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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2007 * Archive through October 20, 2007 * Stuck Fermentation question < Previous Next >

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Dave Buchter
New Member
Username: Rutherford420

Post Number: 6
Registered: 07-2007
Posted From: 69.114.229.75
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 03:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi folks!
This past Thursday, I brewed a rather mild brown ale. I was looking for something in the low alcohol, quick fermenting, session beer range. This is my second all-grain batch, and I came pretty close to my target OG, just missed it by 2 points, roughly 70% eff. I ordered all my supplies, including a tube of WL002, this time from Midwest, and since I'm in NY, it took about 7 days to reach me. I was also getting ready for a weekend trip to the Hamptons, so I didn't really have time to prep a starter, but I figured it's a pitchable tube. All went well, and by 10pm I had aerated (straight O2) and pitched at about 75*. Cleaned up, stuck the carboy in the closet, and basically forgot about it 'til Sunday night when I returned.
Lo and behold, nothing happened! No apparent fermentation, no visible yeast cake, no nuttin'. I think the yeast may have been stressed from the trip east (I neglected to order the icepack!). I roused Sunday night (basically just shook the carboy) and waited. Monday morning, still no activity, so I pitched a half-packet of Pasteur Champagne yeast (it was all I had) at about 7am. By the time I left for work, around 9:30, there were visible signs of fermentation, and by that evening a sizable krausen had developed.
Whew.. sorry for the lengthy post. My question is what can I expect from the champagne yeast? A very dry beer is my first guess, but what sort of flavor characteristics should I expect. I did notice a fair amount of brown matter atop the krausen; dead WL002?
Thanks in advance for your help
dB
 

Doug W
Intermediate Member
Username: Pivorat

Post Number: 310
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 75.21.227.99
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

dry winey beer! did it myself once. wow, never knew a beer could get so dry, i'm serious.

good luck.
 

The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 1825
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.83.78.243
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 04:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I imagine that you might get some fairly fruity flavours. There are many similarities between Saison Dupont yeast and wine yeast according to the book 'Farmhouse Ales'. It will most likely be pretty dry, and may take a while to ferment out completely. You'll just have to wait and see... but what is the moral of this story... Cue Bill!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7777
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 04:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think you have predicted the flavor profile of your beer: dry and a little harsh. However, it may be drinkable; you'll just have to wait and decide for yourself. You might keep a few packets of dry beer yeast around in case of emergencies.

As many people know, I'm not a fan of pitching liquid yeast without a starter, especially the White Labs vials where there is no swelling to confirm viability. With a relatively low gravity beer and a fresh vial, I would have added the vial to the wort from a bottle of Malta Goya 7-8 hours before pitching. At least then you know the yeast is alive.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7778
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 04:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

JB, I didn't even know I was being set up.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 5079
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 05:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are you sure the beer wasn't done already (e.g., did you take a hydrometer reading)? The Fuller's yeast is a fast fermentor....it may have done its thing and dropped already, especially in a low gravity beer.
 

John Ferens
Member
Username: John_ferens

Post Number: 206
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 192.104.24.222
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 06:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What Chumley said - that was my first thought when I read your post. Did you happen to take a hydrometer reading before you pitched the champagne yeast?
 

Dave Buchter
New Member
Username: Rutherford420

Post Number: 7
Registered: 07-2007
Posted From: 69.114.229.75
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 06:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey all,
thanks for your replies!
Bill, I've already added a couple packets of dry to my grocery list for the next batch! Funny, it's something I 'kept meaning to do', but never did...
Incidentally, I have done a starter for every past batch, but because of the time constraints, I passed. I should've done as you said and at least proofed the vial at the beginning of the brew.
Chum, I didn't take a hydrometer reading, but the lack of anything on the bottom of the fermenter resembling a yeast cake, made me assume (yeah, I know!) that no fermentation had taken place. Also, when I popped the airlock, it smelled like freshly cooled wort, not at all like beer.
I'm wondering what that 3 day lag will do?
Thanks again,
dB
 

ChriSto
Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 246
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 06:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just made an ordinary bitter with 002 shipped last week to my LHBS. It took 4 days to receive and the LHBS said the cold packs weren't cold anymore when he opened so he gave me the vial gratis. Yeast was very dark and he thought it had probably seen its last.

Made a starter Thurs night and only got a small amount of clean yeast but apparently enough to get my 1.036 batch going Friday night after I decanted off the muck on top. Fermentation was finished by Monday morning. Before going to work, I roused just to make sure it was done but has settled back and looks clear already. WL002 is fast. Plan to rack to secondary this Friday since brewing an oatmeal stout on the cake and take a gravity reading then.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1357
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 09:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just another data point on this yeast from this supplier: I bought several vials from them recently and had a WLP002 that was dated 30 Dec 07 (made six months before, so only 3-1/2 months old.) I brewed a split batch Saturday on the spur of the moment. I made a 1.6L starter in the morning and oxygenated it well with pure O2. I figured it would be going by the time I got through brewing a few hours later. Nothing. Not having another choice, I pitched it anyway and here, approaching 36 hours later, I've got raised airlocks and visible yeast colonies on the walls of the fermenters, but no kraeusen.

I'm going to hit it again with pure O2 and if that fails, all I'm left with is a few varied packets of dry wine yeast.

DAMN it, it's always something. Just when you think you can trust something...
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 1100
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 72.155.214.4
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 12:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just when you think you can trust something...

I can empathize. I learned long ago that liquid yeast can be a crap shoot. Ya just never know how it's been handled from the time it leaves the factory. Burned up in transit in the summer . . frozen stiff in transit in the winter . . .

I'm thinking the only time to buy liquid yeast is early winter or late spring. Seems like you'd have the best chance of getting some survivors through.

. . . And always . . ALWAYS, have some packs of dry beer yeast around!
 

Troglodyte
Member
Username: Troglodyte

Post Number: 139
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 141.156.238.86
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 02:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In similar circumstances I was forced to pitch a packet of Nottingham onto a mild brown and wound up with a dry, minerally mess.

I rescued (mostly) this fiasco by adapting my next planned batch, a stout, to blend with the ruined brown. The result was far from a triumph, but I managed to save 5 gallons of lousy beer and learned a lot as a result.

Admittedly, blending is probably a long shot for your beer, but it is an option worth considering. It sure beats dumping it.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1358
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 05:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, I usually keep some dry yeast around, but I got caught flat-footed this time. It won't happen again.

On the upside, after oxygenating at 33 hours, one batch is taking off now (40 hours) and the other is showing signs of kraeusening. Maybe it won't be a complete disaster - at least it's cool in my basement, so it hopefully will keep the fusels under control from underpitching.
 

Dave Buchter
New Member
Username: Rutherford420

Post Number: 10
Registered: 07-2007
Posted From: 69.114.229.75
Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 05:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Update:

Racked the brown to secondary this past Thursday, and, as everyone suspected, dry and harsh! My very first thought was "It tastes like wood", which, I suppose if it were a Chardonnay would be a good thing.
Alas, it's not a chardonnay!

On another, very related, note: I picked up a Wyeast Czech Pils smackpack earlier in the week from my local, smacked it Tuesday morning, with the intention of brewing Friday.
Tuesday evening; nothing. Made a 1L starter anyway and pitched it.
Wednesday, still nothing.
Wednesday evening, stepped it up to a half gal (just figured 'what the h*ll' at this point!).
Thursday came and went, Friday morning, still nothing.
Now on Thursday evening, I bottled a bohemian Pilsner, and saved a good sized bit o' yeast, to which I added fresh wort. THAT was bubbling in about twenty minutes.
Friday night: time to brew. The czech pils had been in the fridge @ 50* all day, but I took it out and left it on the counter, thinking I'd deal with it later. Just as the new batch was being chilled, I walked past the growler, and Lo and Behold! the sucker was bubbling! Not much, mind you. And not much of a cake on the bottom, so I was glad to have the Bohemian, but still...
I should've hopped the starter, at least I'd have a half gallon of beer!
And, yes, I now have two packs of Nottingham in the fridge

Thanks again for everyones insight