Author Topic: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?  (Read 25915 times)

Offline FarmHills

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Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« on: November 25, 2014, 10:34:27 AM »
First time using liquid yeast (Denny's Favorite 50 Wyeast 1450), first time dry hopping (Centennial, Cascade pellets) and first time posting a question.  Previous brews used dry yeast and no dry hopping.  Recipe from Beersmith site is Bell's 2 Hearted clone sized for 3 gallons.  Racked to secondary when S-type airlock bubbling 2 times per minute.  Now 20 days later airlock still bubbles about once every 3 - 4 minutes.  Carboy temp is stable at 65 degrees.  Refractometer shows 8.2 Brix over last couple of days (SG 1.010 per Refractometer tool).  Target FG is 1.011.  Have seen comments that you don't want to dry hop longer than 2 weeks or you can get off flavors and I'm at 20 days.  What should I do or not do?
Leave it alone until airlock's not so active?
Should I rack to another carboy to remove the hops and risk oxidation since there is a lot of headspace?
Bottle the beer since SG has been same for a couple of days?

Offline Oddball

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 12:51:01 PM »
I'm still fairly new to brewing but I would say that if your gravity isn't changing, bottle it.

Offline Beer Lover

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2014, 07:45:13 PM »
I am also new at brewing.  You say the SG 1.010 and FG 1.011.  That's not much of a change.  The SG 1.010 was taken when?  At the end of the boil?  What amount of time are we talking about from the SG 1.010 and FG 1.011?
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Offline FarmHills

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2014, 09:15:09 PM »
Beer lover. The target fg is 1.011 per the recipe.  My og was 1.067.  After 3 weeks the brix stayed around 8.2 brix (1.010 sg) for a couple of days.  I was going to bottle but got cold feet with the airlock so active.  Never had an airlock stay so active for so long but I had always used dry yeast in my previous dozen brews.  As noted in my post this was the first time using liquid yeast.  I ended up racking a third time to a carboy and filtering out the hops.  Still haven't bottled.  I figured better to risk oxidation than bottle bombs.  I was hoping to get some feedback on Wyeast's "Denny's favorite fifty" and also the risk of leaving hops in the secondary for three weeks or more.  Live and learn :)

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 09:49:55 AM »
The airlock activity is most likely off gassing of CO2 and not actually fermentation.  If your gravity readings stay consistent for three consecutive days, then it is safe to bottle.

The off gassing is caused by the prior fermentation process.  As the beer is fermenting, it is creating alcohol and CO2.  Most of the CO2 goes out through the airlock, but some off it gets locked up in the trub, yeast and hops.  The CO2 that is locked up will slowly degas out through the airlock, eventually leading to a still beer (still beer is beer with absolutely no carbonation).  There is no reason to wait until the still beer stage to bottle. 

I've read that most beer that is ready to bottle has about 1 volume of CO2 in it at bottling time.  I'm not sure what assumption BeerSmith makes for the amount of CO2 volume at priming time.  I always undercarbonate a little, because of the volume of CO2 already present in the beer when I prime it, just to be on the safe side.  For example, if I bottle early when it is still degassing, but the gravity is consistent for 3 consecutive days, I'll prime with the least amount of corn sugar for the style.  However, if it is a beer that has been sitting for a long time and is obviously degassed, then I'll shoot for the middle range for the amount of priming sugar.  I never put in the maximum (high end of the range) amount of priming sugar.  By not using the maximum amount of priming sugar, I vastly reduce the risk of creating bottle bombs.
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Offline FarmHills

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 12:13:31 PM »
Thanks Scott. I guess I will go ahead and bottle. One plus is that filtering out the hops and leaving it sit for another week or two cleared up the beer quite a lot.  Moral of the story, Trust the hydrometer.

Offline Beer Lover

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 04:55:51 PM »
Farm Hills.  I did not see the OG in your original post.  That's what I was looking for.  Sorry for the confusion.
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In Bottles; Gave up bottling. Too much work.
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Airlock still bubbling, Leave alone, rack or bottle?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 02:51:43 PM »
  Moral of the story, Trust the hydrometer.

Absolutely dead-on. 

Always measure, then decide what to do based on the measurment.  Time is almost NEVER the quantity that we are trying to meausre, but is just an easy surrogate for the real measurement.  If people get NOTHING else from me, I hope THIS is it. 

Learn what you are trying to control, measure *it*, and respond to the measurement. 

In this case, you want to bottle when fermentation is complete, not before.  Fermentation is complete when the yeast is no longer consuming the sugars and converting them into alcohol.  When is that?  When the SG stops changing---nothing else.  Its not when the air lock stops bubbling, its not when you stop seeing currents in the beer, its not when the calendar says it "should be done". 

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