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Old 08-21-2012, 04:12 AM   #1
rkings
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Default Noob - Did I ruin my all grain batch?

First off, thanks to this site for already having all the answers to my beginner questions so far...

I've brewed a few extracts and a few all grains (5 imp gal) so far and they've turned out decent. My most recent all grain batch of porter (the sample porter recipe from the Beersmith 2 software) didn't go quite as planned as few days ago. After pitching the WYEAST and waiting two days nothing happened. And I mean NOTHING - my porter looked like flat coke after over 48 hours. I assumed the WYEAST was a dud and found the only place open that day and bought Coopers brewers yeast and pitched it in. The next day (the 3rd day) it looked more like the new yeast was swollen and was floating at the top rather than the foam that you'd expect, so I threw in yeast energizer. Now it's day 4 and there's a bit of foam on the top, but it definitely isn't what my previous batches looked like - maybe 1/4 the height that the foam usually reaches. Specific gravity is at 1.025 which I'm assuming is too low for this stage of the fermentation - but I'm a newbie so I may be wrong.

All this to ask:

- Did I ruin my batch by adding more yeast (and probably the wrong type of yeast) and yeast energizer?
- Is it possible that the sugar conversion didn't work properly (despite having my mash temperature right on for one hour straight)?
- Is it possible that the WYEAST package was no good? It's the first time I tried this kind of yeast.
- Can I still intervene with DME or LME? If so, how much would be safe and do I need to boil it?
- Will my beer turn out to be okay, but with very low alcohol content?

Thanks again - this site is amazing!

Ryan

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Old 08-21-2012, 04:18 AM   #2
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I'm no expert just a newb, but I don't think pitching more yeast will hurt anything, and maybe the yeast is a top working one? I forget the actual name... How was the temp when you pitched?

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Old 08-21-2012, 04:19 AM   #3
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Did you aerate before pitching? Was it a smack pack, and did you give it time to swell before pitching? It's actually pretty difficult to NOT get yeast going, unless the temperature is really low (50s). If it's krauesening, something is working, so I'd just let it go. You may have over-pitched by adding two packages of yeast, but that's not going to ruin things outright. If your mash temp was on and you had a reasonable grain crush, pH, etc. you probably had a good mash to start with. But what was your OG?

Check the FG again in a day or two to see if it's dropping. That's how you know the yeast are working. You might wake up tomorrow to a lot more activity. Sometimes things just take off unexpectedly like that. Either way, don't keep adding things. Just let this one ride, if it's stuck and you're sure it's stuck then you can go from there, but give it a week. There's a very slim chance it just won't work out, and you'll have to dump it, but that's really a rare situation as far as I have seen.

If you can provide your OG and fermentation temp that might help with the differential diagnosis.

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Old 08-21-2012, 04:29 AM   #4
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Sorry I just realized I left out some info. Temp was 72F when I pitched the yeast. Fermentation temperature in the room I use always ends up evening out around 69-70 degrees. I agree that I should just leave it alone for a bit! I didn't record the original specific gravity - beginner's mistake.

Thanks for the quick answers!

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Old 08-21-2012, 05:14 AM   #5
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I've read one this site, if you have a stuck fermentation you have gently shake your fermenter and that may help? I'm not sure but id listen to people more advanced than myself. :d

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Old 08-21-2012, 05:33 AM   #6
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I brewed a ginger hibiscus saison two weeks ago and I'm just having very slow fermentation. The gravity is dropping but at a super slow rate, OG was 1.05 + or -, it's at about 1.025 or so as of yesterday. But I didn't use a yeast starter, which I will be using from now on, just didn't have the proper supplies at the time.

You should give it two days or so to see some activity, if nothing happens, aerate it again and wait another day or so. Check your gravity and see if it's changed from your first reading. You'll just have to be patient and wait, as long as there are some signs of fermentation. At least that's what the guys at Austin Homebrew told me.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkings View Post
All this to ask:

- Did I ruin my batch by adding more yeast (and probably the wrong type of yeast) and yeast energizer?
Probably not. Porters can be somewhat forgiving due to the big roasty flavor. Might not win an award, but will likely be very drinkable.

Quote:
- Is it possible that the sugar conversion didn't work properly (despite having my mash temperature right on for one hour straight)?
Doubtful. It's a pretty straightforward cause (heat)/effect (conversion) process. As long as you held it between 148 and 158 for an hour, you should have gotten conversion. I always keep a dropper of tincture of iodine handy to check for sure.

Quote:
- Is it possible that the WYEAST package was no good? It's the first time I tried this kind of yeast.
Again, possible, but unlikely. Even after its good-until date (printed on the package), there are still live yeast in it. However, using older yeast makes it imperative that you do a good starter.

Quote:
- Can I still intervene with DME or LME? If so, how much would be safe and do I need to boil it?
I wouldn't. All you're going to do is make it sweeter if you have bad yeast. Which I doubt. As others have said, let it ride. Have you checked the grav on it? I realize that you didn't do an OG, but you can take the theoretical potential and a generic efficiency % (I'd be conservative like 65-70%) and calculate a ballpark ABV from that. It'll be a very large ballpark, but still better than nothing.

Quote:
- Will my beer turn out to be okay, but with very low alcohol content?
It's hard to say what the ABV will be. It could be that you had a fast fermentation and you missed it. The yeast might have all flocculated and dropped to the bottom of the bucket so it doesn't look like anything happened. Just let it go for awhile (couple-three weeks) and try it. If it's drinkable, drink several. If you feel woozy it's got alcohol in it.

Thanks again - this site is amazing!

Ryan[/QUOTE]
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:04 PM   #8
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Thanks again folks. Pride, I took the gravity reading on day 3 and it was at 1.025. I'll take the final gravity and come up with some kind of estimate at the end. My mash tun remained exactly at 155 degrees for one straight hour which made me assume my conversion would have worked. I bought iodine today for my next batch so I can double-check!

I'll have to remember to update this thread after the batch is done and has had time to sit...

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Old 11-04-2012, 11:36 PM   #9
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The batch came out fine. I forgot to take the final gravity but it doesn't really matter since I missed to OG anyway. Guess it's a lesson that you simply need to think less and brew more!

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Old 11-05-2012, 09:43 AM   #10
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You could still take the FG could you not? Unless it was so tasty you drank the entire 5 gallons already. OG can be estimated by the ingredients. You wont be 100% accurate, but it will give you a range to expect and work from.

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