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One of my jugs has stalled ... weird ... chuck it out?

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elephant

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Hey,

I have two jugs of braggot going - it's a simple recipe with pellet hops, 1/2 honey and 1/2 amber beer malt extract and larger yeast.

What is weird is they are both exactly the same (they even came from the same mixture pot!), but one of them hasn't bubbled at all for almost a week while the other one is still going strong. They've only been fermenting for about a week and half.

I'm a bit worried that it's been "poisoned", as when I first made them, the froth actually bubbled up into the air-lock, and the air-lock contained a sanitizer/water mix. Is it possible it sucked some of that mix back down into the must, killed all the yeast and poisoned the brew? The airlock got some froth in it from both brews, but only one has stopped. The other one is showing a lot of action.

Abour four days ago I added extra yeast to the one that had stopped bubbling, but nothing more has happened.

Should I just throw it out? (also ... should I throw the other one out that is still bubbling away, in case it got "poisoned"?)...

Cheers!
 
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elephant

elephant

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What's the "fermentation krausen"?

On both of them, the froth from the fermenting must went up into the air-lock in the first couple of days. I had to clean them both out. I'm worried somehow the sanitizer form the airlock got back into the must and made one of them inhospitable to yeast, and even though the other one is still fermenting, maybe got dangerous sanitizer liquid into the must (1 teaspoon of it is supposed to be diluted through 5 liters of water, so it must be strong stuff).
 

khannon

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Were you running the properly diluted solution in the airlock? or was it undiluted straight from the bottle?
What size batch(es)?

The krausen is the foam on the top of the fermenting wort(or whatever unfinished braggot would be called).
 

CKuhns

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Do NOT throw it out.

If slowed or stalled could be any number of things.
1. Check the Specific Gravity 3 to 5 days apart. If dropping at all your fine.
2. To restart a stall: (in order a few days apart if still stuck)
Stir it with a long handled spoon or spatula a couple times a few hours apart.
Raise the temp 4 or 5 degrees if you can.
Check the pH and if < 3.0 bring it back up with some Calcium Carbonate.
Start a new batch of yeast and pitch.
 

khannon

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I agree with some stipulations.. The wording in the OP's post leaves room to question the concentration of the star-san. If properly diluted it should be a non-issue, and with blow-off going outward it should be a non-issue. \

However, I do have questions before making absolute statements. I get the sense that this was small-batch(1 Gallon x 2?) and I want to be clear that if ~1oz star-san un-diluted, or anywhere close or suspected was sucked back into a gallon of anything, it is unsafe for consumption.

to the OP, clearly don't throw it out, but please provide some clarity. If you followed all directions, you are probably fine. Star-san is safe when mixed properly, but it is not harmless if it is not.
 
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elephant

elephant

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Hey guys, thanks for all your helpful responses, I do appreciate that.

To answer your questions:-

The size of the batches are 5 liters each (~1.3 gallons).

Yes, the sanitizer mix was diluted, although very strongly. I just filled a small (~150ml, ~1/2 cup) container full of hot water, added a few drops - a teaspoon max. of the sanitizer and stirred it around. I just read the directions and it's actually supposed to be a teaspoon in 5 liters (~1.3 gallons), so it's a very strong mix. Although it certainly wasn't aywhere near in the region of "1oz of star-san un-diluted".

The sanitizer is not "star-san", although it maybe the same chemical under a different name. It's 5% didecyldimethylammonium chloride and 1% fatty alcohol ethoxylate, whatever that is.

I racked and tested (gravity, not taste) the brew. It's currently at 1.021 gravity, started at 1.073 original gravity, so it's currently 6.825% alcohol. The larger yeast I used is tolerant to ~9% (I was going for a ABV more similar to beer than mead).

There was a lot of sludge on the bottom when I racked it. I'm a beginner at this, buy way more than what was in my honey-only-mead I made before. I guess it was the residue from the hops.

For whatever it's worth, it smells nice. Just what I was after, a mead-beer. But I'm not game to taste it in case some of that disinfectant somehow got in there.

It's been fermenting for only 10 days.
 
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elephant

elephant

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I dunno if anyone is still following this, but I still need some advice.

I have a bit more information ... the second ~gallon jug finished a couple of days ago. I took a reading today ... and it's almost exactly the same as the first one, 1.022 gravity, which is hardly surprising since they both came out of the same pot. But since they both finished with the same gravity, it does suggest to me that they're okay, the yeast wasn't "poisoned", it's just that's the finishing gravity for this brew & yeast ... and for some weird reason the first one finished way quicker than the second one ... ?

If I got the math right,it makes them 6.8% alcohol, which is right what I was aiming at for a mead-beer.

Tastes pretty good too, although next time I'll use less malt extract and hops and more honey ... it bascially just tastes like beer as opposed to mead-beer.

Anyway I bottled up the first one with half a teaspoon of dextrose in each bottle in order to carbonate it. It's the first time I've done this and I'm worried about them exploding, so I actually put it in old whiskey bottles with cork tops ... so hopefully if the pressure does built up, it will just push the cork out instead of actually blowing the bottle up. I also did one with an old plastic soda bottle, so hopefully if they're going to blow, that one will blow up like a football first and give me plenty of warning ... sound like a solid plan?
 

khannon

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Sorry, I never got back.

Assuming that your airlock was either a "3-piece" or S type airlock, and not a blow-off tube into the sanitizer, you should be pretty safe in assuming that they functioned as normal and were pretty close to one-way valves.

This being said, I would suggest using a different liquid for the airlock next time just to have piece of mind. I would suggest vodka, will kill most things you are worried about, and no big deal if some gets sucked in. Failing that, tap water works fine in airlocks, you just want to keep an eye on it and maybe swap it out if you see any fruit flies land in it or anything.

As to the carbonation, I would wager that it will not carbonate in a whiskey bottle with a cork, and it will just pop out the cork. You will need to keep pressure in to force the CO2 into solution. I also don't know that whiskey bottles are designed to hold pressure. I think you will have better luck with round bottles, but I'm guessing if you use square(or other odd shape) it is going to fail at those "corners" if you try to pressurize it.

The plastic soda bottle should easily hold the pressure, and you can squeeze it as it progresses to get a good idea of how much CO2 is building up.
 
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elephant

elephant

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Sorry, I never got back.

Assuming that your airlock was either a "3-piece" or S type airlock, and not a blow-off tube into the sanitizer, you should be pretty safe in assuming that they functioned as normal and were pretty close to one-way valves.

This being said, I would suggest using a different liquid for the airlock next time just to have piece of mind. I would suggest vodka, will kill most things you are worried about, and no big deal if some gets sucked in. Failing that, tap water works fine in airlocks, you just want to keep an eye on it and maybe swap it out if you see any fruit flies land in it or anything.

As to the carbonation, I would wager that it will not carbonate in a whiskey bottle with a cork, and it will just pop out the cork. You will need to keep pressure in to force the CO2 into solution. I also don't know that whiskey bottles are designed to hold pressure. I think you will have better luck with round bottles, but I'm guessing if you use square(or other odd shape) it is going to fail at those "corners" if you try to pressurize it.

The plastic soda bottle should easily hold the pressure, and you can squeeze it as it progresses to get a good idea of how much CO2 is building up.
I think I'll just use water from now on. Mind you I braved it and drank a glass of that batch and I'm not dead yet. Everything to me points to it being fine, especially considering the other batch, which was excatly the same mix, finished on pretty much exactly the same gravity. Suggests to me the yeast just did it's thing and retired, just for whatever reason, one a week earlier than the other.

Tastes delicious too. I'm sure if I were some hipster with a top-knot and trendy beard I could sell it for 15 dollars a glass at the local boutique beer pub.
 
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