Author Topic: Overactive Fermentation  (Read 12734 times)

Offline jcksmt

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Overactive Fermentation
« on: May 13, 2010, 02:55:06 PM »
I am a new all grain brewer.  I recently brewed a 5 gallon batch using a clone recipe for Courage Director's bitter.  Four days later I racked it to a secondary fermenter and put a five gallon batch of oatmeal stout on the yeast bed from the first batch.  I am fermenting in plastic pails.  I started with seven gallons of wort in the second batch thinking I would do a 90 minute boil and reduce it down to about 5.5 gallons.  I then remembered a previous appointment and had to leave so I cut the boil to 60 minutes which meant a full six gallons went into the bucket with the yeast bed.  The next morning I went downstairs to check on progress and found the lid of the bucket tilted up and some beer and kreuzen on the floor.  I put the lid back on and some more vodka in the air trap and it was literally blowing bubbles constantly and is still blowing some kreuzen through.  My question are:  Should I always expect that kind of super activity when getting two batches out of one yeast packet?  Do I need to be concerned about contamination in the batch of oatmeal stout?  Does anyone have any general advice about putting successive batches of beer on the same yeast bed?

I decided to jump directly into all grain brewing as a new brewer and am having a blast.  (No pun intended) The two batches referred to above are numbers three and four.  Also, the first two using BS and I really like the software.  I look forward to hearing what anyone has to say.

Regards, Jack

Gargon

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 06:57:58 PM »
Well not surprised about the lid blow off.  With 6 gallons of beer and nice active fermentation you might want to use a blow off tube.
With contamination usually everthing is comming out but it is possible.

tandqbrew

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 09:48:41 PM »
I once brewed a batch and had to put it in the a 6 gal carboy because all my buckets were occupied.  For some reason, perhaps our boil wasn't very aggresive, I only got down to 5.5 gals instead of 5.  Two days later the airlock, plug, and krausen were all over the floor.

Be sure to leave yourself plenty of headspace and you'll be fine.  I don't recommend using the same yeast for two different style batches, but if your happy with the flavor that's okay.  As for the contamination, when I had my problem my beer turned out really tart.  Good luck.

Offline jcksmt

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2010, 06:25:31 AM »
I have used this oatmeal stout recipe once before so I will be able to do a side by side to see just how different the taste is.  Unfortunately there were a few other variables so the test won't be totally accurate.  My son-in-law, who has been brewing for several years, told me he thinks stouts are one of the most forgiving styles for homebrewers.

One other idea one of my brewing cohorts came up with is to put two airlocks in the lid of the bucket.  It seems as though every batch of beer provides many ideas and opportunities for experimenting with future batches.  Since we are so new at all grain brewing, we're concentrating on getting our process down and being consistent with results before we get too crazy with experimenting.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2010, 11:09:47 AM »
Four days later I racked it to a secondary fermenter and put a five gallon batch of oatmeal stout on the yeast bed from the first batch.  ...............which meant a full six gallons went into the bucket with the yeast bed. 


After only four days, the yeast was still fairly active, plentiful, and you gave it fresh simple sugars to eat. 

Perhaps allow 7-10 days for fermentation to complete, and then head space and blow-off tubes, as others mentioned.  Overblown messes depend on the yeast strain, temps, headspace, etc., and so are hard to predict.  You'll sleep better with a blow-off tube leading to some sanitizer. 

Offline CR

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2010, 02:12:25 PM »
That's not over active it is very active and it's a good thing.

But ya gotta give yer beer head room.

Currently I do my  primary in 2  glass carboys which I only fill half way.
I often end up with pretty much no room for error.
 

Offline jcksmt

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2010, 02:18:29 PM »
The brew sheet from BS called for the secondary racking after four days.  I thought that was kind of soon but am not doing too much questioning at this point in my experience.  The OG for the bitter was 1.058 and the reading I got when I racked to secondary was 1.008.  Are you thinking I could have still gotten some more conversion?  The yeast I used is White Labs #WLP004 Irish Ale.  (We decided to do this bitter at the last minute and were using ingredients on hand.)  Also, there was no action in terms of bubbling from the air lock on the bitter when I racked to secondary.  (I also dry hopped in the secondary.)  The temp. in my basement is about 69 degrees.

Putting six gallons in the bucket was a fluke due to shortening the boil.  I will make sure I watch that.  If I had used a six gallon carboy would I have had a bigger mess or possibly a broken carboy?  I have one of the plastic 6 gallon carboys.

By using two carboys are you leaving too much air in with the beer?  It seems that I have read that is a concern.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2010, 06:17:00 PM »
I have taken a scoop or two from yeast left behind after a rack and dumped it into a freshly cooled wort, but I've never taken a freshly cooled wort and dumped onto yeast left behind from a rack.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline jcksmt

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2010, 10:25:43 PM »
As I said earlier, I am new to brewing and had been told you could use the yeast from a previous batch but had not really checked into how to go about it.  Boy was I surprised.  It is good to have a resource such as this to bounce ideas off.  How many batches have people brewed on one batch of yeast?  I have heard the yeast mutates after a while and flavors can change.  Any advice or observations?

Offline BobBrews

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 06:47:20 AM »
Check out http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/Page-3
They have two shows relevent. One show is on repitching yeast and another on washing yeast.
I reuse yeast by dumping my wort on a existing yeast cake. I try to coordinate my brewing from light to dark. Weak to strong and keeping to the family (style). But I try to stay to three pitches. I have done more but that's taking a chance and it's for the same beer. $6 for a new yeast is not bad for a new (unbrewed beer) but if you have a favorite you rebrew try washing your yeast and repitching. Give the radio shows a listen.
I have not had a problem with any reused cake yet. Wish me luck!
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2010, 06:07:15 PM »
The brew sheet from BS called for the secondary racking after four days.  

As you brew more, you'll find that opinions vary wildly and you'll do what works for you.  My opinion is that fermentation is a multi-stage process, and although the attenuation stage happened and got the beer down to 1.008, the clean up of the by-products may not have happened. 

Are you thinking I could have still gotten some more conversion?  

Doubtful, but a cleaner-tasting beer, possibly. 

If I had used a six gallon carboy would I have had a bigger mess or possibly a broken carboy?  

I've heard countless tales of exploding wort on ceilings, inside freezers, etc. 

Offline jcksmt

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Re: Overactive Fermentation
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 05:35:47 PM »
I have appreciated all of the responses to my queries.  I am going to do some more reading on Maltlicker's comment about the yeast cleaning up the by-products.

I also checked out the programs on brewingnetwork.com on washing and repitching yeast.  Thanks to BobBrews for the tip.

Cheers to all.

Jack

 

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