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Strange Fermentation

Hey all,
Bought the essential brewing starter kit with the American wheat. Brewed the kit according to the instructions. After 24 hours the airlock had only moved half a bubble. After 48 hours I bought and re-pitched the yeast. still nothing. I assumed I used the wrong water (5 gallons of Gerber Pure) So I dumped it and bought new ingredients. Used tap water instead. 24 hours later still only half a bubble. I put the fermenter in the box it was shipped in to keep it dark and protect it from evil cats. It smell very “beery” in the box.
My questions: Is it fermenting? Why isn’t it bubbling? What did I do wrong?

Thanks, Buck

You really shouldn’t go by the airlock bubbling as a sign of fermentation. There is a good chance you just don’t have a good seal on your bucket so the C02 is escaping through the bucket lid. Did you see a layer of “krausen” or foam at the top?

Haven’t had the courage to pop the top. I did, very very gently, push on the lid until the airlock bubbled. 20 minutes later it looks like it’s moved to the “almost-ready to bubble position” again. If that makes any sense.

Thanks for the reply, Buck

Go ahead and pop the top. A layer of foam forming will let you know for sure. Nothing really to be scared of; just try not to sneeze into the beer or let an evil cat fall in.

I’ve heard many other stories of fermenters that don’t seal up tight enough for the CO2 to push out through the airlock. I agree with Matt that that could be the case here. A beery smell in the box is a really good sign.

Fermenting yeast produces carbon dioxide which is generally heaver than air. This means as long as you don’t “waft” the CO2 out, it is OK to look in.

You can also holds a flashlight to the other side of the bucket and turn the room lights out.

I popped the top and saw the most beautiful layer of foam. No sneezing or evil cats swimming. I now feel like a HAPPY brewer! Thanks Matt, Brick and JM.

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