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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Slow starting ferment help
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:58 PM   #1
CrookedChris
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Default Slow starting ferment help

Hey all,

I broke in my newly completed HERMS this Sunday by brewing Jamil's Koelsch. My OG was a little off (low) due to poor fly-sparging technique but otherwise all was well.

I whirl-pooled and cooled to ~58 deg F w/ my immersion chiller before oxegenating and pitching 2 tubes (no time for a starter) of White Labs German Ale / Koelsch Yeast purchased from a local shop w/ an expiration date of Feb 2010. The yeast was in a fridge at the local shop and in my fridge until about an hour or two before pitching.

I tossed the 6.5 gal carboy in a too-cold fermentation chamber (wasn't paying attention when I put it in there) where it sat a bit cold (~55ish deg F). I didn't check on it for 12 hours and when I did there wasn't really any sign of fermentation. It was at this point that I first noticed the temp was so low. Hoping to kick start the ferment I filled a couple gallon jugs with hot water, put them in the ferm chamber, and hit the beer with another blast of O2. Another 12 hours later the chamber was up to 61 deg C (my set-point) and there still wasn't much of anything going on, so I hit it with another shot of O2. About 36 hours from the pitch fermentation is finally going, albeit slowly.

I've never had a ferment crawl like this before but I've also never pitched an ale yeast this cold (as suggested by Jamil). I suspect it was just the low temps that got me off to a slow start. Thoughts?

My real questions are: Were my repeated blasts of O2 a good or bad idea? I know O2 late in ferment is bad but I figured these were OK because not much activity was happening. Besides a higher risk of contamination, what kind of faults in my beer can I expect from the slow start? Anything I could/should do at this give my beer the best shot of tasting it's best?

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Old 12-15-2009, 03:27 PM   #2
oceanselv
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Interestingly I brewed a Kolsch on Saturday. It cooled my wort to 65 and pitched a Wyeast 2565 liquid yeast. My fermentation chamber was set at 64 when placed my 6.5 gallon carboy inside. My fermentation also started a little slower compared to previous ales. I attributed to the temperature. being slightly lower than my desired 64. The actual temp was 58. However, within 12 hours of pitching I had a fairly active fermentation going and my temperature had risen to 64. I am not sure what the additions of oxygen are going to do if you did not inject it directly into the fermenting beer. Oxygen is lighter than air and will simply leak out of the fermentation lock instead of being absorbed into the beer. Perhaps your fermentation temperature was a bit low and it will just take a little longer to achieve an active fermentation. Ale yeast will ferment at lower temperatures. It will just be slower.

When you lager your kolsch, do you plan on lowering the temp in 5 degree increments like you would in a true lagering? Or will you crash cool down to 35 and simply hold it there? My LHBS suggested the latter as the Wyeast does not have much of a chance to develop diacetyl formation during the fermentation process.

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Old 12-15-2009, 05:26 PM   #3
CrookedChris
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ADMIN: Feel free to move this to the fermentation section. Might be more appropriate there.

Thanks for the comments. The O2 additions were made through a stone into the fermenting beer.

As far as my ferment schedule goes: I plan on letting it ferment out @ 61, then transferring it to a corny and dropping it to 55 for 1 week, and then dropping it to 32 for 4 weeks.

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