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Old 05-07-2012, 03:32 PM   #1
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Default Same beer, two carboys, drastically different colors - Explanations?

Reposting from my thread over on BeerAdvocate. Hopefully this is in the right section...

Maibock - 10 gallons
Brewed 1/22 - brewed together in one vessel
Secondary for lagering 2/26 - split in two carboys
Kegged 5/6/2012

15 lbs. Pilsen
10 lbs. Pale Ale
1 lb. Carahell

Single infusion - 152

2 oz. Perle (60)
2 oz. Hersbrucker (60)
2 oz. Hersbrucker (15)

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager

OG 1070
FG 1014

Notes - We did have some mash temp problems (heating element/recirculating failure) and to raise the temp up we did some what of an impromptu decoct, removing grain and boiling - the mash tun was too full to add water. We did wind up hitting the temp, but I assume it mashed at a lower temp longer.

All 10 gallons was fermented together in a converted half keg and then split into two carboys for lagering. It was finally time to keg yesterday, and this is what we found -




Yes, same beer. And they taste pretty much the same, except - and maybe this is in my head - for a slight twang I can't place at the moment, with the cloudy one having it more so. Of course, in a tasting glass, they are closer in color but the cloudiness is still aparent. The darker one on the left was basically crystal clear, while the other looked more like some sort of hefe with it's cloudiness.

These have been sitting for like 3 months lagering. We kegged anyway.

Suspended yeast came to mind - or some sort of chill haze. But why one and not the other - especially after nearly 3 months? Like I said they did not ferment separately, just lagered separately. It was all one batch fermented together in one vessel.

I was not there for the transfer from primary to secondary but could a scenario were the beer that was split into the two carboys had some sort of difference from the top to the bottom? So for instance, the first carboy filled would be drawing directly from the bottom, while the second would be drawing from what was left which was originally on the top.

Side Note - Earlier that day, I had also unhooked the temperature probe (for brewing) from the freezer and plugged the freezer back in - which was dropping to freezing temperatures until we racked later that day.

Anybody know what's going on here?

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Old 05-07-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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Without tasting (and with your comment about a slight "twang"), I would guess infection. A friend had the same thing happen with a 10 gallon batch of a wit he brewed. One was super light and clear, the other got pretty dark. Flavor-wise there wasn't a ton of difference in taste at the beginning, but it got really bad over time.

Translation, drink the dark one first if it tastes fine.

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Old 05-07-2012, 03:55 PM   #3
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The one on the right just looks to have more yeast and trub in suspension. Was that the 2nd half of the 10 gallons?

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Old 05-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #4
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This is actually the opposite though...

The dark one on the left is nice and clear and in the tasting glass was about the shade I would expect for this Maibock. The one on the right is very cloudy. It really seems like suspended yeast.

I couldn't put my finger on the twang - but my major comment was that it didn't taste like it did last year... but then I checked my notes and saw that we actually used Budvar wyeast last year.

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Old 05-07-2012, 04:02 PM   #5
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Fine the cloudy one in the keg with some gelatin. Give it time to clear and then taste it. If it still tastes funky then you have an infection issue.

It would be REALLY unusual for two beers with the same yeast to behave that differently, but it can happen. After all, you are dealing with a living organism and living things can be unpredictable at times

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Old 05-07-2012, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cshamilton View Post
The one on the right just looks to have more yeast and trub in suspension. Was that the 2nd half of the 10 gallons?
This I don't know. I wasn't there for the transfer... I'll ask my friend, but I doubt he would remember that far back which was which.

What I do know is last year we used Wyeast 2000 Budvar, which is med-high flocculation... This year we subbed 2124 Bohemian Lager which is med-low. So maybe it was the second half and there was still a lot in suspension - but even after almost 3 months of lagering still suspended?
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdK View Post
This I don't know. I wasn't there for the transfer... I'll ask my friend, but I doubt he would remember that far back which was which.

What I do know is last year we used Wyeast 2000 Budvar, which is med-high flocculation... This year we subbed 2124 Bohemian Lager which is med-low. So maybe it was the second half and there was still a lot in suspension - but even after almost 3 months of lagering still suspended?
No, I wouldn't think so. This points to an infection process.

I'd do what wailinguitar suggested- fine it with gelatin, let it sit to clear at lagering temps, then rack. Once it's clear, you'll have a better indication if the beer is infected, or if it was just non-flocculant yeast. I'm leaning towards infection, because after three months of lagering, ANY yeast strain should be pretty well dormant and at the bottom of the fermenter like in the one carboy.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wailingguitar View Post
Fine the cloudy one in the keg with some gelatin. Give it time to clear and then taste it. If it still tastes funky then you have an infection issue.

It would be REALLY unusual for two beers with the same yeast to behave that differently, but it can happen. After all, you are dealing with a living organism and living things can be unpredictable at times
Not only two beers with the same yeast, but really just ONE beer fermented all together and split into two different carboys for lagering.

It was definitely the first time we have ever seen something like this happen so I figured it was worth getting some opinions.

Thanks for the feedback thus far.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:56 PM   #9
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Thanks Yooper - we're going to give the gelatin fining a go and see what happens. If it is an infection and the other is totally fine, I suppose the most likely culprit is the carboy as the same racking cane was used for both.

Just wondering, it's typically much less likely to get an infection AFTER primary, considering the yeast have done their job and the environment is quite volatile by then, correct?

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Old 05-08-2012, 12:48 AM   #10
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Thanks Yooper - we're going to give the gelatin fining a go and see what happens. If it is an infection and the other is totally fine, I suppose the most likely culprit is the carboy as the same racking cane was used for both.

Just wondering, it's typically much less likely to get an infection AFTER primary, considering the yeast have done their job and the environment is quite volatile by then, correct?
That would be my gut instinct- but infections (like pedio) happen in fermented beer so I wouldn't say that an infection is less likely when it comes right down to it.
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