Author Topic: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues  (Read 795 times)

Offline MYR

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« on: February 15, 2018, 07:08:10 PM »
Hello,
I am new to this forum, and I was hoping to get feedback regarding an issue I currently have.
I brew mainly belgian beers, and have done many (50+) extracts recipe with a lot of success.
I recently switched to all grain brewing, got a 2 roller mill, and currently do BIAB in a 5.5 gal pot (2.5 gal batch).
I have done about 6 batches with this new All-grain setup (Kwak, Triple Karmeliet, La Chouffe, Orval...), got a consistent efficiency of around 75% (not sure if it's bad or not?) but I always have the same problem: no Krausen formation while the airlock bubbles nicely, and a weak head on the beer at the time of serving.
Similar recipes that I was doing with extract always required a blow off so I'm wondering what is happening.
Fyi, I am always doing yeast starters (I use Beersmith), I have also gotten an airstone recently to aerate my wort better (I thought it could be the problem but no). I also cool down my wort to 25-30C before pitching.
Only thing I can think of, is that when I was doing extract, about half of my water was coming from spring water bottles, while now, 100% of  comes from my filtered tap water. Not sure if that could be the issue as I am not a specialist regarding how to test my water and what to look for in it (I live in Miami if that can help regarding the tap water quality).
Also most of my recipes have Belgian pilsen as a base, and I usually do a full body BIAB mash at 69C for 1h-1h30.
If you have any suggestions on what I can try next to troubleshoot my process, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks a lot for everything.


Offline Big Monk

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 482
  • I am Derek Scott: General Knower Abouter
    • View Profile
    • Low Oxygen Brewing
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 07:14:14 PM »
Hello,
I am new to this forum, and I was hoping to get feedback regarding an issue I currently have.
I brew mainly belgian beers, and have done many (50+) extracts recipe with a lot of success.
I recently switched to all grain brewing, got a 2 roller mill, and currently do BIAB in a 5.5 gal pot (2.5 gal batch).
I have done about 6 batches with this new All-grain setup (Kwak, Triple Karmeliet, La Chouffe, Orval...), got a consistent efficiency of around 75% (not sure if it's bad or not?) but I always have the same problem: no Krausen formation while the airlock bubbles nicely, and a weak head on the beer at the time of serving.
Similar recipes that I was doing with extract always required a blow off so I'm wondering what is happening.
Fyi, I am always doing yeast starters (I use Beersmith), I have also gotten an airstone recently to aerate my wort better (I thought it could be the problem but no). I also cool down my wort to 25-30C before pitching.
Only thing I can think of, is that when I was doing extract, about half of my water was coming from spring water bottles, while now, 100% of  comes from my filtered tap water. Not sure if that could be the issue as I am not a specialist regarding how to test my water and what to look for in it (I live in Miami if that can help regarding the tap water quality).
Also most of my recipes have Belgian pilsen as a base, and I usually do a full body BIAB mash at 69C for 1h-1h30.
If you have any suggestions on what I can try next to troubleshoot my process, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks a lot for everything.

The single infusion mash temperature looks a little high. How is your attenuation?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

"Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot." Louis Pasteur

Check us out at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com

Offline kramerog

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1813
    • View Profile
    • My LinkedIn page
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2018, 07:40:00 PM »
The pitching temperature is pretty high (25-30C or 77-86F).  It makes me think that you may be creating fusels which are killing your head. 

When you were doing malt extract, were you diluting your wort with cold water and therefore having a lower pitching temperature?

Offline mabrungard

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2388
  • Water matters!
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2018, 08:38:50 PM »
Miami water isn't too bad. Although its reputed to be from the Biscayne Aquifer, but that aquifer is so permeable that its pretty much water directly out of the SFWMD drainage canals. It's lime softened in most cases. But it would require a bit of acid when brewing paler beers. Of course, you also need to neutralize the chlorine in the tap water. But there should be no need to use 'spring water' since that is what your tap water is.

How long are you boiling and how hard? Boiling too long and hard does damage wort and one of the things that gets damaged is heading ability. A gentle boil with just enough vigor to cause the wort to circulate is good enough for the first 30 minutes. Keep the wort fully covered during that initial period. For the final 30 minutes, remove the lid and make the boil slightly more active. That will remove all the DMS, if you used Pils malt in your grist.
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

Online dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3262
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2018, 09:14:52 PM »
The pitching temperature is pretty high (25-30C or 77-86F).  It makes me think that you may be creating fusels which are killing your head. 

When you were doing malt extract, were you diluting your wort with cold water and therefore having a lower pitching temperature?

^^^^^^ This stuff, in my opinion.

In addition I will also share my own anecdotal experience:  I believe I do seem to get somewhat enhanced head retention when I supplement an all-grain batch with a little malt extract.  I do this often enough to notice a difference, maybe out of every half-dozen batches I'll miss my intended OG or something like that, and add just a little extract (typically <5% of the total OG).  In these batches I do seem to notice a more creamy head with better retention, versus the average all-grain batch.  It might just be my imagination...... or it might not.  Experiments would be needed to confirm.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline MYR

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2018, 09:47:06 PM »
I was not expecting so many answer that fast, thanks a lot to all!
@ Big Monk, my attenuation ends in the 1.015-1.020 range usually
@ kramerog: yes you are right I used to pitched at lower temp before (diluting with cold water, I was around 18C. Sorry I am European, and need to get used to F). Do you think this could cause what I am seeing about the lack of Krausen?
@Mabrungard: glad to hear about Miami water, the chlorine should (mostly?) be gone with the filter I used, and I'll add checking the pH on my next thing to do. I usually boil for one hour (sometime 1:30 depending on the recipe) and it's usually a slow boil (my stove don't really allow me a very strong boil). I do everything with an opened pot and I found it very interesting that you mention the first 30min covered. I will try that next, but what should be the benefits?
@dmtaylor: I will definitely give it a try and add a bit of extract next time to see if it does indeed make a difference. Makes me think that maybe there are minerals or stuff in the extract that may be missing from my water?
In any case, a big thank to all!

Offline kramerog

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1813
    • View Profile
    • My LinkedIn page
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2018, 02:31:35 AM »
That you didn't have the problem when pitching at 18 C (64.4 F), but do at 25-30C, confirms for me that the pitching temp is the source of the problem.  It is possible that the malt extract also has more protein as it is boiled at a low temperature because it is under vacuum.

Fermenting at a higher temperature should also result in you new beers being hotter or boozier than your old beers.

Offline MYR

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 02:48:01 AM »
That you didn't have the problem when pitching at 18 C (64.4 F), but do at 25-30C, confirms for me that the pitching temp is the source of the problem.  It is possible that the malt extract also has more protein as it is boiled at a low temperature because it is under vacuum.

Fermenting at a higher temperature should also result in you new beers being hotter or boozier than your old beers.
Thanks, I’ll definitely try the cooler pitching next time. Fermenting is still going on at the same temp in my mini fridge (18C) so that part should be fine. I’ll report back on my next brew, thanks again!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline MNWayne

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2018, 09:28:05 PM »
I seem to get better head when I do a 75-C mashout for about 10 minutes.

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1673
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2018, 09:42:08 PM »
I seem to get better head when I do a 75-C mashout for about 10 minutes.
Yep, that's the temp at which glycoproteins -- complexes of mid weight protein degradation products and mid weight carbohydrates (dextrins) -- are formed, and glycoproteins combined with hop acids are what foam is made of.  For good foam, DON'T do a protein rest, you'll reduce all the proteins to FAN, and dont skip a mash off of at least 10-15 min @ 75°C. 
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline MYR

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2018, 12:34:48 AM »
Good to know, no protein rest and 10 min mashout is what I have done so far in my BIAB. Next, I’ll try pitching at lower temp as well as testing the ph of my water. Regarding the aeration with a stone and aquarium pump, it did not seemed to do much and I recently read in Zymurgy an article where they say aerating for dry yeast is useless. So I’m wondering if I bought that for nothing. Opinion on that? Thanks a lot!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1673
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2018, 01:01:55 AM »
The idea is that dry yeast is grown in a super oxygen rich environment and the put into "suspended animation" so they say it doesnt need aeration.  They also don't say it will hurt.  I have rarely used dry yeast so I don't have a lot to go by, but go by your own experience. Try both ways and decide if it's worth it.
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline MYR

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2018, 01:33:54 AM »
Ok I’ll experiment on that, thanks Robert.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Online dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3262
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2018, 01:49:53 AM »
Dry yeast is so happy, its smile can't get any bigger than it already is.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline Robert

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1673
    • View Profile
Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2018, 01:56:27 AM »
Dry yeast is so happy, its smile can't get any bigger than it already is.
Dave, IIRC you have dry yeast experience.  I know dry yeast supposedly has full O2 reserves.  But does rehydrating deplete them, in which case aeration would help?  (For that matter, since not rehydrating kills half the yeast, would aeration help out what's left, or, see above, it's at the full limit of happiness?)  I know this is a little off topic, but you might be able to clear up my advice to MYR.
Rob
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.