Author Topic: Airlock activity in secondary  (Read 1113 times)

Offline dsherburn

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Airlock activity in secondary
« on: October 17, 2013, 05:22:24 PM »
I did a BIAB (simple Pale Ale) 5 gallon batch three weeks ago. After a week in the primary, the SG was 1.010 (about where it should have been). I transferred to a secondary and it's been there for two weeks. I have activity in the airlock. Is it just CO2 escaping or did I transfer from the primary before the fermentation was complete?

I have another batch (Porter) and the airlock on the secondary is quiet.

Offline mdbrew

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Re: Airlock activity in secondary
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 05:30:29 PM »
The best way to confirm that fermentation is complete is by taking gravity readings over a 2-3 day period.  If the S.G. remains constant, then you know it's complete. Airlock activity could be from escaping CO2, as you pointed out.  I've only been brewing for about 8 months and I always have to remind myself to ignore the airlock and test the S.G. too.  Good luck!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Airlock activity in secondary
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 05:46:28 PM »
There's more to yeast than converting sugar to alcohol. One is acetaldehyde. It gives beer a green apple flavor. If it's real strong it can smell and taste like a latex exam glove. Gravity can be bottomed out but it may still need time for the yeast to finish converting these monsters to good stuff. Most folks don't use a secondary anymore. Your test should be for stable terminal gravity but also odor and taste tested that acetaldehyde is gone. For me that's usually three to four weeks.

Online Jimmy K

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Re: Airlock activity in secondary
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 07:01:25 PM »
It's pretty common to see bubbles after fermentation is done because of escaping CO2, but you can't be sure without taking the gravity. I leave it in primary for about a week after fermentation finishes.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Airlock activity in secondary
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 07:08:11 PM »
Agreed on taking hydrometer readings - 3 identical readings over successive days and you can be confident that fermentation is done.  Unless I'm making a wheat beer I rarely keg a beer in under a month.  As Jim said, leaving a beer on the yeast a little past the point fermentation stops will let the yeast, in essence, clean up after itself by getting rid of off flavors/aromas that often end up in beer if you rush things. Unless you make a very high OG beer, a fruit beer, or choose to dry hop in secondary (I do), racking to secondary is not necessary, and can be detrimental.
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