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mattch1 01-21-2013 05:16 PM

Accidentally sterilized beer before carbonation....?
 
Hi guys!
So I made a Baltic Porter kit with the intention of adding 1lb coconut to the secondary to make a Coconut Porter clone. Everything went fine - fermented down to 1.020 (5.7% ABV). It was bubbling once every 8 mins or so and I racked it to a secondary. I added the coconut 3 days ago and since then there has been no fermentation whatsoever. I checked the ingredients (why didn't I look before I added, I know!?!?!?) and the coconut had Sodium metabisulfate to "preserve color". Uh oh. Good news is that right now the beer tastes great!

So my questions is this: Now that the Sulfur has dissipated, do I need to add more yeast back to ensure that all the available sugars have been fermented to prevent spoilage? Or will the 5.7% alcohol prevent growth of 'those that shall not be mentioned'?
Also, if I assume that the sodium metabisulfate sterilized the beer, how will I carbonate unless I add more yeast back? Thanks for your help, I hope there is hope!

broadbill 01-21-2013 05:22 PM

If I were to guess, I would say the meta killed off the yeast. I would also guess that if you were to add more yeast they would be killed off as well. I am not aware to meta dissipating, I think when its in "its in". Somebody pls. correct me if I'm wrong.

DonLiguori 01-21-2013 05:37 PM

Sounds like a problem I had, only on a much smaller and not nearly as dangerous of a scale. Your beer will be fine, any fermentable sugars left will still be available to be consumed in the bottle. The metabisulfate isn't nearly high enough concentration to prevent any more fermentation by the yeast, so no worries. Check the SG again to ensure that there has not been anymore fermentation, than adjust your priming sugar to compensate for any residual sugars. Good luck on the finished product!

mattch1 01-21-2013 05:50 PM

Broadbill - I understood that Sodium metabisulfite in solution forms sulfur dioxide gas which inhibits yeast growth and sanitizes. I've read that the gas dissipates after about 24 hours. Correct me if I'm wrong too!

DonLiguori - Thanks for the advice! I was wondering if the concentration of Sodium metabisulfite preservative was enough to stop the fermentation or if the yeast was just stunned or halted after racking to the secondary. It hasn't bubbled in about 3 days now. I will check the SG again, but how do I adjust the priming sugar to compensate for residual sugars? Never done that before. Is there any way to check if the yeast in the beer is still viable? Thanks!

mattch1 01-21-2013 05:55 PM

Deleted this post. Accidentally hit submit twice :-(.

DonLiguori 01-21-2013 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattch1 (Post 4809683)
I was wondering if the concentration of Sodium metabisulfite preservative was enough to stop the fermentation or if the yeast was just stunned or halted after racking to the secondary.

Definitely not enough to kill the yeast. Some yeast may have been effected, but you always have to consider the loss of CO2 pressure when transferring to secondary. The CO2 build up was released, and through the transfer you also allowed the CO2 in solution to come out. This relieves some pressure on the yeast but also allows them to ferment and build that pressure back up without you ever seeing a single bubble escape! Since you didn't have a lot of fermentables left, its possible the fermentation continued and settled without any pressure release. This is especially true if you rack to a secondary that is in a cooler place: the cooler the wort/beer, the more dissolved gasses it can hold.
Quote:

Originally Posted by mattch1 (Post 4809683)
I will check the SG again, but how do I adjust the priming sugar to compensate for residual sugars?

There isn't an easy method without access to a lab, so you'll have to back-of-an-envelope calculate this one out. You can find your estimated unfermented sugar by taking the difference in gravity between what it is now and your projected FG. This won't be exact, and the coconut addition will introduce new oils, sugars, and other macromolecules into the mix to convolute the estimated SG. Use any online gravity calculator to estimate the amount of sugars you still have in solution and subtract that from your priming sugar total. Worst case scenario, you have undercarbed coconut porter, but you also don't have shattered glass and a lost batch of beer.

Good luck, let us know how it turns out!

ODI3 02-27-2013 11:33 PM

You can bring it to a brew on premises and they will carbonate and bottle it for you for a few bux, or if you have a keg u can force carbonate it.

kanzimonson 02-28-2013 02:07 AM

Here's an idea to see if the yeast are dead: rack a pint into a sanitized jar, pour in a solution of boiled DME, and if it starts fermenting within a day then you're good.

Toga 02-28-2013 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kanzimonson (Post 4953317)
Here's an idea to see if the yeast are dead: rack a pint into a sanitized jar, pour in a solution of boiled DME, and if it starts fermenting within a day then you're good.

Good idea. You can even add just sugar.

mattch1 02-28-2013 11:12 PM

Hi guys, thanks a lot for all your advice! I took DonLiguori's advice and went ahead and primed and bottled. I used a small plastic disposable water bottle and squeezed in the sides before I resealed it and it is now bulging out at the seams, so it is carbonating well! Its been bottled for about 2 weeks now. Gonna wait one more week and test it out! Thanks again!


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