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Old 04-11-2012, 12:05 AM   #1
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Default 5th batch, first real problem

I ran into my first real problem today and I'm hoping I can get this one figured out.

On 3/25/2012, I brewed an extract batch of Northern Brewer's Dark Cherry Stout (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/d...tract-kit.html). Brew day went well, target OG was 1.053 and I hit it dead on. Clean and sanitized fermenter was waiting, filled 'er up, pitched one packet of Safale S-33 dry yeast (second time I pitched dry yeast directly on wort, usually rehydrated first). Fermentation was active within 12 hours at a temp of around 70F with kraused formed quickly. After active fermentation ceased on or around 3/28/2012, regular temps maintained around 66F.

Fast forward to today, I am prepping to rack this batch over 6 lbs of Vintner's Harvest Cherry Base (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/vh-cherry-base.html) and 4 oz cacao nibs (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/c...hana-4-oz.html). The cherries and nibs are contained in a big nylon bag so they aren't loose in the beer.

I pulled a sample with my wine thief and the SG reading is 1.030. I have no idea what the FG is supposed to be for this brew as the directions from NB don't say but I'd like to think it's supposed to be lower than that.

It's been racked to secondary over the cherries and cacao nibs so there's not much I can do now. I don't plan to bottle this one, it'll go to the keg. My first thought was to pitch another packet of yeast over it (rehydrated, of course) but that is really the only option that I can come up with other than RDWHAHB.

My second thought was to skip the secondary bucket and re-rack it to the keg with the bag of cherries and nibs and leave it in there for an extended time frame, maybe even pitch more yeast in there. Not worried about oxidizing it as my racking technique is good and I don't mind moving it is needed.

I'm a bit concerned because the fruit will add fermentable sugar to the brew so it will increase the gravity. There's basically ZERO headspace in my bucket and it fermentation takes off, I'll definitely need to go to the keg.

Thoughts? Advice?

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Old 04-11-2012, 12:59 AM   #2
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Attenuation numbers for S-33 are a little hard to find, and I've seen everything from 60-75%. That would put your target FG in the range of 1.013 to 1.021. S-33 also seems to have a reputation for sometimes being a slow fermenting strain, so you may have acted a bit early on the secondary transfer.

Since you've already racked it over, I'd be inclined to see what happens given the new sugars available in the cherries. You might prepare to rig a blow-off tube.

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Old 04-11-2012, 01:09 AM   #3
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Thanks... I'm actually going to have to take it to the keg, my bucket can't handle the volume I've got in it. I can put it in the keg, purge the O2 with CO2, hit it with 30psi to seal and see what it does over the next 3 or 4 weeks. Sounds like a good plan?

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Old 04-11-2012, 01:35 AM   #4
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Wait; so you added more sugars which you think might kick up the fermentation again and you are adding it to a sealed keg? This sounds like a bad idea to me. Am I missing something?

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:06 AM   #5
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Sounds like a bomb in the making. Starting at 30 psi and adding lots of new sugar.

Don't seal it.

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:22 AM   #6
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I had sealed it at 30 psi with a quick burst, purged, hit again, purged, hit again, purged, then hit it one more time.

I just purged it again but it should still be sealed. If CO2 builds up it'll be alright as it's basically the same thing as carbing in a bottle except bottles explode where I have a pressure relief valve that I can trip manually or it will trip itself if the pressure gets too high.

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:30 AM   #7
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I also checked my hydrometer against water from my RODI unit. It's right on accurate so this leads me to believe that the 1.030 reading is legit.

As I see it, I have two options:

1 - Leave in the keg and see what happens over the next several weeks

2 - Leave in the keg and add some additional yeast to kick-start the fermentation again

Yooper or Revvy around to help a brother out?

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Old 04-11-2012, 05:53 AM   #8
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Gonna leave it be for now unless I get some advice otherwise. Not really in a hurry but I did brew another batch tonight since my stock is running low and the porter is going to take at least another couple of weeks.

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:47 PM   #9
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I've never heard of kegs with pressure relief valves that will open on their own when pressure gets to high but then again I don't really know a ton about kegs. If you have to do it by hand it seems risky and like it will need a lot of attention.

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:55 PM   #10
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I think it would have been easier on you with a blowoff tube, then let it set a couple weeks with that yeast. Then Keg, but bah don't worry about it. RDWHAHB.

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