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excess c02... fermentation restart.... why is this happening all of a sudden?

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iamwhatiseem

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To note I have been brewing for years... have no idea... at least 500 brews by now.
Anyway... the last 5 or 6 brews, not the same beer, not the same yeast.
A month after brewing, a good 3 weeks past fermentation - and what is this? ... a 1/4" head and plenty of airlock activity.
I cannot imagine this is just excess c02 escaping, this isn't a few bubbles streaming to the top.

My Johnson controller is messing up maybe? Allowing the temp to get to cold in the fridge chamber?
Although suspecting this on this brew, and the last one, I checked the temp in the fridge multiple times and it was always right.
No I didn't check gravity... I know... but I have brewed this way for years and never - ever seen such late "restart" of a fermentation, let alone 5 times in a row!

This brew I made 5 weeks ago, I brought it into the house a week ago. When I brought it out of the fridge it was all cleared up, everything neatly compacted on the bottom.
Now the beer is cloudy again with a krausen... auugh!!

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day_trippr

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Just verifying: this paradigm has occurred five batches in a row - and you've not tracked the SG on any of them?
How did the other four batches taste?

Cheers!
 

Vale71

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Sounds like a primary infection, one where your fermenter has become contaminated and is infecting every subsequent batch.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Just verifying: this paradigm has occurred five batches in a row - and you've not tracked the SG on any of them?
How did the other four batches taste?

Cheers!
They tasted, looked and smelled exactly as they should have.
And yes, I didn't track the gravities. And yes I am going to on the next one.
I do not believe this is any kind of infection. As stated, all of the beers turned out exactly as if everything was normal. No off flavors, or aromas and clear.
I believe there must be something that is cutting the fermentation short. Maybe the water has changed locally, maybe the Johnson controller, or the fridge itself is malfunctioning in some way where the temp essentially cold crashes it.
Each time this has happened, it happens within a few days of bringing the beer into the house... which of course is warmer than the ferm. changer.
One thing that is different - is I switched suppliers.
Hmm.... I wonder if the yeast are not properly stored.... that is a possibility... all were dry yeast. All I used a yeast starter, and all of the starters behaved normally and smelled normal.
 

Merleti

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There could be several things going on, but I'm just going to take a stab at one. Given the activity after the temperature increase it seems to follow a diaceytal issue. I know this can happen when the yeast has a lack of nutrients. If you knew the original gravity or did a starch conversion test you could tell if you were getting enough out of the grain to provide enough nutrients. "Without enough info we can just guess". On the next batch I would go through the whole gamut of extra sanitation(new fermenter as well) gathering all numbers on gravity to calculate your efficiency, use all water that you know the chemistry make up of. Take well documented notes on everything. If the beer comes out without this happening you know the answer is in your notes. If the beer taste good enough you can also say screw it.
 

TheMadKing

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To note I have been brewing for years... have no idea... at least 500 brews by now.
Anyway... the last 5 or 6 brews, not the same beer, not the same yeast.
A month after brewing, a good 3 weeks past fermentation - and what is this? ... a 1/4" head and plenty of airlock activity.
I cannot imagine this is just excess c02 escaping, this isn't a few bubbles streaming to the top.

My Johnson controller is messing up maybe? Allowing the temp to get to cold in the fridge chamber?
Although suspecting this on this brew, and the last one, I checked the temp in the fridge multiple times and it was always right.
No I didn't check gravity... I know... but I have brewed this way for years and never - ever seen such late "restart" of a fermentation, let alone 5 times in a row!

This brew I made 5 weeks ago, I brought it into the house a week ago. When I brought it out of the fridge it was all cleared up, everything neatly compacted on the bottom.
Now the beer is cloudy again with a krausen... auugh!!

View attachment 698079
Are you using english ale yeasts or repitching multiple generations? They have a tendency to flocculate early, and moving the fermenter can restart fermentation, especially in a warmer environment.

If you're fermenting on the cooler end of the temp range that would exacerbate the effect
 

VikeMan

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If you knew the original gravity or did a starch conversion test you could tell if you were getting enough out of the grain to provide enough nutrients.
How does the OG or a starch conversion test tell you anything about adequate/not adequate nutrients?
 

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If the OG is low then this can show poor starch conversion. If there is poor starch conversion there is let nutrients for the yeast to feed on. This also depends on the type of grain, yeast and the water used. We only know what he has told us.
 

VikeMan

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If the OG is low then this can show poor starch conversion. If there is poor starch conversion there is let nutrients for the yeast to feed on.
I don't see how that follows. There's less sugars, but that just means a lower gravity wort. Small beer worts are not necessarily nutrient poor.
 

Merleti

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iamwhatitseems the more I thought about it I remember you also questioned your water source. If you are using city water even if treating it may not be enough to battle the chemicals they use to kill biological things..


VikeMan in an effort not to high jack iamwhatitseems thread you can always pm me if I'm not making sense.
 

VikeMan

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VikeMan in an effort not to high jack iamwhatitseems thread you can always pm me if I'm not making sense.
It's not a hijack. You suggested a possible cause for OP's issue, and I'm saying I don't think it makes sense. I don't think that the nutrients (other than sugars) that come from malt are limited by degree of starch conversion. I see no logical reason they should be, and I have never read or heard that assertion before. Please expound on why you believe they are.
 

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iamwhatitseems the more I thought about it I remember you also questioned your water source. If you are using city water even if treating it may not be enough to battle the chemicals they use to kill biological things..
If your city water supply is so heavily dosed with chloramines as to kill the yeast in your batch then you need to stop drinking it and call the EPA right away as that water is nowhere near safe for human consumption.
At the risk of being blunt but it seems to me like your suggestions are made up as you go along and many, like the starch conversion thing, really make no sense at all.
 

kh54s10

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Not that it has anything to do with the problem at hand, but DO NOT make a starter with dry yeast. They are coated with sterols and nutrients that are used up in the starter and not in fermenting your beer. If you are really just rehydrating the yeast - that is fine. Although studies have shown that rehydrating shows little or no advantage over sprinkling the dry yeast on the surface of the wort.
 

VikeMan

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Not that it has anything to do with the problem at hand, but DO NOT make a starter with dry yeast. They are coated with sterols and nutrients that are used up in the starter and not in fermenting your beer.
I'm pretty sure there's no "coating" of sterols or nutrients. Dry yeast is (or is supposed to be) in a ready to go status as far as sterols (cell wall material) is concerned, which is why oxygenation is not generally recommended. But if I had dry yeast, and not enough of it, I would absolutely make a starter rather than under pitch.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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iamwhatitseems the more I thought about it I remember you also questioned your water source. If you are using city water even if treating it may not be enough to battle the chemicals they use to kill biological things..


VikeMan in an effort not to high jack iamwhatitseems thread you can always pm me if I'm not making sense.
Holy crap why didn't I think of this?.... I am betting I know the answer. Several months ago I switched to an RV filter so I didn't have pre-filter water and lug around heavy buckets to pour into the kettle. (I have an aortic anuerysim - so heavy lifting is a no-no for me) I looked closer at the filter and it is a charcoal filter. It is probably filtering out nutrients along with the chlorine.
Now I feel stupid for not thinking of this, or looking closer at the RV filter. The one I looked at online was NOT charcoal, but the one I bought is.

So... I am not going to use the RV filter this weekend... I bet $100 that is the problem.
Thanks!
 
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iamwhatiseem

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It is an inline hose filter... reading up on this, since it goes through the filter very quickly it is highly likely it is not filtering out the chlorine very well, and certainly not chloramine.
So the problem might not that it is filtering too good, but poorly. So it is also likely that there is still enough chlorine/chloramine that the yeast are suffering.
At any rate... I am going to filter the old way I did for years and see what that does.
 

kh54s10

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I'm pretty sure there's no "coating" of sterols or nutrients. Dry yeast is (or is supposed to be) in a ready to go status as far as sterols (cell wall material) is concerned, which is why oxygenation is not generally recommended. But if I had dry yeast, and not enough of it, I would absolutely make a starter rather than under pitch.
I may be mistaken about what is in the coatings, but whatever it is I would rather it be used in fermenting my wort than fermenting a starter. Most dry yeast is not very expensive. In my experience it is less expensive to buy another pack of dry yeast than to make a starter. I also believe that pitching yeast dry or maybe rehydrated is healthier than what you end up with when making a starter with dry yeast.
 

VikeMan

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I may be mistaken about what is in the coatings, but whatever it is I would rather it be used in fermenting my wort than fermenting a starter.
There's nothing special about dry yeast sterol/nutrient/you-name-it reserves that can't be duplicated (replaced) with a properly made starter.

Most dry yeast is not very expensive. In my experience it is less expensive to buy another pack of dry yeast than to make a starter.
If you're using more than 4 bucks (an avg price for dry yeast) worth of DME in a starter, it's either a really big starter or it's hella expensive DME. DME is typically about $3 per pound. But I'd say the convenience of a second pack vs. a starter is certainly very attractive.

I also believe that pitching yeast dry or maybe rehydrated is healthier than what you end up with when making a starter with dry yeast.
What do you base this belief on?
 

Merleti

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I'm not sure how we went from the water chemistry could cause problems to it killed the yeast. The brewer seems to be having fermentation issues.
OG issues. If there was a problem with the mash it can effect fermentation. Poor conversion can mean poor quality wort.
Let me quote Palmer on this one. It's long but you still need to read it to the end.

"If you use ion-exchange softened water for brewing, the water may not have adequate calcium, magnesium, and zinc for some of the yeast’s metabolic paths. Magnesium plays a vital role in cellular metabolism and its function can be inhibited by a preponderance of calcium in the wort. Brewers adding calcium salts for water chemistry adjustment may want to include magnesium salts as part of the addition if they experience fermentation problems. Usually the wort supplies all the necessary mineral requirements of the yeast, except for zinc which is often deficient or in a non-assimilable form. Additions of zinc can greatly improve the cell count and vigor of the starter, but adding too much will cause the yeast to produce excessive by-products and cause off-flavors. Zinc acts as a catalyst and tends to carry over into the succeeding generation—therefore it is probably better to add it to either the starter or the main wort but not both. The nutrient pouches in the Wyeast smack-packs already contain zinc in addition to other nutrients. For best performance, zinc levels should be between 0.1-0.3 mg/l, with 0.5 mg/l being maximum. If you experience stuck fermentations or low attenuation, and you have eliminated other variables such as: temperature, low pitching rate, poor aeration, poor FAN, age, etc., then lack of necessary minerals may be a significant factor."
 
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iamwhatiseem

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I'm not sure how we went from the water chemistry could cause problems to it killed the yeast. The brewer seems to be having fermentation issues.
OG issues. If there was a problem with the mash it can effect fermentation. Poor conversion can mean poor quality wort.
Let me quote Palmer on this one. It's long but you still need to read it to the end.

"If you use ion-exchange softened water for brewing, the water may not have adequate calcium, magnesium, and zinc for some of the yeast’s metabolic paths. Magnesium plays a vital role in cellular metabolism and its function can be inhibited by a preponderance of calcium in the wort. Brewers adding calcium salts for water chemistry adjustment may want to include magnesium salts as part of the addition if they experience fermentation problems. Usually the wort supplies all the necessary mineral requirements of the yeast, except for zinc which is often deficient or in a non-assimilable form. Additions of zinc can greatly improve the cell count and vigor of the starter, but adding too much will cause the yeast to produce excessive by-products and cause off-flavors. Zinc acts as a catalyst and tends to carry over into the succeeding generation—therefore it is probably better to add it to either the starter or the main wort but not both. The nutrient pouches in the Wyeast smack-packs already contain zinc in addition to other nutrients. For best performance, zinc levels should be between 0.1-0.3 mg/l, with 0.5 mg/l being maximum. If you experience stuck fermentations or low attenuation, and you have eliminated other variables such as: temperature, low pitching rate, poor aeration, poor FAN, age, etc., then lack of necessary minerals may be a significant factor."
What I did differently with these last 5 batches was
1) I started using an RV inline filter. It is charcoal. One thing possible is I was not properly adjusting the flow (didn't know to restrict it) since I did this straight into the kettle immediately before heating.... it is possible chlorine was not getting filtered out. Our chlorine counts locally are on the high side... so this is a reasonable causation. - to address this, this weekend I am going to go back to filtering it the old way I did for years.
2) I switched suppliers. Not something I can test with this brew since I already have the grains.

That is pretty much it.
I have high hopes I wasn't filtering properly using the RV inline filter and the old way I filtered takes care of it. We'll see.
Notes:
We have lived here for about a year and a half, probably brewed 25 times maybe here... all without incident until the last 5 batches.
I do not add any water additives.
I grind my own grains, have for several-several brews
The "buzz" test as far as expected ABV I would say is what it should be.
I use to measure everything years ago, but after years of hitting #s over and over I admit I have not been measuring gravity for some time... save an odd batch in a different thread I started aways back.
 

VikeMan

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@Merleti

- As Palmer says, malt contains all the nutrients/minerals needed, except (arguably) zinc. And regarding zinc, many, many brewers build their water from distilled water and do not add additional zinc in any form. They don't experience the issue the OP is having.

- Regarding magnesium specifically, I build my water from distilled, and I don't add magnesium. Many brewers do the same. Why? Malt already has enough.

- The OP's carbon filter is not an ion exchange filter. It doesn't remove calcium or magnesium. It doesn't remove most minerals. I can't emphasize this next part enough: Carbon filters don't remove anything that yeast need.
 

TheMadKing

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What I did differently with these last 5 batches was
1) I started using an RV inline filter. It is charcoal. One thing possible is I was not properly adjusting the flow (didn't know to restrict it) since I did this straight into the kettle immediately before heating.... it is possible chlorine was not getting filtered out. Our chlorine counts locally are on the high side... so this is a reasonable causation. - to address this, this weekend I am going to go back to filtering it the old way I did for years.
2) I switched suppliers. Not something I can test with this brew since I already have the grains.

That is pretty much it.
I have high hopes I wasn't filtering properly using the RV inline filter and the old way I filtered takes care of it. We'll see.
Notes:
We have lived here for about a year and a half, probably brewed 25 times maybe here... all without incident until the last 5 batches.
I do not add any water additives.
I grind my own grains, have for several-several brews
The "buzz" test as far as expected ABV I would say is what it should be.
I use to measure everything years ago, but after years of hitting #s over and over I admit I have not been measuring gravity for some time... save an odd batch in a different thread I started aways back.
It isn't your filter.

For one thing I, and several other local brewers use a similar filter with no issues, and as VikeMan has rightly pointed out carbon filters don't remove minerals. Second, Vale has a point that if your chlorine level is high enough to kill yeast after boiling it is probably not safe for human consumption. Third, if you are lacking sufficient nutrients for yeast to live, fermentation would not begin in the first place. Finally, if your yeast was being killed by lack of nutrients or contamination why would fermentation suddenly restart?

I would bet your $100 that you are simply rousing the yeast and moving it to a warmer location and that is what is restarting fermentation.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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It isn't your filter.

For one thing I, and several other local brewers use a similar filter with no issues, and as VikeMan has rightly pointed out carbon filters don't remove minerals. Second, Vale has a point that if your chlorine level is high enough to kill yeast after boiling it is probably not safe for human consumption. Third, if you are lacking sufficient nutrients for yeast to live, fermentation would not begin in the first place. Finally, if your yeast was being killed by lack of nutrients or contamination why would fermentation suddenly restart?

I would bet your $100 that you are simply rousing the yeast and moving it to a warmer location and that is what is restarting fermentation.
What is getting me is the taste and quality of the beer.
It is perfect. 2 of the 5 beers is a beer I have made probably 50 times, my own "Honey Pale Ale". I know this beer inside and out. And it taste exactly as it should, and the "buzz" ABV test is also as expected.
Just not sure what is stopping the fermentation before it is finished. I just took a look at it, and again it is all cleared up... airlock even... looks perfect.
I just don;t want to have bottle bombs someday because it wasn't finished. Looks like I will be back to measuring gravity until I get this figured out.
 

kh54s10

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[QUOTE="VikeMan, post: 8969203, member: 60753

If you're using more than 4 bucks (an avg price for dry yeast) worth of DME in a starter, it's either a really big starter or it's hella expensive DME. DME is typically about $3 per pound. But I'd say the convenience of a second pack vs. a starter is certainly very attractive.

Don't know where you get your $3/lb I see more like $6/lb.
A pound is 454 grams I use 100 grams per liter so a 2 liter starter - just over average for my starters would be so almost half a pound. or about $3. US-05 for instance is about $5. Close enough to keep me from making a starter. But then again I rarely make something that would use more than one pack.

That makes the price a lot closer to the price of another package of dry yeast. And usually one pack is plenty for the beers I brew.


What do you base this belief on?

I believe that when you make the starter you strip the nutrients that the manufacturer engineered into the product. So your yeast have used all this up in the starter. It is also said that wort is a harsh environment for yeast. You get a good number of cells, but are they better off than if you didn't make a starter? My belief is no. And then there are those that say when you pitch dry yeast onto wort you kill off half the cells. If so your starter might get you back to where you were with the original pack.

I don't know but for me it is not worth the hassle of making a starter that might cost almost as much as another pack and may be less healthy, and most likely no healthier.

My opinion is just from all the things I have read and opinions that have been posted over the years since 2011.



[/QUOTE]
 
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TheMadKing

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What is getting me is the taste and quality of the beer.
It is perfect. 2 of the 5 beers is a beer I have made probably 50 times, my own "Honey Pale Ale". I know this beer inside and out. And it taste exactly as it should, and the "buzz" ABV test is also as expected.
Just not sure what is stopping the fermentation before it is finished. I just took a look at it, and again it is all cleared up... airlock even... looks perfect.
I just don;t want to have bottle bombs someday because it wasn't finished. Looks like I will be back to measuring gravity until I get this figured out.

Have you tasted it and checked gravity both before and after the mysterious "second ferment"?
 
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