Fermentation stopped too soon!

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

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Fermentation stopped too soon!

Postby TTTony » Mon May 07, 2001 6:12 am

Recently brewed my first batch. The following morning the
airlock in my primary fermenter was bubbling pretty well (2
bubbles/second). Everything was going great until I decided to
move my primary fermenter to a cooler darker place. As soon as I
got it there the bubbling stopped and hasn't started again since
(about 24 hours ago now). The temperature difference couldn't
have been more than 6 degress (probably going from 74 to 68) and
I didn't jolt the wort around much. This is an ale I'm brewing
FYI. Did I mess up my batch? What happened when I moved it?
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Plastic bucket?

Postby jeff » Mon May 07, 2001 5:29 pm

If you are using a plastic bucket as a fermenter, then it is possible that CO2 is blowing through leaks under the lid. Often plastic buckets are not air-tight so it just appears that fermentation has stopped when actually the only thing that stopped is the air-lock. Sometimes a temporary seal is created from moisture on the bucket rim when first sealing the fermenter. When this dries then the seal is compromised. If you had healthy fermentation in the beginning then likely the beer will be fine. If you really want to see if there is activity, lift the lid enough to see the surface. If there is a head, or bubbles on the surface, it is still fermenting. Of course this only applies if you are not using a glass carboy, in which case you can see instantly if there is activity or not.
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Glass carboy

Postby TTTony » Tue May 08, 2001 4:26 am

I'm using a glass carboy, and the foam DID seem to get bigger even though no bubbles were coming out of the lock. Today it seems the foam is getting smaller.
Could the stopper for the airlock not be sealed? The only other thing I noticed strange is that the foam started getting dark brown. I don't know if this is normal or not since it's my first batch.
Thanks for all your help.
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Dark foam

Postby jeff » Tue May 08, 2001 1:16 pm

The dark foam may be trub and yeast that has surfaced during fermentation. If you notice a thick layer of this on the surface of the foam, an excessive amount of yeast may have become suspended out of the beer. This happened to me with a batch that I made, and it became necessary for me to agitate the carboy to allow the yeast to settle back into the beer to continue fermenting. Some yeast strains have a tendency of lifting right out of the beer.
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Yup.

Postby maltvault » Tue May 08, 2001 6:47 pm

Amen
MV
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Thanks...

Postby TTTony » Wed May 09, 2001 4:08 am

The foam is getting darker. I'll try and agitate it. Still no bubbling in the airlock, but I think it could be the cheap plastic stoppers I got with my kit. Thanks for all your help. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Are you sure?

Postby Push Eject » Thu May 10, 2001 7:01 am

Are you sure it has stopped "too soon"? Perhaps your beer is done. All that exciting activity in the primary fermentor often makes what happens in secondary look boring. Rest assured the complex sugars are being broken down in secondary and your beer is conditioning. Did you check your gravity when racking? If it was less than 25% of your OG I bet you're ready to bottle already.
Cheers!
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Beer wasn

Postby jeff » Thu May 10, 2001 8:26 am

It appears to me that the primary was moved to a different location, not that the beer was transferred to a new fermenter. When it was moved, activity appeared to cease. I see your point though, often when beer is racked to the secondary, CO2 is released from solution during the process. This causes a lag in seeing bubbles on the surface and in the airlock. Like you said, though, it is probably a good idea to check gravity to make absolutely certain fermentation is close to finish. Some yeast strains can produce complete fermention in 2 or 3 days.
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Now it's in secondary...

Postby TTTony » Fri May 11, 2001 5:27 am

I just moved it to the secondary last night. Things seems to be fine. It is still fermenting. I could tell because the yeast sediment at the bottom of my primary was bubbling like hot tar (yuck). Hydrometer says it still has a ways to go and I switched to a different airlock and it is bubbling slowly again. Cleared up quite a bit over night too. I sampled the liquid I drew for testing. It's starting to taste like beer. Nice aroma too. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. I want to thank all of you for your thoughts. I didn't expect this much support from the brewing community.
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Community Schmoonity

Postby Push Eject » Fri May 11, 2001 9:42 am

Everyone is actually pretty nice, huh?
So, did you use dry or liquid extract (I'm assuming you didn't all-grain on your first batch)? See my previous posts about dry extract vs. liquid and the use of yeast nutrients & oxygenation.
http://www.beertools.com/cgi-bin/bb/bb. ... /1/1&tf=20
Cheers!
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Both

Postby TTTony » Mon May 14, 2001 4:27 am

I used both Dry Malt Extract and a Liquid Extract with liquid Wyeast (London Ale I believe). And I shook the wort up real well before I pitched the yeast. I read your post on incomplete fermentation. What is the most obvious characteristic of that brew? Would it just be generally sweeter?
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My what mouthfeel you have

Postby Push Eject » Mon May 14, 2001 12:25 pm

Indeed you'd taste the unfermented sugars and starches. You'd also notice that after about 5 of your beers you'd still be standing up-right (a very bad sign).
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