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Open Fermentation Too Hot Too Fast Wyeast 3787

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Bobo1898

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Brewed a Belgian Patersbier the other day with an OG of 1.052. Build a starter with Wyeast 3787 the week before on a stirplate---crashed for 4-5 days and decanted on brew day.

Pitched the yeast in 68 degree wort and placed fermenter in my chamber, lid off. But I forgot to turn the fridge on like a dum dum. My plan was to hold it at 68 for a couple days before letting it free rise. I didn't realize my mistake until the next day when I noticed the krausen about to spill over the top of my fermenter. The temp at that point reached 82 degrees---about 20 hours in. By 24 hours in, it was at 84.

I skimmed the krausen a few times as it got close to spilling over. I roused it once. The last time I actually harvested the yeast, just in case. At 48 hours, the beer was still between 83-84. But I noticed that the krausen was dropping a bit based on the volume markings in the fermenter. So I capped it. The airlock was bubbling once every 9 seconds.

At hour 60, it was 78. At hour 84, it's still 78. Regardless, I imagine, with this yeast, a six degree drop in temp, means the yeast probably crashed.

I haven't pulled a sample yet, because it's still early. I won't know if it stalled til then, but if it does, I imagine I'll have to pitch fresh yeast. With the unfortunate schedule the beer and yeast took, was there any redeeming factor in this batch being open fermentation? Too hot too fast scared me, but I want to know if this is salvageable?

Is the yeast I harvested in bad shape? Not only did I brew this beer because it's delicious, I also wanted to use the harvested yeast for a dark strong. Should I be concerned in reusing this yeast after it had gotten that hot so fast?
 

VikeMan

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At 48 hours, the beer was still between 83-84. But I noticed that the krausen was dropping a bit based on the volume markings in the fermenter. So I capped it. The airlock was bubbling once every 9 seconds.

At hour 60, it was 78. At hour 84, it's still 78. Regardless, I imagine, with this yeast, a six degree drop in temp, means the yeast probably crashed.
I'd say it's more likely the fermentation is just starting to wind down. The high temps would have accelerated it quite a bit.
 
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Bobo1898

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I'd say it's more likely the fermentation is just starting to wind down. The high temps would have accelerated it quite a bit.
Thanks for the response! I was under the impression that some of the Belgian strains were more likely to crash if/when the temp drops and that you can't even rouse them when this happens.
 

Bassman2003

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I think 3787 has that reputation of falling to sleep if the temps go down enough towards the end of fermentation. One never knows, this beer could turn out to be great and you will have a new technique to use. Or it could be a solventy, band-aid mess!
 

Big Monk

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I think 3787 has that reputation of falling to sleep if the temps go down enough towards the end of fermentation. One never knows, this beer could turn out to be great and you will have a new technique to use. Or it could be a solventy, band-aid mess!
I'd like to be optimistic but, IMHO, 68 F is too high a pitch temp and 82 F 20 hours in is a recipe for solvent like flavors. With that said, 3787 is a great yeast to work with and you'll be able to get a better result next batch! Keep at it.
 
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Bobo1898

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Thanks for the responses guys. Think the harvested yeast is salvageable for a bigger beer?
 
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Big Monk

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Thanks for the responses guys. Think the harvested yeast is salvageable for a bigger big?
I wouldn't reuse a stressed yeast. I mean, save it and let your impressions of the Patersbier make your decision. If the beer tastes bad, don't reuse the yeast.
 
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Bobo1898

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UPDATE. Thirteen days later (still in primary), no solvent flavor or aroma. Pretty tasty. I'm not sure if those off-flavors can develop later in the process, but maybe I'm in the clear?

Assuming those off-flavors wouldn't show up down the line, @Big Monk, am I fortunate with a clean get-a-way, or did the combination of open fermentation, top cropping and low ABV (5-6%) help the cause?

The gravity sample is actually fairly clear, implying the a lot of yeast has dropped out of suspension. I'm wondering if I should pitch fresh yeast at bottling time or not.
 

VikeMan

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UPDATE. Thirteen days later (still in primary), no solvent flavor or aroma. Pretty tasty. I'm not sure if those off-flavors can develop later in the process, but maybe I'm in the clear?
If you had a fusel alcohol problem, it would be apparent by now.

The gravity sample is actually fairly clear, implying the a lot of yeast has dropped out of suspension. I'm wondering if I should pitch fresh yeast at bottling time or not.
Probably not necessary. It rarely is.
 

Big Monk

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UPDATE. Thirteen days later (still in primary), no solvent flavor or aroma. Pretty tasty. I'm not sure if those off-flavors can develop later in the process, but maybe I'm in the clear?

Assuming those off-flavors wouldn't show up down the line, @Big Monk, am I fortunate with a clean get-a-way, or did the combination of open fermentation, top cropping and low ABV (5-6%) help the cause?

The gravity sample is actually fairly clear, implying the a lot of yeast has dropped out of suspension. I'm wondering if I should pitch fresh yeast at bottling time or not.
Have to agree with @VikeMan here, if you had a Fusel or Solvent flavor issue you’d know it.

Yeast at bottling isn’t required, especially with a “smaller” beer like this, although I find with “bigger” beers it helps give faster, more consistent carbonation. I’m not one to wait weeks for carbonation.

Commercial brewers who re-yeast at packaging do so because they either centrifuge or filter the beer so there is no yeast left to carbonate.
 

John Coo's Brews

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Yeast at bottling isn’t required, especially with a “smaller” beer like this, although I find with “bigger” beers it helps give faster, more consistent carbonation. I’m not one to wait weeks for carbonation.
I just put a "bigger" beer in secondary after a very similar profile as the original thread. My OG was 1.093, and on transfer it was at 88% attenuation. I top cropped on day 2 (first time doing this) during that same stage where I thought it was going over the top (I have no fermentation chamber, and only swamp cooling to attempt to keep the temp profile from running away), and my plan was to use the yeast at bottling - again, a first as I've never re-pitched before. Because this will go through a lengthy secondary before bottling, the yeast is cold crashed in the fridge. My questions are 1) do I need to reactivate the yeast a day or two before or is it sufficient just to bring it back up to room temperature on bottling day, and 2) how much slurry would be adequate for a 3.5 gallon batch (the settled slurry from top cropping is about 60 ml)? Thanks for any advice from folks who've done this before.
 
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Bobo1898

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From what I understand, it's not recommended to re-pitch yeast from bigger beers. But rather fresh yeast, or yeast from a smaller batch. This being from stress and the environment. Although, I don't know if it matters that it was so early in the process. Someone else might be able to answer this question more accurately. But for a bigger beer, I've always used fresh yeast.

As far as re-pitching cropped yeast, I know Candi Syrup recommends a small starter at bottling for their bigger Belgian recipes. If this is going through a lengthy secondary, I would probably do a small starter for harvested yeast.

But again, at the end of the day, I personally wouldn't re-pitch yeast from a bigger batch. I'd use fresh yeast.
 

John Coo's Brews

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Although, I don't know if it matters that it was so early in the process.

If this is going through a lengthy secondary, I would probably do a small starter for harvested yeast.
My thoughts were exactly these - if caught early, it has avoided the stress of high alcohol (at time of harvest, estimated at 7%), and then if it goes through a starter process for reactivation, then the viability is assured. I've also read that re-pitching, even on big beers, isn't necessary. Maybe, as @Big Monk says above, it helps give faster more consistent carbonation.
 
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Bobo1898

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I've also read that re-pitching, even on big beers, isn't necessary. Maybe, as @Big Monk says above, it helps give faster more consistent carbonation.
I've read that as well. But the yeast is so spent and stressed in a bigger beer, that I don't know that I wouldn't want to re-pitch fresh yeast to be safe. If that happens to not be an issue, like @Big Monk , I don't like playing the waiting game for carbonation.
 

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How did the beer finally turn out? I've used W3787 often but kept the upper limit in the 74/76 degree range. I've also wondered what the upper temp limit might be.
 
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Bobo1898

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How did the beer finally turn out? I've used W3787 often but kept the upper limit in the 74/76 degree range. I've also wondered what the upper temp limit might be.
The first one was a Belgian single and it turned out well. The second one was a quad, using yeast from the single, but I haven't tried that yet and probably won't til spring 2021 (it's in bottles now).

But let me be clear, that I open fermented these. I don't know if that has an effect on how far you can push the strains, or whether it gave me more leeway with how hot it got. I never got any off-flavors from the single. I'll find out with the quad in March.
 
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