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So I made my first ever homebrew ale yesterday, transferred it to my fermentation bin and pitched the yeast.

After 24 hours at the recommended temperature there is a nice thick layer of krausen on top and if I listen carefully I can here very, very quiet bubbling within the container, but the airlock is barely bubbling at all. Tiny bubbles sit in the airlock but don't move.

Do I need to pitch more yeast or is this normal behaviour?

Anymore info required please ask.

On a side note, I have scoured the internet and read two books, but nowhere can I find if I should have removed hops prior to fermentation, so I left them in, is this okay/normal?

Thanks in advance

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If you didn't pitch yeast from an actively fermenting starter, 24 hours is a perfectly reasonable lag time. But if you really are seeing a thick kräusen atop your beer, it sounds like there's just a leak around the airlock. What are you fermenting in? A bucket with a lid gives plenty of opportunity for leaks around the edges. I'd be more concerned if it were a carboy.

With fermentation, the real thing you have to remember is to just be patient. If there's visible activity (heck, if you can hear it), it's fine. Just keep it at the proper temperature and let it do its thing. Double check for air-tightness of your fermenting container.

Regarding the hops, I prefer to leave them behind. Best way is to whirlpool and let it settle so it forms a mass in the middle of the bottom that you can rack around. It's not going to kill your fermentation to have hops in it, but it could make it pretty messy to clean. Plus you'll just have to wait for them to settle out after fermentation anyway, which may add unnecessary extra time in the fermenter.

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  • Excellent answer thankyou! Yes it is being fermented in a plastic bucket with a lid. Just tried pressing down on the lid slightly, lots of bubbles came through airlock, but also a lot leaked out from around the lid, so I assume it is a slightly leaky lid. And just to clarify, you would recommend leaving the hops behind as much as possible in the boiling pot (next time) ? – Simon Feb 2 '15 at 17:52
  • I definitely would. It's a good habit to get into and you'll thank yourself in the future when you are pouring them out of your kettle rather than scrubbing dried hop-yeast-protein scum off your fermenters. – Franklin P Combs Feb 2 '15 at 18:00
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    @Simon if you like the answer, you should up-vote it. That's how the Stack Exchange model work. – FishesCycle Feb 2 '15 at 19:30
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    Not enough reputation to upvote yet sorry – Simon Feb 2 '15 at 19:33
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    Re. The Krausen. If you can see evidence of fermentation, then all is well. My first few batches I had no airlock activity, but saw evidence of krausen. They turned out fine. As it turns out, that bucket just won't seal right, but every brew in there turns out great. – CDspace Feb 6 '15 at 6:28

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