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mattman91

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So, a week ago I attempted to brew an IPA.

The OG was 1.063, and when I checked the gravity on Sunday and it was 1.012. It smelled sooooo juicy, and I had high hopes. FWIW, I fermented with Lallemand New England yeast.

I dry hopped on day two of fermentation, then on Sunday racked to a keg via a closed transfer. I wanted to get the beer off of the hops and figured it would be fine as it had already hit the gravity I was expecting. I kept the keg at 68 degrees and planned on cold crashing and carbonating over the weekend. Tonight I was curious how it smelled and wanted to do another gravity reading. The sample reeks of diacetyl, and the gravity is now reading aboout 1.006.

What happened? Is this going to be salvageable? If I leave it in the keg at 68F for another week will the diacetyl clear up?
 
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mattman91

mattman91

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Here are a few more variables that may help:

This was a 2.5 gallon batch.

I mashed at 150 for 60 minutes.

I dry hopped with 4 ounces of pellet hops in a muslin bag.

I used yeast nutrient for the first time.

Not sure if any of that matters, just thinking out loud.
 

jrgtr42

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Did you just take the one gravity reading before kegging? It may not have been done fermenting.
But that said, diacetyl doesn't show up out of the blue, typically.
 

doug293cz

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So, a week ago I attempted to brew an IPA.

The OG was 1.063, and when I checked the gravity on Sunday and it was 1.012. It smelled sooooo juicy, and I had high hopes. FWIW, I fermented with Lallemand New England yeast.

I dry hopped on day two of fermentation, then on Sunday racked to a keg via a closed transfer. I wanted to get the beer off of the hops and figured it would be fine as it had already hit the gravity I was expecting. I kept the keg at 68 degrees and planned on cold crashing and carbonating over the weekend. Tonight I was curious how it smelled and wanted to do another gravity reading. The sample reeks of diacetyl, and the gravity is now reading aboout 1.006.

What happened? Is this going to be salvageable? If I leave it in the keg at 68F for another week will the diacetyl clear up?
Some infections (Pediococcus maybe?) can throw diacetyl, and cause SG to drop. So that, in addition to hop creep, is also something to consider. Although, infections are usually slow to reduce SG, so that might argue for hop creep for the SG effect.

Brew on :mug:
 
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mattman91

mattman91

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Lallemand New England at 67°
 

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I cold crash before dry hopping my NEIPAs so that I don't get hop creep, and also so fermentation doesn't reduce the aroma.
 

mattdee1

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A week is oftentimes enough to reach FG on low-to-moderate OG beers and with certain yeasts, but in my experience ~10 days is a better guideline for minimum primary duration in a sporty fermentation schedule.

The "not yet finished fermenting at time of transfer to keg" explanation seems perfectly reasonable to me; I don't see any reason to look for a more complicated explanation.

Are you 100% certain that diacetyl is what you're getting? Even if so, diacetyl issues on young beers sometimes work themselves out with a bit of conditioning. I'd set the keg aside for 2 weeks at room temp and check it again. Try to resist the urge to fart around with it, and definitely do not open the keg.
 
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mattman91

mattman91

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A week is oftentimes enough to reach FG on low-to-moderate OG beers and with certain yeasts, but in my experience ~10 days is a better guideline for minimum primary duration in a sporty fermentation schedule.

The "not yet finished fermenting at time of transfer to keg" explanation seems perfectly reasonable to me; I don't see any reason to look for a more complicated explanation.

Are you 100% certain that diacetyl is what you're getting? Even if so, diacetyl issues on young beers sometimes work themselves out with a bit of conditioning. I'd set the keg aside for 2 weeks at room temp and check it again. Try to resist the urge to fart around with it, and definitely do not open the keg.
I have had it sitting room temperature now for a few days and just pulled a sample to check the gravity. It is all the way down to 1.002!

Maybe it isn't diacetyl, but it smells like it to me. The smell isn't as strong as it was, so maybe it is improving.
 

hotbeer

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What does diacetyl smell like in a beer? I've read it's a buttery or butter scotch aroma and taste.

Is that how all perceive it?
 

mattdee1

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What does diacetyl smell like in a beer? I've read it's a buttery or butter scotch aroma and taste.

Is that how all perceive it?
That is the "standard" way it is described, yes. But subjective descriptors are notoriously unreliable. Diacetyl seems to be one of those things that some people are more sensitive to than others. I have a feeling most homebrewers have tasted it at some point without even realizing it. Reason being, a small bit of diacetyl character isn't necessarily bad depending on the style. It's not like the bandaid, plasticky type of off flavor that is universally awful
 

DannyBoy270

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Sounds to me like you've got something wild refermenting your beer. At room temp the yeast would have cleaned up any diaceytl, and obviously the new england strain shouldn't attenuate that much. I understand the possibility of hop creep, but I've never had an issue with it. Did you add any salts to your water? (Since hop creep is primarily ph driven)

I'd chill it and give it a taste if it was me. Cold beer masks flaws, warm beer accentuates them. You can always manipulate your carbonation level in the keg (assuming you're force carbing) if it tastes well enough.

Good luck 🍻
 

mattdee1

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Yeah, all my previous comments aside I tend to agree with DannyBoy270 - if you're down to 1.002 then either your hydrometer is jacked or you've got some kind of infection.
 
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mattman91

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Sounds to me like you've got something wild refermenting your beer. At room temp the yeast would have cleaned up any diaceytl, and obviously the new england strain shouldn't attenuate that much. I understand the possibility of hop creep, but I've never had an issue with it. Did you add any salts to your water? (Since hop creep is primarily ph driven)

I'd chill it and give it a taste if it was me. Cold beer masks flaws, warm beer accentuates them. You can always manipulate your carbonation level in the keg (assuming you're force carbing) if it tastes well enough.

Good luck 🍻
I did add brewing salts. I used the NEIPA profile in Brewfather.

I always take extra caution with cleaning and sanitizing. I dry hopped in a muslin bag that was boiled AND sanitized.
 
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mattman91

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Yeah, all my previous comments aside I tend to agree with DannyBoy270 - if you're down to 1.002 then either your hydrometer is jacked or you've got some kind of infection.
How can I test my hydrometer?
 
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mattman91

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Yeah, all my previous comments aside I tend to agree with DannyBoy270 - if you're down to 1.002 then either your hydrometer is jacked or you've got some kind of infection.
Maybe my hydrometer is off. I brewed a porter yesterday that had an estimated OG of 1.060, but I only got 1.042. the only thing I could think of was that I used the no sparge method. Even then I figured that would only cost me 4-5 points max.
 

mattdee1

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Check the gravity of water at roughly room temp and it should be 1.00 if the hydro is working correctly.

As for the no-sparge porter, I would expect a much larger hit than 4-5 points. The gap you saw is quite in-line with what I would guess, to be honest.
 
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mattman91

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PXL_20210802_163014334.jpg



Well....

Looks like we are working with something here. This is room temp water, off about 12 points.
 
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mattman91

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On the brightside your IPA seems to have finished out ok 🤣
Right! I'll give it another week in the keg at room temperature and reevaluate.

I'm also pretty happy that my porter will end up closer to what I had expected.

Any idea on how to fix an uncalibrated hydrometer, or should I just start adding 12 points until I get a new one? Lol.
 

DannyBoy270

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Right! I'll give it another week in the keg at room temperature and reevaluate.

I'm also pretty happy that my porter will end up closer to what I had expected.

Any idea on how to fix an uncalibrated hydrometer, or should I just start adding 12 points until I get a new one? Lol.
I'd just assume the +12 and get a new one lol. You could check it in water everytime just as a test to make sure its not getting worse 🍻
 

mattdee1

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Glad we seem to have definitely resolved something here.

If I were you I'd just toss the hydrometer and get one that reads correctly. Or, the frugal approach would be to note the offset and just figure it in every time you use it until the inevitable day comes when that hydrometer breaks. :)
 
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mattman91

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Glad we seem to have definitely resolved something here.

If I were you I'd just toss the hydrometer and get one that reads correctly. Or, the frugal approach would be to note the offset and just figure it in every time you use it until the inevitable day comes when that hydrometer breaks. :)
I'll add a new hydrometer to my seemingly weekly brewing supply order 😆

I'm glad I have this figured out. Thanks to all of you who chipped in to help. Cheers!
 

hotbeer

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I've heard that some hydrometers don't come already calibrated and you have to do that yourself by removing material from their bottom. Is this one of those?

I've not seen any for sale by beer brewing suppliers, but I think for other uses there are some out there for sale. I think usually they are plastic.

Lot of "I think" and other supposition on my part going on here.
 

VikeMan

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I've not seen any for sale by beer brewing suppliers, but I think for other uses there are some out there for sale. I think usually they are plastic.
Curious as to what you meant by that (like is there a shortage or something?), I just looked at MoreBeer, Northen Brewer, and Adventures in Hombrewing. All three have hydrometers in stock, so I stopped looking.
 

hotbeer

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Curious as to what you meant by that (like is there a shortage or something?), I just looked at MoreBeer, Northen Brewer, and Adventures in Hombrewing. All three have hydrometers in stock, so I stopped looking.
I was talking about the hydrometers that you have to calibrate yourself before using the first time. I haven't seen those type sold at beer brewing supply vendors online. They sell hydrometers that are calibrated prior to your purchase. Not that you shouldn't double check them.

I have seen the hydrometers that required that first time calibration sold in connection with something else but can't remember what that was. Generally they were inexpensive and plastic.... I think.

You calibrate them by removing material from the bottom of the bulb that is put there specifically for that purpose.

But it has been a long time since I have seen them.... 10 years or more so maybe they don't bother to make them now.
 

PianoMan

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So, a week ago I attempted to brew an IPA.

The OG was 1.063, and when I checked the gravity on Sunday and it was 1.012. It smelled sooooo juicy, and I had high hopes. FWIW, I fermented with Lallemand New England yeast.

I dry hopped on day two of fermentation, then on Sunday racked to a keg via a closed transfer. I wanted to get the beer off of the hops and figured it would be fine as it had already hit the gravity I was expecting. I kept the keg at 68 degrees and planned on cold crashing and carbonating over the weekend. Tonight I was curious how it smelled and wanted to do another gravity reading. The sample reeks of diacetyl, and the gravity is now reading aboout 1.006.

What happened? Is this going to be salvageable? If I leave it in the keg at 68F for another week will the diacetyl clear up?
Looks like you ran into what a bunch of us ran into...Post Fermentation Diacetyl. We had chatter about this years back. The day-2 hop addition is fine, although I do day-4 myself. But throwing on more hops without removing the yeast first will cause this in my (our) experience. Generally a cold crash, transfer, THEN hop addition will resolve this.

I've gone to a day-4 hop addition, cold crash, transfer then add hop tea to the keg. I'll steep at 100F a couple ounces of hops in a Stainless strainer then add the "juice". This way I don't get material in the keg. There is some oxygen introduction but I obviously do plenty of purging.

It may not be "the best" way to do IPAs but it's eliminated several problems. Good luck down the IPA Home Brew Rabbit hole.

As far as salvage, I've heard folk addition DME and yeast to restart the fermentation process. Basically making another beer. According to them it's a successful process. There's an official name for this technique but it's eluding me right now.
 
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