Author Topic: Help troubleshooting, 34/70  (Read 1498 times)

Offline 802Chris

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 150
    • View Profile
Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« on: March 29, 2017, 12:13:08 PM »
Hey guys, I am wondering if anyone can help me troubleshot my process here to see where I may have slipped up. To preface, this was my first lager batch. I have been brewing for 6 years, the last two being all grain. I have what I consider to be solid brewing practices and usually produce very fine ales (assuming I make good recipes...) I have had zero off flavors in any of my last 20 or so batches (going back about 2 years.) I would like like to outline my process below and see if anyone can catch what's up with this batch. I am going to go off my brew notes, so a pre thank you to all who take the time to read this, I might ramble....

Attempt: A light continental lager, brewed with ingredients that I had stocked on hand, using 34/70 dry lager yeast. Following the "fast lager" method outlined by Marshall Schott of Brulosophy.

Result: After kegging, clarifying and carbing I am picking up distinct levels of what I believe to be diacytl. The base beer smells good. upon initial sip, the beer is grainy, slightly sweet with a nice grassy earthy hop flavor. This initial sip is what I tasted upon testing gravity, a GOOD beer. no slippery sensation or empty mouthfeel. upon swallowing and specifically exhaling, I taste what I perceive to a be buttery or butterscotch notes, a very different sweetness than what I perceive as being derived from the malt. I KNOW I am panicking here, and I KNOW this is my first lager, I guess I'm just more disappointed than anything.

Notes:

5.25 gallon
ABV 4.02% est
OG 1.045 calc 1.042 meas
FG 1.012 measured
IBU 18.9 calc

60 minute boil
5 lb 4 oz continental 2 Row 1.8 lov
1 lb 12 oz Vienna
.9 oz Halertuaer 60 minutes
whirfloc @ 15
.5 oz hallertauer flameout


Single infusion mash @ 150 for 60 minutes
*forgot to add water salts + acid. Added all at beginning of boil. PBG was low most likely due to forgetting salts and acid, boiled extra 15 minutes to compensate.

boiling happened
solid chill with great cold break, chilled to 50 deg
rehydrated yeast for 20 minutes with 60 degree water. 1 packet 34/70
Pitched @ 50, chamber set to 58
fermented for 4 days, checked SG (hoping too see 50% attn. for temp ramp) 1.012 taste no off flavor, actually delicious minus the sulfer
PANIC seeing terminal gravity, immediately set temp to 68 for (hoping to do 48 hour D rest)
check in 24 hours and see chamber WILL NOT raise past 63 grrr.
Let sit at roughly 60-64 (thanks to Vermont weather) for 48 hours hoping to stave of D monster.
crash to 34 and let sit for 10 days.
Testing SG again just to be sure, still at 1.012.
Cold transfer onto rehydrated gelatin into keg
Force carb @ 30 PSI for 24 hrs
Lower to 10 PSI wait 24 hours
taste again, and again and again.... note what tastes like diacytl/butter
Panic and write this thread
fin.












Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1693
  • Southern Maryland
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 02:45:20 PM »
I think you need to go warmer to clear up diacetyl. Others will know better than me if just raising the temp will still work, or if you'll need to add active yeast/wort to clean it up.

Is the beer unpleasant? Diacetyl, even in a lager, isn't necessarily evil.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2377
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 03:10:17 PM »
I was judging recently with a BJCP Master judge that frequents Prague and he points out that the Czech really enjoy much more diacetyl than most Americans would find tolerable. And this is across a wide spectrum of Czech beers. Maybe your beer isn't too bad.

First, you need to be ready to heat your fermentation chamber when the ambient conditions don't suffice. I use a heating pad to supply heat on those rare occasions.  The other thing you can do to help detect diacetyl is to heat the beer sample to help bring it out to the taster.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Brun-Water-464551136933908/?ref=bookmarks

Offline Todd H.

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 62
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 03:51:28 PM »
Forget about style guidelines for a second... does it bother/disgust you?  The way you wrote this it sounds like you really had to search hard to find something wrong.  I guess if once you notice it you can't un-notice it, cool.  Otherwise... I'd let it go.  But then again I don't worry about searching for off-flavours.  If they jump out and beat me over the head (like banana - isoamyl acetate makes me gag), that's another thing.

I guess that didn't actually answer your question.  Sorry.  I've only ever used 34/70 at ~64F so I can't actually help from experience.

Offline 802Chris

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 150
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 04:15:46 PM »
I was judging recently with a BJCP Master judge that frequents Prague and he points out that the Czech really enjoy much more diacetyl than most Americans would find tolerable. And this is across a wide spectrum of Czech beers. Maybe your beer isn't too bad.

First, you need to be ready to heat your fermentation chamber when the ambient conditions don't suffice. I use a heating pad to supply heat on those rare occasions.  The other thing you can do to help detect diacetyl is to heat the beer sample to help bring it out to the taster.
Forget about style guidelines for a second... does it bother/disgust you?  The way you wrote this it sounds like you really had to search hard to find something wrong.  I guess if once you notice it you can't un-notice it, cool.  Otherwise... I'd let it go.  But then again I don't worry about searching for off-flavours.  If they jump out and beat me over the head (like banana - isoamyl acetate makes me gag), that's another thing.

I guess that didn't actually answer your question.  Sorry.  I've only ever used 34/70 at ~64F so I can't actually help from experience.

Both great points. Todd, I think what you said is part of where I am struggling. I tasted it, and now it is jumping out at me big time. The beer is not unpleasant, I guess it's just not what I was hoping for, which was a super clean lager.

Martin, thank you for the tip. Unfortunately right now my chamber is in the garage and I am using ambient to cool passively and a ceramic heat bulb to heat it up. Even with the controller calling for heat all day, it was still not getting up high enough. It was really awful timing since it was below zero for a few days right when I went to heat it up.

Hopefully some lagering in the keg helps the other flavors shine a bit more and can balance with the diacityl. I am certainly going to brew this recipe again, probably this week, if only to try and see a good side by side of remembering my brewing salts/acid and (hopefully) getting my temperatures right.

P.s. Martin, I would be interested to try some fresh Czech beers to see what level is acceptable/enjoyable for some. I could very well just be prone to not liking the flavor compound, as I have heard some people are very sensitive to it. Time will tell.


Offline 802Chris

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 150
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 04:18:33 PM »
Another quick thought for anyone who has used 34/70. Does single packet seem like a good pitch for a <1.045 Lager? Maybe with a single packet I should actually be keeping the temp higher, as in maybe I under pitched?

Then again 4 days to terminal gravity seemed WAY fast, I just assumed it was because I was riding it at 58 which in theory would be on the warmer end.

Offline Andor

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2017, 03:20:28 PM »
Another quick thought for anyone who has used 34/70. Does single packet seem like a good pitch for a <1.045 Lager? Maybe with a single packet I should actually be keeping the temp higher, as in maybe I under pitched?

Then again 4 days to terminal gravity seemed WAY fast, I just assumed it was because I was riding it at 58 which in theory would be on the warmer end.


I did my first lager recently with 34/70. I pitched 2 packs into a 1.052 wort. I held fermentation at 55 until I was at roughly 50% attenuation. I raised the temp 5 degrees every 24 hours until I got to 70 then left it there for about a week. I had no off flavors after that point so I brought the temp down 5-10 degrees a day until 35 and waited another week. Recipe was a Vienna lager, probably my favorite out of the 66 batches I've done

I'd try 2 packs next time and have a bigger difference between fermentation temp and d rest, lower fermentation temp raise d rest. I use a ceramic reptile bulb to raise temps something like this
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001F9CV7K/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1490887090&sr=8-8&keywords=ceramic+reptile+bulb




Offline chumley

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 972
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2017, 04:15:46 PM »
I've never got diacetyl from 34/70, and I use just one packet, but I let my lagers ferment for a month.  I will have to try the fast lager method now, as I love the diacetyl in my Bohemian lagers (I am a quarter Czech).  :D

Offline scook13339

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 04:30:34 PM »
Another quick thought for anyone who has used 34/70. Does single packet seem like a good pitch for a <1.045 Lager? Maybe with a single packet I should actually be keeping the temp higher, as in maybe I under pitched?


1 pack is likely not enough. Use a pitch rate calculator such as mrmalty.com to be sure.

Fermenting warmer to compensate for an underpitch will only add more problems. Two wrongs less than ideal actions don't make a right - or the best beer possible!

Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1693
  • Southern Maryland
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 06:52:42 PM »
While I can't speak for this particular scenario, mr. malty isn't correct for all beers. I've found focusing on yeast health rather than numbers to have a larger impact on my beer.

A 1-quart 12-hour SNS starter fermented my recent lagers just fine.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline 802Chris

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 150
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2017, 07:25:28 PM »
While I can't speak for this particular scenario, mr. malty isn't correct for all beers. I've found focusing on yeast health rather than numbers to have a larger impact on my beer.

A 1-quart 12-hour SNS starter fermented my recent lagers just fine.

Phil I usually do SNS unless I really feel like using my stir plate. I did not this time since I was using dry instead of my normal liquid or reharvest. Do you usually do a SNS with 34/70 even though it's dry?


Also as an update. The flavor has subdued but only slightly with about a week in the keg. It definitely drinkable, just not the clean taste I was going for. I have since upgraded my fermentation chamber to include a ceramic heat bulb for when it's really cold out.

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2800
  • Da mihi sis cerevisiam.
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2017, 09:11:18 PM »
I like 34/70 ok (some lemon flavor presents itself in the background that is occasionally distracting), but I prefer S-189 for clean lagers.  I use liquid yeast (2206!) for the maltier lager styles.  Two packets of 34/70 works fine for me on lower OG lagers without a starter.  I don't typically do a starter with dry yeasts, but I will rehydrate them occasionally to allow the built in reserves to do some of their work building cell membranes before pitching.  Ales seem fine without any further dry yeast prompting - just sprinkle it on and watch the magic begin for those.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9636
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2017, 12:02:02 PM »
I was judging recently with a BJCP Master judge that frequents Prague and he points out that the Czech really enjoy much more diacetyl than most Americans would find tolerable. And this is across a wide spectrum of Czech beers. Maybe your beer isn't too bad.


Interesting because I find some Czech beers, such as PU, to be loaded up with diacetyl to the point of undrinkable.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9636
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2017, 12:11:11 PM »
I use the equivalent of 34/70 (Wyeast liquid) weekly (sopmetimes pitching this strain several times a week) and every once in a while I will pick up diacetyl, but it is very rare. I have never, ever picked up any diacetyl from a first gen dry yeast pitch of 34/70.

One question: do you think it is possible you picked up and oxygen after fermenttaion, like from an unpurged keg or something? I had a batch of helles recently that tastes spot on on draft but will pick up diacetyl very quickly once filled in a growler. Literally less than 24 hours.

Offline The Beerery

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
  • More you know, the more you know you don't know!
    • View Profile
Re: Help troubleshooting, 34/70
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2017, 12:12:07 PM »
I have lab specs on PU it's wicked high in diacetyl.  A lot of German beers use it as a nuance as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Herr, wirf Hirn vom Himmel!
(Oder Steine, Hauptsache er trifft.)
Check us out at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com (Now with forums)
"Consistently successful brewers are invariably the ones who operate low oxygen systems." -George Fix Circa 1999
Taplist and Fermentation Cellar
"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change"