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Old 07-11-2011, 04:44 PM   #1
Gilbey
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Default Brewing Problems - What the Heck???

I just need to vent a bit. I have been brewing on and off for 15 years, but I got serious about it about 18 months ago when I upgraded equipment and switched to all grain. There have definitely a learning curve, but I have 30 or 40 AG batches under my belt, and so far so good. I have brewed some real tasty beers, and a few that were not so good. Most have been in the middle. I am really enjoying learning as I go.

Now after 35 (+/-) batches I have never had any real problems. I try to take a lots of care to clean and sanitize my equipment. And I try to control my fermentation temps as I clearly recognize that beer fermented at proper temps is the kinda beer I want to drink .

But all of a sudden its like I have hit the wall. In all my batches (including back to my extract days) I never had a problem getting yeast going. I have a batch that I brewed last week, and I pitched some washed American Blend Ale yeast as I have done a dozen times. No activity after 4 days. So I made a new starter on Saturday, pitched Sunday midday, and still no activity. Ferment for goodness sake, I just want to see some fermentation!!!

And then I have a keg of IPA that I brewed June 1, kegged on/about June 21, and tapped it over the weekend when my house IPA ran dry. It's cloudy as hell, and not just a chill haze, but cloudy where I can't see through it. It's NOT soupy, and it doesn't taste all that bad, but frankly its so heavily hopped that I am not sure I would taste an off flavor anyway. Where is my clear beer??? I can deal with a chill haze, but what is going on here????

Oh, and I'll mention the 10 gallon batch of IPA that is in the pipeline. I racked both batches to secondary last week becuase I needed the space in primary and neither batch is even close to clear after 3 full weeks. Yes, they are heavily hopped, but I am used to seeing more clarity by now. Two different yeasts were used, and I don't think either is bad. Both yeast starters smelled fine, and the fermented as normal. FG tells me they are done at about 1.014. But I am now panicked that I will not have enough drinkable IPA in the pipeline for the all important Summer beer drinking season. !

Have I lost my ability to make clear, good tasting beer?? What the heck is going on?? I feel like a newbie all over again .

I know, I know.....RDWHAHB....I am really good at the HAHB part of that, it's the RDW that I have struggle with .

Alan

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Old 07-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #2
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have you taken a hydro sample to see if it is fermenting?

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Old 07-11-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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Did you buy the yeast from the same source? Its hot right now and shipped yeast can die easily in the back of a UPS / FEDEX truck (at least in the south here it will)


Another thing is to check your fermentation temperature controller if you use one. Use a second thermometer to be sure you are not storing or fermenting your beer colder than you think.

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Old 07-11-2011, 07:54 PM   #4
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Yeast was washed from a batch that finished just days earlier. I took a hydro reading and indeed there was NO fermentation in those first 4 days. I am VERY hopeful that I get home from work today and it is happily bubbling away after I added the new starter yesterday. I know the starter was good, so I am sure it will be fine. Just not thrilled that it sat there for 4 days doing nothing, and why on Earth that washed yeast didn't take off....

Beer is in my basement and at this time of year it's pretty steady at 66-68....a little warm, but definitely not too cold.

Thanks for the ideas.

Alan

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Old 07-11-2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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Have you checked your water? I know from time to time water companies will change there dosing regimens up if they are trying to kill off something or performing regular maintenance. Just a thought, hang in there.

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Old 07-11-2011, 07:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbey View Post
Yeast was washed from a batch that finished just days earlier. I took a hydro reading and indeed there was NO fermentation in those first 4 days. I am VERY hopeful that I get home from work today and it is happily bubbling away after I added the new starter yesterday. I know the starter was good, so I am sure it will be fine. Just not thrilled that it sat there for 4 days doing nothing, and why on Earth that washed yeast didn't take off....

Beer is in my basement and at this time of year it's pretty steady at 66-68....a little warm, but definitely not too cold.

Thanks for the ideas.

Alan
Did you wash it with tap water or did you used distilled? My only guess at why it didn't take off would be IF you used tap water maybe the Chlorine/Chloramine which ever your water treatment plant uses killed the yeast, as i said this is just a guess.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:30 PM   #7
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Are these in Carboys? So you can see there is no yeast activity. Or are you only using the bubbling air lock as the indication. If so, may be the air lock is not on fully or you bucket lid has a leak.

Second, as for the haze. if you are washing your yeast there is a chance you are selecting for the less flocculante yeast in your procedure. How many washes did you do before you pitched it in to that IPA?

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