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Old 07-05-2010, 02:49 PM   #1
nigel31
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Default Not much kraeusen in my batches.

Hi Gang,

I'm on my fourth batch. I'm meticulous about sanitization, pitch enough yeast (per MrMalty.com) and use a stir plate, aerate the wort before pitching for half an hour with an aquarium pump system, and nail my fermentation temperatures. BUT...the most kraeusen I've ever witnessed in my carboys (and I check 'em regularly) is an inch or so.

I've seen dozens of pictures and vids online showing foam practically erupting from carboys--or at least displaying a few inches of healthy foam.

Any ideas?

The yeasts I've used have been Wyeast Scottish Ale, White Labs English Ale (twice), and White Labs California V.

Thanks!
Nige

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Old 07-05-2010, 03:27 PM   #2
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It depends on a lot of factors, one of which is temperature. What temps are you fermenting at? Higher temps tend to lead to a far more rapid and explosive fermentation.

I've only had one beer that had excessive kraeusen and required a blowoff. This was nearly a year ago and when I brewed a pretty big beer and fermented at like 73 or something. Now that I have my fermentation temps under control and rarely ferment above about 65 I never have huge kraeusens. In fact, I just brewed a big 1.106 RIS @ 66 deg. last week and I completely expected to need a blowoff, but it's done fermenting and the ring left by the kraeusen was maybe 2" at the most.

If you're using healthy yeast at the right pitching rate and ferment at proper temps I don't think you will often see what you've seen in a lot of the pictures of massive foam.

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Old 07-05-2010, 05:21 PM   #3
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I use WLP002 regularly, and very seldom to I get more than about an inch of krausen. Some yeasts (such as WLP023) do tend to produce more krausen.

RDWHAHB

-a.

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Old 07-05-2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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In a few of my older books ('70s-'80s) that I've been given it is the received wisdom that you'll get a massive rocky head. I reckon that is because they used proper, live British brewery yeast, repitched for years that are proper top fermenters in a more open fermenter. Also why skimming used to be recommended maybe, because with those in a brewery scenario you'd need to! Went to Masham to see the Black Sheep brewery, and they've got Yorkshire squares to catch it all. Amazing sight. And they've been just repitching it into the next batch since they opened.

I reckon that purer strains that have been grown in labs maybe lose a bit of that, and in a carboy there is a bit of downward pressure tending to make it sink. I've had supreme rocky heads when I've pinched it from bottles like Hook Norton, but dried yeasts in comparison just drive up gunk riding on the CO2.

Have you tried culturing something like Hook Norton yeast? It really does do the sort of top fermenting that tries to climb out of the bucket.

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Old 07-05-2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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The biggest question is 'how is the beer?'. To me, it doesn't matter if I have no Krausen or a truck load, if the beer is good I think the rest is pretty irrelevent. If it isn't good, look at what all you are doing from the ground up. It could be as simple as the grains you are using, or how you are mashing, etc...., it could be far more complex than that, but it all starts with that one simple question....

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Old 07-05-2010, 09:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iron_city_ap View Post
The biggest question is 'how is the beer?'. To me, it doesn't matter if I have no Krausen or a truck load, if the beer is good I think the rest is pretty irrelevent. If it isn't good, look at what all you are doing from the ground up. It could be as simple as the grains you are using, or how you are mashing, etc...., it could be far more complex than that, but it all starts with that one simple question....
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel31 View Post
Hi Gang,

I'm on my fourth batch. I'm meticulous about sanitization, pitch enough yeast (per MrMalty.com) and use a stir plate, aerate the wort before pitching for half an hour with an aquarium pump system, and nail my fermentation temperatures. BUT...the most kraeusen I've ever witnessed in my carboys (and I check 'em regularly) is an inch or so.

I've seen dozens of pictures and vids online showing foam practically erupting from carboys--or at least displaying a few inches of healthy foam.

Any ideas?

The yeasts I've used have been Wyeast Scottish Ale, White Labs English Ale (twice), and White Labs California V.

Thanks!
Nige
RDWHAHB. Its not a krausen making contest. It is brewing beer. Ignore all those posts about the "explosive fermentation that blew my carboy cap off in 4 hours". That is the result of a faulty process. Overpitched, high temperature fermentation is not the goal. By pitching a proper amount of yeast with good fermentation control you will make much better tasting beer. Now if you just have to see what a thick krausen looks like brew yourself a wheat beer...

GT
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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Thanks a bunch, all!

While I wasn't "worried," per se, I was curious as to why I've been as low on foam. I do seem to be doing everything right (and nailing the temps means 65-68F for WLP002, just as recommended for an optimal ferm), and it just seemed a bit odd, that's all.

Glad I'm not alone in this, and cheers for the reassurance. NOW I'll RDWHAHB.

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