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Old 01-04-2009, 11:35 PM   #1
jasonbrews1974
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Default Help! I think my first batch is tainted.

I'm a first time brewer and am trying the High Sierra Celebratin' Ale recipe kit. I am using a two stage system and dry hopping in the secondary. The batch is 10 days old, 4 days in the secondary. This morning I noticed small white/gray spots forming on the surface of the beer, also a thin rim of foam (looks like spittle) around the edge of my muslin bag containing the dry hopping hops. The muslin bag was sterilized before introduction to the beer.

Is this normal?!?! B/c it looks like a bacteria culture to me. Can anything be saved? Any help is sure appreciated.

Thanks
Jason

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Old 01-04-2009, 11:38 PM   #2
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Without seeing photos, I's say the spots on the surface are yeast clumps, and the stuff on the hop bag is nothing more than CO2. I don't think you have any worries! Good luck.

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Old 01-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #3
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No what happened is you racked WAAY to soon...because of that you got more fermentation happening and a krausen reforming, only since you have a muslin bag of hops excreting oils, it is interacting with the krauzen and the co2 and making an ugly mess...

Next time slow down..don't rack to secondary (if you use one) until at least 10 DAYS after you pitched your yeast (actually you should wait til 3 subsequent hydrometer readings stay the same, meaning fermentation is done)...

Everything's fine...JUST LEAVE IT ALONE FOR ANOTHER 2-3 weeks....

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Old 01-04-2009, 11:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!

I followed the recipe and had hydrometer readings stay the same for three days, but I definitely won't be touching the brew for a while!!

Cheers

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Next time slow down..don't rack to secondary (if you use one) until at least 10 DAYS after you pitched your yeast (actually you should wait til 3 subsequent hydrometer readings stay the same, meaning fermentation is done)...
Revvy (and all)

If you take plenty of time in the primary (10+days) AND you hit your anticipated final gravity - is 3 subsequent identical hydrometer readings really necessary? I used to do this, but since I've slowed down some I just wait until I hit the FG and wait 3 days.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:14 AM   #6
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Revvy (and all)

If you take plenty of time in the primary (10+days) AND you hit your anticipated final gravity - is 3 subsequent identical hydrometer readings really necessary? I used to do this, but since I've slowed down some I just wait until I hit the FG and wait 3 days.
No not really...some people tak one on the 7th and the 10th day...

of course if you just subscribe to leaving the beer in primary for 2, 3 or like me 4 weeks (and bottling) you really don't need to take one until bottling time (unless you think you might have high unfermentables...)

I take an SG reading...leave my beers in primary for a month then take a fg at bottling time...

It's really only if you plan on moving stuff and not waiting that you need to...

FOr example if I didn't wait a month, I would NEVER bottle unless the hydrometer stayed the same for 3 days (meaning I would read every other day)

But since I (and many of us) let the yeasts do the work, and have patience...it's not necessary...But as you can see from the OG, more than likely he still had some way to go...If I were racking to secondary to dry hop, I would wait 2 weeks...then rack and dryhop for 2 weeks...
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:43 AM   #7
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Revvy said it as I would...if you're patient enough you don't have to take 3 consecutive gravity readings. I measure a sample before pitching, then don't take another one until 10-14 days later to make sure it's ready to go to secondary. Usually it's hit my final gravity by then, but if not is spends another week in primary.

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Old 01-09-2009, 01:43 PM   #8
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I have the same thing in my primary, a thin even foam covering 75% of the surface and roughly 10-15 chunkies still floating. 7 days since pitching.

After 7 days in primary, I was going to rack it, but after reading this thread, I'll leave it another week in primary - to see if the chunkies sink and the foam disperses.

My gravity was 1.08 a few days ago, I thought it was done. My primary is a bucket with a snap on lid, not air tight, so I saran wrapped it to help keeping foreign dust out - but the lid keeps on popping up. I guess it's not done fermenting yet.

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Old 01-09-2009, 01:51 PM   #9
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I have the same thing in my primary, a thin even foam covering 75% of the surface and roughly 10-15 chunkies still floating. 7 days since pitching.

After 7 days in primary, I was going to rack it, but after reading this thread, I'll leave it another week in primary - to see if the chunkies sink and the foam disperses.

My gravity was 1.08 a few days ago, I thought it was done. My primary is a bucket with a snap on lid, not air tight, so I saran wrapped it to help keeping foreign dust out - but the lid keeps on popping up. I guess it's not done fermenting yet.
You have to remember, as opposed to in organic chemistry, or even most cooking, the minute you pitch the yeast, you introduced a LIVING MICRO ORGANISM....you didn't just mix coolaid powder, sugar and water, you gave up control of the process to another living creature...So you introduced a "wild card" to the equation....a random factor left up to the whims of the little buggies...

Think of the yeasties as a teenager or a partner, and you will understand how powerless you are...

A lot of new brewers think THEY are in charge...they decide when they think the should rack or bottle, and they don't pay attention to whether the beer is ready for the next step...

Then they start is my beer ruined threads because the beer is not living up to THEIR expectations...it's not carbonated when THEY want it to be...or the secondary it to soon, and all of a sudden it starts another krausen (which freaks them out because they didn't see it in the bucket...now in the carboy it is scary and ugly) and the panic...or it doesn't appear to be fermenting in their primary and they want to fix it by warming it up

But the truth of the matter is, WE ARE NOT IN CHARGE...the yeasties are...all we are responsible for is building a nice clean factory (a sanitized fermenter) stocked with plenty of food and materials to work with (the wort) and then we just are supposed to step away and let them do what they've been doing since time began....

That's why you will find a lot of us don't secondary...we walk away from the fermenter for 3-4 weeks, then we bottle or keg...we let the yeasties do their job, and also something that a lot of people who secondary don't get the benefit of.....they clean up their own messes...the get rid of a lot of the byproducts of their fermentation...Palmer talks about the yeasts cleaning up after themselves in How to Brew...

SO basically a lot of us now just leave the yeast plenty of time to do their jobs...figuring a month is enough time to ferment, clean and settle, and still way within the safety window of the "dreaded boogeyman autolysis," then we just bottle or keg...

This is a game of patience and trust.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:07 PM   #10
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True. I guess you have to forget the generic kit instructions and go with the gut feeling.

I like the idea 3-4 weeks in the fermenter and forget about it. So much simpler than the kit instructions.

Thanks.

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