Author Topic: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation  (Read 1224 times)

Offline mhughes8082

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Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« on: May 20, 2013, 05:59:34 PM »
I made a German Pilsener on April 6th.  Starting SG of 1.058.  Fermentation started for 24 hours at room temp, then moved to fridge at 56 for 2 weeks.  Noticed slight foul smell and a few white floating molds(??) before transferring to secondary.  skimmed off with sanitized strainer and transferred anyway.  took week to lower temp to 34 and lagered there for 3 weeks.  Still smelled funny so tested final SG - 1.048.  I describe smell as "foul sour."  I'm guessing something went wrong with the yeast/fermentation since not much change in SG.  Any hope to salvage?  Ideas on what went wrong??  Thanks!!

Offline majorvices

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Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 06:13:19 PM »
Well, this may not help you now but you can't make a lager and fement it at room temp - even to start it off. You must build up a large slurry of yeast (2 packs of yeast in a one gallon starter would not be too big for a 1.050 beer). You must cool your wort all the way to pitching temps, and a few degrees below for best results (44-46) and you have to ferment COLD at 48-52 degrees.

By starting out warm and lowering the temp you risk stalling the yeast and you most likely will have all kinds of off flavors, specificallay diacetyl, not to mention all the ale like esters from warm fermentation. You may as well have used an ale yeast if you aren't going to ferment it cold.

I would definitely dump what you have now and start over again. Lagers are definitely an advanced brewing practice so if you don't have a lot of brewing experience I'd recommend sticking to ales for now.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 06:17:29 PM by majorvices »
Keith Y.
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Offline mhughes8082

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 07:01:28 PM »
I'm a couple years, 20+ batches in and moving from ales to lagers - lots to learn - THANKS!!!

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 04:15:51 AM »
I'm a couple years, 20+ batches in and moving from ales to lagers - lots to learn - THANKS!!!

Just like your first brew, it's not rocket science but you will need to do some reading and research.  Keith mentioned the biggies above.  Pitch yeast in a volume per yeastcalc.com or mrmalty.com in to wort a few degrees below your fermentation temp of 48-52F.  You may wish to perform a diacetyl rest after 7-10 days by raising the temp to 60-65F for a few days to help finish out and clean up the beer.  Lot's of opinions on that one but a cheap insurance policy.

Give it another shot!

Dave
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Offline joe_feist

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 09:19:38 AM »
First time I brewed a German  lager it just smelled aweful during the primary fermentation. I mean, it was the worst smelling beer I've ever brewed. I don't recall the yeast strain and that would be home in my notes somewhere, not here at work. Anyway, visited a forum like this one and did some reading. Lagers can produce more sulphur compounds than ales and smell bad depending on the strain. Beer eventually turned out just fine and friends liked it. The yeast took care of whatever created the smells during the fermentation.

That doesn't explain the sluggish fermentation. Maybe you cooled too fast and the yeast crashed? Maybe you could rouse the yeast or repitch. I'm too cheap to just dump a batch with out trying something to kick start it. Unless there's something obvious and visually wrong (other than the odor) maybe you could repitch and see what happens. Oh well, you can see and smell the brew and I can't...so, best of luck.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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Offline drjones

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 10:02:51 AM »
Keith hit the main points, but I'd also add that lagers are going to ferment slower than ales in general at the cool temps they prefer.  I've let mine go at least three weeks at 50 degrees F to finish out.  In addition to the starting temperature issue, it sounds like you tried to jump to the lagering stage a bit early.  Let the fermentation finish out first (jump in if anyone disagrees!), then transfer to secondary (or keg), and lager ("store") another month or two at close to freezing temps to let it settle out.  Keep at it - a clean traditional lager is with the effort and wait!
Brian
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Fermenting: dry stout, 60 schilling, 70 schilling
Bottled: west-coast IPA, dry mead, cider, Cascadian Dark Ale, wild-hopped blonde

Offline mhughes8082

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 07:00:57 PM »
The beer looks fine - just smells awful.  I've learned a ton from this batch already and I'm willing to give things a go before surrendering to the sewer!!

It is in a keg now, so thinking i should transfer back to a bucket to re-pitch - agree??

I have a small freezer with good temp control i use for lagering, so no problem there.

I'd appreciate a yeast recco and then let you know what happens.

Super helpful!!  Thanks!!

Offline majorvices

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Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 07:09:17 PM »
My advice is just let go and dump it! Life's too short to suffer though bad beer. Id rather drink bud than suffer though a screwed up batch you made obvious mistakes on that "smells awful". Dump that crap and move on! You won't get better advice than that. Trust me, it's way more work to save than to re brew.
Keith Y.
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Offline mhughes8082

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 08:00:45 PM »
OK - Got it - Thanks!!

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 05:24:18 AM »
My advice is just let go and dump it! Life's too short to suffer though bad beer. Id rather drink bud than suffer though a screwed up batch you made obvious mistakes on that "smells awful". Dump that crap and move on! You won't get better advice than that. Trust me, it's way more work to save than to re brew.

+1000!
Dave Zach

Offline joe_feist

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 05:43:37 PM »
Have you tasted it?
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 05:56:17 AM »
I have never had a beer that smelled awful that I could drink. You put your nose in the glass every sip. If you have to hold your nose to drink it you are drinking bad beer. Just sayin'.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 09:01:15 AM »
This!
If it smells like a butt I usually don't investigate further

Offline joe_feist

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Re: Any Hope?? Not much fermentation
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 06:44:11 PM »
There are lots resources out there for brewing lagers. I started with Noonan's Brewing Lager Beers, but that was awhile back and some feel its dated. But the info on fermentation and temps and that part of the process were really helpful. Im reading Yeast right now and so far its an excellant read.

It doesn't sound like your beer ever finished. I know I'm in the minority here, but one of my first lagers just smelled terrible during the ferment. It lagered out fine and was a good beer. The yeast cleaned up afterthemselves just fine. You're the one closest to your beer. You probably know best what you want to do. Learn as much as you can from this batch...even if it does turn out un-drinkable later.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain