About 8 hours after the soon-to-be-beer was in the fermenter, it began to off gas just a bit.
12 hours later and it was a bulged fermenting bucket that had forced liquid (and sediment) out of any seam it could find. Another hour or two and I would have been cleaning not-quite-beer off the ceiling of the guest bathroom.
For the next 10 hours or so, it was check the airlock. Sanitize a clean airlock and replace the filthy one that was causing the fermenting bucket to swell again.
Bed time loomed large and I just took the cap off the airlock and left it over night. Next morning (this morning) I put the cap back on and watched exactly one bubble escape. At this point, I am now worried that my yeasties gave their all and are now exhausted... about a day and a half into the fermentation cycle.
Spoke with the local brew guru and he tells me that it is possible that the yeast are all done. But, to be sure I should take a gravity measurement and see where we are. At worst, we will have to pitch some more yeast. So, before leaving the establishment I purchased a hydrometer (three scale) and a wine / beer thief... and a four-pack of beer (Green Flash Palate Wrecker) that I had no hand in its manufacture.
Tonight we were greeted by the sight of a clean guest bathroom ceiling and an airlock that was bubbling just a bit faster than lazy. Reckon I'll leave the lid on and check it in the morning.
Guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.