Author Topic: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?  (Read 2088 times)

Offline ihavacavalier

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« on: May 16, 2010, 05:25:07 PM »
I planned on bottling a saison batch today, and when I brought the carboy into my kitchen to siphon into my bottling bucket i noticed small bubbles coming up to the top of my carboy. It is what i would describe as a "trickle" of bubbles, likely stirred up from the yeast when i moved the carboy. After 20 minutes the bubbling is still happening and i am hesitant to bottle, thinking i will create bottle bombs. Anyone had this experience before?

I should mention this yeast acted very strangely and I even posted on here to see if it was normal that the yeast fermented for about eight or nine days in the primary. See here:
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2070.0


The batch went through 10 days in the primary fermenter at around 70-75F, and has spent 18 days in the secondary fermenter at around 80F. The yeast was White Labs Belgian Style Saison Blend.


Anyone have advice?


I should add:
og: 1.062 on day 1 [kit instructions say +/-1.067]
fg: 1.015 on day 28 [kit instructions say +/-1.017]
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 05:45:35 PM by ihavacavalier »

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 06:02:35 PM »
I recently brewed 10 gallons of Saison on Easter and split the batch (5 gallons got Wyeast French Saison and 5 gallons got Wyeast Belgian Saison).
My experience was this:
French Saison Yeast took off fast and took the SG from 1.067 to 1.009 in less than 1.5 weeks and dropped clear (T=67-71 F).
Belgian Saison Yeast took off slow.  Took two weeks just to drop the SG from 1.067 to 1.035.  Two more weeks later the SG was 1.024.  Took another three weeks to drop it down to 1.010 and finally drop clear.  Same temps as French.

You're probably seeing a combination of knocking some CO2 out of solution by transfering and "rerousing" the yeast kicking up the activity level (as evidenced by the bubbling in the airlock).

My suggestion, since you're using the belgian saison yeast, forget about it for another 2-3 weeks (don't let the temp swing around or go too high, though), and then recheck.

Although I personally can't tell much difference between the French and Belgian Saison yeast, some people can.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2010, 06:04:46 PM »
Don't count airlock bubbles - it only means Co2 is coming out of solution which can happen for weeks after fermentation is finished, and especially if you move or warm the fermenter. Airlock bubbles are not necessarily an indication that fermentation is taking place! Take two consecutive hydrometer readings 2 days apart. If they stay the same - you are finished fermenting. For a saison, personally, 1.015 sound too high (as does the kit recommendations). Though, that could simply be because of the recipe (a saison should be DRY).
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline ihavacavalier

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2010, 06:37:54 PM »
To clarify, the bubbles i'm witnessing are not in my airlock, that seems to not be moving whatsoever. The bubbles are in the beer itself and are tiny like in a sprite, but in much less quantity. I removed the airlock and replaced it to make sure the airlock wasnt plugged, and i've bumped the carboy on the counter a couple times to try and dislodge any bubbles clinging to yeast pockets. Nonetheless the trickle of tiny bubbles continues over an hour later.

I have seen several tiny yeast pockets rise up to the top, release their bubble, and settle back to the bottom. They were about the size of a grain of sand.




I dont know if this helps, but it is a Hibiscus Ginger Saison from Austin Homebrew, so i'll probably give them a call about it tomorrow as well. As for now I think i'll take the advice and let the carboy sit for another week.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2010, 04:07:01 AM »
Like I said, take 2 cosecuteive readings 1 or 2 days apart. If the reading is the same, your done. These bubbles you speak on the beer can happen after fermentation has stopped as well. Just not something to worry about. Letting it sit a week won;t hurt at all. But if you take two readings and they are the same and you are ready to bottle now - go for it.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4547
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2010, 04:51:30 AM »
I have had Saison yeast stop for a week, then start back up like nothing had happened.  My 1.054 Saisons get down to 1.002-1.004 range.  Temperature control is very important for these yeast, and they like to be warm, as in 80+F warn.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2010, 06:21:43 AM »
Belgian Saison Yeast are not for the impatient!  But, that is what is needed here.
By your description--the yeast are performing their work, albiet very slowly.
You should expect the FG to end up in the single digits (e.g., 1.00x).
But, it takes about 4 weeks to get there.
I used one Wyeast smack pack per 5 gallons--my experience may have been different if I had used a starter.

The only potential problems I see with serial hydrometer readings with this yeast is the risk of infection from repeated sampling, shrinkage of beer volume (by removing samples), and misinterpretation of the readings (due to the slow pace of the yeast and its tendency to get "stuck").


Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 05:17:21 AM »
I have had Saison yeast stop for a week, then start back up like nothing had happened.  My 1.054 Saisons get down to 1.002-1.004 range.  Temperature control is very important for these yeast, and they like to be warm, as in 80+F warn.

I have seen this as well, though not for quite some time. Interestingly enough, contrary to most other posts about Saison strains, I have no issues whatsoever with my fermentations. They have become quite routone normally being finished in 1-2 weeks depending on gravity. One thing that has helped me is very steady temp control I use a thermowell and a heat wrap. I start fermentation off in the mid to high 60s, let it chug along in the high 60s for 2 days or so and then slowly ramp it up to the high 70s over the next 3-4 days then hold there until complete. Usually done in 1 week.

But, the interesting thing about this thread is that the OP doesn't sound like he is witnessing fermentation. He said he doesn't even see airlock bubbles. Just a few bubbles on the surface. I have seen this in lots of beers, especially once that have sat in the primary for more than 2 weeks. Having witnessed this several times I have often wondered if this wasn;t simply caused by the yeast breaking down. But, like I said earlier, hard to tell what is going on without a hydro reading.  ;)
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 06:28:28 AM »
...The bubbles are in the beer itself and are tiny like in a sprite, but in much less quantity... i've bumped the carboy on the counter a couple times to try and dislodge any bubbles clinging to yeast pockets. Nonetheless the trickle of tiny bubbles continues over an hour later.
I have seen several tiny yeast pockets rise up to the top, release their bubble, and settle back to the bottom. They were about the size of a grain of sand.

By your description, my guess is that the yeast resting on the bottom are still engaged in the fermentation process and producing CO2 which cause  the "tiny yeast packets" to rise to the top.

My description of a more sluggish fermentation process may be due to yeast strain (specifically Wyeast 3724--Belgian Saison; as I stated earlier, I did not have a sluggish fermentation process with Wyeast 3711--French Saison) OR underpitching the yeast (I only used one smack pack per 5 gallons--Both swelled nicely within a day, but I did not take note of the freshness date; nor did I use a starter).  YMMV.

If I were to brew this beer again, I would use a starter.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4547
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2010, 06:39:32 AM »

I have seen this as well, though not for quite some time. Interestingly enough, contrary to most other posts about Saison strains, I have no issues whatsoever with my fermentations. They have become quite routone normally being finished in 1-2 weeks depending on gravity. One thing that has helped me is very steady temp control I use a thermowell and a heat wrap. I start fermentation off in the mid to high 60s, let it chug along in the high 60s for 2 days or so and then slowly ramp it up to the high 70s over the next 3-4 days then hold there until complete. Usually done in 1 week.
But, the interesting thing about this thread is that the OP doesn't sound like he is witnessing fermentation. He said he doesn't even see airlock bubbles. Just a few bubbles on the surface. I have seen this in lots of beers, especially once that have sat in the primary for more than 2 weeks. Having witnessed this several times I have often wondered if this wasn;t simply caused by the yeast breaking down. But, like I said earlier, hard to tell what is going on without a hydro reading.  ;)

I witnessed a 1 week pause in fermentation last summer, and the Saison was in a conical with a thermowell and temperature control.  Pitched proper amount at 68F and ramped up to 80F.  This yeast does what it wants, giving it time seems to work best. YMMV.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2010, 07:12:22 AM »
Jeff - I wasn't doubting you at all, nor was I questioning your technique. Apologies if it came off that way. Just saying that, for some reason, I don't seem to have any problems with WLP565 at all anymore. A lot of people seem to, and I have in the past as well. In fact, I have been using it very regularly in test batches for what I hope will be my flagship beer for a small brewery I am planning on opening this summer. I have been seeing regular full attenuation in 1-2 weeks on two saisons OG 1.050 and 1.070. As you say, YMMV. I agree this strain can surprise you. Here's to keeping my fingers crossed.  ;)
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 07:22:22 AM by majorvices »
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2010, 07:44:56 AM »
Keith,
I'm curious.  How will you be "stepping up fermentation temps" as described above on a commercial scale? 
Do you have separate fermentation rooms for the various lagers, ales, and Belgians?
The potential need to have the beer spend extra time in fermentation and conditioning tanks for tempermental yeasts (as some of us perceive the Belgian Saison yeast to be) may create "supply and demand" issues or a bottleneck in production capability on a commercial level.  To ensure supply >> demand, do you have a slow enough turnover or extra tanks to deal with that?  Or do you just suggest the customer have something else?

Good luck with the 10,000 things that need to be done between now and opening day.  I hope it is successful.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2010, 08:23:00 AM »
We have temp controlled conicals (heat and cool) several bright tanks, plus a cold room. The beers I am piloting right now should have no more than a 3-4 week turn around, depending on style, as have been tested on a 1bbl system.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2010, 08:57:24 AM »

I have seen this as well, though not for quite some time. Interestingly enough, contrary to most other posts about Saison strains, I have no issues whatsoever with my fermentations. They have become quite routone normally being finished in 1-2 weeks depending on gravity. One thing that has helped me is very steady temp control I use a thermowell and a heat wrap. I start fermentation off in the mid to high 60s, let it chug along in the high 60s for 2 days or so and then slowly ramp it up to the high 70s over the next 3-4 days then hold there until complete. Usually done in 1 week.
But, the interesting thing about this thread is that the OP doesn't sound like he is witnessing fermentation. He said he doesn't even see airlock bubbles. Just a few bubbles on the surface. I have seen this in lots of beers, especially once that have sat in the primary for more than 2 weeks. Having witnessed this several times I have often wondered if this wasn;t simply caused by the yeast breaking down. But, like I said earlier, hard to tell what is going on without a hydro reading.  ;)

I witnessed a 1 week pause in fermentation last summer, and the Saison was in a conical with a thermowell and temperature control.  Pitched proper amount at 68F and ramped up to 80F.  This yeast does what it wants, giving it time seems to work best. YMMV.

Thought I'd tell a little tale on myself. Got burned by this strain. After several batches of fermenting fine I got one that stalled at 1.030. Looked still and completely finished and I stupidly kegged without checking the gravity (what a noob mistake). Tasted it and noticed how sweet it was. Funny think is that once I tranferred it started fermenting again fast and furious. So much that I had to install a blowoff on the keg.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6310
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Secondary "bubbling" at bottling, 1 mo after brewing?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 08:21:06 AM »
So, here's the deal on this yeast from my experience. First off, let me say I don't make many high gravity saisons preferring a more "traditional" (I use the term loosely) approach. So this is what happened: I tested the gravity on the saison today. The one I prematurely kegged I hooked up with a make shift airlock in the keg. I tested it today and it is down to 1.010 or so. The one I left on the primary yeast is down to 1.002 ... maybe even lower.

So, I suppose if you are brewing low gravity saisons (more "traditional") you can expect more predictable results. If, however, you are fermenting higher gravity saisons (over 1.070) you may find a much more sluggish fermentation with this strain.

Also, I have kept the temp at a steady 75 since my above post.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner