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I am in the middle of fermentation on my first batch of homebrew, it's a Double IPA from Brewer's best.

During my boil, I added Columbus hops at the start and after 45 minutes, in addition to some cascade hops at the conclusion of my boil. My boil was 12/14, and I noticed bubbling about 24 hours later as expected.

I was also able to previously smell the aroma of the hops during the fermentation. It smelled very similar to how the pellet hops smelled in the package.

Two questions; is it normal to smell the hop aroma during fermentation, and then if so, is it normal for the aroma to disappear?

Also, again, if this is all normal, does the disappearance of the aroma tell me anything about how the fermentation is progressing?

Thanks, Chris

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Yes, yes, and not necessarily.

(1) You usually get hop aromas from the airlock during initial fermentation.

(2) The aroma has always disappeared after a few days. The hop aroma is coming through the airlock, so the fermentation is clearly producing and pushing CO2 gas through the airlock (or leaking from a leaky bucket seal) - CO2 gas that also has picked up hop aromas.

(3) When the aroma disappears, it is logical to assume that much less gas is being produced by the beer. So yes, that is probably a sign of less vigorous fermentation. But it doesn't necessarily tell you what is going on in the fermenter. Fermentation could be complete, or it could be stuck. I suppose you could even have an infection that produced the gas. Only a gravity reading will tell you for sure about fermentation progress.

  • My beer has only been in my primary fermenter for 8-9 days, I was going to leave it in for 14 and then bottle. Do you suggest opening up the fermenter to test the SG at this point? – Nibroc A Rehpotsirhc Dec 23 '13 at 6:02
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    You are showing remarkable patience for your first batch. Most folks are dying to take a reading (assuming they know what that means) after about 72 hours. A general rule is that you only bottle after you have taken readings over a course of several days and verified that the gravity isn't dropping any further. If I were you, I would take a reading on day 14, and then again on maybe day 18. If the gravity is the same, and is near the recipe target FG, you are safe to bottle. – Graham Dec 23 '13 at 13:46

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