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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Belgian violent fermentation
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
DTM84
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Default Belgian violent fermentation

Hey guys,
This is my first time posting, and I'd like to ask you all about my second batch of beer ever.*

I did a belgian trippel recipe:

Pilsner LME (10.4 lbs)
Cane Sugar (2.5 lbs)

Aromatic (0.25 lbs)

Tettnang (2.3oz) 60min
Czech Saaz (0.5oz) 10min

Fermentis Safbrew T-58

The first issue I had was too much water. I did my steeping grains in a gallon of water while I brought my main pot up to boil, but when I added my (mash?) to the main pot, I had quite a bit of water. After I added my LME, and half my cane sugar, I was almost at the top of the pot.*

To correct this, I split my boil and then tried to portion out my first hop addition. *

When I had boiled off enough water, I put the two boils together again for my second hop addition.

The recipe calls for 7 gallons, but I only ended up with 4. Somehow, though, my OG was low at 1.070 (target 1.090).

Anyways, during the first 12 hours of fermentation the krausen got to be a good 8 inches and started coming out the air lock, so I put on a blow off tube onto a bucket, but that didn't work so great either.

I'm looking for recommendations on things I could have done better, or different, and things I might do to save this beer.

Thanks!

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Old 05-18-2011, 07:10 PM   #2
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At this point, just let it ride. The violent fermentation isn't that unusual for high gravity beers, especially with belgian yeast strains. Your IBU's are probably going to be a little off from splitting and recombining your boils, but you can't really do anything about that now. Since this is a trippel, it is a malty, fruity beer anyway, so this probably isn't going to hurt anything. Your gravity readings seem really odd. I'm thinking you either measured wrong or you made some mistake somewhere with your malt extract additions. In any case, its fermenting now, so there's nothing to do but let it finish up, bottle and drink. Don't sweat it. You will still have beer. You will likely have beer that tastes ok. And you learned some lessons for the next batch.

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Old 05-18-2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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Your OG probably wasn't that low. I don't see how you could get a lower OG when using extract and reaching a lower final volume than intended. If you do a split boil you might end up with different density worts, which are like oil and water. Therefore, when you take a sample, it's the less heavy wort at the top, so the reading seems off. Also, if you take a gravity reading above 70 degrees F it will be off. In any case, I would not worry about that.

You probably got a violent fermentation because your fermenting temp was too high. What is the ambient temp in the room? I would try to keep it 60-64 degrees. This will also cut down on off-flavors.

I don't think t-58 is a real substitute for Belgian yeast, despite what the company says. Check out Belgian liquid yeasts such as WLP530. Also look up how to make a starter, which is necessary for many beers, especially bigger ones.

As long as your fermentation temp wasn't too high I think you'll have a fine beer. Don't sweat it.

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Old 05-19-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info guys.

JJL - Nice profile pic. lol. I was worried about that first hop addition as well. I've read that the absorption of the acids from the hops depends on the concentration of sugars in the wort, which was obviously off. I didn't see a way around this though, because I had already added the extract, and letting it boil for a while to reduce volume didn't seem like a good option. Wouldn't that have given the sugars more time to ... go through the maillard reaction (i think thats right).... or created some proteins and off flavors or something?

rexbanner - So I just learned that I did take the gravity reading wrong. I took a sample by grabbing some of the last bit of beer left in the settling bucket I used to get the trub out. Apparently my sample needed to be mixed more before I took the reading. Also, you're right, my fermenting temp was much higher than 64; it was around 72. The recipe I had called for 64, but I didn't understand this as all my other resources had said 70 - 72. I guess it was to keep it from going nuclear?

Thanks again.

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Old 05-19-2011, 12:45 PM   #5
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You went with the flow, that's most important. No salvation needed -- The beer will be great. You've already learned a good lesson. Your water volume will include what you add to it (LME & DME). Steep any specialty grains in the kettle before adding extracts.

Develop a checklist and use it. Keep brewing, brew often, you will learn as you go. Just do what you're doing. Plan, rehearse, pay attention to detail, go with the flow, keep notes and just tweak and hone your technique on the next batch. Never give up on a batch until it's been in the bottle a few months. Read the forums. Read some good brew books and ask questions. All of this isn't so much what to do, but how to do it.

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Old 05-19-2011, 07:40 PM   #6
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Thanks Ziggy. Good advise. I think the checklist is an awesome idea, and I definitely need to take better notes.

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Old 05-19-2011, 07:44 PM   #7
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The Belgians seem to have a propensity for violence.

(j/k)

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Old 05-20-2011, 12:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsweet View Post
The Belgians seem to have a propensity for violence.

(j/k)


You don't want to mess with Poirot.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:56 AM   #9
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I just brewed a triple 3 day ago and pot an airlock on it instead of a Blowoff tube... Thing blew the lid right off... From everything I read that is normal for high gravity beer to ferment so violently. I'm thinking next time to ferment it in the carboy.

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Old 05-20-2011, 11:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggerthanyou83 View Post
I just brewed a triple 3 day ago and pot an airlock on it instead of a Blowoff tube... Thing blew the lid right off... From everything I read that is normal for high gravity beer to ferment so violently. I'm thinking next time to ferment it in the carboy.
It ain't just high gravity beers, though that does seem to be one of the things that makes it more likely. My 2nd batch ever was a pale ale that I accidentally used too much top off water on so it came in around like 1.042 or something. Pitched some S-04 about an hour before I went to bed; when I woke up the airlock was bubbling hop gunk all over the kitchen counter (this was before I moved my fermenters down to the basement). Then I've had beers I thought for sure were going to blow off, and they just kinda get a normal kraeusen and nothing much exciting happens.

I've taken to just always using a blowoff tube for the first couple of days, even if I am "certain" I don't need it. Then I pop on an airlock after the kraeusen plateaus. Yeasties are capricious little monsters that love to play practical jokes, that's what I think.
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