Author Topic: Biological warfare on my beer?  (Read 5509 times)

Offline Hose a de RR

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Biological warfare on my beer?
« on: February 18, 2009, 07:29:26 PM »
On Feb. 8, I brewed my second batch of beer, an English Pale Ale. The wind was very gusty that day and about half way thru the boil a leaf landed in the brew pot. I had a bee drop in my first batch (Bienenstich Hefeweizen). What's next...a turkey buzzard?

Anyway, I have a fermentation frig with an external controller that I set to 70 degress. By the 13th, the bubbler had slowed significantly and the SG was 1.015 so we racked to the secondary fermenter.

Nothing happened until today, Feb 18, I sneaked a peek and noticed little flecks of white stuff floating on the surface of the beer. Using a Maglite shining thru the side of the carboy, I could see small bubbles raising to the surface and there is about a 1/2 inch cake of yeast on the bottom. I hoped to take a better picture of it but my digital camera is having trouble focusing thru the glass of the carboy.

My first batch had a very active fermentation and the kraeusen formed in the secondary within a couple of hours.

After 5 days in the secondary is this kraeusen slowly forming or did my beer get infected?

Offline BeerSmith

  • Brewer, Author, Patriot
  • BeerSmith Administrator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 5597
  • BeerSmith - take the guesswork out of brewing!
    • BeerSmith
Re: Biological warfare on my beer?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2009, 09:24:39 PM »
Hi,
  This is not that unusual.  I often get some floating on the top of the fermenter.

  In most cases your beer will be just fine.  If it goes bad, you will certainly know once you bottle and drink it.

Cheers,
Brad
Get a free trial of BeerSmith 3 here

Offline SOGOAK

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 383
Re: Biological warfare on my beer?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 07:08:00 AM »
It is funny how bad wort or green beer can look in the fermentor.  Then it clears up and tastes great.

Certainly interesting choices for adjunct additions during boil  ;D
Good Recipe, Good Ingredients, Good Procedure, Good Sanitation = Good Brew.

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Biological warfare on my beer?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2009, 08:59:00 AM »
On Feb. 8, I brewed.............By the 13th, the bubbler had slowed significantly and the SG was 1.015 so we racked to the secondary fermenter. Nothing happened until today, Feb 18, .............

It will likely be fine.  If I understand the timing correctly, a day-time brew on the 8th would mean pitching yeast that PM at best.  Under ideal conditions, fermenting activity might have started that night, but probably next day in earnest?  So it ferm'd on the 9th thru 13th for only five days.   Every beer/yeast is different, but 7-10 days is preferred. 

While the bulk of the active Sugar-Eating phase of the primary ferm had passed, I suspect the more complex sugars were still being eaten, and the yeast still had clean-up work to do.  There were likely lots of yeast in suspension still eating and cleaning that went to the secondary.  The slight infusion of oxygen from the transfer probably aided in their restart, (hence the new activity and surface evidence), but their numbers are drastically fewer now after racking off the yeast cake.  Finishing fermentation will take longer with fewer yeast cells doing the job. 

I would let it set a while to ensure the remaining sugars are consumed and the yeast has time to process the diacetyl.  Rouse it gently to keep yeast up in suspension.  If you used an English yeast that creates a bit more diacetyl, you'll want to be patient on the secondary.

Before bottling, check gravity and taste it for a buttery flavor and/or a slick coating sensation from excess diacetyl.  If present, wait longer.

Offline Hose a de RR

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Re: Biological warfare on my beer?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 03:36:19 PM »
Thanks to everyone that responded.

I was afraid that I was going to have to dump it.

The SG is 1.011 (recipe states final as 1.012). It tastes good with just a slight hint of sharpness after swallowing and there is no buttery flavor or slick coating so it's going into the bottles tomorrow.

How long show this type of beer condition in the bottles?

The beer looks really dark in the carboy but has a nice medium amber color in the glass. Going to be hard to wait for this batch since I have only two bottles remaining of my first batch (Bienenstich Hefeweizen).

Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Biological warfare on my beer?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 08:23:32 AM »
How long show this type of beer condition in the bottles?
The beer looks really dark in the carboy but has a nice medium amber color in the glass.
You can start drinking it at 2 weeks, which is enough time for the carbonation to build up. But it wont be conditioned for about a month. The darkness is a good indication that the yeast is falling out of the beer (Less yeast in suspension to refract light).

Quote
Going to be hard to wait for this batch since I have only two bottles remaining of my first batch (Bienenstich Hefeweizen).
Totally understand! The only solution is to get another Carboy filled!

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

 

modification