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Old 09-14-2011, 07:27 AM   #1
mfvreeland
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Default Wyeast 1318 (London Ale III): Advice Needed

So here's the story. I'm currently fermenting a basic porter using Wyeast 1318. I didn't really know what this meant before I started this beer, but apparently Wyeast 1318 is a "true top-cropping yeast strain." Evidently, this means that the initial fermentation will be intense (using a 6.5-gallon carboy and no starter, I still required a blow-off hose), and the krausen, once established, will pretty much never fall to the bottom on its own. In a way, I'm relieved. At first I thought I must have done something wrong when I noticed the krausen not subsiding at all after a week in the primary (even though primary fermentation had clearly slowed way down), but then I read that this yeast strain is known for this behavior. Phew. However, now I don't know how to proceed; I've found different advice from different places. So, given the following options, what do you guys think I should do?

A. Regularly agitate the beer for the remainder of fermentation. One source I've found explains that true top-croppers need to have their krausen nudged back into the beer in order for fermentation to complete properly.

B. Just leave it alone for now and rack from underneath the krausen layer after fermentation has stopped (as indicated by hydrometer readings). I guess I could do this, but then I'd be worried about mixing the krausen into my finished product. Would this be a risk factor?

Thanks in advance for any input you guys can offer, and let this post be a warning for future London Ale III users.

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Old 09-14-2011, 02:10 PM   #2
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I haven't had to rouse 1318 to have it complete, but the 5 or so times I used it, it was with low gravity bitters (1.045 and below) so it didn't need rousing to finish. I wouldn't remix the crust that forms after 10-12 days back into the beer either if you have been open fermenting because it might form chunks.

When it comes bottling time, I just take a spoon and throw away the crust and then rack.

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Old 09-14-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input jfr1111. My beer is also pretty low gravity (1.045 OG), but I am not using an open fermenter. I'm using a standard carboy-and-airlock setup, and I don't believe I could get a spoon in there. I would like to just leave the beer alone and rack as normal when it comes time to do so, but how do I rack when there's still a relatively thick krausen layer on top?

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Old 09-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Just rack from underneath then. You lose a bit more beer this way, but it's really not a problem.

I've had 1318 form a crust that stayed on top of the beer for 5 weeks after fermentation was done (law school got in the way of bottling that one...). I ended up feeding the lawn with the beer because I didn't have time to bottle it before moving and it had gotten pretty lifeless from sitting on the cake so long, but it's just a testament to how long that yeast can stick around on top.

That beer was brilliantly clear though.

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Old 09-14-2011, 04:17 PM   #5
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I would rack from underneath, if it doesn't drop in a couple weeks, and bottle.

The crap that's stuck to the top of your fermentor is full of excess hop resins , if you swirl that in too, you'll probably get some astringency in your finished product.

From How to Brew:

Quote:
The brown scum that forms during fermentation and clings to the side of the fermentor is intensely bitter and if it is stirred back into the beer it will cause very astringent tastes. The scum should be removed from the beer, either by letting it cling undisturbed to the sides of an oversize fermentor, or by skimming it off the krausen, or blowing off the krausen itself from a 5 gallon carboy.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braufguss View Post
I would rack from underneath, if it doesn't drop in a couple weeks, and bottle.

The crap that's stuck to the top of your fermentor is full of excess hop resins , if you swirl that in too, you'll probably get some astringency in your finished product.
I don't think OP is talking about the krausen deposits that form on the side of the fermentation vessel. That stuff is nasty. What he is talking about is the pure yeast that top cropping strains throw on top of the beer. It's quite freaky really, and you do have to mix that back in during the first days of fermentation with some strains because the yeasts just want to chill on top surface of the wort and will not attenuate properly. Hence the "crust" terminology. It has the consistency of peanut butter.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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I just brewed a porter with the same yeast and it is tasty... I always crash cool before transfering. I decide to crash cool when the fermentation has gone as far as I want it to go. If you pitched a healthy quantity of yeast you may be able to over ferment your beer and it will end up way too dry. Just monitor your fermentation and crash cool when you get to your desired gravity. This method works for me everytime... I wouldn't agitate the yeast too much. Just let them do their thing and then kill the temp on them and they will fall out of suspension in a few days. If you are not okay with aseptic techniques I wouldn't knock the krausen back any, just let it be.

Good luck man

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Old 09-15-2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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just make sure that it's finished (or close to it) when you rack. when I used that yeast, it took some time to finish

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Old 09-16-2011, 02:09 AM   #9
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I've also got a porter going with the London III. It's been 2 weeks in the primary and there's still a thick krausen. I figured I'd just rack from underneath if it is still there in a week's time.

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Old 09-16-2011, 05:21 PM   #10
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Gravity readings, my friends, gravity readings!!! Then and only then will your beer be done. On top of that, you should crash cool before you rack. If you are trying to hit 1.016 and you rack and 1.016 with out crashing, there will stil be residual yeast in there and they will reduce your gravity past your target point.

There is nothing wrong with a 3 day fermentation that conditions for 27 more days. You really don't even have to rack to a secondary. Just crash cool once you have hit your final gravity.

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