Author Topic: Slow Fermentation  (Read 1462 times)

Offline claponsie

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Slow Fermentation
« on: August 18, 2013, 03:12:47 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm having a bit of a dilemma.  My dad and I are running a nano-brewery and have had some really good success selling kegs of beer made on our 1 barrel system to local bars.  We're just getting into reusing yeast, and I wanted to see what you guys think about this issue.  We recently brewed a batch of 1.048 SG beer on 7-29-13.  We pitched yeast from our previous batch, basically from the cone to the top of the next fermentor.  We transferred the yeast with a sanitized mason jar.  The beer has been fermenting for 3 weeks now and has only dropped to 1.022 SG.  Our fermentation is typically complete within 3 weeks.

The SG is still dropping, but very slowly.  The samples are very cloudy and there is a thick krausen on top of the beer yet.  At first, I thought that maybe the beer was contaminated because it had some funky tastes going on (it tasted like baby food early on).  I think that odd flavor was from all the yeast that hasn't flocculated yet.  I sampled the beer today.  The gravity was 1.022 and was slightly tart with some apple/acetaldehyde flavors.  It didn't taste contaminated to me.  It tasted the way beer often tastes within the first week of fermentation.

When we brewed this batch, I ran into a dilemma where I noticed the wort wasn't evaporating the way it usually does during the boil.  We weren't gaining the SG that I would have expected, and then I realized the boil was a little a bit soft.  I tried to catch the boil up but I don't think we got a good rolling boil for 90 minutes like we usually do.  I originally thought the off flavors I noticed early on were from DMS due to a lack of a strong boil.

What do you guys think?  Are these symptoms normal when reususing yeast?  Would you recommend doing anything differently?


Offline duboman

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 03:19:15 PM »
Not really sure but someone is going to ask:
What strain of yeast?
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Offline troybinso

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 03:34:20 PM »
What temperature have you been fermenting at?

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 03:50:18 PM »
Are you able to control your fermentation temps? How much yeast did you pitch? Did you just pull yeast from the bottom of the fermenter? If so, you might not have gotten much live yeast. We reuse most of our yeast strains for 10-12 generations before they start to act differently.
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Offline claponsie

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 04:03:43 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone.

The strain is WLP001.  The fermentation temp is 69, + or - a few degrees but never lower than 65 or higher than 75.  Pitched the entire yeast slurry from the previous batch.

Offline In The Sand

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 06:59:28 PM »
Just curious, why did you decide to start reusing yeast?
Trey W.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 04:29:33 AM »
You should be aiming to use enough yeast to wrap fermentation up in a week to 10 days - use the yeast pitching calc at www.mrmalty.com to make sure you are pitching enough yeast. 3 weeks is too long. Make sure you are aerating the cold wort properly before pitching. Make sure the wort is cooled below 70 before pitching. Preferably you don't want the temp of the fermenting beer to rise over 70 degrees for the first 2 or 3 days, but on your system that may not be possible, though it is certainly ideal.

I'd recommend harvesting yeast not long after fermentation is actually finished and keep the generation from 6-9 or less. Don't use yeast from higher gravity fermentation (not much higher than 1.065). Make sure your water has at least 50 ppms of calcium or you can have sluggish fermentations.

Fresh, healthy yeast and plenty of it. Aeration, yeast nutrients (I like the wyeast nutrient), and temp control are your keys to healthy fermentations.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 04:30:32 AM »
Just curious, why did you decide to start reusing yeast?

You don't run a commercial operation and not reuse the yeast.
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Offline In The Sand

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2013, 05:28:29 AM »
Just curious, why did you decide to start reusing yeast?

You don't run a commercial operation and not reuse the yeast.

Yes, but at a nano level I was curious what his incentive was.  I would assume on a larger scale it would be beneficial to reuse yeast to decrease the cost per ounce, but on a small scale, not so much.  Unless of course he is planning on upgrading in the near future and wants to start getting acquainted with reusing yeast.  I'll wait for his response. 
Trey W.

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 05:31:33 AM »
Just curious, why did you decide to start reusing yeast?

You don't run a commercial operation and not reuse the yeast.

Yes, but at a nano level I was curious what his incentive was.  I would assume on a larger scale it would be beneficial to reuse yeast to decrease the cost per ounce, but on a small scale, not so much.  Unless of course he is planning on upgrading in the near future and wants to start getting acquainted with reusing yeast.  I'll wait for his response.

Well, I must completely disagree. I brewed at the nano level for 2 years and you don't buy a conical and not take advantage of harvesting yeast. I homebrewed for 15 years before going pro and most of those years I harvested and reused yeast out of buckets and carbouys. Often times you will get better performance from the yeast on 2nd and 3rd generation.

If you are not harvesting yeast, even at the 5 gallon level, your missing out.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 05:38:38 AM »
Just curious, why did you decide to start reusing yeast?

You don't run a commercial operation and not reuse the yeast.

Yes, but at a nano level I was curious what his incentive was.  I would assume on a larger scale it would be beneficial to reuse yeast to decrease the cost per ounce, but on a small scale, not so much.  Unless of course he is planning on upgrading in the near future and wants to start getting acquainted with reusing yeast.  I'll wait for his response.

Well, I must completely disagree. I brewed at the nano level for 2 years and you don't buy a conical and not take advantage of harvesting yeast. I homebrewed for 15 years before going pro and most of those years I harvested and reused yeast out of buckets and carbouys. Often times you will get better performance from the yeast on 2nd and 3rd generation.

If you are not harvesting yeast, even at the 5 gallon level, your missing out.

I completely agree with re-using yeast on any level. I have been harvesting on the homebrew level for a couple years now and find it to be very cost efficient as I cannot remember the last time I actually bought yeast:)
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Offline In The Sand

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2013, 05:42:52 AM »
Well maybe it's something I'll try.
Trey W.

Offline scottNU

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 06:07:02 AM »
I like to have some harvested yeast of the common 1056 strain around for my use on my standard brews and to give to brewing friends looking to use the same strain. The difference for me (I think) and a professional brewer of any size is that brewing is a hobby for me (reducing costs are not a primary motivation). If I want to try an usual yeast I've never used before, I don't hesitate to buy it and try it. If it fails, so be it.  A pro needs to plan more carefully and utilize yeast as a key raw material over generations - that also means they need to consider the styles they will be brewing over the coming months.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 06:26:02 AM »
Well maybe it's something I'll try.

I think you will be impressed. Check out the pitching calculator @ www.mrmalty.com to see how much yeast you need for any given batch. For the most part, I'd be willing to bet most of us on this forum don't even bother brewing a beer over 1.065 without starting with a low gravity beer first to grow up the yeast.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Slow Fermentation
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 06:54:35 AM »
Sounds like a multitude of problems with that batch. Probably destined for the drain.

I have never had those kind of problems reusing yeast. Sounds like a low pitching rate issue to say the least.
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