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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: saintpierre on August 25, 2010, 03:51:54 PM

Title: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 25, 2010, 03:51:54 PM
I brewed a Steam beer on 7/18/10 following the recipe and mash schedule in the BCS book.  The only exception is I batch sparged.
On 7/18/10 my OG was 1.056 and fermented at 64degF with WL, SF Larger yeast for 10 days until me FG was 1.012 (for two consecutive days).
On 7/28/10 I transfered to a keg and primed using corn sugar to get ±2.8 vol of CO2.
I left the keg at 64degF for 1 week before I moved in into the kegorator set at 34degF.
I tasted the beer last night and it still has some sharp esters and not the fruity ones I was expecting with the style.

I get the feeling I transferred the beer off the yeast cake too early...  ???

Will this beer mellow with more time? Or did I screw the batch?
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: denny on August 25, 2010, 04:00:22 PM
I'd say you fermented too warm and kegged too soon.  Can you define "sharp esters" any more?
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: skyler on August 25, 2010, 04:27:03 PM
I would leave it at 30-36F for a month or so, then try drinking it. You definitely transferred it too soon to a serving device, IMO. I have also noticed that yeast making a sharp, almost astringent-like off flavor when fermented warm and underpitched (my friend's attempt to make a "steam porter" was so bad it kept me from ever trying the yeast). My advice would be to lager it in the keg for a while (CO2 not needed), then try some gelatin/polyclar after a month or so to clean it up.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: weithman5 on August 25, 2010, 04:36:06 PM
i used that yeast in my vienna.  i think i let it get too warm and have the formaldehyde taste. i know you can let the temp creep up on that yeast but I got lazy when we had a warm spring around easter. :'(
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: bluesman on August 25, 2010, 04:46:12 PM
Can you post your recipe?
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 25, 2010, 04:50:15 PM
The esters are slightly astringent.  Although the level isn't so high that I can't enjoy drinking it (my friends think it is good) but to me being over critical, the overall experience isn't perfect.  The thermo-override was set to 62 and taped to the carboy.  So the temperature may have been closer to 62 but it did ferment in the 100deg heat we had in July.

I also did a half gallon started with an OG of 1.040 decanted the beer and pitched the slurry.

I had a feeling that I transferred too soon.  What would you recommend that I do differently next time because I am definately making this again.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 25, 2010, 06:25:03 PM
California Common Ale
6-C American Pale Ales, California Common Ale

For 6 gallons
Boil Time:  60   Minutes     

9.50 lbs.   Pale Malt (2-row)
0.50 lbs.   Victory Malt
2.00 lbs.   Munich Malt
1.00 lbs.   Crystal 40L
0.13 lbs.   Light Chocolate Malt

1.00 oz.   Northern Brewer  Pellet  AA6.50  60 min 
1.50 oz.   Northern Brewer  Pellet  AA6.50  15 min 
1.50 oz.   Northern Brewer  Pellet  AA6.50  1 min 
 
White Labs SF Lager
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: beerocd on August 26, 2010, 12:30:47 AM
I'd say you fermented too warm ...

But.... it's steam beer  ???
Time will likely help a lot.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: tschmidlin on August 26, 2010, 04:27:34 AM
I'd say you fermented too warm ...

But.... it's steam beer  ???
Time will likely help a lot.
Yeah, but at 64F you're still at the high end of the fermentation range.  Next time shoot for 60F or even 58F.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: denny on August 26, 2010, 03:44:29 PM
The esters are slightly astringent.

I appreciate extra info, but astringency is a dry mouthfeel, so I'm having a hard time interpreting what you're trying to tell us.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 26, 2010, 06:23:48 PM
The esters are slightly astringent.

I appreciate extra info, but astringency is a dry mouthfeel, so I'm having a hard time interpreting what you're trying to tell us.

I will taste again tonight, evaluate and try to explain more accurately.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: denny on August 26, 2010, 06:25:38 PM
Thanks.  The more accurately you can describe the taste, the better the advice we can give you.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 27, 2010, 01:12:35 AM
Aroma is slightly caramel with a solvent/yeasty presence that tends to dominate.
Flavor is toasty with a light caramel flavor, low hop flavor, slightly phenolic, light fruit

Overall it is a drinkable medium bodied, toasty amber with a dry, crisp and slightly fruity finish however the phenols detract from the enjoyment.

Basically, as I critically taste the beer it is pretty clear that I fermented too high and racked off the beer before the yeast had a chance to reabsorb any of the phenols.  :'(
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: gordonstrong on August 27, 2010, 03:29:15 AM
Fermenting too high can account for the esters. I'm not used to lager yeast getting all solventy and phenolic on me, though. I wonder if you had some other kind of wild yeast in there.

Racking too soon isn't your problem. Yeast don't typically metabolize phenols; diacetyl and acetaldehyde, mostly, is what you'd get if you racked too soon.

I would look at sanitation, yeast health, and fermentation temperature first.  Did you have a long lag?

Also, I don't want to pick on you about this, but you seem to not understand the terminology of off-flavors too well. Take a look at the beer faults list from the BJCP web site to get a better idea of the terms. Or avoid using the specific brewing off-flavor terms and stick to the describing what you perceive using common terms.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: bluesman on August 27, 2010, 02:42:14 PM
This is the yeast profile from WL

WLP810 San Francisco Lager Yeast
This yeast is used to produce the "California Common" style beer. A unique lager strain which has the ability to ferment up to 65 degrees while retaining lager characteristics. Can also be fermented down to 50 degrees for production of marzens, pilsners and other style lagers.
Attenuation: 65-70%
Flocculation: High
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 58-65°F
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium-High

You indicated fermenting at 64F.  What temp did you pitch the yeast?
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 27, 2010, 03:49:06 PM
Fermenting too high can account for the esters. I'm not used to lager yeast getting all solventy and phenolic on me, though. I wonder if you had some other kind of wild yeast in there.

Racking too soon isn't your problem. Yeast don't typically metabolize phenols; diacetyl and acetaldehyde, mostly, is what you'd get if you racked too soon.

I would look at sanitation, yeast health, and fermentation temperature first.  Did you have a long lag?

Also, I don't want to pick on you about this, but you seem to not understand the terminology of off-flavors too well. Take a look at the beer faults list from the BJCP web site to get a better idea of the terms. Or avoid using the specific brewing off-flavor terms and stick to the describing what you perceive using common terms.

Gordon, no worries, you are correct I am still learning how to pick up and describe off-flavors :-[

I used CH22 from How to Brew to try and describe with I was observing.
I don't get any green apple, butterscotch or vegetables.  Most of what I get on the aroma and flavor is what I can only describe as acetone or strange alcohol's which is described as solventlike...

The yeast was pitched  about 4pm on my brew day and fermentation was noticeable before I went to bed that night at 11:30 and was active when I went to work the next morning at 7:30.

I do not think it is a sanitation issue as I clean my carboys as soon as I rack off, clean using pbw, sanitize with starsan and cover the carboy opening with plastic wrap to store then pbw and starsan again on brew day...

I will critically look at my fermentation temperatures and getting the wort to the desired fermentation temp before pitching.  

I really appreciate the help from everyone on this as it has been a somewhat reoccurring theme.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: cosmo on August 30, 2010, 05:03:50 PM
Did you use a stir plate for that half gallon starter?  I get a harsh, dry flavor when I overpitch, especially if I use a stir plate.  Not sure if that is what you are experiencing.  It looks like your starter is the right size if you did not use a stir plate or continuous aeration.  Just a thought.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 30, 2010, 05:33:15 PM
Cosmo, no stir plate just hit with oxygen for a minute.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: tygo on August 30, 2010, 05:37:37 PM
Even using a stirplate I wouldn't think a half gallon starter would be overpitching for this beer.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 30, 2010, 05:40:34 PM
I really think the consensus is correct. I fermented and pitched the yeast at too high a temperature.
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: dak0415 on August 30, 2010, 05:48:14 PM
Mike,
You never did say, what temp did you pitch at?
Title: Re: Steam beer question
Post by: saintpierre on August 30, 2010, 05:53:42 PM
The wort temp was 65F.  Again, too high   :-[