Fermentation too fast?

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stephelton

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I made a heavy starter around Friday in the 1.07 range. I've always seen starters ferment in an hour or less, and was surprised when this one went on for a day plus. In retrospect, it was more wort than usual, and heavier wort, so I should have known better.

So I went on to brew my wheat beer and hit around 1.071 OG (finally getting my efficiency up there :)) When I pitched the yeast, the starter was still quite active. This was around 6:00 PM Sunday. After returning from dinner not 2 hours later, the bubbling from the carboy was already substantial. By now, almost 30 hours after pitching, the krausen is falling and the bubbling is slowing significantly.

This seems awfully suspect to me, as the gravity is fairly high. Have you seen fermentations occur this quickly ever before? Should I be worried?
 

Vic_Sinclair

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You don't sound relaxed, you seem to be worrying, and you do not seem to be enjoying a homebrew. That's your first problem. Your second is using bubbles and krausen as a measure of what the yeast are doing. I would wait two weeks and then take a hydrometer reading. I would forget I even HAD this fermenter until then.
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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I'm not so much worried as I am trying to understand what's happening. If there's no CO2 produced, there's no alcohol being produced, which either means fermentation happened very quickly or it has stopped prematurely.

Am I missing something?

I'm convinced at this point that I'd have to *really* screw something up to not end up with beer. But that doesn't prevent me from trying to be objective about things.

That phrase that Papazian coined drives me nuts...!
 

McKBrew

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Nothing wrong with fermentation subsiding/slowing after almost three days. Not sure why it is bothering you. I won't use the Charlie P quote on you.
 

Sigafoos

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Many of my beers only bubble for a day or two, and they come out fine. I actually never saw my red bubble at all, but then there it was at the end, nice and tasty.
 

bdnoona

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You don't sound relaxed, you seem to be worrying, and you do not seem to be enjoying a homebrew. That's your first problem. Your second is using bubbles and krausen as a measure of what the yeast are doing. I would wait two weeks and then take a hydrometer reading. I would forget I even HAD this fermenter until then.
Very funny. And I agree. Wait a little while (probably a week) and take a hydrometer reading.
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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Nothing wrong with fermentation subsiding/slowing after almost three days. Not sure why it is bothering you. I won't use the Charlie P quote on you.
This was 30 hours -- barely more than a day.

Thanks for the input. I suppose I'll take a refractometer reading and see where it's at.
 

bdnoona

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It could've just fermented out really fast since you made a big starter. I recently made a stout that finished bubbling in a day or so because of the big starter.
 

McKBrew

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I do wonder why you made your starter at the same gravity as the beer though. Everything out there that I've read on starters recommends not doing this and making a starter around 1.040. If you are making a high-gravity beer, you are supposed to step it up more.
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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Off subject, but curious. What type of wheat was this? OG of 1.07 seems really high for a wheat.
7.5 lbs wheat, 5 lbs 2 row, .75 lbs crystal 20L was my recipe. That puts wheat at about 56.6% of the grain bill. I wanted a high gravity beer because I haven't made one in a while =P

I plan to add blueberries during secondary.

I do wonder why you made your starter at the same gravity as the beer though. Everything out there that I've read on starters recommends not doing this and making a starter around 1.040. If you are making a high-gravity beer, you are supposed to step it up more.
I seem to recall reading that it's best to create a condition during a starter similar to that during primary. What affect might that have one way or the other?
 
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stephelton

stephelton

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Also,

Don't refractometers stop being useful after fermentation? Something about the yeast and alcohol and so on requiring more calculations.
There are formulas (formulae?) for calculating SG during fermentation (given the OG), and also for calculating the OG and ABV (given both a hydrometer and refactometer reading).

Google for "refractometer calculations" if you're interested.
 

Boar Beer

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We use a week old primary yeast cake for a heavy beer and it went off like a bomb. A day or two and it was over, cant say it was done in 30 hours but it was fast.
lost a gallon out the blow off tube.
Let it go 2-3 weeks. I bet your FG is right on the traget
 

thorongil

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I've had vigorous fermentation within an hour and finish within a day or 2 when pitching on a cake, so I would guess that your big starter achieved the same effect... all beers turned out great...
 

Vic_Sinclair

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stephelton: You keep coming back to bubbles and krausen. They are useless as gauges of what it going on. Only your hydrometer can tell you.
Maybe you have a leak and CO2 is escaping elsewhere. I've had that before, still had great beer. Or maybe you just had really fast, active and short-lived fermentation. I've had that before as well.
 

nutcase

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I am enjoying an IPA right now that I made 6 weeks ago that stopped bubbling in about a day and a half. It turned out awesome
 
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