Author Topic: Secondary Fermentation for a lager being fermented under ale conditions  (Read 2762 times)

Offline jaleclair

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For my first attempt at home brewing, I purchased a box kit for a German Oktoberfest after reading the instrustions I find that it is supposed to be fermented under lager conditions, which I am not set up to do, but it said it will be OKAY to ferment as a ale. I should have closed the box and got a simpler kit, but I didn't.
I brewed the batch on March 23rd moved it into secondary fermentation on April 1st and on May 2nd it is still releasing CO2 into the airlock. I have kept the carboy out of sun light in a back storage room whose ground level temperature has not exceeded 67 degrees. When I check the airlock at anytime during the day I'll uncover the carboy and in doing so the CO2 release increased to a small bubble every 10-15 seconds.
When is this stuff going to stop working so I can bottle it???? The SG on Apr 1 was 1.02 it was 1.019 on May 1. So with all the bubbling it does not appear that the yeast is making anymore alcohol.
Don't want to bottle before it's time to have a mess, wifie would not be happy and she is not too pleased with my new retirement hobby, which took me 5 years to fine.
Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
Have made my 2nd batch a Summer Ale which is also in secondary fermentation, much simpler I hope.
Thanks
John

Offline Joe Sr.

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If the gravity is steady, the yeast is done.  1.019 seems a bit high for a final gravity, though if it's all extract maybe that's were it should be.  Were you expecting it to attenuate further?

The bubbling is most likely just CO2 coming out of solution.  Is the temp rising in you storage area?  The beer will hold more CO2 in suspension at colder temps.

There's no harm being patient and waiting to make sure it finishes.  Unless you're eager to bottle.

I'd say give it a week or so and check again.  If the gravity continues to creep downward, give it a little more time.

If it's steady, go ahead and bottle.
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Offline garc_mall

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If the gravity is steady, the yeast is done.  1.019 seems a bit high for a final gravity, though if it's all extract maybe that's were it should be.  Were you expecting it to attenuate further?

The bubbling is most likely just CO2 coming out of solution.  Is the temp rising in you storage area?  The beer will hold more CO2 in suspension at colder temps.

There's no harm being patient and waiting to make sure it finishes.  Unless you're eager to bottle.

I'd say give it a week or so and check again.  If the gravity continues to creep downward, give it a little more time.

If it's steady, go ahead and bottle.

+1 to all of this.

I think you may have moved it to secondary a bit quickly. I am guessing you were just following directions, but usually I go 10-14 days in primary, then I start taking gravity readings, and once they are stable, I go straight to bottling. Secondary really isn't necessary unless you are planning on adding fruit or such, or lagering it for an extended period. I would start checking the gravity on your summer ale as well, because it might be ready for bottling.

Did you taste the gravity samples? Do they taste clean? Another possibility is that you have a Brettanomyces infection which will cause a slow drop in gravity as the wild yeast eat sugars that are traditionally unfermentable. If your gravity sample tastes clean, and you don't see anything growing on top of the beer in the carboy, you should be fine.
 
Welcome to the hobby, once you get your first 3-4 batches under your belt, everything will make a lot more sense. And don't be afraid to ask questions, we are happy to answer them.
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Offline jaleclair

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First off I want to thank Brewmaster and macr_mall for their input.
I took a SG test this morning and it is still holding at 1.019 , just a shade above 1.02.
Now to answer your questions, but not in order of who ask them....
(a) No, to the attenuate; had to look the word up, which is good homework lesson for me, you're sneaky, had a 4th grade teacher like that and have always thought she was the best.
(b) Storage room's temp has stayed constant 65 which is also reflected by crystal temperture strip taped to carboys.
(c) Yes I have tasted every test vessel offering and they have progressively gotten more beer like. This last one had no smell vessel or carboy, taste was beer like, slight hoppiness, no after taste and clear as a bell. I'm hoping this stuff tastes as good as it looks. I can see through the test vessel even with the brown caramel color.
(d) I do have a number of floating patches of something on the top of the carboy some are the size of a dime. They are grayish color with a hint of greenish hue which are in the dime size ones. Smaller floaters are gray. Can not see any strands extending down from the surface top. Read about these when other home work lesson giver mentioned wild yeast infection.
(e) When I put the hydrometer into the vessel and also when I poured out extra fluid from wine theif in sampling glass I get small bubbles rising to top which look like carbonation bubbles. They did not last long.
(g) Haven't SG tested my summer ale yet, but will do so after posting this and will follow up with the readings. Noticed small floating patches on top of summer all but they don't look anything like what is in Oktoberfest.

Well what do you all suggest? Leave it be for a little longer or bottle it???

Thanks Again
John


Offline andrew000141

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If this was my beer and it tasted good or pretty good i would bottle it, in my experience the beer gets much better in the bottle. I wouldn't worry about the co2 coming out. Definitely check on the summer ale, it is in its area for good fermentation(temp. wise) and an ale's fermentation takes less time than a lager's.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Those floating patches sound like mold.  If you can take a photo and post it, please do so.

I've never had a beer grow mold in the fermenter, but I know it's possible.

Since I don't know much about mold, I don't know if it will eat the sugars and create bottle bombs.  I don't think so, but I don't know.

So what I would do is bottle the beer and make sure to leave enough behind that you're not picking up any of the moldy stuff or even the top layer of beer.

You really shouldn't have anything solid floating on the surface of the beer.  Maybe some patches of bubbles, but not anything solid.  Particularly not grey-green.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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If this was my beer and it tasted good or pretty good i would bottle it

+1 Bottle it up! No harm in a little practice!

From what you described, the spots on top could be an infection. It could be floating bits of trub/hop particles/etc. too - pics would help. Though if you're infected, you can normally smell/taste it first.

I would check the carbonation of one bottle after a few days. Here's why:

You didn't give a whole lot of info about your yeast, so I'm not sure if it dropped out early or if the beer just has that much unfermentable sugar (which isnt too say that you have too much - esp if it tastes good!)

Usually carbonating bottles take 1-2 weeks to develop the right amount of CO2. If you notice the bottles carbonate rather quickly (< 1 week) or if they get much 'fizzier' than you expect, you may have extra sugar leftover that your primary yeast didnt take care of. It probably isnt enough to cause an explosion, but if this is the case, you should drink them fast to be sure :). Tell your wife its for safety purposes...

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Offline garc_mall

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Those floating patches sound like mold.  If you can take a photo and post it, please do so.

I've never had a beer grow mold in the fermenter, but I know it's possible.

Since I don't know much about mold, I don't know if it will eat the sugars and create bottle bombs.  I don't think so, but I don't know.

So what I would do is bottle the beer and make sure to leave enough behind that you're not picking up any of the moldy stuff or even the top layer of beer.

You really shouldn't have anything solid floating on the surface of the beer.  Maybe some patches of bubbles, but not anything solid.  Particularly not grey-green.

+1 to racking out under the mold if it is mold. Also +1 to pictures.

Also, if your beer is still at 1.019, you are good to bottle, and you shouldn't have any further fermentation happening.

get it in a bottle, so you can drink it in a couple weeks.

the bubbles you saw in (e) were carbonation bubbles. Beer holds a little bit of CO2 in solution, more at colder temperatures. However, when you agitate the liquid, some of the CO2 comes out of solution.

give the summer ale a couple checks over the next 3-7 days, and if they are all the same, that one should be good to bottle as well.
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
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Offline jaleclair

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Got pictures of the floaters, where do I attach to this reply. Attachments and other options does not show a venue to attach pictures????
The summer ale SG was still 1.012 and the floaters on the carboy appear to be bubble patches.

Offline hokerer

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Got pictures of the floaters, where do I attach to this reply. Attachments and other options does not show a venue to attach pictures????

You need to have your pictures hosted somewhere on the web.  See http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=20.0 for more details.
Joe

Offline jaleclair

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Thank You Gary, I don't have one of those accounts (yet) but will work on it after I bottle this brew....

Offline jaleclair

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Well guys it's in the bottles now. Got 46 bottles out of 4 gallons, can't figure how I only got 4 gallons, I must not have payed attention to the correct mark on the primary bucket when I added my water.
On closer inspection of the floaters they appear to be more foam/bubble islands. When I started drawing off the beer they started to disapear or move to the side of the carboy.
Now the wait is on for carbonation I hope I don't hear it before I get a chance to taste it.
Thanks to you all for you help and support with this I surely do appreciate it, and will be back for more soon as it appears my summer ale is just about ready to be bottled.

Offline a10t2

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can't figure how I only got 4 gallons, I must not have payed attention to the correct mark on the primary bucket when I added my water.

That actually makes me a lot less concerned for your safety. If the OG was 1.050-1.057 (the BJCP range for Oktoberfest), then a 1.019 FG would be worrisome. At 4 gal, though, that would be 1.063-1.073 OG, so the attenuation was something like 70-74% ADF, and it was probably just finished.
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Offline jaleclair

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@ a10t2, thanks for the encouraging words. Was in your neighborhood a year ago, rode the train up the mountian and would do it again in a heart beat, a bit chilly but who feels the cold when you got cinders in your eyes. Stopped at all the downtown Durango mico's,  the one out of town was closed when we stopped. There is next time.