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I started a batch of Nut Brown Ale by Mountons.  During the process, I added 2.2lbs of brewers sugar as advised.  However, the airlock didn't seem to produce any bubbles.  I added additional yeast packet the following day and it bubbled immediately but only for a short period.  I have let it sit for 5 days and still no bubbles.  This morning I tested with hydrometer and it reads 1.01.  I didn't take a reading at the beginning.  Do you think that I may have a leak in my seal (plastic bucket fermenter) and the batch is ready to bottle?

Answer
Hi Kelly,

I love the idea of your nut brown ale... I'm sure it'll turn out.

If you got bubbles when you first pitched, I'm guessing you do have some kind of leak through a seal other than your airlock, because yeast that is active enough to produce any bubbles is not likely to die down on its own without running its course.

But you can do a taste test--the yeast's action after bottling is largely carbon dioxide, so your alcohol content is essentially fixed now.  So decant a bit and taste it.  You won't love it without some mellowing and without CO2, but you should be able to taste the alcohol to ensure you got through fermentation.

If you bottle early you may explode some bottles... if I'm reading the timeline right, you're 6 or 7 days through fermentation.  I'd let it go another week to let it all die down.  In the meantime, you can try a little experiment: put the whole bucket in a large black plastic bag and put a *really* tight twisty tie on the top.  Moving the bucket will agitate the yeast a bit and you can check to see if the bag inflates a bit over the course of the next day.

But after a week bottle it as normal and I expect you'll be okay.

Good luck and let me know if things work out!

Matt

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Matt Dick

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I have been a home brewing for about 20 years, been a member of the Chicago Beer Society, and designed a beer-tasting course and curriculum. I would love to encourage you along the road of beer appreciation as well as beer brewing.

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