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Old 01-22-2011, 02:52 PM   #1
Jibis
 
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Aug 2010
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I am in the process of brewing The Number 8 (Belgian strong dark ale) kit from Northern Brewer. My fermentation has slowed down so I took a gravity reading. Afterwards I smelled and tasted the gravity sample.

To be honest, the taste and smell seem off to me. Although the flavor is not bad, it does not seem to fit the style. I immediately smelled banana and the taste reminded me of a hefeweizen but higher in alcohol.

I pitched a healthy starter, however fermentation temp has not been consistent and has ranged from 61 - 68 degrees. This is the temp in my cellar, I do not have a thermometer on the carboy. I know high temps can lead to the banana smell, but can low temps?

Does anybody here have any experience wit this kit or style? Is the banana/bubblegum smell a failure? Maybe I need to rdwhahb even if it is 8:30 am. I appreciate any input that you can provide.

Here is some extra info that may be useful.

wyeast - 1762
OG - .090
FG - .024 and still dropping
- 1.5 lbs CaraMunich malt
FERMENTABLES
- 6 lbs Pilsen malt syrup (60 min)
- 2 lbs Pilsen DME late addition (15 min)
- 2 lbs Brown Belgian Soft Candi Sugar late addition (0 min)
- 15 oz Corn Sugar late addition (0 min)
HOPS & FLAVORINGS
- 1 oz Tradition (60 min)
- 0.5 oz Hersbrucker (30 min)
- 0.5 oz Hersbrucker (5 min

 
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:14 PM   #2
Yooper
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Just a thought but if you pitched the yeast above 65 degrees or so, fermentation temperature might have been much higher than you planned. Also, if your basement temperature is 68 degrees, the temperature of the fermenting beer could have been 75-78 degrees! A stick-on thermometer can help avoid the not knowing what the fermentation temperature is.

If you have temperature fluctuations like that in your room, you could try keeping a fermenter in a tub of water to help minimize the fluctuations.

From Wyeast on that strain:
An excellent yeast strain for use in Belgian dark strong ales. This strain has a relatively “clean profile” which allows a rich malt and distinctive ethanol character to shine. Delicate dried fruit esters can be produced when used at higher fermentation temperatures or in a high gravity wort.

Origin:
Flocculation: medium
Attenuation: 73-77%
Temperature Range: 65-75 F (18-24 C)
Alcohol Tolerance: approximately 12% ABV

One last thought- it's not done fermenting, so these "banana" flavors might be gone in just a few days! Fermentation odors and tastes sometimes don't "match" the finished product! You can get bananas from even the cleanest yeast, untill the yeast finishes up and floccs out!
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
Jibis
 
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Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
A stick-on thermometer can help avoid the not knowing what the fermentation temperature is.

If you have temperature fluctuations like that in your room, you could try keeping a fermenter in a tub of water to help minimize the fluctuations.
!
Thanks Yooper! A stick on thermometer would probably help. Also, you have a good point about pitching temps.

As a follow up question, I have a section of my basement that has no heat in it at all (as opposed to the rest of the basement which is just poorly heated) and it stays a fairly consistent 58 degrees this time of year. This is my first winter since I started brewing and I have been hesitant to keep my beer fermenting in there because I am afraid the yeast will go dormant. Is that a possibility?

Also, thanks for the info from wyeast. I did not think to use their website as a source. I now have it bookmarked for future reference.

 
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:09 PM   #4
JRems
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I have been using us-05 yeast at 58 degrees without issue. Seems like a Little slower but steady ferment.

 
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
SumnerH
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I've done the Number 8 kit--that was actually my very first homebrew. It smelled a lot fruitier than it tasted. I did it at around 65F ambient and it got up to about 70F in the fermenter.

Definitely let it age; I still have one or two that are 3 years old in the basement, and they've improved each year.
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On deck: Little Bo Pils, Bretta Off Dead (Brett pale)
Secondary: Oude Bruin, Red Sky at Morning (Sour brown ale)
On tap: Saison Duphunk (sour), Amarillo Slim (IPA), Earl White (ginger/bergamot wit)
Bottled: Number 8 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Eternale (Barleywine), Ancho Villa (Ancho/pasilla/chocolate/cinnamon RIS), Oak smoked porter (1/2 maple bourbon oaked, 1/2 apple brandy oaked)

 
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:14 PM   #6
Jibis
 
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I appreciate everybody's input. It really helps put my mind at ease...so does having a homebrew

 
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:07 AM   #7
smpow
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I did a batch with varying ferm temps - probably 55-70 ambient. I have really bad temperature control, as primary heat in house is wood stove. I plan on letting it age for about 4-6 months before the first one to try and work through some less desirable flavors that I had at bottling time. I am not worried, yet. Enjoy.

 
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:43 PM   #8
Big_Belgian
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I bottled one of these last night, and am a bit disappointed. My OG was 1088 and FG was 1018. The taste is very sweet, with an off-flavor that I would describe as being a "chemical" taste (knowing that is not very helpful, but its the best I can do). I'm hoping it improves with some time in the bottles. It is my third batch - the other two turned out great and everything seemed to go smoothly with this one.

I'm posting this question in the new brewer's forum, but will also ask it here - is it worth it to use an aerator for this high gravity beers? I just shake the carboy, as all my friends do, but have been reading lately about how aearation will help the fermentation process get started, and will result in lower final gravity, less sweetness, etc.

 
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
azingsheim
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Apr 2010
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I've done a few Belgians and both had a stong "chemical" or "alchohol-y" taste to them until about 6-8 weeks in the bottle. I would give it a bunch of time and they will be great. Belgians just take patience.

 
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:16 AM   #10
BeerBrods22
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This #8 is one of the brews I am doing this weekend. I have been kegging but aster reading these posts I will bottle it and let it age.

In my past batches I have been using the carb drops(like a cough drop) but would like to make the move to Priming sugar (corn).

Can someone tell the the +'s and -'s?

 
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