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Old 11-14-2008, 02:31 AM   #1
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Default Hydrometer way off- or is it me?

I've got a batch of Coopers Brewmaster series Pilsner brewing.

I followed the directions to a "T", boled, cooled it to about 55 or 60 degrees, and dumped in the yeast packet and wort into an Ale pail and fitted it with a 2 piece airlock.

OG was 1.042 at 60 degrees.

I then put it right in my temp controlled freezer set at 50 degrees.

It took about 2 days before I noticed any airlock activity, and even then it seemed slow. I just attributed it to nervous noob syndrome, and the fact that my past brewing has been mostly apfelwein and other wines in a Better Bottle with an "s" type airlock.

I figured it was due to the extra airspace, lagering temps, and different airlock type made it less obvious than what I was used to.

The directions say to ferment for 6 days and then check SG.

I figured a little extra time couldn't hurt, and might actually be a good thing, so I waited until today- day 9- before I messed with it.

Pulled it out, and there is a light crausen ring and some foam still left floating on top.

I stick my hydrometer in the wine thief and pull a sample. I notice that while I'm doing it, I get a lot of carbonation- probably about 1 1/2" of head in the thief after it settles.

I'm thinking with that much crausen, foam, carbonation, etc that I must have pretty much finished fermenting- but the hydrometer shows and SG reading of 1.040 at 50 degrees. (when you figure in temp differences, that means no drop at all)

I tried to kinda tap on it and shake it around a bit to get some of the carbonation dispersed and got it to drop to about 1.030, but that still seems awfully high. I sure don't want to keg it yet!

I wasn't planning on doing a dactyl (Sp?) rest, since the directions don't call for one, but I decided to leave it on top of the freezer where it is 60-65 for a day or 2 to maybe get going and finish.

What do you think?

Hydrometer off from the carbonation (or something else)?

Hydrometer right- in which case, what do I need to do to get it going- get more yeast?

Leave it in the warmer spot to get going an finish?

Put it back in the keezer and hope it gets going on it's own?

RDWHAHB?

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Old 11-14-2008, 02:56 AM   #2
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Did you use the yeast that came with the Coopers Pilsner? If so, what kind of yeast came with the Coopers?

I only ask because when the Coopers Lager that I got came with an ALE yeast and not a lager yeast like what you'd expect for a lager. 'If' it turns out you got an ale yeast with your Pilsner (lager...right?) I wonder if the low temp your tried to ferment at messed with things?

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Old 11-14-2008, 03:06 AM   #3
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I think you might be on to something.

In the directions, when it comes to fermentation temps, it says to check the special directions- which talks about having to ferment at lower temps than a regular yeast because it is a lager yeast.

It then gives temps- in Celcius.

I never bothered to convert the temps, because I know what a lager yeast is supposed to ferment at-50- right?

Turns out, maybe not.

Now that I actually take the time to convert the temps, the preferred temp of 21c converts to 69 degrees!

Doesn't sound like lager temps to me- but explains the slow ferment!

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Old 11-14-2008, 03:13 AM   #4
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I've had my hydro readings thrown off by CO2 bubbles before. Did you let the sample sit out for a couple hours and recheck?

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Old 11-14-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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Sounds like your yeast just got underway from massive underpitching. It probably took them days to grow enough cells to actually start fermenting.

Do what Sea says next time you take a sample. In the meantime, leave it alone - but have a look at it every day. If it's still got krauesen, it's still probably working. If the krauesen drops, pull it out of the freezer and let it warm. Then rouse the yeast by gently swirling the fermenter. It ain't dead yet. You can save it!

Next time you want to do a lager beer, pitch the right amount of an appropriate yeast. You were on the right track, controlling the ferment temperature, but you had too little of the wrong yeast to make it work. Buy yourself a copy of Noonan's Brewing Lager Beer. It's a lot of knowledge to absorb, but you don't have to master all of it to make excellent lager beer.

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Old 11-15-2008, 12:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNQ3X View Post

Next time you want to do a lager beer, pitch the right amount of an appropriate yeast. You were on the right track, controlling the ferment temperature, but you had too little of the wrong yeast to make it work

Bob
Um, it WAS a kit, after all. I pitched the yeast that came in the kit, in the manner that the kit says to do it.

I think, like I said earlier, that the problem is in my assuming that their "lager" yeast was just that- so I fermented at 50 degrees.

After reading the directions more closely, I see that- even though the directions talk about "lager" yeast- the actual temperature I should have fermented at is closer to 70 degrees.

Fermenting at 20 degrees lower then I was supposed to would cause my problems.

I've left it out in 65ish temps since yesterday. It is bubbling steadily now.
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docapi View Post
I've got a batch of Coopers Brewmaster series Pilsner brewing.

I then put it right in my temp controlled freezer set at 50 degrees.

It took about 2 days before I noticed any airlock activity, and even then it seemed slow. I just attributed it to nervous noob syndrome, and the fact that my past brewing has been mostly apfelwein and other wines in a Better Bottle with an "s" type airlock.

I figured it was due to the extra airspace, lagering temps, and different airlock type made it less obvious than what I was used to.

The directions say to ferment for 6 days and then check SG.

Leave it in the warmer spot to get going an finish?

RDWHAHB?
I'd say let it finish out at 60 degrees. 50 degrees is probably too cold. I've made this beer with a lot of success at the 60 - 65 degree temperature range. Once the fermentation is finished you can store it at the 50 degree range for a while.
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:52 PM   #8
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Sounds like warming it up did the trick. I suspect that 'lager' yeast was really a very clean fermenting ale yeast, like Nottingham.

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Old 11-15-2008, 02:56 PM   #9
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Wow, says a lot about the quality of a Coopers product. Any way to get your jack back?

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