I remember way back when I first started brewing and followed instructions to the ‘T’ for every batch of beer making sure everything was done perfectly… any perceived mistake would immediately switch me into panic mode…

I pitched my yeast on my first batch had no airlock activity for the first couple days… and I freaked out…

I had no idea if my beer was fermenting or not… and immediately began to Google all about ruining my beer and the whole fermentation process…

… but nowhere in there did I ever ask myself, what is the purpose of the airlock anyways?

Instead, I asked things like… do I need to re-pitch my yeast? Am I fermenting too cold?… basically assuming that fermentation wasn’t happening, but I never bothered to check up on that…

Well, actually I didn’t know how…

Turns out fermentation is fairly easy to detect and troubleshoot… all that fermentation means is yeast eating sugar… We use a hydrometer to measure the amount of sugar in water by measuring its density… as yeast eat the sugar, the density drops and fermentation is happening…

So now, when I pitch my yeast and if for some reason I don’t see airlock activity, I don’t freak out like I used to… instead, I take a gravity reading two or three days in a row… and I see if fermentation is underway by measuring the amount of sugar leftover… if the density doesn’t change then fermentation may be stuck after all, but more than likely fermentation is happening even if the airlock doesn’t move one bit…

On the same note, I remember a beer that only had 2 days of airlock activity and then stopped completely… I freaked and began asking questions like “did I ferment too high”… “can fermentation happen that fast?”… and all kinds of questions that could very well be answered by simply doing a gravity reading and seeing if the beer had been fully fermented…

It was hard for me not to think that I’d ruined my beer whenever the airlock didn’t act as the instructions said it would, but experience has shown me that airlock activity doesn’t mean anything other than CO2 being released…

… and what really helped me understand this was an article on a very famous brewery out of California who brewed a beer in a shallow open container… no cover and therefore no airlock…

… the airlock is actually a recent tool made for home brewers to be able to close their fermentors and make them airtight to keep airborne bacteria and wild yeast from entering the beer and spoiling the batch… the airlock is essentially a valve to release the pressure formed by the CO2

Now, my question was… “how was the brewery able to keep bacteria and wild yeast out of their beer?”…

… and the answer is simple… they had a very controlled environment with air purifiers and essentially kept the beer in a dust-free environment…

So hopefully that calms your worries if your airlock doesn’t move or bubbles once per minute or some other slow rate…


    1 Response to "No Airlock Activity – Airlock Stopped Bubbling?"

    • […] ferment this beer you should use a blow off tube to avoid clogging up the airlock since this is a top fermenting yeast and fermentation can be […]

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