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I Knew Better (Troubleshooting)

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Virginia_Ranger

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I did an NEIPA recently O.G. 1.060 and the homebrew store was out of the yeast I needed and it had to be brewed that day so I pitched RVA Hoptopper 2 1/2 months old with no starter :smh: (I knew better and said YOLO).

Resulting beer is very fusel tasting which I can only think is due to stressed yeast. The only thing I can not wrap my head around is that its mud brown. I tried a few new things this batch per Scott Janish's writings:

Added dry hops to keg at start for fermentation
Dry hopped 2 1/2 days into fermentation

I ferment under 10 psi so oxidization has never really been an issue but man this beer is ugly. I am in the process of cold crashing, then will dry hop in keg but I'm not very hopefully this one will make a turn around.

Any thoughts on what could have made such a hot, jet fuel, muddy beer outside my obvious yeast mistake?
 

ncbrewer

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The muddy look might be from yeast, along with some dry hops, in suspension - but I don't know if the brown color makes sense with this. The jet fuel would normally be from fermenting too hot, but you probably already know that.
 
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Virginia_Ranger

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Hops in suspension is the biggest piece I am curious about and also the use of more hops than I have used in the past with this recipe causing some hop burn / murk. Just never had a hydrometer reading look like that and the spunding valve was hissing plenty and held at 10 psi so there was plenty of CO2 in there. Hottest the fermentation got was 74 F and that temp was taken from a Tilt device inside the keg.

EDIT: one piece new to this batch was I aerated the crap out of it (at 65F) with a power drill attachment, typically I go the spoon stir method.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I have heard good things about the RVA yeasts and they claim 200 billion cells per pack. One pack without a starter should have been reasonable (assuming it was stored well). I would not be surprised if the beer looks much better in a glass in a few week vs in the fermenter.
 

mashpaddled

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If your NEIPA came out brown that is usually an indication of excessive oxidation somewhere in the process. If the yeast were sluggish to get moving and you end up with a lot of aeration in your wort transferring it to a fermentation vessel then the hop compounds were likely oxidizing all that time before the yeast had a chance to consume all the oxygen in the wort. A few days of heavy oxidation could do that. Even if you ferment under pressure dissolved oxygen in the beer doesn't go away just because the beer is under pressure--otherwise there would be no reason to purge kegs before filling.
 

FatDragon

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To piggyback on what @mashpaddled said, you aerated well and then underpitched dormant yeast. Underpitching and pitching dormant yeast without a starter both lead to increased lag time before fermentation really gets into swing, which let all of that oxygen work on oxidizing your wort while the yeast was building up. Ironically, your improved practice of aerating the wort well before pitching probably caused the oxidation that turned your beer brown.
 

thehaze

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Please post a picture of the beer in a glass, but seeing this is a NEIPA and it turned brown, it is oxidation. And seems to have happened quickly, which is weird when you keg and have all the fancy equipment to ferment under pressure.
 

isomerization

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I’m suspicious of your beer oxidizing pre-fermentation from aeration alone. Can anyone provide evidence that that is possible?

How about the drill attachment, did you use something metal that was new to your brew system? Could be that metals leached out and caused the oxidation?
 
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Virginia_Ranger

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I'll post a picture once I get home this evening but mashpaddled:

If your NEIPA came out brown that is usually an indication of excessive oxidation somewhere in the process. If the yeast were sluggish to get moving and you end up with a lot of aeration in your wort transferring it to a fermentation vessel then the hop compounds were likely oxidizing all that time before the yeast had a chance to consume all the oxygen in the wort. A few days of heavy oxidation could do that. Even if you ferment under pressure dissolved oxygen in the beer doesn't go away just because the beer is under pressure--otherwise there would be no reason to purge kegs before filling.
It did have a heavy lag time about 36-48 hours.

As for the drill aerator I think I got if off Northern Brewer or More Beer but it was scrubbed prior to first use and washed and sanitized each use after. I used it on another batch around the same time that came out well.
 

HiImBrian

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I think enough people have said it by now, but this also sounds like oxidation to me. I had brewed for a few years before I did my first NEIPA and have never had any oxidation issues. I followed most of the same procedures when I did my first NEIPA, and it ended up oxidized. I can only imagine the small amount of oxygen in my dry hop addition is what caused this. The second NEIPA I did, I purged my drop hop additions and was super anal about any oxygen possibly getting in and all worked out.

I say this all to explain that NEIPAs with their late dry hop additions can be a bit more sensitive than some other styles. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Virginia_Ranger

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I think enough people have said it by now, but this also sounds like oxidation to me. I had brewed for a few years before I did my first NEIPA and have never had any oxidation issues. I followed most of the same procedures when I did my first NEIPA, and it ended up oxidized. I can only imagine the small amount of oxygen in my dry hop addition is what caused this. The second NEIPA I did, I purged my drop hop additions and was super anal about any oxygen possibly getting in and all worked out.

I say this all to explain that NEIPAs with their late dry hop additions can be a bit more sensitive than some other styles. Just my 2 cents.
How did you go about purging the dry hop additions? Just with a co2 blast to them before putting them in or co2 blasting the keg and venting after they went in?
 

HiImBrian

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How did you go about purging the dry hop additions? Just with a co2 blast to them before putting them in or co2 blasting the keg and venting after they went in?
I put them all in a cup and covered with plastic wrap and purged CO2 in there for about 20 seconds, then let them sit a bit and did it again. After I quickly dumped them into the tank, I purged CO2 in there as well. I'm not advocating that this is the best way to do it, but it's the best I was able to do.
 

CascadesBrewer

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It did have a heavy lag time about 36-48 hours.
I am curious if a long lag time with a well aerated wort would leave a window for oxidation. I don't really understand the science of oxidation (there seems to be different definitions of what oxidation even is...or if it even requires the presence of oxygen) or how fast it can occur. I seem to recall reading that yeast will consume all the available oxygen in the wort in the order of 20 minutes, but I have to assume that would only occur with an active population of yeast.

I have seen enough posts about "murky dark" beer during fermentation that turns out fine in the glass, that I am optimistic that this batch is fine as well. Often my beers look pretty disgusting during fermentation.
 
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Virginia_Ranger

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I put them all in a cup and covered with plastic wrap and purged CO2 in there for about 20 seconds, then let them sit a bit and did it again. After I quickly dumped them into the tank, I purged CO2 in there as well. I'm not advocating that this is the best way to do it, but it's the best I was able to do.
Good to know! I have only ever dry hopped my Pale Ales in the primary. Typically for NEIPAs to avoid oxidation I do a closed transfer once my gravity reading is steady for two days to a fully purged keg with my dry hops sitting on the bottom. I'll force carb that and let the hops sit cold on there for up to three weeks. A week in a half in is usually the sweet spot with that process and the beer is pale yellow and tastes fresh as all. I figured since so many other dry hop multiple times during the process for their NEIPAs I'd give it a shot.

I am curious if a long lag time with a well aerated wort would leave a window for oxidation. I don't really understand the science of oxidation (there seems to be different definitions of what oxidation even is...or if it even requires the presence of oxygen) or how fast it can occur. I seem to recall reading that yeast will consume all the available oxygen in the wort in the order of 20 minutes, but I have to assume that would only occur with an active population of yeast.

I have seen enough posts about "murky dark" beer during fermentation that turns out fine in the glass, that I am optimistic that this batch is fine as well. Often my beers look pretty disgusting during fermentation.
I do have some hope the color will lighten a bit as it cold crashes. Fermentation was completely done when I drew the ugly sample but there was quite a bit of hop and yeast sediment in there still.
 
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