Author Topic: rookie who needs help with floaters!  (Read 2020 times)

Offline robdacook

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rookie who needs help with floaters!
« on: March 25, 2013, 08:07:23 PM »
I've been lurking around these forums for awhile now, getting some really great tips from the community. This is a great forum!

I recently switched to all grain brewing, and have done 3 beers that all ended up with A TON of floaters in them. Yellow colored, maybe 2-3 mm in size. Enough of these to cover the surface of my beer. So far the taste doesn't seem to be off, but is there something I'm doing wrong to make these little guys appear?

Here's the recipe for a Kolsch I did that tasted fine, and had a good head, but required a lot of extra work to get rid of these floaters:

8# german pilsen
1# wheat malt
.25 # honey malt

1 oz hallertauer @ 60 min.
.25 oz Saaz @ 15 min.
.25 oz Saaz at 5 min.

mash for 60 min at 155, sparge @ 170 f
60 min. boil, WL 029 german yeast pitched at 72 f, fermentation kept at approx 62 f for 1 week in fermenter, 3 days in secondary, bottled 2 weeks.

the only issue i had during brewing was my vorlauf took a really long time before the bed settled and let the wort ran clear into my boil pot.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 08:09:50 PM by robdacook »

Offline gmac

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 08:14:53 PM »
How are you straining the wort?  If the extra vorlauf is clear, I'd look at my straining method.  If the wort is perfectly clear and then you get "floaters", I have no idea.

Offline robdacook

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 09:07:49 PM »
The wort wasn't really 'clear' on any of the three brews that I had floaters in. I should have added that. I actually don't strain anything through a seive, or bag, or anything like that. I just re-circulated and tried to be careful not to disturb the bed. The wort I ended up boiling was free of particles, but it certainly wasn't clear. maybe I'll strain the next one and see if that helps.

Forgot to include that i did use irish moss on that wort. the resulting beer was very clear, no haze at all, just all those annoying floaters.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 09:09:55 PM by robdacook »

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 09:47:16 PM »
I don't suppose you've taken any pictures of these floaters?
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Offline kramerog

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 09:49:45 PM »
Need more info.  When do the floaters first appear?  During lauter, during fermentation, after fermentation?
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Offline donsmitty

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 04:18:05 AM »
Are you using Irish Moss or Whirlfloc? 

Offline jeffy

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 04:25:00 AM »
This part is a bit unusual:
"WL 029 german yeast pitched at 72 f, fermentation kept at approx 62 f for 1 week in fermenter, 3 days in secondary, bottled 2 weeks."
Why the lager yeast if you are fermenting so warm?
Perhaps the fermentation wasn't quite finished.  A lot of folks, myself included, leave the beer in the primary fermenter until the final gravity is reached and stable, then bottle or keg.
Perhaps the floaters are yeast?  Does your beer have a lot of carbonation after only being bottled for 2 weeks?  Does the carbonation seem to be increasing as time goes on?
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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 05:36:24 AM »
This part is a bit unusual:
"WL 029 german yeast pitched at 72 f, fermentation kept at approx 62 f for 1 week in fermenter, 3 days in secondary, bottled 2 weeks."
Why the lager yeast if you are fermenting so warm?
Perhaps the fermentation wasn't quite finished.  A lot of folks, myself included, leave the beer in the primary fermenter until the final gravity is reached and stable, then bottle or keg.
Perhaps the floaters are yeast?  Does your beer have a lot of carbonation after only being bottled for 2 weeks?  Does the carbonation seem to be increasing as time goes on?

That's an ale yeast. I just kegged a kolsch made with the same yeast, at the same temperature, with irish moss. Low flocculation but no floaters.

Offline jeffy

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2013, 06:15:56 AM »
This part is a bit unusual:
"WL 029 german yeast pitched at 72 f, fermentation kept at approx 62 f for 1 week in fermenter, 3 days in secondary, bottled 2 weeks."
Why the lager yeast if you are fermenting so warm?
Perhaps the fermentation wasn't quite finished.  A lot of folks, myself included, leave the beer in the primary fermenter until the final gravity is reached and stable, then bottle or keg.
Perhaps the floaters are yeast?  Does your beer have a lot of carbonation after only being bottled for 2 weeks?  Does the carbonation seem to be increasing as time goes on?

That's an ale yeast. I just kegged a kolsch made with the same yeast, at the same temperature, with irish moss. Low flocculation but no floaters.

Oops, sorry.  I somehow read "lager" out of nowhere, probably from the "German" suggestion.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 07:02:18 AM »
Some strains will leave blobs of bubbles and sometimes you'll get globs of hop material (especially if you use pellets) that float around the top until the beer is disturbed. Yes, "blobs" and "globs" are technical terms.  ???

Pictures or more specific details of what is floating would help out. If it's what I mentioned I wouldn't worry but if you're seeing balls of floating yeast just below the surface or some other strange floating mass it may be an indication of an infection. (E.g. wild yeast tend to clump together into small balls and will stay suspended in the beer.)
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 07:03:27 AM »
I'm confused. Are the "floaters" in the boil or in the fermenter?
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Offline majorvices

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rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 07:07:58 AM »
Kolsch is an ale yeast but I wouldn't pitch it at 72. The fermentation temp is alright though, as long as he didn't start fermentation out that warm it probably isn't much of an issue. That said, I start that strain out around 58 and make a 2 liter stirred starter.

As far as "floaters" go. Agree we need more info. Is this in the finished beer? you may sometimes get little colonies of yeast in the fermentor floating on surface of beer. If this is what you are concerned with set your worries aside. It's perfectly natural and won't carry over into glass.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 07:09:32 AM by majorvices »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 07:39:41 AM »
Kolsch is an ale yeast but I wouldn't pitch it at 72. The fermentation temp is alright though, as long as he didn't start fermentation out that warm it probably isn't much of an issue. That said, I start that strain out around 58 and make a 2 liter stirred starter.

As far as "floaters" go. Agree we need more info. Is this in the finished beer? you may sometimes get little colonies of yeast in the fermentor floating on surface of beer. If this is what you are concerned with set your worries aside. It's perfectly natural and won't carry over into glass.

+1 to temp suggestions.

But on topic. I am with RAM and Major. I have seen this particularly with WLP029 and irish moss in the boil. I use ALOT of Irish Moss in my kolsch and the yeast and trub get all mixed up together and can float on top of the fermenter for quite some time. I have a also seem big globs of yeasty/truby stuff circulating through the beer in the starter. (I ferment in buckets so I don't see it in the bucket).

I think you need to take is slower next time. Give it 2 weeks or even 3 weeks in the fermenter in the low 60s then crash it for a couple days near freezing. it will drop super bright if you let the yeast finish up in their own time.
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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 03:55:24 PM »
I am going to agree with taking your time with it. Ferment for 3-4 weeks. Many don't use a secondary, but I do. I usually go 10-14 days in the primary. Lately I have been going 14 days, but I had a beer a few batches ago go 18 days. The blow off was still bubbling. I then rack for two weeks in the secondary. I'm not sure, but you might have a lot of yeast suspended in the beer when you bottle. I know that you're a rookie and anxious to taste your beer. I think we've all been there...we want our beer now! Take your time with it, and it will pay off with much better beer.

Are you taking gravity readings? OG or SG?
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Offline euge

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Re: rookie who needs help with floaters!
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 04:42:03 PM »
In the glass? Where are these floaters?
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