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Old 05-01-2006, 08:44 PM   #1
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Default Revenge of the Krausen? Many ??'s...

Ok, on the 22nd and 23rd of April I brewed a Belgian Tripel and a Belgian Wit repsectively. The Tripel had an OG of 1.076 and the Wit had an OG of 1.046. Both were pitched with starters and both took off in <10hrs. Both bubbled hard for 3~4 days and then slowed to almost no bubbling at all.

I popped the lids for a gravity check yesterday. Both stil had a heavy krausen layer and foam on top. The tripel had fermented down to 1.022 and the wit was down to 1.014. I gave eacha stir with a sanitized racking cane to knock down the krausen and then racked them into carboys for a nice long secondary. By the time I finished racking, both were now once again bubbling furiously.I popped into the basement to check on them this morning, and the Tripel was still bubbling away and had a little foam on the surface (< 1/4 in.). The Wit was bubbling hard again and had ~2" foam and krausen crud on the top.

Did I rack too soon? Will the krausen in the Wit require a second racking? Will the krausen fall? Why did neither krausen fall, despite no bubbling in a few days? Is this typical of using a starter?

I feel like a newbie with so many questions!!

-Todd

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Old 05-01-2006, 09:09 PM   #2
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what kind of yeast? the belgian and german yeasts, in my experience have been particularly slimey and sticky... the batches usually have huge heads, with giant bubbles, that plaster themselves to the sides of the primary... they seem to like a slower, cooler ferment.

i had a belgian whit ale yeast that took over three weeks to finally drop.. i usually let them go till the drop, sometimes up to three weeks.

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Old 05-01-2006, 09:10 PM   #3
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(Copy/Paste) from my other post

I've yet to make a wheat that the krausen doesn't seem to take forever to drop. American, hefe, wit. Common denominator seems to be wheat grain I guess. Think I hear this from others here as well.

I tried the rack it anyways with a wit once and it came back like you got. 4 weeks later it finally finished. Up to you if you want to rack again; I didn't.

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Old 05-01-2006, 09:11 PM   #4
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IMHO, I don't think that you will have a serious problem here. A lot of people make a big deal about racking the beer too early, but I have done this on a number of occasions and never experienced an off-flavor that I have attributed to early racking to the secondary. You may, however, find that you will need to do a tertiary fermentation - racking it off of the sediment once again. This will be especially true for that Tripel which you will probably let condition for some time.

What happened is that racking the beer put some of the yeast back into suspension where they started doing their work once again. What yeast strain did you use. From my understanding, if the yeast is a high flocculating yeast, it may settle out before its work is truly done. I am not sure how else you could get it back into suspensions w/out doing what you did.

Anyway - others may say that you will have off-flavors from racking to early. I say your beer will be fine and that you may need to rack it one more time to get the beer as clear as you may want it. If it "brightens" up after a couple of weeks, though, I would bottle it. It will need to be on the sediment a really long time to get any off-flavors.

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Old 05-02-2006, 12:49 PM   #5
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Well, my Wit used WY#3944 Belgian Witbier and the tripel used WY#3787 Trappist High Gravity. I pitched the wit with a 1qt starter. I pitched the tripel with the slurry from a 1/2 gallon starter.

-Todd

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Old 05-02-2006, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonvolt
IMHO, I don't think that you will have a serious problem here. A lot of people make a big deal about racking the beer too early, but I have done this on a number of occasions and never experienced an off-flavor that I have attributed to early racking to the secondary. You may, however, find that you will need to do a tertiary fermentation - racking it off of the sediment once again. This will be especially true for that Tripel which you will probably let condition for some time.

What happened is that racking the beer put some of the yeast back into suspension where they started doing their work once again. What yeast strain did you use. From my understanding, if the yeast is a high flocculating yeast, it may settle out before its work is truly done. I am not sure how else you could get it back into suspensions w/out doing what you did.

Anyway - others may say that you will have off-flavors from racking to early. I say your beer will be fine and that you may need to rack it one more time to get the beer as clear as you may want it. If it "brightens" up after a couple of weeks, though, I would bottle it. It will need to be on the sediment a really long time to get any off-flavors.
I've never seen anyone claim that you can get off flavors from premature racking, but the concern is that you can seriously retard the remaining fermentation which will require a longer time to finish, and you could potentially need a tertiary fermenter for clarifying.

-walker
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Old 05-02-2006, 05:53 PM   #7
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The reason I like to wait until the primary is finished before I rack is that I want as much yeast as possible to drop out into the primary. This way, when it is racked, the secondary is clearer and I won't loose as much beer when the secondary is racked to the keg.

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Old 05-02-2006, 05:59 PM   #8
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So, is the consensus that it needs to be racked again? If so, would it be acceptable to rack it to a sanitized plastic primary...clean/sanitize the carboy and re-rack it back to the carboy?

-Todd

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Old 05-02-2006, 06:04 PM   #9
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Personally, I wouldn't bother racking again in this particular scenario. You're not planning to age it a long time in the secondary, right? I'd let it settle for a couple weeks and then rack to the bottling bucket assuming it has stopped fermenting.

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