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Old 06-18-2013, 04:12 AM   #1
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Default Strange fermentation behavior

Brewed my 8th batch this year 5 days ago and the fermentation activity is very different from what I'm used to seeing. Using US-05 yeast I usually see plenty of activity at 24hrs after dry pitching the yeast. This time I didn't see any activity outside of 1 very small creeping bubble per minute until I hit the 36hr mark. At that point it seemed to take off and act like a normal fermentation, then at 48hrs it stopped. I know I can't tell much unless I take a gravity reading, which I'll do in two more days, but I have to tell you that I suspicious something isn't quite right.

This brew is different than all my other brews by one factor. There is a LOT of honey in it. Like 6lbs of the stuff. I want to taste the honey. However, is there something about honey that screws with fermentation?

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Old 06-18-2013, 04:27 AM   #2
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6 pounds of honey? Post recipe.

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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10lbs American pale malt
6lbs honey
1lb cara red crystal
Hops are Centennial and Cascade
1/2 oz Centennial at 60min
1/2 oz Cent and 1oz Cascade at 30
1oz Cent and another 1oz Cascade at flameout

The boil was 90min with the honey added at about 75min.

Attenuation with the pale malt wasn't to great. OG at pitch was 1.075

I'm shooting for an IPA with lots of honey flavor. I don't want it to be faint, thus the huge honey additions. Plus, I happen to have a lot of honey on hand and although I love honey, I'm not a huge fan of mead.

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:32 PM   #4
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I'm guessing its fine ...I've seen US -05 do different stuff

If you want honey flavor use honey malt...all the honey will ferment out and won't add a lot of flavor I know from experience

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Shouldn't you add yeast nutrients with lots of honey in a recipe? It might not have enough minerals or other essential nutrients. Try adding some.

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:43 PM   #6
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Shouldn't you add yest nutrients with lots of honey in a recipe? It might not have enough minerals or other essential nutrients. Try adding some.
At this point, I wouldn't add anything or mess with it other than taking a gravity reading after about a week.

+1 on using honey malt (up to 10%) instead of honey. That's one heck of a lot of honey you added, but I'm not sure that you're going to end up with the flavor profile you seek.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:02 PM   #7
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Two things that caused this: 1) you underpitched; and 2) you have way too many simple sugars.

Based on your recipe (assuming 6 gallons after 90 minute boil and 70% efficiency), you should be in the 1.093 range. Since you only had around 1.075, you had 50% efficiency, which is really bad, almost unbelievable. Meaning, your gravity reading might be slightly low, or you took your hydrometer reading at a higher temperature than its reference. Even if your 1.075 was correct, 1 pack of US-05 is not enough for 5 gallons of 1.075 wort.

Either way, with 6# honey in that batch, you're getting 42 of your 75 points from honey, which is primarily simple sugars (glucose and fructose). Also, you typically want to stay less than 20% on simple sugars in your grain bill. You're around 35% here with 6#.

The reason fermentation took much longer to start is the result of a longer lag phase as a result of your underpitching. Additionally, the reason you experienced a very short duration fermentation was due to the percentage of simple sugars present. The yeast really rocket through the simple sugars first before working on more complex sugars such as maltose and maltotriose.

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Old 06-18-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by novahokie09 View Post
The reason fermentation took much longer to start is the result of a longer lag phase as a result of your underpitching. Additionally, the reason you experienced a very short duration fermentation was due to the percentage of simple sugars present. The yeast really rocket through the simple sugars first before working on more complex sugars such as maltose and maltotriose.
Good points.

I've never tested the theory, but I've heard from different folks that, if you give the yeast too much simple sugar to feast on, they get used to eating those and stall out when they run out of them and hit the maltose. That's why you don't make your starter wort out of table sugar or honey.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:31 PM   #9
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Looks like another brew on the fritz. I just removed the airlock to take a look inside, krausen is still several inches thick. I'll wait until it falls and see what I get on the hydrometer. It smells nice. No hint of honey aroma that I can detect.

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Old 06-18-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFloyd View Post

I've heard from different folks that, if you give the yeast too much simple sugar to feast on, they get used to eating those and stall out when they run out of them and hit the maltose. That's why you don't make your starter wort out of table sugar or honey.
That's the exact point I wast trying to make..I guess I didn't? Honey contains something like 68% fructose and glucose, both of which are monosaccharides (single chained sugars). The yeast will metabolize these sugars first, which occur very quickly. This results in a quick fermentation due to the ease of metabolizing the simple sugars, but also metabolizing that many simple sugars strains the yeast to make it harder to metabolize the remaining complex sugars.

In this case, the OP's wort contains a large percentage of simple sugars (42 points out of the 75, is something like 56% of the fermentable sugars are most likely glucose/fructose instead of maltose).
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