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Old 07-20-2011, 04:48 AM   #1
ledzeppelin295
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Default Infection? Or am I paranoid?

Hey everybody. I've got another "is it ruined?" question. I'm a newbie, my first batch is in my secondary fermentor right now, so I really don't know what I'm doing.

So here's the story: I got a Munich Helles lager kit, brewed it up, put it in my primary fermenter. I don't have the capabilities to lager my beer, but the kit told me I could rack the beer into a secondary fermenter for two weeks and ferment the beer as an ale. So, I did so, and my concern is twofold.

One, there seems to be a film of white stuff floating around on top, a decent amount of it (sorry, no picture capabilities...). I searched around some threads about floaties and it looked like people were saying floaties are often yeast. But two, my beer is also very dark. The kit says the lager should be pale gold, and mine is currently...not pale gold. Not quite Guinness colored, but pretty dark brown. Could this be caused by brewing the beer as an ale? Or did I screw something up? I'm not positive my sanitation techniques are the best because I'm a first-timer. Anyway, just doing the typical freak-out, I guess. I'll bottle this weekend regardless, but trying to put myself at ease. Thanks in advance for any responses.

And have a homebrew.

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Old 07-20-2011, 05:03 AM   #2
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RDWHAHB

All is well. It won't be a helles cause that style really does depend on being a lager beer with lager yeast and lager fermentation. But that doesn't really matter anyways.

Important part is, it is most definitely NOT infected. Come back when you see a giant snot ball hanging down from the surface with strings of goop all over... then we can start talking about infections

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Old 07-20-2011, 05:08 AM   #3
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I'm pretty new myself, so someone will probably chime in with a more detailed (or more correct!) response, but I'll give it a shot:

The white film is probably just the krausen. A lot of fermentations look different, especially if you're fermenting a lager yeast outside of its normal temperature tolerance. I wouldn't worry about it unless you start seeing lines forming on the surface. That would be a better indicator of an infection. Check some of the stickied threads (in the fermentation board, I believe) to see some real infections and compare. The more you see of those, the harder it will be to mistake them, and the easier it will be not to worry.

As for your color, I'm guessing your kit was extract and you added the entirety of it at the start of the boil just like the directions probably told you to do. There is nothing "wrong" with this, but many report that it tends to make the beer darker than it should be. Another thing to consider is the volume you are working with. If you're fermenting five gallons, it will be harder for light to penetrate through that much glass/plastic and beer. I've had some pretty dark looking batches that appeared totally normal once bottled.

So far it sounds to me like you're doing just fine.

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Old 07-20-2011, 05:35 AM   #4
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HIGHLY likely it's krausen and/or yeast rafts and not an infection. If it's krausen in particular, you may have went to secondary a little prematurely but you'll be fine.

Not sure what you have here but when the beer is in a bucket or similar, it seems darker than when you actually get it into a glass. Plus, DME/LME from a kit can cause more darkening than you might perceive is ideal depending on which variety it is.

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Old 07-20-2011, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarberSurgeon View Post
I'm pretty new myself, so someone will probably chime in with a more detailed (or more correct!) response, but I'll give it a shot:

The white film is probably just the krausen. A lot of fermentations look different, especially if you're fermenting a lager yeast outside of its normal temperature tolerance. I wouldn't worry about it unless you start seeing lines forming on the surface. That would be a better indicator of an infection. Check some of the stickied threads (in the fermentation board, I believe) to see some real infections and compare. The more you see of those, the harder it will be to mistake them, and the easier it will be not to worry.

As for your color, I'm guessing your kit was extract and you added the entirety of it at the start of the boil just like the directions probably told you to do. There is nothing "wrong" with this, but many report that it tends to make the beer darker than it should be. Another thing to consider is the volume you are working with. If you're fermenting five gallons, it will be harder for light to penetrate through that much glass/plastic and beer. I've had some pretty dark looking batches that appeared totally normal once bottled.

So far it sounds to me like you're doing just fine.
+1 to this, you my friend put it very well.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:32 PM   #6
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DME/LME whether kit or bought separately do not get darker in & of themselves. It's boiling all of it from the start that causes darkening due to caramelization of the sugary part of the malt.
That's why I started doing late extract additions. I only brew with half the DME in my recipes to do my hop additions. Then add the remaining DME'LME's at the end,off the heat. Cover & let steep while boiling hot for 15 minutes while I sanitize the FV,etc. Then chill down to pitch temp in an ice water bath. Works great to get the color where it should be. Makes for better flavors if proper ferment temps are adhered to.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
DME/LME whether kit or bought separately do not get darker in & of themselves. It's boiling all of it from the start that causes darkening due to caramelization of the sugary part of the malt.
Absolutely, I should qualify my statement...by "depending on which variety" I meant extra light, light, amber etc. So aside from the option to add late extract, another option is next time around, buy the ingredients separately and move downward say from amber to light or light to extra light IF you're wanting to stick with all early addition. Also, when adding extract, remove the pot from the heat source so it doesn't sink to the bottom and onto direct heat before dissolved.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarberSurgeon View Post
I'm pretty new myself, so someone will probably chime in with a more detailed (or more correct!) response, but I'll give it a shot:

The white film is probably just the krausen. A lot of fermentations look different, especially if you're fermenting a lager yeast outside of its normal temperature tolerance. I wouldn't worry about it unless you start seeing lines forming on the surface. That would be a better indicator of an infection. Check some of the stickied threads (in the fermentation board, I believe) to see some real infections and compare. The more you see of those, the harder it will be to mistake them, and the easier it will be not to worry.

As for your color, I'm guessing your kit was extract and you added the entirety of it at the start of the boil just like the directions probably told you to do. There is nothing "wrong" with this, but many report that it tends to make the beer darker than it should be. Another thing to consider is the volume you are working with. If you're fermenting five gallons, it will be harder for light to penetrate through that much glass/plastic and beer. I've had some pretty dark looking batches that appeared totally normal once bottled.

So far it sounds to me like you're doing just fine.
My thoughts exactly.




Also, as far as not maintaining lagering temps, sounds like you're making a nice helles steam beer! Pretty cool if you ask me!
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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My first infection looked like pollen floating on top, this infection I have now had streaks running through it. Mine also got very dark, it was a blond and it was lighter colored, and one day it looked like a black and tan. Now it is all black.

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Old 07-20-2011, 08:48 PM   #10
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Do you mean like snots connected by stringy white lines? if so,that's an infection. And early additions do not dictate malt color. You don't want to add a lighter malt just so you can boil it longer,& still get the right color. It'll still get caramelized flavors,even though it's the color you may be looking for.
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