Is this sediment ring normal?

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mcleanmj

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Been brewing for years but had a string of infections lately that have me on edge.

I've got a hefeweizen fermenting with WLP300 in a PET carboy with a Tilt hydrometer. It's on day 10 and still churning inside the fermenter and the Tilt is telling me 1.008, 4 points lower than expected FG. Not a great sign.

Underneath the never ending krausen is this ring of sediment. Is this a yeast deposit or is it something else? I've had similar looking deposits in all my infected bottles.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Its been a while since I brewed in a clear fermenter but I agree, nothing alarming there. Just make sure when you clean it you don't use anything abrasive as that could harbor nasties.
 

hotbeer

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It's definitely not abnormal. I've started swirling my fermenters to keep the trub and yeast off the headspace so I can see what's going on with the surface of the beer.

But the one I left to get that bad I didn't want to swirl hard enough to clean it off. But the beer itself was great when the time came to pop the top on a bottle of it.

If the white ring is specifically what you are asking about then I've also had that, I read a good explanation for it and I've forgotten it. Maybe someone else know the specifics on it. I didn't enlarge the pic enough to see if it was just tiny bubbles.

Don't worry, be patient. Go buy you a beer if you have run out.
 

DuncB

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If you hadn't looked you wouldn't have seen it and worried about it. Looks normal to me and I've been using clear fermenters for a couple of years now. Hefeweizen yeast is really top active.

I'd look elsewhere for an infection risk. Bottles, kegs, lines, taps the list goes on and on.

Infection tends to make the ferment behave abnormally and taste abnormal.

Maybe some more info about the infection issues?
 
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mcleanmj

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Yup, it's the white ring I was asking about. I haven't seen that before. It's much whiter than the krausen or trub.

I had a string of 3 batches get infected. By the time I realized the first one was infected it was too late. I'm 99% sure it was my bottling wand. I replaced all my bottling equipment, but this is the first batch I've brewed since, so I'm a bit nervous. I asked about the ring specifically in this case because my first infected batch had similar sediment deposits in the bottles that I figured was just yeast.
 

Dgallo

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The white ring is yeast and normal, however it could mean that you didn’t rinse out your fv well enough before use and some residue is causing the yeast to get stuck there (think beer glass catching co2 bubbles when it’s not cleaned well) The krausen stuck to your fermenter, also 100% normal.
 
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Deadalus

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I get those white rings on my carboys and have always felt they are yeast. It's that color under the trub and if you do a secondary ferment you'd see more of the sediment that color. It generally collects on the ribs of the carboy when I see it, the ribs are indented on the inside. I've noticed it more when I have been lagering inside my one fermentation chamber that has a solid door and I don't need a towel to block the light.
 

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For any newer brewer:
Carry those glass carboys with a harness designed for that purpose or use a milk crate.
I'd avoid the screw-on handles also.
 

davidabcd

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I would use a milk crate. I have broken several, thankfully with no cuts. I had one slip out of the harness!
When I kept glass around, I loved the milk crate method. I wasn't aware there was danger with the harnesses. Good for people here to know. I used to do a lot of things wrong in handling the glass carboys.
 

oakbarn

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I would never buy another glass one. Too many bad pix of carboys and slashes!
 
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I've got 5 fermonsters, never saw a ring like that and I've brewed a few hefeweizen batches before. That this batch finished lower than expected and the fact that you've had a string of infections, all developing the same ring, is a strong indication that this batch is infected.

I had a diastaticus infection a few years back, beers were just fine until bottling, then they would over carb. Tracked it down to the tiny oring on the tip of the wand, black on black made it really easy to miss. But you're having infections in the fermenter so your wand can't be the cause. Something is surviving your sanitation routine, what are you using to sanitize after clean out?

I'm not advocating bleach for general sanitation, but when I suspect something stubborn might be in one of my PET fermonsters, I'll clean it out really well with a cellulose sponge and unscented dish soap, then fill it up all the way with really hot water and a splash of Clorox, then let it soak for an hour. Follow that by rinsing thoroughly, wiping down as I go with the sponge (which soaks in the bleach as well) to make extra sure no biofilms are left behind.

After using chlorine you'll want to let that fermenter rest to air out for a few days at least before putting a new batch in it. And I would not use dish soap regularly, since that can cause other problems. I use it occasionally just because the suds give a good visual indication that I'm not missing any areas. PBW or unscented oxiclean works just as well. What's important is the sponge which mechanically removes any biofilms, etc.

I also remove the orings from the lids each time, and replace my spigots a couple times a year. I'm nearing 60 batches and since catching that diastaticus thing, no more problems. YMMV.
 
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mcleanmj

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I've got 5 fermonsters, never saw a ring like that and I've brewed a few hefeweizen batches before. That this batch finished lower than expected and the fact that you've had a string of infections, all developing the same ring, is a strong indication that this batch is infected.

I had a diastaticus infection a few years back, beers were just fine until bottling, then they would over carb. Tracked it down to the tiny oring on the tip of the wand, black on black made it really easy to miss. But you're having infections in the fermenter so your wand can't be the cause. Something is surviving your sanitation routine, what are you using to sanitize after clean out?

I'm not advocating bleach for general sanitation, but when I suspect something stubborn might be in one of my PET fermonsters, I'll clean it out really well with a cellulose sponge and unscented dish soap, then fill it up all the way with really hot water and a splash of Clorox, then let it soak for an hour. Follow that by rinsing thoroughly, wiping down as I go with the sponge (which soaks in the bleach as well) to make extra sure no biofilms are left behind.

After using chlorine you'll want to let that fermenter rest to air out for a few days at least before putting a new batch in it. And I would not use dish soap regularly, since that can cause other problems. I use it occasionally just because the suds give a good visual indication that I'm not missing any areas. PBW or unscented oxiclean works just as well. What's important is the sponge which mechanically removes any biofilms, etc.

I also remove the orings from the lids each time, and replace my spigots a couple times a year. I'm nearing 60 batches and since catching that diastaticus thing, no more problems. YMMV.
Thanks a lot for this reply, this is the type of response I really appreciate getting. While I know not to fret over something so small, my recent infections had me paranoid.

In fact, none of my infections occurred in the fermenter, they all occurred after bottling. Similar yeast rings developed in the infected bottles, which is why seeing this in the fermenter freaked me out. My infections sound very similar to yours and I am 99% sure it was my bottling wand (only common denominator). I've since replaced all my plastic materials and bleached or heat sanitized everything else.

I clean my fermonster in a very similar way with either unscented soap or PBW, which works great!

In the end, my batch was not infected! I just took a gravity sample and bottled it. FG was 1.012 as expected and the sample tasted excellent. The Tilt must have been reading way off because it was covered in krausen. I still don't know why I had the yeast ring in the fermenter, but I'll be sure to clean it extra thoroughly.

I went overboard on sanitation while bottling this one, so hopefully there won't be any more infected batches from here on.

Thanks again!
 

hotbeer

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Curious as to what beer taste like that is infected at bottling time. Is that a sour taste too?


@mcleanmj
Also wondering if you bottle as soon as you hit the expected FG or do you wait till getting the same reading 2 or 3 days apart.
 
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mcleanmj

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Curious as to what beer taste like that is infected at bottling time. Is that a sour taste too?


@mcleanmj
Also wondering if you bottle as soon as you hit the expected FG or do you wait till getting the same reading 2 or 3 days apart.
My three infected batches got infected during/after bottling, I almost positive from the bottling wand. So, when I bottled them they all tasted excellent, just as I had hoped/expected. All of them had stable FGs for several days. One was an ESB I think hit FG in 4-5 days, but I left in primary almost 3 weeks. The first few bottles I opened all tasted great, but were a bit over-carbonated. Then, as time went on, the beers became very over-carbonated and the flavor and aroma of the beer just died out. Some bottles have still been quite good, others had a weird bitter off flavor, but not sour. I guess the off flavor depends on the microorganism causing the problem.
 

spittiz

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Seems you figured it out, and realized the Tilt was inaccurate, which is what I was going to point out. I love my Tilt, but I don't trust the absolute values it shows me. I would not draw any conclusions from the gravity measurements it is reporting. Yesterday I brewed a batch that had on OG of 1.050 - 1.051 according to both my hydrometer and refractometer, yet when I dropped the Tilt into the fermenter it measured a calibrated gravity of 1.046. No idea why since there shouldn't be anything affecting it's "tilt" at that point, but I obviously trust my two other measurements more.

I only use it to follow the trend without having to fiddle with samples, which is still a huge help IMO and reduces risks of infection and oxidation.
 
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mcleanmj

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Seems you figured it out, and realized the Tilt was inaccurate, which is what I was going to point out. I love my Tilt, but I don't trust the absolute values it shows me. I would not draw any conclusions from the gravity measurements it is reporting. Yesterday I brewed a batch that had on OG of 1.050 - 1.051 according to both my hydrometer and refractometer, yet when I dropped the Tilt into the fermenter it measured a calibrated gravity of 1.046. No idea why since there shouldn't be anything affecting it's "tilt" at that point, but I obviously trust my two other measurements more.

I only use it to follow the trend without having to fiddle with samples, which is still a huge help IMO and reduces risks of infection and oxidation.
Ha, yeah, I've realized that the Tilt is a completely unnecessary but very fun and amusing toy. Mine has been surprisingly accurate so far, but I've heard more krausen = more Tilt error and hefeweizen has quite the krausen.

I have primarily used my Tilt for monitoring temperature and timing dry hoping and it's pretty solid for that.

Mostly I just like watching the gravity change and seeing the fancy charts.
 

spittiz

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I have primarily used my Tilt for monitoring temperature and timing dry hoping and it's pretty solid for that.

Mostly I just like watching the gravity change and seeing the fancy charts.
Yeah it's great for figuring out dry hop timing and knowing the fermentation is done, it doesn't need to be super accurate for that. I'm quite paranoid about infections and oxidation so I take any aid I can get in not having to open my fermenters in any way.
 

hotbeer

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Do you naturally carbonate? Have you considered that maybe you are using too much priming sugar? Possibly the stuff you see floating is just flocculated yeast and stuff.

The one over carb'd beer I just made has a lot of yeast suspended in it that haven't fell to the bottom of the bottle as is usual.

I just think people rush to believe infection to satisfy anything they don't like the taste of.
 
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mcleanmj

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Do you naturally carbonate? Have you considered that maybe you are using too much priming sugar? Possibly the stuff you see floating is just flocculated yeast and stuff.

The one over carb'd beer I just made has a lot of yeast suspended in it that haven't fell to the bottom of the bottle as is usual.

I just think people rush to believe infection to satisfy anything they don't like the taste of.
That's a good question but I'm positive of the infection. With the ESB I only used enough sugar to carbonate to 1.8 volumes, but it ended up more carbonated than a Belgian ale, and some bottles are really foul. There's also a visible ring around the neck and floaties.
 
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