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Old 10-14-2009, 12:11 AM   #1
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Default My pale ale has diacetyl! Help me save the batch

OK so I have this 6 gallon batch of my pale ale sitting in primary, which is a recipe whose results I've been very happy with in the past.

What I did differently on this batch was I tried out the olive oil thing instead of aerating the wort, and although the fermentation looked normal to me, maybe I didn't get enough in there, or maybe too much (?) but now I've got a distinct diacetyl flavor in this beer that I'm trying to get rid of. I'm assuming the batch was just under aerated (for lack of a better word) and that's why it turned out like is has, but I'm open to other opinions. FWIW my OG was 1.048 and it's now down to about 1.009 or so, so I'm happy with the attenuation.

I brewed this batch on September 26th, so it's been in the primary for about 2.5 weeks now. I added dry hops on October 4th (one week after primary), and pulled them out three days ago. At that time, I checked the gravity and noticed the diacetyl aroma and flavor. So, instead of immediately cold crashing as I had planned, what I did was twist the fermenter back and forth a bit in an attempt to rouse the yeast.

I just opened it up to check on progress. Hop aroma is still there, but so is the diacetyl along with the flavor. Maybe not quite as strong, but definitely still there. So, I've roused the yeast again, this time by taking a sanitized plastic spoon and physically stirring up the sediment from the bottom.

If this doesn't help out, what else can I do to get rid of the diacetyl? I was considering making a starter using the same yeast (S-04) and just dumping it in there after a couple of days. Any chance that could help clean things up?


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Old 10-14-2009, 12:14 AM   #2
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What was the fermentation temperature, and what is the temperature now?


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Old 10-14-2009, 12:21 AM   #3
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Primary fermentation was at 65-68F. It was pretty much finished after a week when I added the dry hops (gravity was 1.010), so I pulled it out to make room for another fermenter and let it come up to room temps, which were more like 72-75F. It is still at room temp now, so around 74F.

Also, this is exactly the same procedure I used on previous iterations of this recipe that did not exhibit the diacetyl.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:27 AM   #4
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Yeah, those temps shouldn't cause a diacetyl problem.

Dumb question, but are you sure it's diacetyl?
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:29 AM   #5
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Well, it tastes and smells buttery, like other beers I've had with diacetyl problems (at competitions, and the occasional commercial beer) I suppose it could be something else, but if it is I wouldn't know how else to classify it.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:32 AM   #6
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Well, I wouldn't stir it anymore. At 1.009, the beer is finished and you don't want to oxidize it.

I think I'd leave it at 70-72 degrees for another week and see if it improves. It might.

If not, I'm not sure what will work. I will have to give it some thought.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:42 AM   #7
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What Yooper said...

Leave it at room temperature but add at least 1 tsp of dry yeast and let sit 7-10 days and I'll bet it will be gone and become very tasty again. Always works for me....OK, 2 out of 2 times...
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:00 AM   #8
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Do I need to hydrate the yeast or anything, or do you just dump it in?
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:40 AM   #9
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Just dump it in and reseal. Don't forget to purge any air out also.

Any additional offgassing will just serve to pressurize and carbonate.

Check back in a week by tapping a brew off...
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:15 AM   #10
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time, time, time...

I've always understood that certain yeast strains were more likely to cause diacetyl than ferm temps... that, and taking it off the yeast cake before they can clean it up (which it sounds like isn't the problem). What yeast was it? Other than that - just wait.


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