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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > English Bitter Gone Bad
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:49 AM   #1
binaryc0de
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Default English Bitter Gone Bad

I’ve come across something odd with this particular brew. It is still very young (2 weeks in Primary and 1 week dry hopped in secondary) and I am considering dumping it. I know… I know! Never dump beer… It could get better with age. Knowing this I probably won’t completely dump it even if I dump any of it (just running out of storage room). Here’s the history…

Brew day went great, hit all the numbers, decent eff. and every thing (OG was 1.059 and I used Wyeast Thames Valley II). I didn’t check the date on the Wyeast package and since I wasn’t at real high gravity I just smacked the pack and pitched the yeast to well oxygen diffused (30 mins with aquarium pump and diffuser stone) well cooled wort. It was kept in my fermentation chamber at 63*F while I went on a 3 day vacation. When I came home no signs of fermentation (hydrometer confirmed). Figured weak yeast and probably should have made a starter. RDWHAHB… So I raised the temperature a few degrees to 67*F and next day (although slow) I had active fermentation. It’s been about 3 weeks and fermentation is complete (FG 1.017) but even after dropping the temperature to 45*F for a week the beer is still very cloudy and will not clear. Further more the beer taste watery (light), a little yeasty, and just overall not good (not typically how it should taste at this stage) but very similar to a lighter very young lager before it has finished the lagering phase even though this is an ale. So that said I know it’s not an infected batch but probably the results of stressed out yeast. My question is not about the taste but rather why the haze? Can this be due to stressed yeast as well? There is nothing in the recipe I used that would, under normal circumstances, contribute to the haze. The mash was kept at 154*F and 170*F for batch sparge.

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Old 05-30-2011, 12:55 AM   #2
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By the way you can see a detailed log of the brew day here: http://torrencebrewing.blogspot.com/...al-bitter.html

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:25 AM   #3
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Sounds like your clarity and flavor problems are from an underpitch. I've had stressed batches stay cloudy even with weeks of refridgeration - namely with wy1469. If I were you, I'd put the beer in a keg and let it sit at room temp to condition a bit and then put it somewhere cold to try and clear it up. It may clear up in a few weeks, a month, or never. Though, if it tastes like crap now, it probably won't get much better.

Also, even though I am a firm believer in pitching low and bringing the beer up to ferment temp (68F), a low pitch temp with a low yeast count will often slow things up considerably. If you don't make a starter, I'd suggest pitching closer to ferment temps.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:26 AM   #4
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Rack it to a secondary carboy, let it sit for a few weeks at room temp. It will clear, if you want to get extreme add some isenglas.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:35 AM   #5
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Interesting........I can't spot the culprit here either. I've only used WY1968 for my ESB, so I'm not familiar with the Thames Valley, but maybe it's just a low flocculating yeast?

I'm no yeast expert, but it seems you got good attenuation. I wouldn't think stressed yeast would attenuate well.

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Old 05-30-2011, 03:39 AM   #6
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Well I didn't get good attenuation at first. It stuck at 1.020 but I gave it a slight stir to get the yeast back in suspension and let warm up to about 70*F and it finished down to 1.017 before stopping. I've had a lager that preformed similar to this (also stressed yeast) and it never got better even a year later. So I'll probably keg it set it aside for a month or two and see if it gets better and if not just dump it.

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Old 05-30-2011, 04:17 AM   #7
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dumping a whole batch over cloudy beer????? While I applaud some of you guys for your pursuit of perfection, this may have gone too far.

All kidding aside, I'd say keg and let it sit and see what happens, but it would be horrible to dump a batch before its tasted when its ready. My .02 anyway.

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Old 05-30-2011, 04:35 AM   #8
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I'm no yeast expert by any means, but it does sound like under pitching may have stressed out the yeast a bit. You hit the low end of the attenuation range of that yeast at just under 72%. I just bottled a batch of Best Bitter that was brewed with 1882 and I hit 78% apparent attenuation having fermented @62-64ºF. When I bottled at 62ºF, my beer was clear as day. It's certainly not the strain per se, but maybe it just doesn't react well to being stressed from under pitching.

I say keg it and see if prolonged exposure to cold temps changes it at all. If you don't immediately need the room, there's no rush to dump it by any means. If you are still unpleased after a few weeks, then you can make the unholy, heathen decision to dump your beer.

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