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Old 11-01-2009, 01:15 PM   #1
Bioguy1975
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Default Strange Beer Color and Pressure in Secondary

Hello gang -

So, I wanted to get in the habit early on of putting my beer into a secondary fermenter.... I use the term ' fermenter' loosely because, with my Fat Tire clone, I'm not adding any additional flavors or whatnot, so really this step is just for clarity.

So, my Fat Tire Clone went on in 10/24. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I had originally intended this to be a 5 gallon batch but I didn't account for boil-off, so I ended up with 4 gallons. As a result, my final gravity reading as at 1.020, rather than the predicted 1.013.

In observing my secondary last night (10/31), I noticed that the airlock pressure had equalized with atmospheric pressure, and checking later, that the airlock was actually pulling a bit of a vacuum, but not so much as to pull my sanitizing fluid (week old starsan with about 2-3mL of EverClear) into the carboy. I took off the towel to see if I had any contamination, but saw nothing floating on the top, which seemed to me to be a good sign... however, the color of beer seems really dark, beyond brown, almost black. This is not correct Fat Tire coloration.

So... here are my lists of potentials:

  • Is there perhaps a contamination of some sort? (seems highly unlikely for a bacterial infection to be pulling in a vacuum rather than expelling more gases.)
  • Did I skunk it by exposiing it to light in my basement? There was one day where I had been moving some stuff around, and the beer was exposed to my basement fluorescent lights for about 4-5 hours.
  • Or is there nothing wrong, and my eyes are just playing tricks on me? A week in secondary will drop a lot of the extraneous particulate out of suspension, and, as such, the beer will not look as light-colored anymore.

As I had mentioned, this is my first batch of beer, so I can't relax and have a homebrew yet!

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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6.5 gal Glass Primary: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 1: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 2: Air, cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 3: Air, cleaned
On Deck: Fat Tire Clone

Bottled, waiting: Nada
Bottled, ready: Black Forest Stout, Vanilla Porter
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:44 PM   #2
waldoar15
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Is this clone an extract kit? If so, and you're doing hour long boils with all the extract you're going to end up with something darker than style.

Next time, try doing a full boil and late extract addition.

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Old 11-01-2009, 01:59 PM   #3
Bioguy1975
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Aha.... indeed this is an extract kit. For my procedure, I had 6.6 lbs of LME, added half at the beginning, and half near the end.

Interesting... perhaps the subject of a new thread...

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6.5 gal Glass Primary: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 1: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 2: Air, cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 3: Air, cleaned
On Deck: Fat Tire Clone

Bottled, waiting: Nada
Bottled, ready: Black Forest Stout, Vanilla Porter
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bioguy1975 View Post
Aha.... indeed this is an extract kit. For my procedure, I had 6.6 lbs of LME, added half at the beginning, and half near the end.

Interesting... perhaps the subject of a new thread...
It shouldn't have turned out that dark if you did late extract, unless you scorched it. You have to be pretty careful adding LME, flame off, lots of slow stirring, ect.

Just to ease your mind a bit,,, everything I brew looks darker than it should sitting in a white bucket.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:08 PM   #5
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Ack, but I have a glass carboy. *facepalm* I'd go cry in my beer if I had any!

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6.5 gal Glass Primary: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 1: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 2: Air, cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 3: Air, cleaned
On Deck: Fat Tire Clone

Bottled, waiting: Nada
Bottled, ready: Black Forest Stout, Vanilla Porter
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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Have you used a carboy before? Your beer will look significantly darker due to the distance light has to pass through it.

Also, once the yeast drops the beer darkens a bit because light isn't reflecting off the yeast anymore. When you rack notice the color difference in the tubing vs the beer in the carboy.

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Old 11-01-2009, 02:45 PM   #7
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As for the carboy sucking solution from the airlock, did the carboy cool down? That will cause negative pressure in the carboy

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Old 11-01-2009, 04:16 PM   #8
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.... airlock is back to normal now.... perhaps it has to deal with barometric pressure?

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6.5 gal Glass Primary: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 1: Air, waiting to be thoroughly cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 2: Air, cleaned
5.0 gal Glass Secondary 3: Air, cleaned
On Deck: Fat Tire Clone

Bottled, waiting: Nada
Bottled, ready: Black Forest Stout, Vanilla Porter
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:58 PM   #9
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It's most likely due to cooling, there should be enough c02 in solution and a small amount being produced to create a bit of positive pressure in the secondary. I have noticed that if the temp is reduced by a few degrees suck back can occur. It's not a big deal as long as your airlock liquid is sanitary.

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Old 11-01-2009, 06:33 PM   #10
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Don't worry about it. I'm sure everything is fine. Both temp and barometric pressure will effect the liquid level in a fermentation lock. As for color, it will be considerably darker in the carboy. Also, you probably have the carboy in a dark place to keep UV from skunking the beer, this will also make it appear darker than it actually is. Your beer WILL be darker than planned because of the lower volume, you have the same amount of sugars and darkening compounds in 3/4 the volume of beer. As someone else mentioned extract is often darker than AG wort but if the ingredients were bought as a kit that should have been taken into a account. Finally, most clone recipes are "close enough" and do not always produce a beer that is indistinguishable from the original, don't expect to brew perfect Fat Tire from an extract kit on your first go 'round.

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