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Old 02-09-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
puckjer
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Default weird fermentation

guys, i brewed the recipe below and had an interesting issue last night when i went to rack to the secondary fermenter. when i opened my primary there was this thick Mucus like yeast structure on top of the beer. i have brewed at least 30 batches and have never seen this before. it smelled of yeast and was super thick and sticky. i took my hydrometer and pushed it through to check the gravity and it was at 1.020. this beer has been in the fermenter for 10 days. i had a strong fermentation for the first 5 days and the bubbling in the airlock ceased after 7 days. the picture below shows what i saw. i went ahead and racked the beer to the secondary and will let it sit for at least 2 more weeks before i keg. do you guys have any idea what this sticky yeasty substance was? had it been during active fermentation i would have assumed it was Krueson. weird.



Style: Trappist Style Ale
Sugars:
Amount Type
2 lbs. Wheat Malt Extract
6 lbs. Dark Malt Extract
1 lb Amber Belgian Candi Sugar

Grains:
Amount Type
1 lb. Cara-Vienne Malt
1 lb. Cara-Munich Malt

Hops:
Amount Type
1/2 oz. German Northern Brewers (bittering)
1 oz. Hallertauer Hershbrucker (flavoring)


Yeast: White Labs WLP 530
Yeast nutrient (optional)
Starting Gravity: 1.064
Ending Gravity: 1.014



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Old 02-09-2012, 01:03 PM   #2
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Looks like krausen that hadn't fallen yet. 10 days it may still be fermenting especially with that Belgian yeast. I have had many of my Belgians take a long time to finish and or for the krausen to fall. It also had looked that way as well.



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Old 02-09-2012, 01:04 PM   #3
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Had almost that exact same thing on my last beer. It was probably 3 weeks or so in the primary at that point. I just sealed it back up and came back in a week. When I opened a week later, it had all settled out. It was a yeast I hadn't used before, so I just chalked it up to a different fermentation.

BTW, the beer that this happened to tastes great.

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Old 02-09-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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i have used this yeast before on a similar style beer and used a starter this time just like had previously with it. does it matter that i went ahead and racked it to the secondary since the gravity was pretty close to the recommended FG of 1.016? i measured it at 1.020 and i hit OG of 1.064 on the dot.

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Old 02-09-2012, 02:50 PM   #5
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Belgian yeasts can take some time to finish. 10 days is probably way to early to rack it to a secondary. Let the yeast do its thing for a couple more weeks at least. I brew a lot of Belgians and I have learned to just let them sit for about six weeks before even looking at them.

There is a good quote that is in Brew Like a Monk. " Let the fermentation finish, perhaps at a higher temperature. I can take as long to get the last few points of attenuation as it did for the first 80%"

You cannot rush Belgians. The only overcarbed beer I have had was one of the first Belgians that I did. I thought it was done because it was close to predicted FG but a couple of points high. I bottled it and it ended up finishing a couple more points so the bottles were way overcarbed.

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Old 02-09-2012, 02:59 PM   #6
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well i have already racked it so there is no going back so i guess i will just wait and see. im not worried about overcarbing since i will be kegging this one. so if i missed FG by 0.004 how much will that really affect the taste of the beer? im still going to let it sit in the secondary for quite a while before i cold crash it and rack to the keg. if it wasnt truely done fermenting i would think there would be enough yeast that got racked over to the secondary, as i was not super careful about that, that would keep it going.

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Old 02-09-2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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It shouldn't affect the flavor. You will probably see some yeast build up on the surface again as fermentation kicks back up a notch because of a bit of oxygen introduced during the transfer process and the fact the beer is not at the final gravity yet. I've transferred beers accidentally before primary fermentation was done with no ill effects other than the beer needing to spend a few extra days in the secondary before it was fully clear.

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Old 06-20-2012, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beergolf View Post
Belgian yeasts can take some time to finish. 10 days is probably way to early to rack it to a secondary. Let the yeast do its thing for a couple more weeks at least. I brew a lot of Belgians and I have learned to just let them sit for about six weeks before even looking at them.
I am learning the same thing right now. I've got a belgian tripel fermenting. I put it in primary and it took off. About two weeks later it slowed down, and the yeast starting settling out. I was gettin' ready to rack it secondary. I read on here and heard it on "brew like a monk" on beersmith that maybe you should raise the temp a little to finish it out. I did and it took off again. It's been a little over five weeks now and it's starting to clear up again. I'm glad I didn't rack it before.

Now I'm debating on whether I should rack it to secondary at all now. I know this is the most over discussed topic on here, so let's not go too far into it, but every Belgian I've ever had was cloudy. I've heard that's the way to serve it traditionally anyways. What's the use in even using it if your beer's gonna be cloudy anyways?

Do you typically use a secondary with Belgian's?
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:20 PM   #9
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I go back and forth about secondaries. In regards to Belgian beers, I like to use one for a tripel to get it extra clear. I know that you could just leave it in the primary and the yeast/trub should just compact, but when racking to a bottling bucket sometimes that stuff gets stirred up and ends up in the bottles. I like to secondary my tripel for 3-5 weeks at 45F to clear the yeast and age a little. Then when I rack to my bottling bucket it is super clear. Sometimes I add yeast at bottling to help speed up carbing, but I make sure to choose a flocculent strain.

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Old 06-20-2012, 11:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by slarkin712 View Post
I go back and forth about secondaries. In regards to Belgian beers, I like to use one for a tripel to get it extra clear. I know that you could just leave it in the primary and the yeast/trub should just compact, but when racking to a bottling bucket sometimes that stuff gets stirred up and ends up in the bottles. I like to secondary my tripel for 3-5 weeks at 45F to clear the yeast and age a little. Then when I rack to my bottling bucket it is super clear. Sometimes I add yeast at bottling to help speed up carbing, but I make sure to choose a flocculent strain.
Good ideas. I was wondering about the same thing, it getting stirred up, because the yeast cake looks thicker than usual with this one. I sure would like to secondary at 45 for a little while, but I just don't have the facilities to do it. I would like to avoid having to add yeast to bottle. Not sure why. Probly just cause I've never done it before. I'm just trying to keep fermentation under three or four months. From what I've read, this should ensure the yeast is healthy enough to carb up nice. I plan on carbing this Tripel pretty high too; to about 2.9 vols. I plan on using almost 6 oz of priming sugar for a 5 gallon batch. What do you normally do? You think this would work?

Check out these pics of the Tripel fermenting. Have you ever seen this with your Belgian Tripel batchs?
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/why-does-my-yeast-look-like-its-layered-336654/


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