Cause 3: Too Warm The flip side of the coin could be that the temperature was warm, e.g. 75¡F, and the yeast got the job done ahead of schedule. This often happens when a lot of yeast is pitched, the primary fermentation can be complete within 48 hours. This is not necessarily a good thing, as ferments above 70¡F tend to produce a lot of esters and phenolics that just don't taste right. The beer will still be good, just not as good as it could have been. It will depend on your tastes and the out of how to brew. the time i had this problem, i both lost control of temp (pure negligence) and forgot the campden (blaming my age)
Ummm, this. This is likely what happened, plus the fact that I used old-arse yeast. I pitched a ton of yeast (2000ml heavily active starter) for this gravity ALE (1.055ish). I only moved it out of temp control into the mid-70's because I had to make room for a super-late O-fest in my ferm fridge. I figured better to control the temp on the wheat early, then ramp up and have it finish quickly, since I needed to have it ready* for Labor Day. When I moved it out of the ferm fridge, set to a temp of 65, the beer was down to 1.12ish and already had a slight band-aid flavor (krausen still present). I figured moving to 75 or so ambient temp (while also clearing the ferm fridge) would get the yeast kicked up and plow through the rest of the sugars, and make a good clean, dry wheat that everyone could quaff all weekend.
The only thing that leads me to believe the fermentation didn't happen so quickly (as per the quote) was taht the krausen hadn't subsided (US-05) until I cool-crashed it (at 50 where the O-fest was, back in the ferm fridge).
In any event, the beer is okay, but not up to my standards, and I figured it was either dump it or mess with it. Therefore, I boiled 3lbs of chopped dried apricots, racked the beer from keg back to a fermenter, cooled the apricots, dumped them in the wheat, aerated, then pitched about a cup of bavarian lager yeast, and set in the ferm fridge, still set @ 50 degrees.
I figure, why admit defeat when, as a true Clark Griwold disciple, I can futz with something, likely compound the problem, and make a huge @$$ out of myself and throw good money after bad?
*By "ready", I mean "rushed", as in, the beer is good but not great and I'm not serving it to my guests, friends and family. Kegged up (after removing the wheat, as its my first and only keg) a California Common that is F$#!ING fantastic in its place. Lesson for the kids: NEVER brew on a short timetable and ALWAYS have a back up plan.