, check it again a few days later. If you get the same reading it’s ready to bottle, if it’s lower it needs more time.

WHEW!!! Thanks. I thought I was going have to start over. Would it help for me to lower the temp now? Right now I am fermenting in the laundry room. I can seal that room off and not heat it to get the temp down for now. Problem is, I’m in SC so once spring hits I’m gonna have to come up with something else to avoid our hot weather and try to keep it cool. I don’t have a basement.
Maybe I should search for a small refrigerator???

[quote=“Junius”]WHEW!!! Thanks. I thought I was going have to start over. Would it help for me to lower the temp now? Right now I am fermenting in the laundry room. I can seal that room off and not heat it to get the temp down for now. Problem is, I’m in SC so once spring hits I’m gonna have to come up with something else to avoid our hot weather and try to keep it cool. I don’t have a basement.
Maybe I should search for a small refrigerator???[/quote]
Since the bulk of your fermentation has almost completed there’s really no reason to lower the temp now. Better to let it hover closer to 70 so the yeast cleans up.

A fridge can make a good fermentation chamber but google ‘swamp cooler’ and you’ll see a cheaper way to control fermentation temps.

I let mine go for 4 weeks in the primary at around 65 room temp.

ALWAYS a great final product!

Im in SC as well and ended up turning a small closet into a fermentation chamber. Here is a quick video of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAwIVWUl5tk

I like it. How often are changing out the ice? What temps are you maintaining?

During the summer months I would change out two 1/2 gallon frozen jugs every 24 hours. I could hold at a consistent 61F this way if I wanted. If I changed every 12 hours I could get into the low-mid 50’s.

[quote=“Glug Master”]You’re fine. You’ll have a faster ferment at warmer temperatures. 66 is on the high side for fermenting, yeast create heat when they’re doing their thing so it’s likely the temperature in the fermenter was in the low 70’s range. In the future you should aim to ferment in low 60’s ambient.

That said, just because there is no visible activity doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. I would recommend letting it go another week or so then check the gravity with your hydrometer, check it again a few days later. If you get the same reading it’s ready to bottle, if it’s lower it needs more time.[/quote]
True that yeast will create heat, but that temp strip will read the beer temp just fine - I’m assuming you are using the stick on strips that attach to a carboy/bucket. If it says 66 on the fermometer strip, your beer is 66 or 67 max, assuming you have the fermometer placed below the liquid line and it isn’t defective. How high did the temp strip read at any one point and what is the ambient room temp?

When you say the action in the airlock has almost stopped, what does this mean exactly. 1 bubble every 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute? Experience will teach you that an airlock does not have to be pounding like a John Bonham drum solo for everything to be alright. Relax and let the beer do it’s thing. Pay attention to your recommended fermentation temps for the yeast and try to hit that. Longer fermentation at the right temp will taste better than a quick fermentation due to high temp every time.

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