No Foam at all for Secondary Fermentation in Bottles by Fermentis Safale S-04

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
I use Fermentis Safale S-04 to brew Stouts and British Ales. Normally after two weeks in the fermentors, I bottle right from the fermentors before adding cane sugar in the bottles ( 2.6-2.8g / 330ml), and leave the filled bottles in room temperature for 2 weeks before putting them into fridge. However, around 50% chance that my beers end up no foam at all and the beer taste sweeter than expected, especaily for the last two batches, a brown ale and a best bitter. Since I use a chest freezer and a temperature controller for fermentation, I can recall that I brought down the temperature to 50-60 F ( 10-15 C) before bottling. So I think the low temperature and high flocculation rate of S-04 casued not enought yeast into the bottles to allow carbonation.

Anyone has the same problem with S04 ? Or maybe is not the yeast?
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,942
Reaction score
3,349
Location
Bremen
Might be the case. S04 is highly flocculant. But more time at room temperature should actually do it. Maybe it needs not 2 weeks but 4 or 5.


What was the reason for lowering the temperature?
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,853
Reaction score
3,267
Location
Two Rivers, WI
Are you mixing your priming sugar into the beer? Like if you inverted the bottle a couple of times to get the sugar blended in so it does not stay to the bottom, that would be helpful. Or even to do so every three or four days just to ensure that it’s all well blended might help.

if that is not the issue, then the only real thing is to be patient. Give the bottles another couple of weeks. I really do not think this is a problem with the yeast.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
509
Reaction score
315
And what exactly is room temperature? Now that it's getting cooler, the room temperature that I normally keep bottles at for carbonation is probably going to be too low a temp for expecting them to be carbonated in two weeks.

Do you have any idea what your FG was before you primed and bottled the beer?
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
Might be the case. S04 is highly flocculant. But more time at room temperature should actually do it. Maybe it needs not 2 weeks but 4 or 5.


What was the reason for lowering the temperature?
It's been 6 months now. Most of the bottles sill no foam, but occasionally there is one or two out of 10 bottles carbonated like normal, which I guess bottled towards the end of the fermentor?

I was thinking to lower the temperature to get a clear beer, since it could settle down the hops and other stuff came along during fermentation at the bottom of the fermentor.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
Are you mixing your priming sugar into the beer? Like if you inverted the bottle a couple of times to get the sugar blended in so it does not stay to the bottom, that would be helpful. Or even to do so every three or four days just to ensure that it’s all well blended might help.

if that is not the issue, then the only real thing is to be patient. Give the bottles another couple of weeks. I really do not think this is a problem with the yeast.
It's been 6 weeks... 90% of them still no foam. I just put sand sugar (cane sugar) staight into the bottles, then fill the bottles with a tube inserting into the bottom of the bottles. The same bottling method I did with other beers like IPA, PA, etc ( with US05 yeast ), and all carbonated well. Looking back I noticed that the batches that did not carbonate is by using S-04..
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
And what exactly is room temperature? Now that it's getting cooler, the room temperature that I normally keep bottles at for carbonation is probably going to be too low a temp for expecting them to be carbonated in two weeks.

Do you have any idea what your FG was before you primed and bottled the beer?
These two batches I brewed in early and mid August, so after two weeks of prime fermentation, they have been in bottles for 6-8 weeks by now. The room temperature was around 80 F(27 C). The FG was from 2.5p to 3.5p from batch to batch. I don't think it is the problem of room temperature, as I have other batches carbonated well with similar temperature by othe yeast like US05.
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,942
Reaction score
3,349
Location
Bremen
High alcohol content plus s04 dropping out heavily could very well be the reason. You can open each bottle and throw a few grains of CBC 1 into each of them. Instantly recap and after three weeks all will be carbonated, if it wasn't faulty/leaky caps. What is the abv?
 
Last edited:

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,942
Reaction score
3,349
Location
Bremen
I wonder if your capper isn't working right. I truly cannot see any problems with the S-04 yeast specifically. I just used it a couple of times with great results. And yes it was bottle conditioned.
Have you cold crashed it before and was it higher abv beer?

I had similar behaviour with a kveik once and it was just simply because of too little yeast in solution. Took three months to carbonate.

It could definitely also be the capper though....
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,853
Reaction score
3,267
Location
Two Rivers, WI
Have you cold crashed it before and was it higher abv beer?

I had similar behaviour with a kveik once and it was just simply because of too little yeast in solution. Took three months to carbonate.

It could definitely also be the capper though....
I hardly ever cold crash. That shouldn't matter anyway. There are still millions of cells in suspension whether the beer looks clear or not.

The ABV could be part of it, but... I've used S-04 in an imperial brown ale that went from 1.098 to 1.023 for 10% ABV, so I don't know if that's the issue either. That being said, my strong batch was in 2017, and I believe S-04 has changed in character over the last year or two (a manufacturing thing), so........ I'm really not sure!

My bet is still the capper, or the manner in which these particular caps function with the particular bottles used.

OR..... the amount of priming sugar used.

EDIT: No, that ain't it. If anything I think there is a little too much priming sugar being used, at least to suit my own preferences for carbonation levels.

I've bottled more than 160 batches since 1999. Low carbonation issues have been rare. Either I didn't use enough priming sugar (like 90% of the time) or had a bad seal on the caps (about 10% of the time).

So if it ain't the priming sugar... it might be (1) the caps, or (2) not keeping the temperature high long enough before chilling, or (3) the "new" S-04 is very different from what it was in the past and can no longer tolerate high alcohol!?

That's all I can really think of.
 
Last edited:

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,942
Reaction score
3,349
Location
Bremen
I hardly ever cold crash. That shouldn't matter anyway. There are still millions of cells in suspension whether the beer looks clear or not.

The ABV could be part of it, but... I've used S-04 in an imperial brown ale that went from 1.098 to 1.023 for 10% ABV, so I don't know if that's the issue either. That being said, my strong batch was in 2017, and I believe S-04 has changed in character over the last year or two (a manufacturing thing), so........ I'm really not sure!

My bet is still the capper, or the manner in which these particular caps function with the particular bottles used.

OR..... the amount of priming sugar used. How much was used in each bottle?? EDIT: Wait... I see the data above..... I'll do a bit of quick number crunching, hold on.........

I've bottled more than 160 batches since 1999. Low carbonation issues have been rare. Either I didn't use enough priming sugar (like 90% of the time) or had a bad seal on the caps (about 10% of the time).
I've read about cider makers who use s04 in combination with multiple cold crashes and racking in between, to successfully stabilize the cider. I wouldn't try it, but it has been done before successfully so it's not completely impossible. The higher abv would help to slow down the yeast that is still present, but you are certainly right, we don't know for sure. But op also said that the uncarbed beer tastes unusually sweet, so that's a strong hint to unfermented priming sugar.
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,853
Reaction score
3,267
Location
Two Rivers, WI
I've read about cider makers who use s04 in combination with multiple cold crashes and racking in between, to successfully stabilize the cider. I wouldn't try it, but it has been done before successfully so it's not completely impossible. The higher abv would help to slow down the yeast that is still present, but you are certainly right, we don't know for sure. But op also said that the uncarbed beer tastes unusually sweet, so that's a strong hint to unfermented priming sugar.
Maybe 2 weeks room temp before putting in the fridge is what's doing it then. Needs way more time at room temp.

I'll be back...
 

dmtaylor

Lord Idiot the Lazy
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
4,853
Reaction score
3,267
Location
Two Rivers, WI
I edited my response above.

So if it ain't the priming sugar... it might be (1) the caps, or (2) not keeping the temperature high long enough before chilling, or (3) the "new" S-04 is very different from what it was in the past and can no longer tolerate high alcohol!?

That's all I can really think of.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
509
Reaction score
315
Just to be clear... when you say "no foam", is that just no head on top of the beer but you do have carbonation bubbles in the beer. Or are there absolutely no bubbles in the beer itself at all when opened and poured?
 

Gilbert Spinning Horse

Active Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
37
Reaction score
17
It must be the seal on the caps. It's the only thing that makes sense with some carbonating and others not. A pound to a penny there is a problem with the caps, the capper or the bottles.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
High alcohol content plus s04 dropping out heavily could very well be the reason. You can open each bottle and throw a few grains of CBC 1 into each of them. Instantly recap and after three weeks all will be carbonated, if it wasn't faulty/leaky caps. What is the abv?
The alcohol content was not high. The two batches of british ales were from 4-5%, and the stout was between 5-6%.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
I hardly ever cold crash. That shouldn't matter anyway. There are still millions of cells in suspension whether the beer looks clear or not.

The ABV could be part of it, but... I've used S-04 in an imperial brown ale that went from 1.098 to 1.023 for 10% ABV, so I don't know if that's the issue either. That being said, my strong batch was in 2017, and I believe S-04 has changed in character over the last year or two (a manufacturing thing), so........ I'm really not sure!

My bet is still the capper, or the manner in which these particular caps function with the particular bottles used.

OR..... the amount of priming sugar used.

EDIT: No, that ain't it. If anything I think there is a little too much priming sugar being used, at least to suit my own preferences for carbonation levels.

I've bottled more than 160 batches since 1999. Low carbonation issues have been rare. Either I didn't use enough priming sugar (like 90% of the time) or had a bad seal on the caps (about 10% of the time).

So if it ain't the priming sugar... it might be (1) the caps, or (2) not keeping the temperature high long enough before chilling, or (3) the "new" S-04 is very different from what it was in the past and can no longer tolerate high alcohol!?

That's all I can really think of.
You know what? It could be the capper. I used a new bag of brown cappers for there two British ales in order to tell the difference from other batches by looking at the capper. For other carbonated well batches I used other capper.

But how could the capper go wrong? I capped like normal, and did not notice any leaking.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
Just to be clear... when you say "no foam", is that just no head on top of the beer but you do have carbonation bubbles in the beer. Or are there absolutely no bubbles in the beer itself at all when opened and poured?
Sorry.. It means no head on top of the beer, no bubbles, not matter how hard I pour it. If I pout it very hard, it has a tinny little bubbles which is much less than normal.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
It must be the seal on the caps. It's the only thing that makes sense with some carbonating and others not. A pound to a penny there is a problem with the caps, the capper or the bottles.
I could be the caps. At least for these two batches with no foam I used different cappers from other batches. But I did not notice any leaking and the capping process is exactlly like normal. Normally the beer carbonated well. What is the problem with the caps could be?
 

Das Bier Meister21

New Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I use Fermentis Safale S-04 to brew Stouts and British Ales. Normally after two weeks in the fermentors, I bottle right from the fermentors before adding cane sugar in the bottles ( 2.6-2.8g / 330ml), and leave the filled bottles in room temperature for 2 weeks before putting them into fridge. However, around 50% chance that my beers end up no foam at all and the beer taste sweeter than expected, especaily for the last two batches, a brown ale and a best bitter. Since I use a chest freezer and a temperature controller for fermentation, I can recall that I brought down the temperature to 50-60 F ( 10-15 C) before bottling. So I think the low temperature and high flocculation rate of S-04 casued not enought yeast into the bottles to allow carbonation.

Anyone has the same problem with S04 ? Or maybe is not the yeast?
I had this problem with the EXACT same results. You might not want to hear this, my problem was the result of unclean bottles. Although I sterilized the bottles figuring that would be enough. I went back to my vender and we decided that the bottles were unclean. Buying the product to clean the bottles the problem has never shown up again.
 

ncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
4,513
Reaction score
1,292
Location
New Bern
But how could the capper go wrong? I capped like normal, and did not notice any leaking.
Once I had a similar problem. I tried putting a bottle of the beer in a pitcher full of water while conditioning, upside down to see if I got bubbles coming from the cap, or if I could see the color of beer in the water. No bubbles, and no darker color in the water, but still no carbonation. I finally got a new capper, and the problem was gone. Evidently it doesn't take much of a leak to lose the carbonation.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
509
Reaction score
315
I could be the caps. At least for these two batches with no foam I used different cappers from other batches. But I did not notice any leaking and the capping process is exactlly like normal. Normally the beer carbonated well. What is the problem with the caps could be?
If the problem is from how well the caps sealed, then I lean toward a problem with the capper. Not the caps themselves. Capper might also be the person doing the capping and not so much the actual tool itself, but two different capping tools might feel quite different.

Quite possibly just that you aren't use to the way each capper feels when the cap is fully crimped. The few cappers I've used one might think the first bump they feel while crimping is the place to stop, but you actually have to use a little more force and go to the next and final bump or stopping place of the lever.

On a cap that seems tight but isn't crimped all the way the edges of the crown will still be angled out quite a bit. When they are fully crimped, the edges will be almost vertical or at least more vertical than angled out.

Whether this is your issue or not from all the other of reasonable possibilities suggested is for you to find out.
 

ncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
4,513
Reaction score
1,292
Location
New Bern
Once I had a similar problem. I tried putting a bottle of the beer in a pitcher full of water while conditioning, upside down to see if I got bubbles coming from the cap, or if I could see the color of beer in the water. No bubbles, and no darker color in the water, but still no carbonation. I finally got a new capper, and the problem was gone. Evidently it doesn't take much of a leak to lose the carbonation.
I should add that after buying a bench capper and getting good results, I decided if a little is good, then more is better. I started pulling the lever down twice, very hard - to make sure. I started getting flat beer again. Went back to pulling with normal force, and the problem cleared up again. I think I was deforming the seat. My takeaway: More isn't necessarily better.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
I had this problem with the EXACT same results. You might not want to hear this, my problem was the result of unclean bottles. Although I sterilized the bottles figuring that would be enough. I went back to my vender and we decided that the bottles were unclean. Buying the product to clean the bottles the problem has never shown up again.
I did clean the bottles first by PBW, then sanitized them with starzan, like I normally do. Maybe it was just coincidence that you started cleaning them and the problem did not come up? Do you remember what yeast did you use?
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
Sorry I forgot to mention that I fill all the bottles all the way up to the bottle neck, leaving only one millimeter space then cap them, in order to prevent oxidation. Maybe not enought oxygen for carbonation? But it works for my other beers though.
 
Last edited:
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
I should add that after buying a bench capper and getting good results, I decided if a little is good, then more is better. I started pulling the lever down twice, very hard - to make sure. I started getting flat beer again. Went back to pulling with normal force, and the problem cleared up again. I think I was deforming the seat. My takeaway: More isn't necessarily better.
I did that too sometimes. Pulling the lever down twice and hard, even left marks on the caps... But don't remember if they were these two batches with no foam..
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,942
Reaction score
3,349
Location
Bremen
Sorry I forgot to mention that I fill all the bottles all the way up to the bottle neck, leaving only one millimeter space then cap them, in order to prevent oxidation. Maybe not enought oxygen for carbonation? But it works for my other beers though.
Honestly, what do you still expect from the answers here? :D

We gave you everything and it is most certainly a capping issue, so try to solve that and move on!

Btw. 1mm is not enough space if temperature changes. Then the liquid would expand and crack your bottle. 3-5 mm is better. Otherwise, good strategy to lower oxidation, I'm doing the same and beers last considerably longer now.
 

hottpeper13

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
1,234
Reaction score
433
Location
Mequon
I had a similar problem with caps that were .010 smaller OD then the old ones in the drawer. Like was said before the crimps were not horizontal but flared out a bit,and loose enough that I could pop them off with my thumb.
It was an 11% wheat wine that is now used for cooking,it makes the best braising liquid for beef and pork.

By the way I recycled those caps and haven't had issues since.
 

MikeCo

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
465
Reaction score
245
Location
Minneapolis, MN
2 weeks at room temperature is not usually enough for my bottle conditioned beers. Leave them for at least 3 weeks at room temp, and then sample one. If it’s not fully carbonated wait another week and try another one. Don’t chill until you’re satisfied the carbonation is right. Some beers take a surprisingly long time to fully condition.
Also, if you are not satisfied with the time S-04 takes to carbonate the beer, add a different strain of fresh yeast at bottling.
 
OP
M

Miles_1111

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
134
Reaction score
15
2 weeks at room temperature is not usually enough for my bottle conditioned beers. Leave them for at least 3 weeks at room temp, and then sample one. If it’s not fully carbonated wait another week and try another one. Don’t chill until you’re satisfied the carbonation is right. Some beers take a surprisingly long time to fully condition.
Also, if you are not satisfied with the time S-04 takes to carbonate the beer, add a different strain of fresh yeast at bottling.
One queston, I think S-04 is usually the type of yeast that ferment fast, right? At least during prime fermentation, according to my experience S04 starts much faster than US05.
 

MikeCo

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
465
Reaction score
245
Location
Minneapolis, MN
One queston, I think S-04 is usually the type of yeast that ferment fast, right? At least during prime fermentation, according to my experience S04 starts much faster than US05.
Yes, S-04 does ferment faster than US-05 in primary in my experience. It also flocculates more quickly which would leave less yeast in the beer for bottle conditioning than US-05. Whether the difference is enough to slow the bottle carbonation rate, I don't know.
 
Top