homebrewing - what happened

I just got re-into home brewing and making a Imperial IPA via a kit. All was going well, airlock bubbling happily for maybe 4 days. Then I wanted to get a sample to start a hard cider, so I removed the airlock, put in a straw and use that and my thumb on top to seal it) to transfer a bit to help start the cider. Within a very short time all bubbling stopped. I waited for some time and also made sure it was sealed. After a day and a half I put in more yeast and the bubbling re-started.

What happened? What would cause to total stopping of the bubbling?

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Moving thread from GQ to Cafe Society.

I have broken the seal on a fermenting batch and noticed it takes a half a day or so to start re-saturating itself with CO2 and begin bubbling again. Usually I do more than want you did however, so I’m really as confused as you are. And yes, I’ve at times added more yeast because I was in a hurry to not spoil the must. If you want to figure it out, you’ll have to come up for SOME explanation of how you lost so much gas.

Was the straw sterile?

No :rolleyes: it was just new in the package. I thought about that and decided it was most likely not contaminated. I guess this is not good for me becoming a surgical doctor.

I think you’re absolutely fine. Four days is about all the bubbling I get out of homebrew. It depends on batch to batch, but typically around that time it ferments out. I’m assuming when you removed the airlock, you lost all the pressure, so it was going to take awhile for it to build up to get bubbling again. I don’t think there is a chance you contaminated and ruined your batch based on your observation. Homebrew is not that delicate, especially once you get the yeast going.

I agree with **pulykamell **-- there was most likely a relative lot of pressure in the fermenter until you opened the airlock, and then there’s not enough yeast activity left to recreate that much pressure when the airlock is replaced.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well my homebrew turns out when things don’t go by the book – the stuff is pretty resilient. I’ve had a bad (well, less than “good”) batch or two, don’t get me wrong, but it seems to recover from human error on a consistent basis.

Thirded. And sanitize that straw next time, anyway. Hope your beer turns out great!


Q: when you put in more yeast, was it a lot and was it aerated? Or did you just dump in more dry yeast and let nature take it’s course?

A couple of key things to improve a homebrew: Pitch a lot of yeast and aerate the hell out of it in the beginning. An electric drill and paint stirrer does wonders. The head of either Wyeast or White Labs said their studies showed that just shaking the fermenter vigorously for 4 minutes was about as good a result as you can get.

Also, sounds like you’re using a carboy. I would definitely look into something like the big mouth bubbler or the Speidel. I have both and really like the Speidel although it is more expensive, it’s really solid. Either one of these has a handy spigot, so you can just pour off a sample instead of getting in and mucking with the fermenting wort. Bottling is so much easier and skip that stupid bottling bucket step.