Author Topic: Premature Fermaculation!  (Read 1752 times)

Offline Pastamassima

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Premature Fermaculation!
« on: June 09, 2017, 07:09:52 PM »
Friends,

I primed and bottled a super tasty Belgian Smoked Porter last night, and in my excitement I did not take a final gravity reading. So, I busted open one of the bottles and checked it: 1.026, ten points above my estimate. I was worried about exploding bottles, not sure if fermentation had stopped or not, so I dumped everything from the bottles back into the fermenter (cleaned and sanitized, of course). I also covered it in a thick cloud of CO2. I hope this does not jeopardize my brew (bill was more than 10% caramel, roasted grains, maybe that's why my high final gravity? My calculator estimated 1.017 or so. 1.082-1.026, with BE-256, a high attenuator, 13 days in primary).

So: I assume that if I check the gravity in three days, and it remains the same, I should bottle again, prime again, and wait patiently for that luscious, viscous liquid to condition. Is this correct?

But: if the gravity does drop, I assume I should hold out and check every few days until it remains static for three days. Correct?

Thanks, and cheers.

Christophe

Offline denny

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 07:18:32 PM »
FG calculations are pretty much a guess.  The only way to know for sure is to brew the beer exactly the same several times and see what happens.  I don't think you probably had a problem in the first place, but you may now after opening the bottles to try refermentation.  But what's done is done, so your plan is right.
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Offline The Beerery

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 07:20:18 PM »
FG calculations are pretty much a guess.  The only way to know for sure is to brew the beer exactly the same several times and see what happens.  I don't think you probably had a problem in the first place, but you may now after opening the bottles to try refermentation.  But what's done is done, so your plan is right.

Actually, There is a super easy way.

http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/uncategorized/the-easy-fast-ferment-test-fft/

"People think doing a FFT is super tedious and a pain in the @$$! But today I am going to tell you a super easy way!

On day 2 of your main fermenting batch, simply pull 100ml or so from the main batch ( if you have a fermenter with a valve, super simple). If you have a stir plate, place it on there, or just simply bring it to the kitchen and swirl it every time you walk by. I use the stir plate method. I get it going as fast as it can. 1 day later I am at FG. "

This will quickly and very accurately tell you your final gravity.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 07:23:24 PM by The Beerery »
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Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 07:28:03 PM »
FG calculations are pretty much a guess.  The only way to know for sure is to brew the beer exactly the same several times and see what happens.  I don't think you probably had a problem in the first place, but you may now after opening the bottles to try refermentation.  But what's done is done, so your plan is right.

Actually, There is a super easy way.

http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/uncategorized/the-easy-fast-ferment-test-fft/

"People think doing a FFT is super tedious and a pain in the @$$! But today I am going to tell you a super easy way!

On day 2 of your main fermenting batch, simply pull 100ml or so from the main batch ( if you have a fermenter with a valve, super simple). If you have a stir plate, place it on there, or just simply bring it to the kitchen and swirl it every time you walk by. I use the stir plate method. I get it going as fast as it can. 1 day later I am at FG. "

This will quickly and very accurately tell you your final gravity.

I can vouch for this. Works very well and (I watched "My Cousin Vinny" last night) is dead on balls accurate.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 08:15:10 PM »
But what's done is done, so your plan is right.

This is true.

Follow your plan.  Hopefully the beer is not too impacted from all the transferring.  Once you bottle it, I would recommend drinking it quickly as it may oxidize quickly (or already be oxidized).

In the future, take those gravity readings.  Or try the FFT.

Knowing your final gravity (in advance) with accuracy is important in some conditions, but not, IMO, exceedingly important if you plan to let the beer ferment out completely, prime, and bottle.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 10:21:05 PM »
The FFT is definitely the gold standard (and a darned good idea if you plan to spund, as noted by Joe Sr.), but if you take really careful notes and learn your system over a few batches, many equations or software calculators can get you quite close.

I use BeerSmith, and as I have dialed in everything over the past year or two, I'm finding that the estimates produced by the software are consistently within ±0.02. I consider this squarely within the error of measurement for all of the various components of my system (hydrometer, mash temperature variation, boil-off, etc.). I worry if the beer has been fermenting for awhile and is well outside the estimate (exceeding ±0.04), but can usually hypothesize an explanation if I go back to my notes (e.g., missed mash temp by a margin; overly high or low boil-off; a few generations down the line in my yeast culture, etc.).
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Offline denny

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 10:47:07 PM »
The FFT is definitely the gold standard (and a darned good idea if you plan to spund, as noted by Joe Sr.), but if you take really careful notes and learn your system over a few batches, many equations or software calculators can get you quite close.

I use BeerSmith, and as I have dialed in everything over the past year or two, I'm finding that the estimates produced by the software are consistently within ±0.02. I consider this squarely within the error of measurement for all of the various components of my system (hydrometer, mash temperature variation, boil-off, etc.). I worry if the beer has been fermenting for awhile and is well outside the estimate (exceeding ±0.04), but can usually hypothesize an explanation if I go back to my notes (e.g., missed mash temp by a margin; overly high or low boil-off; a few generations down the line in my yeast culture, etc.).

Obviously the BS prediction has been improved since the last time I used it!  Good to know.  And of course, the FFT is always a good idea.
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 10:54:03 PM »
Obviously the BS prediction has been improved since the last time I used it!  Good to know.  And of course, the FFT is always a good idea.

Yeah, I've been consistently impressed by how good it is...that said, I have spent some time calibrating various values on my end (mash efficiency, boil-off, mash tun dead space, etc.) over a few batch, so that initial effort paid off.
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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2017, 12:32:03 AM »
So, I busted open one of the bottles and checked it: 1.026, ten points above my estimate.

Just to make sure, are you using a hydrometer?

Also bear in mind that for typical carbonation levels you'd add 0.002-0.003 SG in priming sugar.

Yeah, I've been consistently impressed by how good it is...that said, I have spent some time calibrating various values on my end (mash efficiency, boil-off, mash tun dead space, etc.) over a few batch, so that initial effort paid off.

But you haven't changed the attenuation values for the yeast strains?
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2017, 01:01:15 AM »
Yeah, I've been consistently impressed by how good it is...that said, I have spent some time calibrating various values on my end (mash efficiency, boil-off, mash tun dead space, etc.) over a few batch, so that initial effort paid off.

But you haven't changed the attenuation values for the yeast strains?

I've stuck with the defaults on each strain, because they get me close enough. I hadn't even really thought about messing with them, but I suppose if I get _really_ bored sometime I'll do more with this. I have the data after all, and could at least get it on my most frequently used strains of WLP001, WLP002, US-05, etc.

Away, temptation...the data monkey in my head now is asking me to put together all of the data and run the stats, when I _really_ should do the last touches on my HomebrewCon presentation!
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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2017, 01:13:37 AM »
I've stuck with the defaults on each strain, because they get me close enough. I hadn't even really thought about messing with them, but I suppose if I get _really_ bored sometime I'll do more with this. I have the data after all, and could at least get it on my most frequently used strains of WLP001, WLP002, US-05, etc.

Away, temptation...the data monkey in my head now is asking me to put together all of the data and run the stats, when I _really_ should do the last touches on my HomebrewCon presentation!

I'm surprised it's giving decent results based just on mash temperature variation, given my own data:



(If you're trying to resist the temptation to monkey with data you may not want to click that.)
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2017, 02:02:34 AM »
(If you're trying to resist the temptation to monkey with data you may not want to click that.)

I was never good at listening!

Fascinating stuff...and excellent write-up. You addressed pretty much all of the questions I was going to ask!

Now I really, really want to play with my data...I wonder if there are batch size effects, too?
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Offline Pastamassima

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2017, 06:46:34 AM »
I'll tell you this: I split this bill into a 4.5 gallon batch and a 1 gallon batch. The larger of the two I pitched with 2 packets of recently packaged S-04 and the smaller with a teaspoon or so of SE-256 that was to expire in October 2017 (got it at the conference last year and kept refrigerated).

I used a porter recipe with a high percentage of roasted and caramel grains, probably around 13%. I know... I checked the S-04 batch and that is currently at 1.030 after two weeks. I have a feeling with the low attenuating S-04 that's all I'm gonna get.

Should I pitch again to bring the FG down? Or package this viscous and delicious beer and serve it with some good ol' Valvolene accoutrements? Kidding. But, what would this beer do, and how would it taste, after conditioning for a bit?

Cheers,
C
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 06:48:13 AM by Pastamassima »

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2017, 12:13:03 PM »
If you primed the batch and then took the reading, it seems that the reading would be "high" by the priming sugar addition.  Also - are you reading with a properly calibrated hydrometer or with a refractometer?

Forgive me if you already accounted for all of those aspects, I couldn't tell from the narrative.
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Offline Pastamassima

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Re: Premature Fermaculation!
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2017, 12:17:40 PM »
If you primed the batch and then took the reading, it seems that the reading would be "high" by the priming sugar addition.  Also - are you reading with a properly calibrated hydrometer or with a refractometer?

Forgive me if you already accounted for all of those aspects, I couldn't tell from the narrative.

Yes. My readings were done with two hydrometers because I was taken aback by my unusual efficiency, over 90%. Was aiming for 1.060 highest and reached 1.082. I fly sparge. But this batch had a lot of roasted and caramel grains. The second batch was not primed and still reached 1.030 finished.


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