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Old 01-13-2012, 02:35 PM   #1
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Default First time using starter

So,

I did my first starter with a batch of Wyeast 1028 London ale. I was careful with sanitizing the starter, it had a nice little layer of krausen and smelled fine when I pitched it. Used Mr. Malty to determine the size. The package of yeast was a few months old, manufactured early November. The beer I'm making is a Chocolate Porter. About 10 lb of British pale malt, with some crystal, chocolate malt, roasted barley, and a little black patent. I added 5 oz of ghirardelli cocoa at 15 min in the boil, and an ounce of chocolate bar at 45. OG was 1.057.

I've read that starters should take right off fermenting, mine took about 12 hours to do anything. It bubbled a bit for a day, now there's very little bubbling (watched the airlock for about 20 seconds with nothing). I poured a sample to check gravity and I'm at 1.016 already (2 days). The sample tastes like paint thinner. really gross.

Im gonna let it sit a few weeks, but was wondering if this is normal, or if i should pitch another pack of yeast or anyting.

Thanks!


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Old 01-13-2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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I don't know about the paint thinner part but sounds normal to me. I usually do my starters a day or 2 before brew day.


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Old 01-13-2012, 02:42 PM   #3
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What about your sanitation in the fermenter?
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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The fermenter, funnel and everything were sanitized well. same as always. Soaked the fermenter in Starsan for an hour or so, soaked the funnel for a couple of minutes. The starter was sanitized the same way. filled the flask with starsan and let it soak a bit. I really not thinking sanitation is the problem, though it could be.

The cocoa I used was baking cocoa, not hot chocolate, would that affect the taste this much? Paint thinner is exaggerating a bit, but its gross, I def. wouldnt drink it. I havent tasted any of my beer after two days fermenting, so I don't have a standard to compare to. Don't know if they all taste bad then mellow out after a few days, for example.
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
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I have abolutely no idea what beer tastes like after just 2 days fermentation. The yeast have produced waste byproducts during fermentation, and they will now start cleaning up after themselves. Let it sit, like you say, for about 3 weeks before you even think of bottling. I'll bet at that point it will taste a lot better.
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pksmitty
I have abolutely no idea what beer tastes like after just 2 days fermentation. The yeast have produced waste byproducts during fermentation, and they will now start cleaning up after themselves. Let it sit, like you say, for about 3 weeks before you even think of bottling. I'll bet at that point it will taste a lot better.
That's my plan. The taste was funky enough that I started this thread. Was really surprised that it fermented that fast, without much bubbling or blowing krausen everywhere and wondered if it was normal.
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:45 PM   #7
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First, you can't possibly have gotten any infection that quickly. So no sense in worrying about sanitation.

Plus you got fermentation going strong. 1.057 down to 1.016 in two days is not unheard of, depending on yeast strain and temp, pitching amount, etc.

As far as the taste, I cannot comment. I've never brewed with chocolate. However, the beer is still very young, no? Give it some time. Let it sit for 2 weeks and check again.

You have no need to repitch. Your yeast is probably about done eating all the sugars. It's time to let it condition!

BTW - can you tell us what the fermentation temps were?
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:34 PM   #8
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Pitched the yeast at 64, it fermented at about 70. Hit 72 for a few hours then cooled back to 70. I don't have a chamber or anything, I just check on it occasionally to make sure it isn't excessively hot or cold.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate00 View Post
Pitched the yeast at 64, it fermented at about 70. Hit 72 for a few hours then cooled back to 70. I don't have a chamber or anything, I just check on it occasionally to make sure it isn't excessively hot or cold.
If your ambient temperature was 72 then the fermenting beer was actually closer to 80 IMO. Fermentation produces exothermic heat, so the beer will be warmer than ambient even more so during its' most active time initially.

My guess is it's close to being done. Leave it for 2-3 weeks and then bottle / keg. What you are tasting is likely fusel alcohols produced from above normal fermenting temps. Solvent, hot, etc are typical descriptors.

Search for swamp cooler, it's a cheap and relatively easy way to keep fermenting beer cool without a dedicated fridge / chamber.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubbornman View Post
If your ambient temperature was 72 then the fermenting beer was actually closer to 80 IMO. Fermentation produces exothermic heat, so the beer will be warmer than ambient even more so during its' most active time initially.

My guess is it's close to being done. Leave it for 2-3 weeks and then bottle / keg. What you are tasting is likely fusel alcohols produced from above normal fermenting temps. Solvent, hot, etc are typical descriptors.

Search for swamp cooler, it's a cheap and relatively easy way to keep fermenting beer cool without a dedicated fridge / chamber.
I'm guessing those are his fermentation temps not ambient temps, given the change during fermentation.


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