Infection?

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Rommer

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Hi there everyone,

This is second try of home brewing and after long waiting in the fermenter (1 month because not reaching FG) it is time to bottle the batch now . However some particles floating on the top of wort. I am attaching the image, so please if you can possibly help if this is an infection or not? Thanks in advance.
IMG_6691.jpeg
 

TurnipGreen

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That looks sort like an infection, but you’d know better from a taste or smell.

You say it’s been in the primary for a month because you haven’t hit final gravity, so I assume you’ve been opening the bucket and taking samples. That’s a lot of opportunity for oxidation and wild yeast to get in.

I recommend you start another batch simple recipe and simple ale yeast. Don’t measure anything at all during fermentation. Take an original gravity, leave the lid on, undisturbed for three weeks then take a final gravity and package.

Brewing takes a surprising amount of self discipline to not try to fix something and trust the process will work.
 

hotbeer

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What do you mean by not reaching FG? Is the SG still dropping or is it remaining steady.

If the SG is remaining steady, then you hit your FG that is specially made just for the way you performed the various processes when you brewed that batch.

Though it might be possible you stalled the ferment or never got a ferment going.

What was your actual FG and what is the SG of the last couple hydrometer readings you took?

Also, what temperature is the fermenter kept at currently and what range of temps did it see since you put wort in it?

I don't think it looks infected. Does it taste sour?

If it tastes good enough, rack the beer out from between the trub on the bottom and the stuff floating on top. It'll probably taste better when carbonated, even if it is sour. Some people like sour beers better than others.
 
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Rommer

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Thank you for the replies.

OG was 1.061 (actual around 1.06) and FG should be 1.011 based on recipe from software.
However SG stuck a few days on 1.02 so I made a few swirls on the fermenter and now it reached 1.015 after many days.
The fermentation temperature ranged form 16 to 20 degrees celsius.
(Below diagram red=temp & yellow=gravity)

The sample was taken always from the tap on the bottom and I haven't open the top lid until today.
Smell and taste seem very good. No sour at all.

However I am not sure if the wort is ok, so for the moment I poured priming solution in the fermenter, re-sealed it, and thinking to leave it for a couple of days and then bottle a part of the wort.
Normally, I would bottle it right away for second fermentation in the bottle, but now it seems that fermentation started again in the vessel.
Any comments/recommendations on the above?

Image 8-5-22 at 18.35.jpg
 

hotbeer

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Not certain I understand why you put a priming solution in the fermenter. Are you carbonating it in the FV? Or are you immediately putting it in keg or bottles? If bottling, I wouldn't let it sit in the FV unless you have a means to pressure bottle after it carbonates and your FV will handle pressure.

Of course if you put fermentable sugar in something then fermentation will start again.

However if you got an infection then even the sugars considered unfermentable might be fermented. They usually take longer depending on what is chewing on them.

Since you have the internal temp of the beer, why did it drop from 20° to 16° then back up? If that is from swinging ambient temps outside, then I'd recommend you control those better.

Looks like the cooling happened during the krausen. You may have stalled things for finishing up afterward and the yeast are just now getting back to work.

However adding the priming solution changes everything.
 
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Rommer

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This was the method I followed in the first batch as well.
After fermentation finished (reached FG) - poured the priming solution into the same FV - swirl - let it rest for some time - and then bottling from the FV in the same day. Thus to mix the priming solution evenly before bottling and create carbonation in the bottle (bottle fermentation). Is this not right? What is your recommended method?

I don't have temperature control of the fermentation for the moment, so this was done due to sudden ambient temperature drop those days. However for that reason I choose yeasts with big temperature range and the specific yeast had 15 degrees lower limit.

So what do you recommend as next steps now after adding priming solution?
 

hotbeer

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After fermentation finished (reached FG) - poured the priming solution into the same FV - swirl - let it rest for some time - and then bottling from the FV in the same day.
In a conical where I've already dumped all the trub and settled yeast, that is pretty much what I'd do.

For carboys, buckets and other fermenters, I've never done that. I've wondered about doing that though. Just never experimented to see how bad the yeast and trub on the bottom gets stirred up or how long it takes for it to settle after it gets stirred up.

I've been racking to a separate pot and then adding the priming solution to the beer and then immediately putting it into bottles and capping them.

From what little I know and have read, yeast with a bigger temperature range doesn't mean they enjoy a widely ranging and varying temperature while fermenting. They still won't like going from warmer to cooling temps and may shut down or slow until they get use to things or temps warm up.

I especially would be careful to keep the ambient temps stable outside the FV during the first few days. If anything, I'd err to the side of letting them get warmer.

Though if this is lager, I've got no experience with that.
 
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Rommer

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I've been racking to a separate pot and then adding the priming solution to the beer and then immediately putting it into bottles and capping them.
This was our initial thinking but avoided due to higher risk of contamination.

Regarding temperature variation and possible stuck or delay of fermentation, do you think it may have some relation with white flakes on top of the wort?
Is there now an easy way to determine if the beer is infected or not?

Finally, now how long would you suggest to wait before bottling and is going to create any carbonation on the bottle?

This is ale yeast.
 

hotbeer

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This was our initial thinking but avoided due to higher risk of contamination.
Most either do what I do, or they put the priming sugar or solution in the bottles directly. Though if you put the sugar solution in the FV without heating it to sanitize it and letting it cool some, then you probably risk contamination from that alone. I heat my sugar solution to almost boiling and let it cool while I'm getting bottles and everything else ready. As well, everything used is sanitized by some method before use.
Regarding temperature variation and possible stuck or delay of fermentation, do you think it may have some relation with white flakes on top of the wort?
Is there now an easy way to determine if the beer is infected or not?
Don't know whether it did or didn't. Even when you do the same recipe, things will be different if you don't hold everything to the same conditions of the previous batch. And this includes temperatures every step of the way.

Is it infected? I don't care to guess. If it is infected you will probably have gushers when you open your bottles two or three weeks after bottling. And the SG will likely go almost to 1.000 or lower. Infected beer is okay to drink usually. Most of the time if it's accidental, it won't be the type of infection that tastes good. But wait till it's bottled, carbonated and conditioned to judge throwing it out or not.

Finally, now how long would you suggest to wait before bottling and is going to create any carbonation on the bottle?
If you have already put the priming sugar in it, then I'd bottle it sometime between now and four hours. Why four hours? I just pulled that out of the air. But I wouldn't want any CO2 escaping. That's what carbonates beer. Use up all the fermentable sugar, and no more CO2 for carbonation.

As you can see in your graph, the SG started down the day you pitched yeast. So that pretty much means yeast were producing CO2 whether you saw bubbles or not.
 
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Rommer

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Thanks a lot for your insightful replies and comments. I really appreciate your help.
I will come back with comments of results after bottling & conditioning.
 

Zambezi Special

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It doesn't look bad to me.
If smell and taste are fine, I would bottle it.
But since you added sugar to the fermenter, I would wait a couple days to finish fermenting this sugar.
Then put sugar per bottle or in the fermenter, but don't wait more than a couple hours.
I would bottle in pet bottles (like screw top sprite or 7up bottles) so you can check how carbonation develops by squeezing the bottle. And keep them in a box or something, just in case
 

bwible

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When you add priming sugar the yeast will start to eat it. We usually use corn sugar which is 100% fermentable and yeast will consume it pretty quickly. Once you add priming sugar you want to bottle right away. Otherwise yeast will start to consume the sugar and the resulting gas you are trying to capture and use for carbonation will just escape since your container is not sealed - like a capped bottle.

In the old days we cleaned and sanitized our bottles and had them ready to go. Then we put the caps in sanitizer. Then we boiled our sugar in a small amount of water. While that was cooling, we transferred as much of the clear beer as we could get into a clean and sanitized bottling bucket with a faucet - using our sanitized racking cane and hose. I sanitize the racking cane and hose by racking star san from one carboy to another. Then we attached our sanitized bottling wand and tubing. Then we added the sugar into the beer and stirred well with a sanitized metal spoon. Then we opened the faucet and filled and capped bottles until we were done. Today the oxygen police will be knocking on your door. But I don’t know how else you’re supposed to fill bottles.

I think today the oxygen police measure out micrograms of priming sugar into each bottle and then fill and cap each oxygen purged bottle from the fermenter. I don’t know what they really do but to me thats the same opportunity for contamination.
 

Zambezi Special

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I just add sugar per bottle because of some bad experience with mixing it to the fermenter. I had very uneven carbonation that way.
I suppose oxygen is a real pain if you age your beer for months. I drink it way too fast ;)
 

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