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I have been aging a winter lager and a Mead for a few weeks.

The mead was always in a glass carboy and I just moved it from one to another. I do not have a water air lock for them so I have a balloon I sanitized and sealed around it with plumbers tape. I have a pin hole in it that allows the co2 to leak out. This keeps the balloon inflated but still allows the CO2 to escape properly. For the mead this has been working fantastic and even after racking it is producing enough c02 to inflate the balloon.

My been on the other hand went from a primary (5 gallon bucket with a water air lock) to the glass carboy with the same balloon method. The balloon is barley inflating even after a few days, with out a pin hole punched in it. I know the main fermentation happens to a beer the few few days, and I left it in the primary for 2 weeks. After racking should it be processing enough to inflate the balloon? Or did I accidentally botch my beer? I only have the mead to compare it too, I have never racked beer before. If it is ruined can I fix it by adding a little yeast slurry?

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At the risk of stating the obvious, I think you should buy an airlock or two. They're cheap. They work well. –  Tobias Patton Dec 11 '11 at 1:35
    
+1 for balloon with hole in –  Poshpaws Dec 11 '11 at 15:08
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2 Answers 2

Release of CO2 doesn't necessarily mean that the beer is still fermenting...it just means CO2 is being released! As you know, CO2 is created during fermentation. A good portion of it is absorbed by the beer. When you move the beer, you release CO2. If the beer warms, CO2 comes out of solution. So, the only way to know if the beer is done fermenting is to take a series of gravity readings over a number of days. When the reading stabilizes, the beer is done.

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I wouldn't expect a lot of fermentation activity after two weeks. Don't worry; your beer is fine. Just leave it alone until you're ready to package.

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