fermintation finished too quickly

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Gus58

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2012
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
Im brewing american wheat ale from a kit I bought from MoreBeer, I started my yeast a day in advance, which i figgured out pretty quickly wasnt necessary. Fermintation ,after pitching my yeast, started within a few hours, by the next morning, it had about 3 inches of foam on it an was working furiously. I couldnt get my temp below around 78F here in central texas. I broke my hydrometer so i cant test specific gravty. After only 4 days the foam disappeared,and I cant see any activity. I was wondering if it would be wise to add some finishing sugar to it and start fermentation again, and therefor increade the alcohol content, any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

xjmox14x

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Messages
461
Reaction score
75
Location
Pasadena
Before assuming it finished too quickly (can't really happen... if it's done it's done, regardless of how long it took), or assuming it's a stuck fermentation, or you need to add sugar or rouse the yeast, etc. you need to determine the specific gravity. Without that, you're completely flying blind. Can't fix a problem if you don't even know if you have one or not, let alone what the problem is.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,152
Reaction score
3,788
Location
Sheffield
In 4 days it's most likely that only initial (read vigorous) fermentation is done. It'll now slowly,uneventfully ferment down to FG. Then give it another 3-7 days to clean up & settle out clear before priming & packaging.
 

revco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
326
Reaction score
57
Location
Fairbanks, Alaska
I think that's probably pretty close to normal. I commonly finish fermentation around the 48 hour mark, give or take a bit, and see little or no activity at 4 days. Sometimes the foam sticks around, sometimes it settles...often depends on the strain I use, at least that I've noticed. The only way to be relatively "sure" is to check your gravity readings. I usually just let it roll for 3-4 weeks, a common practice around here...so I don't even bother checking gravity until I actually go to bottle. I would probably just let it be.

Starting yeast the day before is common, but most of us do it as starters. You probably didn't do anything except increase your yeast at pitching, which might explain the rapid fermentation.
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,296
Reaction score
3,719
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
If you haven't taken a gravity reading, then how do you know fermentation is finished, and hasn't, let's say, just slowed down? (Which it more than likely has done.) Without a hydrometer, there's NO OTHER way to know.
 

jwalk4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
1,172
Reaction score
268
Location
St. Thomas
+1 on JMOX14's post

Additionally, 4 days is not too quickly for krausen (the foam) to disappear, the primary, or attenuation, phase when Krausen develops is usually done in 3-4 days.

Your real problem is that 78 degrees is too hot for fermentation, so expect some esters and fusel alcohol flavors to come through on this batch. For your next batch, fashion yourself a swamp cooler (Bucket with water and ice packs) for your fermenter to sit in, put an old tee-shirt over top and a fan blowing on the beer for the first 4-5 days to draw out the heat. That'll get your temps down.

** That is, unless 78 degrees is the actual temp of the beer, and not the ambient air temperature of the room its sitting in. In which case, you'll probably be ok. **
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,152
Reaction score
3,788
Location
Sheffield
78F beer temp is still too high. But giving 3-7 days to clean up fermentation by products after FG is reached will help. It cleans up fusels,etc while it settles out in effect. In actuality,the fusels,cidery flavors,etc are all that's left for the yeasties to eat. They then burp,pee,& settle to the bottom dormant. :D
 

AndrewD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
289
Reaction score
51
Location
Santa Rosa
+1 more time.

All of my wheat ales ferment pretty quick, and in my opinion they should be almost a session-strength beer anyway, so I wouldn't add any fermentables. My favorite one was a small kit from NB that has 4# each of base malt and wheat.
 

jwalk4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
1,172
Reaction score
268
Location
St. Thomas
78F beer temp is still too high. But giving 3-7 days to clean up fermentation by products after FG is reached will help. It cleans up fusels,etc while it settles out in effect. In actuality,the fusels,cidery flavors,etc are all that's left for the yeasties to eat. They then burp,pee,& settle to the bottom dormant. :D
I agree that the temps are still too high, I only meant that the beer would still be drinkable. I should have been more clear.
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,152
Reaction score
3,788
Location
Sheffield
That's cool. My first was higher. I listened to the instructions I guess.:drunk: Now I've learned better through experience & here. One stop shop for my beer & pit bbq'ing jones. Concidering making a particular wine again from my days as a new father.
But here's a point to concider. Why is it we like it when they swim,burp,& pee in our wort? Are we a bunch of pervs or what? :D
 
OP
G

Gus58

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2012
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
Assuming that everything is ok, would it hurt anything to add sugar to increase the alcohol content? The recipe said it was suppose to be only around 3.8% when finished, i'd like more is all.
 

45_70sharps

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
1,802
Reaction score
173
Location
Raymond
If you want to add sugar, boil it in water so that everything is sterile.
I don't know if I would mess with it at this point though. You want to set the tone for the beer at the start, not when it's done.

As for early heavy activity, you need to keep in mind that that wort that you oxygenated got a good start on yeast pitched into it.
The reason you need oxygen at the start of the process and not later is the yeast reproduces heavily at the start and they need the oxygen when the do that. It should settle down after the initial blast of growing the number of cells and getting to the work of making beer.
 
OP
G

Gus58

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2012
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
Thank you all for the quick responses, I'll prob. just leave it alone for the next couple weeks an see what happens, and hope for the best. I will get me another hydrometer though.
 
Top