Author Topic: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?  (Read 1039 times)

Offline rightasrain

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Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« on: August 02, 2011, 09:29:21 PM »
I recently brewed a lemon corainder wiess and decided to get creative with it and decided to add lime zest as well as lemon zest in the second fermenter. It stalled at 1.030, started at 1.060. I've tried adding more yeast. I've tried stirring and adding more yeast. But its still hanging at 1.030 after almost a wing. I also tried stirring it a bit a few days ago. Is it possible lime has something that kills yeast?

Also and off topic of ingredients section. I was thinking of bottling at 1.030 and leaving them outside. I can't think of any other solution other than abandoning the batch.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011, 10:34:27 PM »
Check your pH.  Citrus zest is pretty acidic.  If the beer's pH is in the low 3 range, that could cause your yeast to shut down.  If that is the case, raising the pH back up to around 4 would allow the yeast to reactivate and finish fermenting the beer.

A lemon/lime corriander weissbier sounds pretty tasty!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 10:40:47 PM by punatic »
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Offline euge

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2011, 11:00:29 PM »
How much zest and which yeast? Don't abandon the batch. Extract based recipe? More details please.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2011, 05:38:35 AM »
Check your pH.  Citrus zest is pretty acidic.  If the beer's pH is in the low 3 range, that could cause your yeast to shut down.  If that is the case, raising the pH back up to around 4 would allow the yeast to reactivate and finish fermenting the beer.

A lemon/lime corriander weissbier sounds pretty tasty!

I'm sceptical that citrus zest is acidic enough to significanly lower the pH of 5 gallons of beer - unless rightasrain used the zest of four bushels. I'd look more at yeast health, wort oxygenation and fermentability, etc. I doubt the zest has anything to do with it.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2011, 05:43:21 AM »
Check your pH.  Citrus zest is pretty acidic.  If the beer's pH is in the low 3 range, that could cause your yeast to shut down.  If that is the case, raising the pH back up to around 4 would allow the yeast to reactivate and finish fermenting the beer.

A lemon/lime corriander weissbier sounds pretty tasty!

I'm sceptical that citrus zest is acidic enough to significanly lower the pH of 5 gallons of beer - unless rightasrain used the zest of four bushels. I'd look more at yeast health, wort oxygenation and fermentability, etc. I doubt the zest has anything to do with it.
I agree.  Most likely another cause and not citrus zest.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2011, 05:48:41 AM »
Also, next time don't transfer to secondary until your at your final gravity. I used to make this mistake all the time, but 'secondary fermentation' is a bad name. Think about it, the yeast are not done and your removing them and making the few cells that remain finish the job. Little wonder they give up.
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Offline euge

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2011, 10:31:56 AM »
Also, next time don't transfer to secondary until your at your final gravity. I used to make this mistake all the time, but 'secondary fermentation' is a bad name. Think about it, the yeast are not done and your removing them and making the few cells that remain finish the job. Little wonder they give up.

This here is most likely the cause of the problem. I didn't catch that at first. It's a rookie mistake. It is what it is.
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Offline rightasrain

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2011, 12:22:16 PM »
Check your pH.  Citrus zest is pretty acidic.  If the beer's pH is in the low 3 range, that could cause your yeast to shut down.  If that is the case, raising the pH back up to around 4 would allow the yeast to reactivate and finish fermenting the beer.

A lemon/lime corriander weissbier sounds pretty tasty!

I'm sceptical that citrus zest is acidic enough to significanly lower the pH of 5 gallons of beer - unless rightasrain used the zest of four bushels. I'd look more at yeast health, wort oxygenation and fermentability, etc. I doubt the zest has anything to do with it.

Perhaps the oxygenation then. The reason why I wouldn't think its the yeast health is because i've re pitched yeast. I did stir it vigorously in a better bottle to hopefully get more oxygen in there and added some yeast nutrient. But that was after re-pitching maybe the yeast already went into the secondary stages before the stirring. I forget the term but the hybernation mode is how I think of it. There is a yeast cake on the bottom. I may have not been able to stir well enough to get proper oxygen in though. The small opening of the better bottle makes it difficult.

Thanks for the tip on transferring to the second only after fermentation is complete. I will remember that in the future. Although I might quit using a second as it seem's most people disagree it does any good.

I figure the next thing to try is to transfer it back to another fermenter I can stir better to get more oxygen in there. Any other ideas on what I might try next?

To all the questions, forgive me if I missed one.

I used the zest of one lemon and one lime fresh from the store. Microwaved for 30 sec to sanatize.

Its a boxed extract recipe. http://www.midwestsupplies.com/lemon-coriander-weiss.html to be exact.

And so far its really tasty.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 12:24:39 PM by rightasrain »
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Offline punatic

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2011, 01:11:13 PM »
So, how tough is it to test the pH instead of speculating?
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Offline rightasrain

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2011, 01:34:05 PM »
Well since I don't have ph strip tests about $5.50 hard  :P. I would like to try and aerate the wort first. I'm on a really tight budget right now. However, this is definitely an avenue to take if aerating more does not do the trick. One question though. How would I raise the ph level if that is found to be the problem?
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Offline denny

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2011, 02:14:26 PM »
If you aerate it and it doesn't take off, you're screwed..you might be anyway.  What was the recipe?  it might very well be done, not stuck.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2011, 03:06:45 PM »
I use Lime Leaves for what is becoming my flagship beer and once or twice I have subbed in lime zest when the leaves were impossible to come by (I used key limes) and I never had a stalled fermentation. Shouldn't affect pH much unless you are adding a friggin' ton of lime zest. My guess is what Euge suggests - you racked too early. Never rack a beer until the beer is where you want it to be attenuation wise.
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2011, 03:13:46 PM »
I can't help in this case but for the future:

 1. Remove "secondary" from you brewing vocabulary. You may want to rack into a brite tank at some point or take an extremely long fermenting/aging brew (think months) off the main yeast cake, but resist the urge to "secondary".

 2. Never "abandon" a brew. If for some reason you think its a dumper, experiment a little first. Add something to it, take something away, stir it like it owes you money and spit in it (just kidding about the spit) and see what happens. You never know what you may discover.
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Offline rightasrain

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Re: Lime zest causing a stalled fermentation?
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2011, 06:54:23 PM »
If you aerate it and it doesn't take off, you're screwed..you might be anyway.  What was the recipe?  it might very well be done, not stuck.

Well it definitely isn't the lime then. It did take off from 1.060 to 1.030 and then stopped. The recipe was just a box extract recipe the instructions said it should have fallen to about 1.010. I tried to aerate again a bit ago. I'll cross my fingers and move on to single fermentations.
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Rogues are rebels."
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