very strange

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

Moderator: slothrob

very strange

Postby Bryon » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:39 pm

OK, I need some help.

I brewed a batch of Brewers Best Holiday Ale, and left it in the fermenter for an extra week. Just got done sanitizing my bottles and bottling bucket, etc. And went down stairs to grab the carboy. When I got it in the kitchen I noticed some beer seeped out of the plug and dripped along the outside of the carboy. My first thought was, GREAT! I just killed my beer because I didn't have a good seal...

But when I placed it on the counter, and gently pushed down on the lug the airlock started bubbling again! What does this mean? Could the yeast still be active, could the walk up the stairs with the slight josling have snapped the yeast out of a nap? Should I not bottle yet? Let is sit for another couple days? Is the beer probably dead due to the seepage?

I want to do this right, but I'd hate to have to put the bottles away and sanitize them again in a couple of days if I don't really need to...

Please advise (I'd love to get some solid feedback tonight if possible) and thanks in advance...
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Postby slothrob » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:04 pm

I can't quite picture how the beer is getting out the top of the carboy, but moving the carboy and/or warming of the beer can cause some CO2 to come out of solution and cause the airlock to bubble. The big question is, "Did the gravity stop dropping?"
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Postby Bryon » Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:23 pm

I'm not really sure how the beer got out either, but a little (very little) did... Here's the problem with the gravity reading. I was rushed on brew day, and foolishly failed to get a gravity reading... A rookie mistake, but I had people over, and was distracted by other beer, a football game and some good food. Excuses, excuses...

At any rate, I have no point of reference to compare a new gravity reading with. Like I said though, it's been two weeks... I went ahead and put it back in the basement for tonight. I'll check and see if we have bubbles tomorrow night...
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Postby slothrob » Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:45 am

The important thing is to test the final gravity a couple times, say a day or two apart, to know for sure that the beer has completed fermenting. The Original Gravity isn't really that important at this stage. If the gravity stays constant over a couple days then fermentation is probably complete. Otherwise you can risk gushers and bottle bombs.

That said, 2 weeks for a medium gravity beer, say around 1.050 OG (you actually can calculate your OG from the final volume and the amount of extract you added), should be sufficient. There are some variables that go into that though, like the fermentation temperature and the lag time before fermentation started.

How long has it been since fermentation seemed to end?
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Postby Bryon » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:00 pm

I'd say it's been about a week. Once I put it back in the "fermenting room" the bubbler stopped. I honestly think it was jsut the slight jostling around as I went up the stairs.
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Postby slothrob » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:05 am

Bryon wrote: I honestly think it was jsut the slight jostling around as I went up the stairs.
It happens to me all the time.

Warming up a little on the kitchen counter after bringing it up from the cold cellar can set it to bubbling again, too, just from the drop in CO2 solubility.
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Postby Bryon » Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:11 am

Well, I bottled the beer on the following day, so I guess we'll see how it goes in a few weeks... Thanks!
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