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Old 10-22-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
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Default S-04 got me buggin...

Brewed an oatmeal stout and used S-04 for the first time. I usually use Wyeast for British strains, but decided to try it. Pitched at 65, fermented at 66-67 for a day and then the temp took off on it's own up to 71F or so. This in my basement which is 63F ambient.

The aroma from the airlock is SUPER estery now as it's finishing up. Is this normal for this strain? I like some esters in my British ales but this smells like fruity nail polish remover. Hopefully I'm just 'noid and this is how this yeast smells as it's flocking out.

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Old 10-22-2009, 01:49 PM   #2
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Here's this is an old post of mine...but the message is the same for you;

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The thing to remember though is that if you are smelling this during fermentation not to worry. During fermentation all manner of stinky stuff is given off (ask lager brewers about rotten egg/sulphur smells, or Apfelwein makers about "rhino farts,") like we often say, fermentation is often ugly AND stinky and PERFECTLY NORMAL.

It's really only down the line, AFTER the beer has been fermented (and often after it has bottle conditioned even,) when you should consider using this or the off flavor charts to diagnose the beer.

I think too many new brewers focus to much on this stuff too early in the beer's journey. And they panic unnecessarily.

A lot of the stuff you smell/taste initially more than likely ends up disappearing either during a long primary/primary & secondary combo, Diacetyl rests and even during bottle conditioning.

If I find a flavor/smell, I usually wait til it's been in the bottle 6 weeks before I try to "diagnose" what went wrong, that way I am sure the beer has passed any window of greenness.

As good as this info is, taken out of its proper context (meaning fully matured, carbed and conditioned beers) these threads/lists often produce the new brewer's version of hypochondria.

Fementation is often ugly, smelly and crappy tasting in the beginning and perfectly normal. The various conditioning phases, be it long primary, secondarying, D-rests, bottle conditioning, AND LAGERING, are all part of the process where the yeast, and co2 correct a lot of the normal production of the byproducts of fermentation.

Lagering is a prime example of this. Lager yeast are prone to the production of a lot of byproducts, the most familiar one is sulphur compounds (rhino farts) but in the dark cold of the lagering process, which is at the minimum of a month (I think many homebrewers don't lager long enough) the yeast slowly consumes all those compounds which results in extremely clean tasting beers if done skillfully.

Ales have their own version of this, but it's all the same.

If you are sampling your beer before you have passed a 'window of greeness" which my experience is about 3-6 weeks in the bottle, then you are more than likely just experiencing an "off flavor" due to the presence of those byproducts (that's what we mean when we say the beer is "green" it's still young and unconditioned.) but once the process is done, over 90% of the time the flavors/smells are gone.

Of the remaining 10%, half of those may still be salvageable through the long time storage that I mention in the Never dump your beer!!! Patience IS a virtue!!! Time heals all things, even beer!:

And the remaining 50% of the last 10% are where these tables and lists come into play. To understand what you did wrong, so you can avoid it in the future.

The thing is, you can't really do anything to the batch you have, you can only learn from your mistakes by looking at those charts, to know what to do next time.. If it says for example that "x off flavor is a result of high fermentation temps" then you no know for the next batch with that yeast, or all batches that you need to do something to control the temps where you ferment, be it a fridge, or a swamp cooler. If it say "y flavor is a result of an infection." Then you know that you have a sanitization issue that needs to be addressed.

But you can't really do anything to the batch you have. Except perhaps long term aging to see if it will clear, OR consuming fast if it is an infection, or dumping.

So honestly, there's no point in even dragging out these charts in mid stream. As I say often, your beer has a huge journey to go through from grain to glass, and a lot of changes are going to happen.

Long story short....I betcha that "paint thinner" smell will be long gone when the beer is carbed and conditioned.
In other words rdwhahb,
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Revvy. Almost two years in and dozens of batches and I'm still a nervous n00b. I like to get a sense of how a yeast strain ferments before I use it, to know where I'm at.

It never ceases to amaze me how differently various yeast strains behave.

I was pondering this as I watched this S-04 raise a krausen in about four hours, practically spray vodka out of the airlock for 24 hrs., then drop like a rock in two hours and make my carboy look like a swirling bowl of muddy cottage cheese. Crazy stuff.

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:05 PM   #4
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Just wait until you rack off of it. In my experience, it falls so well that the cake is nearly a solid piece. I can rest the autosiphon on the cake without picking up much trub at all.

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by smizak View Post
Thanks Revvy. Almost two years in and dozens of batches and I'm still a nervous n00b. I like to get a sense of how a yeast strain ferments before I use it, to know where I'm at.

It never ceases to amaze me how differently various yeast strains behave.

I was pondering this as I watched this S-04 raise a krausen in about four hours, practically spray vodka out of the airlock for 24 hrs., then drop like a rock in two hours and make my carboy look like a swirling bowl of muddy cottage cheese. Crazy stuff.
Sometimes I think I'm the only one on this planet, this site, or the entire hobby that doesn't worry about anything in brewing......

I guess since nothing pathogeninc can live in beer, I don't see anything to stress about.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:17 PM   #6
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Sometimes I think I'm the only one on this planet, this site, or the entire hobby that doesn't worry about anything in brewing......

I guess since nothing pathogeninc can live in beer, I don't see anything to stress about.
What I'm worried about is having to sit through another mind-numbing, slight trickle, two hour sparge again to get this stout right. Damn oatmeal.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:33 PM   #7
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What I'm worried about is having to sit through another mind-numbing, slight trickle, two hour sparge again to get this stout right. Damn oatmeal.
Rice Hulls????
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:40 PM   #8
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Rice Hulls????
Yep. I posted about it in the recipe/ingredient thread. The oatmeal dissolved into a mud-like substance and would rise to the top of the grain bed after it settled and form an almost water tight seal. I stirred like a freakin Cuisinart and I could not get it to stay dispersed in the grist. It would drain well for a minute then the oat-mud layer would setup and the sparge would slow to a trickle.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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I'm pretty laid back, but the first time S-04 gave me BROWN layers in the krausen, I thought "uh oh." Fortunately, it smelled fine,and tasted great later in the bottle

And +1 on the tight trub. I press down a little to sink the bottom of my auto siphon into the cake and it barely stirs up at all.

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Old 10-23-2009, 07:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Sometimes I think I'm the only one on this planet, this site, or the entire hobby that doesn't worry about anything in brewing......

I guess since nothing pathogeninc can live in beer, I don't see anything to stress about.

Ohh ya .... I stress out that I am going to run out of beer and then I can't RDWHAHB then what in Gods name will I do?! Feel like the guy on the old Dunkin Donuts commercial "Time to make the Beer"






















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