Author Topic: Visual cues to fermentation progress  (Read 829 times)

Offline midtex

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Visual cues to fermentation progress
« on: February 10, 2010, 04:37:29 PM »
Hi there - I have not yet invested in a hydrometer and I have a Bavarian hefeweizen fermenting and want advice to know when to bottle (other than "buy a hydrometer"  ;) ). Today is day 9 of fermentation and the foam on top went away except for a few "islands", yesterday. My airlock is still bubbling about every 10-15 seconds and I can take a flashlight and see a steady stream of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom. I plan to wait at least until day 14, but should I expect the CO2 production to stop completely? I'm told that fresh is good for this style of beer and, of course, I'm also anxious to get it bottled and carbed up. I just don't want to get impatient and bottle too soon. Thanks for the advice...........

Offline tygo

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 04:51:44 PM »
Wait for the action in the airlock to slow down to just a couple bubbles a minute and let it sit there for a couple days.  Normally I'd say wait for it to clear somewhat as well but since its a Hefe that isn't really a good guide.  I'd say after 14 days your probably good to go with this one.

And go buy a hydrometer  ;)
Clint
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Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline bruck

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 04:54:40 PM »
Yeah dude...buy a hydrometer! They are cheap!!!

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 05:18:06 PM »
Yeah dude...buy a hydrometer! They are cheap!!!

+1
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 05:32:14 PM »
Brewing without a hydrometer is like driving blind. Three weeks in the primary should be enough.
Ron Price

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 08:07:29 PM »
You guys are not fun!

I do not take my FG anymore.
It has to be fermented in TWO weeks.
I never watch airlock because it is misleading.

And yes buy hydrometer or refractometer.
There was a thread about it on this forum.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1177.0
You can find them for $25.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 08:09:08 PM by Thirsty_Monk »
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Offline midtex

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 08:51:32 AM »
I appreciate the information. I know I need a hydrometer and definitely plan to buy one, I was just hoping to gain some insight on what to watch for as a clue fermentation is complete. The reason I ask is that I have been told in a different post that I underpitched my yeast. I thought the Wyeast smackpacks were for 5 gallons as they advertise, but others have said they are for 2 gallons. My batch is about 2.125 gallons so I pitched about half the swelled smackpack (no starter). I would say that fermentation seemed to be immediate and vigorous (within a day for sure), but I'm not speaking from experience. Now at day 10, the foam (krausen?) subsided about 2 days ago, but I definitely am still making CO2 and I can see bubbles and debris churning around using a flashlight. Can I expect things to be totally still at 14 days, or will there still be a small amount of activity?

Offline tygo

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2010, 09:20:27 AM »
You shouldn't see things churning and swirling around once the fermentation is complete however there still will be some airlock activity.  Maybe like two bubbles a minute or so.  And the krausen (foam) should have pretty much fallen.
Clint
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Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline midtex

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Re: Visual cues to fermentation progress
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2010, 10:17:57 AM »
Perfect - thanks!