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Author Topic: Yeast action  (Read 935 times)

Offline TomJ3323

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Yeast action
« on: November 29, 2022, 03:37:22 pm »
Hi all, new guy here. I just started my first batch after years of wanting to do this, but I’ve run into something I don’t understand or may just be confused about. I did a Brewer’s Best Scottish Ale kit which included a packet of Sachet yeast.  Once I got it sealed into the bucket the airlock started bubbling after about 24 hours but a day and half or so later the bubbling stopped.  Being completely new to this, is this normal?  I’d done cider years ago and remember the gases in that bubbled off for weeks, is the yeast still active in my beer or do I have a problem?
Thanks in advance

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2022, 03:52:59 pm »
Hi all, new guy here. I just started my first batch after years of wanting to do this, but I’ve run into something I don’t understand or may just be confused about. I did a Brewer’s Best Scottish Ale kit which included a packet of Sachet yeast.  Once I got it sealed into the bucket the airlock started bubbling after about 24 hours but a day and half or so later the bubbling stopped.  Being completely new to this, is this normal?  I’d done cider years ago and remember the gases in that bubbled off for weeks, is the yeast still active in my beer or do I have a problem?
Thanks in advance
Welcome aboard!

If the beer was warm then it could have finished already.  For me ale fermentation usually takes 3-7 days of active fermentation. There is often a slow tail. The last day or two bubbling is much slower, but the specific gravity is still slowly dropping. The rule of thumb to call fermentation complete is to use a hydrometer and make sure there is no change over a 3 day period.

I personally would wait to the 1 week mark before doing anything. The yeast finish fermenting but then do some cleaning up. It’s good  to be patient and give them a little time for that process.

PS. for some reason cider fermentation is much slower than beer fermentation. Why is a mystery to me. But my ciders take 2 weeks or more to get to final gravity.

Offline 4dogbrewer

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2022, 06:19:29 am »
Do you have a hydrometer? That will tell you how much it has already fermented.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2022, 08:14:35 am »
I have also had very fast fermentations.  In fact, I just bottled a porter yesterday that was brewed one week ago.  fermentation started in 4 hours, I hit my target SG after 2 days, I let it sit for another 3 days, checked my SG again.  Bottled after a week.

But, as the other brewers have said, a hydrometer is needed to check gravity to insure fermentation is complete.
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Offline Megary

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2022, 08:51:50 am »
Hi all, new guy here. I just started my first batch after years of wanting to do this, but I’ve run into something I don’t understand or may just be confused about. I did a Brewer’s Best Scottish Ale kit which included a packet of Sachet yeast.  Once I got it sealed into the bucket the airlock started bubbling after about 24 hours but a day and half or so later the bubbling stopped.  Being completely new to this, is this normal?  I’d done cider years ago and remember the gases in that bubbled off for weeks, is the yeast still active in my beer or do I have a problem?
Thanks in advance

Any idea which specific yeast was used?
If the pack of yeast said "Windsor" on it, then what you describe is very normal.

Offline neuse

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2022, 08:59:40 am »
Beer temperature during fermentation has a lot of effect on the quality of the final beer. Do you control temperature? And by this, I'm talking about the beer itself - not ambient. The beer is normally warmer during active fermentation.
Edit: Warmer fermentation tends to go faster.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2022, 09:03:21 am by neuse »

Offline TomJ3323

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2022, 11:54:55 am »
Wow, thanks for all the feedback. I’m a little bit blown away by all the little nuances involved with this, I’ve spent hours now just getting familiar with the jargon and terminology.  Yes, I do have a hydrometer and I did get a reading before it went into the fermenter.  The fermenting bucket seems to be a consistent 68 degrees (as per an infrared temperature gauge). The yeast packet doesn’t have anything on it that says Windsor, it’s simply labeled Safale S-04.  I intended to try secondary fermentation so guess I will just pop it open at around 1 week, get a reading and transfer it into the carboy to finish it.  If this does have a slow tail off is that still okay to do?  What would be my indication that it’s time to bottle?

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2022, 12:08:33 pm »
There could be a leak at the bucket lid or at the stopper (bung) or at the airlock - or it could be done fermenting.  S-04 is a pretty reliable yeast and it finishes quickly and sediments out (flocculation) well.  The best thing is to check out the hydrometer readings over 3 - 4 days to verify that the gravity is stable.  You will be fine, I am sure.  Cheers.
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Offline neuse

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2022, 01:14:39 pm »
It seems to me that most home brewers don't do secondary fermentation these days unless there is something unusual, like adding fruit. There are concerns about oxidation and contamination. Hopefully, others will chime in to get a consensus.

Offline pete b

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2022, 01:59:10 pm »
It's very common for the airlock to bubble away furiously then stop even though fermentation isn't done. Gas can often escape through the lid seal and only when the fermentation is very active will it build up enough to bubble. It could also be done. Take a gravity reading then another two days later and if they are the same you can bottle.
I wouldn't do a secondary, as mentioned it is unnecessary and risks harm
I would be shocked if everything is not fine here.
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Offline BrewBama

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Yeast action
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2022, 04:30:51 pm »
It seems to me that most home brewers don't do secondary fermentation these days unless there is something unusual, like adding fruit. There are concerns about oxidation and contamination. Hopefully, others will chime in to get a consensus.
I do a secondary via closed transfer to a keg with 1-2% extract remaining for the yeast in suspension to consume. That usually takes 4-5 days. I place it back in the fermentation fridge with a spunding valve attached for 7 days which allows internal pressure to build naturally.

I would not do the same with a carboy. I don’t trust them.

*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
« Last Edit: November 30, 2022, 05:01:59 pm by BrewBama »

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2022, 05:54:49 am »
It seems to me that most home brewers don't do secondary fermentation these days unless there is something unusual, like adding fruit. There are concerns about oxidation and contamination. Hopefully, others will chime in to get a consensus.
I do a secondary via closed transfer to a keg with 1-2% extract remaining for the yeast in suspension to consume. That usually takes 4-5 days. I place it back in the fermentation fridge with a spunding valve attached for 7 days which allows internal pressure to build naturally.

I would not do the same with a carboy. I don’t trust them.

*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
Most homebrewers do not use a secondary because you can oxidize your beer during the transfer. It’s best to leave it alone in the original fermenter.

What BrewBama is talking about is an advanced technique that naturally carbonates the beer using the last 1-2% part of fermentation. The OP has probably missed the window on that since his fermentation is likely complete.

Offline TomJ3323

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2022, 08:00:10 am »
Okay, point taken.  The instructions in the kit suggested secondary but I was a little bit reluctant because of my inexperience. Hearing that from you guys makes it a nobrainer for me, I’ll just let that part go for now.  I’m gathering from the comments that the idea is to avoid as much contact with ambient air as possible?

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2022, 09:40:23 am »
That’s correct. Transferring to a carboy for secondary is rarely used anymore. I apologize for muddying the water earlier concerning my secondary process. Just a thought that there are ways and means to do secondary. …just not open transfer to a carboy.

Some say O2 is bad throughout the entire process: hot and cold side. Some disagree with the hot side. …but there is no disagreement on the cold side: keeping finished beer away from O2 pickup, cold, and dark is the best thing for it.

Also, please don’t use a carboy. Ever. There are only two types: a carboy that has broken and one that will break. Think: flying shards of glass shrapnel, 911, emergency room, and at the very least a huge mess to clean up and an angry significant other.



*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV

Offline neuse

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Re: Yeast action
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2022, 11:52:28 am »
Concerning my comment about oxidation - I didn't mean that aerating/oxygenating when pitching yeast is bad. This is ok. Normally not necessary with dry yeast, but still ok.