Author Topic: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer  (Read 1095 times)

Offline james_cornell

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Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« on: August 26, 2015, 02:11:30 AM »
Normally I leave my beer in a primary for 7-10 days and then ferment in a secondary for about 2-weeks.  This last batch, due to multiple issues at home, stayed in a primary for 21 days (a this point I couldn't bottle still but didn't want to let it just sit on all the sludge at the bottom of the primary) so I transferred it to a secondary where it sat for over 3 weeks.

I bottled like I normally do (judging from what I saw in the siphon tube, it was the clearest beer I'd ever bottled) and had my first taste at 3 weeks.  It's flat and sweet, similar to what beers taste like when I try the stuff left over in the bottling bucket. No foam when I pour. It doesn't appear to have carbonated at all.

My final gravity when I bottled as 1.013. I took a gravity sample from the bottle and it was 1.023.

So my question is, other than the obvious stuff (maybe I measured my priming sugar wrong, etc.) what could have caused this and/or could this be a result of the extra long fermentation?

Thanks,
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 02:18:33 AM by james_cornell »

Offline 69franx

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 02:48:25 AM »
Samples tested with hydrometer or refractometer? If refractometer, did you adjust for the presence of alcohol? those are really my only thoughts. If you measured priming sugar properly, I cannot imagine gravity going up 10 points from just your priming sugar. The FG reading had to be off or also not adjusted...
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2015, 02:57:14 AM »
Priming sugar should only add a point or two, not a full 10 points. Something is certainly off here.

Did you mix your priming sugar with the wort?

3 weeks + 3 weeks isn't the issue.

Offline james_cornell

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 04:58:21 AM »
I guess it's possible my final gravity reading was off as my attenuation did seem high but either way it doesn't explain why the beer tasted flat. I mixed the priming sugar the way I always have: pour it into the bottling bucket then siphon the beer in.  Maybe it didn't mix well but I've tried two bottles and get the same flat flavor.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 10:09:08 AM »
Assuming when you say "tastes flat" you simply mean it is flat and has no carbonation, it is most likely just a bottle conditioning issue and is actually fairly regular with bottle conditioned beers. Frankly, I question some of your fermenting methods (removing from primary after 7 days is not recommended unless the beer is completely done fermenting) but this doubtfully has much reason why you didn't have adequate carbonation.

21 days is not really "extra long" to keep in priomary. In fact, for many homebrewers it is about right, especially if you are starting with less than an adequate pitch of yeast. Leaving the beer in contact with the yeast for an extra week or so may even help clean up some off flavors.

You may just need to wait and extra week or two or if you didn't mix the priming sugar well you may have half undercarbbed batch and have over carbbed batch,

Also, is this a typo?

Quote
My final gravity when I bottled as 1.013. I took a gravity sample from the bottle and it was 1.023.

Because it makes very little sense.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 10:15:42 AM by majorvices »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 11:54:33 AM »
Due to work and family schedules, I've left many beers in primary over the years for 21 days - there's zero chance that's the issue. Even if the beer looks clear there's plenty of yeast in the beer to bottle condition. So are all the bottles totally flat, or does it vary from bottle to bottle? It looks like a priming sugar measurement/distribution issue. Also, no way the FG would've gone up that much after adding the priming sugar. Be careful and consistent with your hydrometer measurements and be sure to correct for temperature.


EDIT -  How big a beer is this? A really big beer like RIS can benefit sometimes from adding a small amount of dry yeast at bottling, since the yeast used for fermentation can become ineffective after all the extra work and higher alcohol content.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 12:00:55 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline james_cornell

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2015, 03:31:02 PM »

Also, is this a typo?

Quote
My final gravity when I bottled as 1.013. I took a gravity sample from the bottle and it was 1.023.

Because it makes very little sense.

What I meant here is my gravity reading before I added the beer to the bottling bucket, then when my beer tasted flat after 3 weeks in the bottle, I poured it out of the bottle into the test tube and took another gravity reading, just out of curiosity.

Due to work and family schedules, I've left many beers in primary over the years for 21 days - there's zero chance that's the issue. Even if the beer looks clear there's plenty of yeast in the beer to bottle condition. So are all the bottles totally flat, or does it vary from bottle to bottle? It looks like a priming sugar measurement/distribution issue. Also, no way the FG would've gone up that much after adding the priming sugar. Be careful and consistent with your hydrometer measurements and be sure to correct for temperature.


EDIT -  How big a beer is this? A really big beer like RIS can benefit sometimes from adding a small amount of dry yeast at bottling, since the yeast used for fermentation can become ineffective after all the extra work and higher alcohol content.

I tried 2 bottles so far and they're the same.  Not to say that others wouldn't be different but so far it seems consistent.  I figured I'd just have to wait for them to condition longer and hope I didn't measure my priming sugar wrong but being his is the first time I've let a beer sit for so long and also happens to be the first time I've gotten a flat beer after 3 weeks of bottle conditioning, I figured I'd ask to see if it could be connected.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2015, 03:39:20 PM »
I tried 2 bottles so far and they're the same.  Not to say that others wouldn't be different but so far it seems consistent.  I figured I'd just have to wait for them to condition longer and hope I didn't measure my priming sugar wrong but being his is the first time I've let a beer sit for so long and also happens to be the first time I've gotten a flat beer after 3 weeks of bottle conditioning, I figured I'd ask to see if it could be connected.

What temp are they conditioning at, out of curiosity? They carb quicker at warmer temps. Some Belgian breweries condition at 80F. And is this an average strength beer?
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2015, 04:07:40 PM »

Also, is this a typo?

Quote
My final gravity when I bottled as 1.013. I took a gravity sample from the bottle and it was 1.023.

Because it makes very little sense.

What I meant here is my gravity reading before I added the beer to the bottling bucket, then when my beer tasted flat after 3 weeks in the bottle, I poured it out of the bottle into the test tube and took another gravity reading, just out of curiosity.

the confusion is that adding 5 oz of corn sugar to 5 gallons of beer only raises the gravity by about 2-3 points not 10. so either your sugar was not well mixed and the bottle you tested had way more sugar than others or something else was throwing off your reading. I don't know which. perhaps the hydrometer went out of calibration or was stuck to the side of the test tube a bit. or even just had some co2 bubbles clinging to it lifting it up out of the sample a bit.

try taking a bottle and putting it somewhere warm for a week. like 75f or even 80f. it won't really hurt the beer much but it should kick the yeast into higher gear. chill it down after a week or so and see if that bottle is carbonated.
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Offline james_cornell

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Re: Extra long fermentation / Flat tasting beer
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2015, 06:24:44 PM »
I let them condition at room temperature so 60s-70s I would guess then chill them for a day or so before I want to drink them.