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Old 09-29-2010, 12:37 AM   #1
SantaClaus
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Default What is wrong with my beers?

Hey all -- Just joined this site and am hoping someone can shed some light on what is going on with my latest couple batches of beer.

I have a Wit and sassion all-grain currently in the secondary fermenter. Both were brewed approximately 4 weeks ago and have been in the secondary for 3 of those. The sassion never seemed to produce a lot of CO2, or I should say never had the air lock popping vigorously. However a hydrometer reading 3 weeks ago suggested some fermentation did occur.

I've been out of town for a week and have come home to discover the wit seems to have stratified into 2 separate layers. A lighter on bottom and darker on top.

And the sassion has what appears to be a thin film (waxy in appearance) on the top. This has been present for nearly 3 weeks now, but hasn't grown any or changed appearance. And no mold is present within the film, however CO2 bubbles are...

Both smell alright. Do I have a problem here? -- Don't have a ton of brewing experience, but have brewing for a handful of years and this is the first time I've seen either of this issues.

See pics:
[IMG] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

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Old 09-29-2010, 12:53 AM   #2
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There are like a zillion threads on here asking is there something wrong with my beer. Usually everything is fine. Only way to tell what is going on is to take a gravity reading and have a taste. Not sure how big your wit was, but after 4 weeks, it's probably done fermenting. Saison is a different story. One of mine took 6 weeks at 26C before it was completed. Saison strains sometime stick at 1.030.
The bottom picture looks like your yeast is falling to the bottom, like it should when the job is done. The top picture, kinda looks like krausen, but not sure.
If you're below 1.010-1.014 I think that's it.

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:01 AM   #3
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Personally, my opinion is that the elves f*cked with it.

Seriously, I know I'm far (far far) from the brewing experience that so many have here, but both really look unusual--to me. I've seen yeast settle out, but never with such distinct layers like that one picture.

So, what are your gravity readings?

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:33 AM   #4
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FWIW, I've had the stratification thing happen before (w/ a wheat beer). No problem, beer turned out OK. I wonder what causes that? I've had plenty of batches sit undisturbed for a while and only seen that happen once...

As for the other one, it's hard to tell from the pic what's going on. What kind of yeast did you use for the saison? I've read that saison yeasts can act kind of strange, but I don't have any experience w/ brewing saisons.

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:42 AM   #5
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The stratification pic is simply the beer clearing. It does it from top to bottom, and the yeast and proteins flocculate out.

And it appears in the other beer, that you simple developed another krauzen. Like fermentation wasn't complete when you racked it and it started again. That could be because of a change in temps. But it is really hard to tell in this pic. from that angle it doesn't look like an infection. '

You will have to taste it to see.

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:50 AM   #6
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Hey guys thanks for responding. Sorry for starting another, "what's up with this beer" post, but a homebrewing message boards seems like as good as place as any to be asking that questions.

I'm going to take gravity readings in a little bit, and I'll post the results. Give them a taste test too. Both smell okay, for what's that's worth.

Up until this stratification business, the wit seemed to be fermenting just fine. The layering didn't occur until sometime this week, which has me wondering what's going on.

The sassion had a really thin waxy film like this coming out of the primary, which I thought was strange but hoped it wasn't fatal. Then the film reappeared in the secondary a few days after going in. I used Wyeast's Belgium Ale yeast on the sassion.

Thanks again guys

Let's try some different pics
[IMG] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]

[IMG] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]

[IMG] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]

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Old 09-29-2010, 02:23 AM   #7
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That looks like it's just a krausen going on in the saison. You probably racked it before it was done, and it developed a second krausen in the secondary (It sounds like you only left it in primary for a week?). I think some saison yeasts have a reputation for working pretty slow.

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Old 09-29-2010, 03:18 AM   #8
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Welcome to HBT!

First off, never feel bad about asking a question around here. That's why we hang around....well besides the fact that we have no life.

The guys nailed it with both answers. You racked you saison too soon. When you removed it from the yeast before it was finished, it had to build up more yeast to finish the job. Yeast can't read a calendar and they move at their own speed. Next time try leaving it in the primary for a few weeks longer and your taste buds will thank you.

Your Wit is clearing slowly but very slowly because well, it's Wit yeast and stays in suspension more than most yeast.

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:51 AM   #9
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Fantastic - Thanks guys.

I'm very happy to have found this site, and excited to learn and advance my brewing.

Cheers

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