Print Story Stuck Fermentation
By Gedvondur (Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:31:29 AM EST) beer, yeast, homebrew, injuries, fermentation (all tags)
The procedures that my brew-buddy ScottyG and I use are pretty well thought out, our harvested yeast storage procedures haven't been the best.

This has lead to ScottyG wearing a bandage, multiple yeast purchases and a stuck Kasteel clone.

What we've got in process right now:

Celebrator Doppelbock clone is lagering down stairs in our lagerator.  Should be done lagering by March.

Fat Tire Clone in primary fermenter #1.  Incredible long lag on the White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast but it started bubbling yesterday.

Dunkelweiss in primary fermenter #2.  This bad boy took off like a shot and as far as we can tell finished primary fermentation within 48 hours.  Letting it sit for a week before moving to secondary.

Kasteel clone, in a Better Bottle carboy.  Its stuck.  This is a BIG beer, at about 11% alcohol and it fermented until it hit about 1.040SG and then just.....stopped.  We took it off the yeast cake....ya the yeast is dead.  Why is part of the error in our procedures.

What we have on tap right now:

Tap 1:  Saison  --Tasty tasty saison, but sadly almost gone.  I don't think this one is going to make it through the week.

Tap 2:  Prestidigitation Ale  --A recipe almost entirely of our own creation, using Cascade for bittering and our home grown hops for flavor and aroma.  A bit on the APA side of things, but a tasty and refreshing beer.  Made entirely out of extra beer supplies we had laying around.  Fermented using good old Nottingham in a dry yeast packet.  Considering everything but the malt itself was either home-grown or bought for a different beer, this bad boy is probably the cheapest beer we have ever made.  I estimate less than ten dollars.

The Yeast Problems

We have been harvesting yeast for almost a year now.  Usually we just save a portion of the yeast cake, wash it, and then bottle it.  Into the refrigerator it goes.  This has worked out pretty good, but there are a number of real issues in handling yeast this way. 

First, there is the generational issue.  The characteristics of the yeast (the reason you buy specific strains) tends to begin to change after three or four generations.  We have been pushing this and frankly its bad practice.  Our Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale yeast was on about generation five.   That's what we pitched into the Kasteel.  Between the Kasteel being a strong beer (too many fermentables stress the yeast) , a slightly small starter, and yeast that had seen too many generations, our Kasteel stopped fermenting about half way through.  The yeast simply went dormant or died.  At least we didn't get autolysis.  We are making a nice big starter of WPL530 which is high alcohol tolerant to pitch into the Kasteel to get the fermentation to finish.  The only problem is that the damn WPL530 seems to be laggy as hell.  It took days for the Fat Tire clone to take off and now its taking days for the starter to go.  Frustrating.  If that damn starter (made with a fresh store-bought vial of WPL530 doesn't take off, I'm going pitch the Kasteel right on top of the Fat Tire's yeast cake when we move it to secondary.

Second, we have been keeping the yeast too long.  The Fat Tire yeast we got from Wyeast was the real stuff they use in New Belgium.  Limited time availability.  So we harvested five bottles of it from our first two Fat Tire clones.  And then promptly brewed anything but a Fat Tire for a year.  Yeast put in bottles and refrigerated don't just stop.  They continue until they run out of what little fermentables are in the bottle and then go dormant.  What this really means is that the yeast left in the bottles, especially those left in for a year, super-carbonate.  When ScottyG opened one of those bottles to make a starter for our latest Fat Tire clone, the top of the bottle exploded in his hand.  The resulting cut was ALMOST enough for ScottyG to get stitches, but thankfully that wasn't necessary.  No permanent damage, he just had to keep it dry for a few days.

Lastly, the whole process we use is just fricking wrong when it comes to yeast.  We should be freezing in glycol on slants, not refrigerating in brown bottles.

The rest of our brewing process is pretty good, but clearly we need to improve on the yeast management before somebody loses an eye.

Upcoming Beers:

We are going to brew another tasty Pilsner as soon as the lagerator is free and then move on to brew an Imperial Ginger beer based on the Shakemantle Ginger we made last year.  Because, you know, you can't have enough ginger.

< I think that somewhere along the way | All right, guys. Knock it the hell off. >
Stuck Fermentation | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
I have nothing intelligent to say, by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:19:07 PM EST
but thanks for writing this up. I'm going to be getting some brewing equipment sometime pretty soon, and I'm sure that I'll be pestering you, georgeha, and whoever else brews with lots and lots of questions....

To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
Most Excellent by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:39:54 PM EST
May I suggest this be your first purchase?


"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 12:56:37 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

Heh, thats a good idea by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:40:37 PM EST
I'll make that happen next time we brew.


"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito
[ Parent ]
Bottled the Mirror Pond clone tonight. by ni (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:17:39 PM EST
Really great so far. I'm eager to see what some carbonation and age does. Unfortunately, I've only had Mirror Pond once before, and while I remember loving it, and think this is very good, I can't say with certainty that they are really good in the same way. In particular, I suspect this might be a richer, maltier beer than Mirror Pond is. I will have to try to track down a bottle to compare.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
Your suspicioins are correct by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:46:11 PM EST
Stove top extract beers are nearly all darker.  Its a function of stovetop heat, which really has to be cranked to boil that much water and cheap pots. 

The maltier comment is correct as well.  There is a percentage, albeit a low percentage, of DME /LME that simply isn't fermentable.  That tends to lead to slightly sweeter and maltier beers.

Congrats on the Mirror Pond clone!  Give it a few weeks to carbonate and age and you will be good to go.  Honestly, many times I find I like our version of the beers better than the original. 


"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito
[ Parent ]
Provided I could spell "suspicion" n/t by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 07:46:50 PM EST

"I love my brain. It's the only organ I can afford to lose." --frijolito
[ Parent ]
It's all fun and games by hulver (4.00 / 2) #8 Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 09:52:29 PM EST
Until somebody loses an eye.
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
I'm sorry by Phage (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Feb 12, 2009 at 01:55:16 AM EST
But this sounds like a brain-storming session for a SF series in which the army of Kasteel clones were attacked by a band of mutants which had crept up on them unobserved.
There bodies were discovered by the reinforcements from planet WPL530, who resolved to continue the terraforming in their memory.

Oh....just me then...

Stuck Fermentation | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)