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Old 08-28-2006, 11:04 PM   #1
gonzoflick
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Default Fermentation question

I have been brewing an American Pale and after one week I racked to secondary. Its been in there now for two weeks and I just took a sample with my theif. Couple of observations

1) The beer still tastes slightly sweet, like it isnt completely done fermenting.
2) The beer was carbonated! I swear my sample in the theif had a full inch of head on it.
3) The SG reading was 1.02

So I was fermenting this in a bucket with a jug of ice (in rotation) the whole time and I guess my average temp was 65-70 degrees. I guess this is a little cool so maybe its not done fermenting?? But why is the beer carbonated or was I just seeing things in the theif? I have since moved the carboy to my shelf and am letting it come back to room temp (about 75 degrees). Will this help?

Any suggestions would be appriciated as I do not want ANOTHER sweet tasting batch of homebrew

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Old 08-28-2006, 11:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzoflick
I have been brewing an American Pale and after one week I racked to secondary. Its been in there now for two weeks and I just took a sample with my theif. Couple of observations

1) The beer still tastes slightly sweet, like it isnt completely done fermenting.
2) The beer was carbonated! I swear my sample in the theif had a full inch of head on it.
3) The SG reading was 1.02

So I was fermenting this in a bucket with a jug of ice (in rotation) the whole time and I guess my average temp was 65-70 degrees. I guess this is a little cool so maybe its not done fermenting?? But why is the beer carbonated or was I just seeing things in the theif?

Any suggestions would be appriciated as I do not want ANOTHER sweet tasting batch of homebrew
  • What was the OG before fermentation?
  • Why did you ICE it down...never heard of such a thing. It seems like icing it down would take the temp far below 65 degrees, but who knows.
  • Take it out of the ice...if there are still sugars to be fermented, then whatever yeast is in your secondary will take care of it, as long as it's not too cold.
  • Did you put an airlock on your secondary? It looks like you've been doing this long enough, from your sig, etc., that you wouldn't make a mistake like sealing up the secondary. Short of some kind of crazy infection or a very clogged airlock, I see no possible way that the natural fermentation could infuse the CO2 into the beer. That's like, breaking the laws of physics, man!
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:17 PM   #3
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Some CO2 stays in solution, even at fermentation temperatures. When you drew the sample, it de-gassed. Warmer for a couple days should help.

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Old 08-28-2006, 11:18 PM   #4
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By iced I just mean my new houses ambient temps are a little above recommended fermentation temps (i.e 75+ degrees). So i have a tub with about 4 inches of water and I place the carboy and ice jug (using regular gallong water jug) into tub to bring down temps.
Yes I am using an airlock. The OG was I believe 1.052

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Old 08-28-2006, 11:52 PM   #5
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You may have racked too soon off the primary. Did you take a hydrometer reading before you racked? What yeast did you pitch? Was it a starter and did you aerate the wort before pitching?

John

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Old 08-29-2006, 01:29 AM   #6
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Your temps were fine for ale yeast. I have my brews running in the mid 60's and I think they ferment better but they are slower. Warming it up might get it going again and spin the fermenter a little and try whatever yeasts are left to get working again. Good Luck

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Old 08-29-2006, 03:33 AM   #7
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I used american ale yeast and yes I did make a starter and aerate

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Old 08-29-2006, 04:28 AM   #8
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Gonzo,

The cooler you ferment, the longer it can take to finish primary fermentation... "Secondary" is really a misnomer... 99% of your fermentation should be done before you transfer to secondary and, in the mid-60's, that can mean longer than a week in primary on occation... I recommend always taking a SG reading and making sure it is stable over a couple of days before racking...

There are several other factors that could give you "another" sweet beer... some brands of malt extract are not as fermentable as other brands... as an example, Laaglander brand is only around 45% fermentable and will always leave a very high FG for any beer it is used in... also, using large amounts of crystal malt can leave a good bit of unfermentable sugars... if you do a partial or mini-mash, then high mash temps can also cause higher FGs... Some types of yeast also have lower attenuation, and that can be a factor as well...

If you don't mind, post your recipe (listing any brands, etc.) and we'll take a look and see what is to be seen... knowing that will give us some options on what can be done in the future anyway...

Warming the brew up to 75+ F at this stage is your best bet... with most of the fermentation done, you shouldn't get too many fusels or other off flavors and it will also help reduce any diacetyl that may have been produced (I warm all my beers for a day or so before I bottle, just to make sure)

HTH,

mikey

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Old 08-29-2006, 05:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responces. Here is the recipe I used

6.6 lbs. Light or Gold Liquid Malt Extract
1 lb. British Pale Grain (cracked)
¾ oz. Chinook Hops
1½ oz. Cascade Hops
1 pkg. Wyeast Liquid Yeast - American Ale

Mash all grains in 1 gal water at 158°F for 30 min. Sparge at 170°F to make 2 gal. Add malt & ¾ oz. Chinook. Boil for 60 min. adding ½ oz. Cascade at 30 minute mark (mid-point of boil) another ½ oz. at 50 minute mark & final ½ oz. after boil has stopped. Let sit for 10 min. (to allow for steeping). Strain into fermenter filled with 3 gal. ice cold water. Pitch yeast when cooled to 80°F or lower.
Yields 5 gal.

After one day at 75+ i see some yeasties on the surface, hopefully they will wake up enough to get the sweetness out and lower my FG.

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Old 08-29-2006, 05:43 PM   #10
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Do you think the sweetness might be the result of a little carmelization? 6.6 lbs. of LME in 2 gal of water is a pretty high concentration of sugar in the boil. I could be wrong. I've accidentally carmelized quite often, unfortunately. And in my experience, it leaves a sweetness behind that doesn't go away. Good luck with your brew.

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