Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Lorenzai

Slow Ferment?

36 posts in this topic

Pitched yeast about 5 days ago. Saw some light bubbling in 24-48 hours, but it seems to have slowed to a crawl. Not sure what my yeast pitch temperature was. I didn't check, but the wort was mixed with plenty of cool water like described in the instructions. I think it was ok but I want to be sure. Anything I should do? 

I have the Mr. Beer Craft Beer Kit. The brew in question is the Oktoberfest. In the picture looks like a little krausen inside, so I think that's a good sign right?

 

IMAG3218.jpg

D Kristof likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at the bottom of the LBK.  If you see some trub there then fermentation is progressing.  Not all brews will have an incredibly active fermentation; sometimes it seems as if nothing much is going on.  But if you've got a layer of trub at the bottom, the yeast are feasting.

 

You say you don't know what the temperature of the wort was when you pitched the yeast, but do you know it now?  If you don't have a stick on thermometer I highly recommend getting one to ensure you're keeping the wort at a good fermentation temperature.  Fermentation creates heat, which will raise the temperature of your wort and can cause off flavors if allowed to get too high.

RickBeer likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My kit came with the yeast thermometer stick on thing. I stuck it to the LBK in the front so I could see it. I don't know how accurate it is, but that's what it shows anyway. Oh and yes, it does seem to have a small layer of trub down in the bottom.

IMAG3219.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 another thing that happens is sometimes you get high krausen while youre asleep and it falls when you arent there to see it.  if your temps are good and as others mentioned, you see something in the way of krausen and trub.. youre golden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I appreciate the help. I upped the temperature in the room for a little while and the temperature tape turned from an off orange color to the green with the checkmark. So maybe it was just a little too cold in here.  I'll keep an eye on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright I got a question for you guys. While browsing the Mr.Beer online store I just realized that both the American Light and the Oktoberfest appear to come with brewmax booster packs. Neither of my ingredient kits came with that.  So does that mean my Oktoberfest is going to be extremely low ABV? Basically a really watery beer? I'm concerned now that I've been waiting for this to ferment and I'm not going to have much of a real beer to drink. All I received were the HME cans.  Should I add some DME to the fermenter and would it be safe to do so? I realize that will dilute it even more to a certain point, but I'd rather have something drinkable than a watery 1.9% alc/vol beer.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should add nothing, it's too late.

 

The base cans of refill will produce around a 3.1% ABV.  They USED to be sold this way, and then you could buy booster, or order the Deluxe version with LME.  Some time ago, Mr. Beer decided to add booster to each base refill instead of charging for it, to raise the ABV.  Many 3rd parties sell the refills without booster still.  Have no idea if the kits (LBK, bottles, refill) that come with base refill cans (vs. the ones that come with the Craft refill cans include booster or not.

 

FYI, the American Light doesn't have much to it regardless.  Oktoberfest is good with an LME packet.

Marius and Cato like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

You should add nothing, it's too late.

 

The base cans of refill will produce around a 3.1% ABV.  They USED to be sold this way, and then you could buy booster, or order the Deluxe version with LME.  Some time ago, Mr. Beer decided to add booster to each base refill instead of charging for it, to raise the ABV.  Many 3rd parties sell the refills without booster still.  Have no idea if the kits (LBK, bottles, refill) that come with base refill cans (vs. the ones that come with the Craft refill cans include booster or not.

 

FYI, the American Light doesn't have much to it regardless.  Oktoberfest is good with an LME packet.

 

Yeah I got the Craft Beer kit, but it only came with the base refill cans and no booster.  Well, that's a bit of a disappointment.  I guess I'll bottle it as it is and order DME and hops to doctor up the American Light. I will probably add a couple pounds of amber DME and some cascades to turn it into an American Ale.  Live and learn!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You really don't want to add more than a pound of LME, or 0.8 pounds of DME.  More than that and there's little reason to start with a can of HME, because you've totally changed the character of the HME at that point, not to mention destroyed the economics of that batch.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Understood on that. I wanted to change the character of it anyway, I was just thinking of the HME can as base malt more or less. The economy thing is ok since I don't much care for light American beer anyway, so I might as well use the fermentables in the can and make something I like. My plan was something like this..

1.5lb Amber DME

1.0oz Cascade

1 can American Light.

 

Boil the usual amount of water (or double, haven't decided yet) for the Mr. Beer instructions. Once boiling, add a couple ounces of DME for hop utilization + 0.5oz Cascades. Boil for roughly 40 mins. At 40 min mark add remaining 0.5oz Cascades. Continue boil for 10 mins. At 50 mins add remainder of DME and bring back to a boil. I assume bringing back to a boil may take as long as 10 mins. Then once the DME is thoroughly mixed into solution turn the stove off and move the pot. From there add the can of HME to the mix and follow the Mr. Beer instructions for the remainder of the procedure.

I'm still playing with different beer calculators trying to get the final numbers I'm looking for nailed down, but you get the jist of what I'm trying to do at least.

Edit: OR I could try turning it into a cream ale perhaps. Something like Gennessee.

Shrike likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/10/2018 at 11:35 PM, Lorenzai said:

My kit came with the yeast thermometer stick on thing. I stuck it to the LBK in the front so I could see it. I don't know how accurate it is, but that's what it shows anyway. Oh and yes, it does seem to have a small layer of trub down in the bottom.

IMAG3219.jpg

I thought the same thing but later I realised something 
I was shinging my flashlight from above the checkmark was orange if i moved the flashlight under it it was green so I AM ASSUMING that as long as it is checked marked it is fine.
I keep hearing so much about temputure control and it had me paranoid but i had a krausen and trub and when bottling i tasted it and it tasted like flat beer not bad at all. i will worry about temps later as i get more into it but following basic recipes and directions i think is good enough to be a newbie lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if your fermentation area is around a stable 65-66f air temp , the beginner will likely have no problems. when you start shelling out more money on kits and want to improve your quality, that's when a chiller box and temp control starts becoming more important.

 

temp control is important because during the first 3-5 days of fermentation, the yeast are most busy. when they get stressed in these critical days they tend to make esters or chemical compounds that can contribute off flavors. new brewers often have their fermenters in rooms that are hot or subject to wild swings in temperature... and the yeast often get stressed , producing acetaldyhde .. which gives your beer that cidery green apple twang that new brewers often complain about.

 

your first dozen kits are when you learn the craft.. build skills and knowledge... find out what mistakes you made and what they did to your beer etc...  every kit can teach you something. i've been brewing for a measly 4 years and i am still learning new stuff each time... and the process still fascinates me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 10:28 PM, Lorenzai said:

Pitched yeast about 5 days ago. Saw some light bubbling in 24-48 hours, but it seems to have slowed to a crawl. Not sure what my yeast pitch temperature was. I didn't check, but the wort was mixed with plenty of cool water like described in the instructions. I think it was ok but I want to be sure. Anything I should do? 

I have the Mr. Beer Craft Beer Kit. The brew in question is the Oktoberfest. In the picture looks like a little krausen inside, so I think that's a good sign right?

 

IMAG3218.jpg

If you see that above the level of liquid, you missed witnessing the high krausen. If your room temperatures are stable, not swinging from too cold to too high, you're good. Since fermentation is exothermic, I'd be more concerned about the higher temperature. Your stick on thermometer is looking good for the wort/ beer temperature, if it remains like that, you're good. As far as modifications to the MrBeer kits, patience. Unless you know what the kit tastes like by itself, you're taking wild swings at a ball while wearing a blindfold. Everything in life takes some practice to do it well. Practice the procedures by brewing the kits as sold. Write a short list of how you think the kit is different than your tarket brew, THEN plan your experiment for adding additional DME, hops, herbs, spruce tips, whatever... It's a very enjoyable hobby which may become an obsession. Curb your enthusiasm. Enjoy the learning curve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 9:25 AM, Lorenzai said:

Alright I got a question for you guys. While browsing the Mr.Beer online store I just realized that both the American Light and the Oktoberfest appear to come with brewmax booster packs. Neither of my ingredient kits came with that.  So does that mean my Oktoberfest is going to be extremely low ABV? Basically a really watery beer? I'm concerned now that I've been waiting for this to ferment and I'm not going to have much of a real beer to drink. All I received were the HME cans.  Should I add some DME to the fermenter and would it be safe to do so? I realize that will dilute it even more to a certain point, but I'd rather have something drinkable than a watery 1.9% alc/vol beer.

 

Going to paste this link from another thread. 

 

Timelordjason likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about slow ferment but the Imperial Red Ale I started on 1/818 still had about 1/8 inch of krausen on it yesterday. I rocked the LBK to try to settile the foam and today no krausen but still a lot of surface bubbles. Should it take this long or is it just superb head retention?

Temp is low to mid 60s. S-05 yeast.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dont rock the foam.. wouldnt that risk aerating the nearly finished beer and disturbing the co2 layer on top of it?  after almost 3 weeks you would think it would be done. on bottling day check your gravity. unless you added lactose it should be around 1.01-1.015  ..   dont know why your krausen never dropped.

RickBeer likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using your eyes to check whether your beer is done or not is NOT the way to check to see whether your beer is done or not.

 

Rocking the LBK is also not a way to do anything.  

 

Using a hydrometer to check gravity, then checking it again 48 hours later and seeing no change, IS a way to see whether your beer is done or not.

 

If it was started on 1/8, then it should be mostly done by now.  Check gravity, check again on Sunday, and likely bottle on 1/29.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

rocking the lbk provides the yeast an amusement park ride experience that delights and amazes young and old yeast alike.  if you truly want to be their friend, take a selfie with them while you rock the lbk and make prints to commemorate the joyful experience. post them around the lbk so your yeast can gaze lovingly at their most excellent and benevolent benefactor.  remember to toss in a handful of buttered popcorn or spun sugar now and then too.. or perhaps a corn dog.  yeast love corn dogs.

Shrike likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, zorak1066 said:

rocking the lbk provides the yeast an amusement park ride experience that delights and amazes young and old yeast alike.  if you truly want to be their friend, take a selfie with them while you rock the lbk and make prints to commemorate the joyful experience. post them around the lbk so your yeast can gaze lovingly at their most excellent and benevolent benefactor.  remember to toss in a handful of buttered popcorn or spun sugar now and then too.. or perhaps a corn dog.  yeast love corn dogs.

 

 

Bonsai & Brew likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got an issue that's screwing with my recipe calculations. Is the Mr. Beer kit 2G or 2.5G? I mentioned I'm going to be doctoring my American Light kit, but the LHBS had a run on a lot of different products.  I ended up coming home with 1LB of Briess Amber DME + 1OZ Willamette + 1OZ US Goldings. They were cleaned out of cascades so American Ale is more or less out of the question.  With the ingredients I have on hand, I'm thinking more along the lines of a basic English Bitter beer. The calculator I'm using also cannot compensate for the fact the can of American Light is prehopped, and since 95% of the HME + DME are going to be late addition, it's saying that the bitterness is going to be sky high with a 40 min boil of the Willamette hops.  Could anyone offer some advice on how long to boil, or what to add - and when, so that I don't end up with a gnarly bitter drink?

I'm planning to brew this tomorrow afternoon so any help with my methodology would be greatly appreciated.  (I won't be using the US Goldings in this batch by the way unless I decide to dry hop with them.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mr. Beer kit makes 2.13 gallons.  

 

You do NOT boil the can of HME, nor add it as a "late addition".  You remove the boil wort from the stove, then stir in the can of HME, then you're done.  If you want to add DME and hops, you dissolve the DME in water, bring it to a boil, add hops at the appropriate time.  Then, remove from heat and stir in the HME.

 

The brewing tool QBrew is setup with Mr. Beer extracts.  http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/2010/09/qbrew-homebrewers-recipe-calculator.html   Make sure to download the November 2014 data also to get the Mr. Beer extracts.  

Lorenzai and Cato like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, RickBeer said:

The Mr. Beer kit makes 2.13 gallons.  

 

You do NOT boil the can of HME, nor add it as a "late addition".  You remove the boil wort from the stove, then stir in the can of HME, then you're done.  If you want to add DME and hops, you dissolve the DME in water, bring it to a boil, add hops at the appropriate time.  Then, remove from heat and stir in the HME.

 

The brewing tool QBrew is setup with Mr. Beer extracts.  http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/2010/09/qbrew-homebrewers-recipe-calculator.html   Make sure to download the November 2014 data also to get the Mr. Beer extracts.  

Thanks, the Qbrew program is quite useful and more flexible than the calculator I was using before. I did not mean to insinuate that I would be boiling the can of HME in that post. I was thinking that because it's being added at 'flame out' that it would be considered a late addition. I'm still learning brewing terms obviously and that description seemed intuitive to me so I'm sorry if that's not the correct way to use it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Lorenzai said:

I did not mean to insinuate that I would be boiling the can of HME in that post. 

 

There are 3 very big "don't do it" items in this forum:   1) never throw away beer with a possible exception of it being deadly, but most would rather you drink that too   2) never boil HME  3) never insult, ummmmmmm what was his name again, oh yeah, never insult rickbeer - never, ever, ever.  The first two are easier to forgive, but even they will get you a visit from the top secret beer police.  Seriously though, welcome to the forum and your new wallet draining obsession.  Yeah, you will be eating, drinking and sleeping beer very shortly - happened to us all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the only beer i would dump would be one that had a distinct aroma of feces.  if you detect that in your finished beer you might have got e coli / botulism growing in it. the same crap that makes an improperly stored can of potted meat swell, rupture and fizz... turn colors and if you are dumb enough to eat, causes you to get sick and die....  might have grown in your hme can.  if you buy a kit from a garage sale that has sat around in the heat and cold for 10 years.. and the can is dented and has bulges ... then dont use it.

 

on the plus side:  yeast are very very hardy. they are very territorial. once you give them good food to eat and keep them safe from enemies , high heat or cold they are going to do their best to kill anything that might ruin your beer. once they start making alcohol, the alcohol will help kill invaders off too.  some bacterium like brett c and lacto bacillus or even acetobacter can grow on top of the wort or even in it without the yeast killing them.  you will see the wort growing a funky almost plastic like film on top of usually white scale.. not bubbles... not foam... but scale that might have thick bubbles in it. (google pellicles in beer) some brewers intentionally brew with these to make sours.. except acetobacter. that turns all your lovely alcohol into vinegar basically.

 

i have drank beer with lactobacter. i lived. i would use diluted acetobacter beer for malt vinegar. if mold was growing? as long as it was on the surface only i would be tempted to rack it from beneath and try to drink it anyway.  but if you ever get a really off rotten smell like decomp .. . toss it.  i would likely toss the fermenter too. ale yeast is very forgiving. it's a really amazing little critter. if you exercise even the slightest hygienic practices while brewing, it's really really hard to end up with totally ruined beer. it does happen... but you do your bit to help the yeast thrive and you should be ok.

76shovel and Cato like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0