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Gutterbunnie

Saison fermentation seems to have stalled

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Is there hope for my Saison? I decided to take gravity reading of Honey Saison tonight (brewed 6/18/18) and sadly it's only at 1.020. And from what I've read,  WYEAST 3724 Belgian Saison is notorious for getting stuck at 1.035. At least it didn't get stuck that high!

 

To avoid wasting any beer, I drank the hydrometer sample. It was actually pretty good but too sweet & kind of thick. I want it to attenuate & dry out more. I read to not add more yeast at this point (I admit it was a consideration). So instead, I picked up LBK & gently rocked it for a bit & then put it to bed in a large plastic tub with some bottles filled with hot water & covered the tub with blankets. The temp in my home is in the 80s now, and it pretty much has been in the high 70s all week. This weekend should be hotter & I'm planning to move the Saison out to the garage where it's cookin' 90+ during the day. So I'm hoping that with some extra special loving care & higher temps, I can rouse the yeast & get this Saison to drop some more gravity points. And I'll probably just wait another week which would take it out to 4 weeks.

 

Any other recommendations to get my Saison yeast unstuck & finish up this beer? Or should I bottle at 4 weeks & just not add any priming sugar if it remains stuck at 1.020 FG? Thanks!

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90+ degrees will likely harm your yeast. saison like it warmer than most ale yeast but 90?  really upper 70s would be fine for a saison.

 

it may be that as you mentioned the yeast went to sleep.  you can if you want to risk it...

 

spray the fermenter lid down with starsan.  sanitize a metal spoon .  open lid. gently agitate the yeast out of the bed. cap the fermenter. put it where temps are between 75-80f.. give it another 3 days or so and check the final gravity.

 

if you are heavy handed with honey malt it can come out icky sweet. 2oz though doesnt sound like a lot to me.  what was your recipe?  what size batch?

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Hi Zorak, I thought about stirring but I'm not a fan of opening fermenter up - actually have never done that - but I might have to this time! The only reason I want to  ramp up temp so high, I've read on other forums about this particular Saison yeast WYEAST 3724, & most say very high temps are a must. A lot say when it works this yeast imparts some of the best Saison flavors but it has to be babied somewhat. This is from  WYEAST http://www.wyeastlab.com/yeast-strain/belgian-saison:

STRAIN:

3724
Belgian Saison™

This strain is the classic farmhouse ale yeast. A traditional yeast that is spicy with complex aromatics, including bubble gum. It is very tart and dry on the palate with a mild fruitiness. Expect a crisp, mildly acidic finish that will benefit from elevated fermentation temperatures. This strain is notorious for a rapid and vigorous start to fermentation, only to stick around 1.035 S.G. Fermentation will finish, given time and warm temperatures. Warm fermentation temperatures, at least 90°F (32°C), or the use of a secondary strain can accelerate attenuation.

Low Flocculation 76-80 Attenuation 70-95 Temperature Range 70-95

2 Gallon LBK batch. Recipe was variation of Saison du Miel, (American Ale HME, 1 cup honey & sterling hops, packet of golden LME). The variation was steeping grains: 2oz of honey malt, 1oz crystal 40 &1oz carapils. Also added 8oz light DME. And I changed the yeast from Belle Saison to WYEAST 3724. I ran out of honey so I didn't have a full cup. Maybe 3/4 c.

 

Well, I'm going to put this baby out in the garage this weekend & see what happens. Will give it a stir if I must. If there's no action, and it remains at 1.020, not sure but I guess I'm stuck with bottling next weekend with less priming sugar or none at all?

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So I refilled the bottles with more hot water twice today (2 litres that's all I had lying around) and from shining flashlight on LBK just now, pretty sure I saw some action, some tiny bubbling on surface - if I'm not just seeing things- hope that yeast may be waking up & going to work again. It's something!

 

 

dance party dj emoticon

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Hope it works out for you! 

The only saison I've made, I bottle primed with 1/4 tsp sugar and that worked out well but took nearly 4 wks to carbonate.

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Thanks - me too. Only time will tell (and a second gravity reading) if it's still fermenting or simply releasing C02 due to a temperature change. It's supposed to attenuate  76-80% so I'm expecting at least an FG of 1.014. If it's higher than that,  I got a stuck fermentation. Typical with this yeast strain. Others have reported when they rack to secondary, fermentation takes off again. Wonder if that's due to introducing some oxygen or just stirring up the yeast bed? I don't rack to secondary.....which is why I worry about bottling too soon!

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Some Saison yeast do not do well with an airlock that creates back pressure.  I know that it isn't a lot but there have been experiments with these yeast using an airlock and fermenting with just a piece of foil covering the opening.  The experiments with an airlock all stuck for a period of time while the ones without it finished.

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ive opened fermenter buckets multiple times to correct clogged airlocks, volcano krausen, etc.  each time i was sure it would get infected but each time it was fine.  take the slightest care and you are already doing more than the early brewers ever did.

 

once yeast get going they really are quite territorial. ive even reached in with a sanitized hand to fish out a mesh bag without problem. not something i would recommend under normal conditions but...  no harm.

 

as for 90f temp...  are they talking ambient or internal?  most optimal temps are stated in terms of internal temps.  if your yeast  are chugging away at an ambient temp of 87f the internal temp can be 97f... way too hot. anyway..   experiment. ive only used danstar bella saison yeast and never once had any issues with stalling or such. the highest i ever cranked the heat was an ambient of 76f during primary fermenetation.

 

good luck. brewing is cool because you can experiment as you wish, and still drink most of your mistakes.

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Was worried about the back pressure. Not sure how to tell if that's an issue with LBK but I made sure the lid was never that tight......So, last night, I went ahead & sanitized my spatula in boiling water,  used Star San on that & on lid, stirred up the bottom very gently. Took another reading last night - didn't budge one bit. Then I also ramped up temps. I have no idea how hot it actually got but pretty hot today in the garage! I'm guessing WYEAST is stating internal temp of 95F. Tonight it appears to be bubbling with the tiniest amount of foam on surface although again it's hard to tell if that's yeast working or something else going on in there.

 

This may be the first & LAST time I ever use WYEAST 3724!  I don't know that I have the patience to wait  for weeks on end to drop gravity points. Next time, will for sure go with Belle Saison or a French Saison like 3711 which I heard has no issues finishing things up. Will be at least 4 wks fermenting before I test gravity again & think about bottling & I may even go 5. But like you said Zorak, it's an experiment & *hopefully* I can still drink my mistake ;)

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the lbk is vented by the lid so there is no back pressure.. you will have a layer of co2 resting on top of the beer. stirring gently will disturb the co2 layer a bit but if it wasnt quite done fermenting, more co2 will blanket the top as it picks up fermentation again.

 

be advised that if you never had a saison you will likely be in for a totally new experience. my first was like wow... this is freaky.  it had a yeasty funk, pear, apple, perfume, floral and more funk.  it was really different from your typical beer.

 

for the lbk i would go with dry yeast belle saison.  pitch slightly warm. put the fermenter in an igloo cooler without any additional heat for a day at ambient room temp. let it get started. after a day toss a couple hot water bottles into the cooler and close the lid. watch the temps and try to keep them around 74f-76f ambient. let it ferment at about 74ish for 2 weeks. on week 3 move the cooler to a place where the ambient temp hits about 80f if you want and let it go.  at the end of week 3 i would be shocked if your fg was not 1.01 or lower.  usually i get about 1.006

 

by bumping up the temp in the last week you encourage the yeast to finish up and clean house.  every time i use it, the fermentation is slow and steady. this yeast is typically a dainty eater... not a lot of krausen. not very violent. . . and it has always consumed practically everything one can throw at it sugar-wise.

 

i use 5 gallon buckets to ferment. for me i can put the bucket in a plastic clothes hamper and fill it with enough water to almost reach the wort level. i then drop in an aquarium heater. after a day at ambient i fire up the heater on a timer... so many hours on... some time off... cycle repeatedly.. and my temps get up to 72-76f.  i use a timer to save electricity.

 

dont give up on saisons.. just try another yeast. even if this batch comes out 'weird' you can still drink it .. just add a tablespoon of Tang Orange powder to your glass when you go to drink it.  :)  that's what i did with my really awful pumpkin weis when i first got started brewing.   i refuse to waste alcohol. yeah it sounds bad but... 

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That's why I love this forum & this hobby. So many innovative, creative ideas to homebrewing.  Oh the lengths we  go to make beer! (And not waste any). I've tried some interesting Saisons at local pubs & what stands out is that they are so different from most beers.

 

I refuse to give up. Summer's just heating up - I should have time for another go  at a Saison with a different yeast B)

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thats the spirit. if i could afford a wine chiller i'd probably try doing lagers... for now they are too high maintenance for me. 

 

it's fun to experiment.  the tang powder was just the fix to make it drinkable.. and in all honesty, the very last bottle aged and mellowed. it was passable on its own. just dont go nuts like i did once.

 

the wife had just boiled cabbage and had not yet dumped the water. waste not want not i said... and grabbed it to do an all grain cream ale. while i was gathering my ingredients i saw a box of apple jack cereal. wonder if i can use that with the grain? why not. so i mashed in cabbage water, with my apple jacks and malt... the finished product was really really weird.  not horrible but thank goodness it was a small batch.

 

i finally started experimenting with culinary uses for old hops, no longer suitable for beer.  i put some moteuka in salt to use as seasoning. imparts a nice bitter with a hint of lemon. i added a dash of sugar to cut some of the bitter.  i steeped some hops in rum. odd flavor but drinkable.  wife will use the rest in cooking breads and such. not a lot out there on cooking with hops. she said she would like to try hop tea too but they are mid to high alpha acids so they might be a bit harsh.  i use spent grain to make 'flour'.  if it had my own brew fridge and money enough to brew often, i would also yeast wash / harvest.  that was fun and can save you a little money.

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Endless possibilities. Those are great ideas about repurposing old beer ingredients. Never thought about cooking with hops but that might be interesting, and hop tea, why not? Plenty of sugar or honey to go around! Yeah it's easy to get carried away with this hobby. I often have to restrain myself, go over my inventory again (yes, I keep a spreadsheet inventory of ingredients/supplies) and remind myself there will be more sales!

My used mini fridge was a super bargain - a little worn, dented, rusty - but so far so good, works great. For now, it's storing conditioned beer. My dad found this old motel mini fridge at a rummage sale & the guy sold it to him for $24 & a beer. Never know what you'll find!

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You're probably tired of hearing about my Saison experiment with WYEAST 3724. But anyway, after waiting another 2 weeks (almost 5 weeks fermenting in primary ) and keeping temps very elevated with hot water bottles, at least 90F - I checked gravity this morning & it has dropped some. Not as much as I'd hoped but maybe 6-8 gravity points. It doesn't taste the same as  gravity samples from 2 weeks ago. Definitely a change, not as one dimensional or sweet.  I'm not sure how to describe, not terrible, but I may have detected some soapy aftertaste but I'm not sure. For better or worse, I've decided to bottle today with a gravity reading of around 1.014-1.016. So that's where I'm at with this beer trying to salvage it. Maybe it will turn out OK after some carbonation & bottle conditioning. I just don't want to leave it 3 more weeks for it to drop a few more points at an excruciatingly slow pace at the risk of the final product tasting awful and like soap. Cheers! ****and my final recommendation is don't use WYEAST 3724 unless you want to wait  8 weeks for primary to finish & can keep temps in the upper 90s for it to finish up********

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18 hours ago, RickBeer said:

8 weeks on the yeast cake would yield off flavors.

 

 8 weeks on the yeast cake COULD yield off flavors.  (FIFY -- no guarantee it would, though there is definitely more of a chance it will...  in fact, I've left several beers and ciders on that long with no ill effect... ;) ).  

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Funny cuz my buddy brewed a saison that he left in the fermenter that long. We agreed he should keg it though I thought it would taste terrible. The other option was to dump 15 gallons down the drain. So he kegged it up, carbed it, and I tried it just the other day. I was shocked that I couldnt really pick out any off flavors. Maybe its more strain specific

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Several times recently, just because life got in the way, I've left ferments on the primary for many more weeks than I planned.  I've thus far never had an issue.  I think that modern yeast strains don't have as many of the problems associated with off-flavors, especially on a homebrew scale.  That being said, it certainly CAN cause off-flavors, so I don't think it's good practice.  2-3 weeks should be the target, and that's when I pull most (and plan to pull all).  But especially with ciders I leave it on the cake a lot longer than 3 weeks more often than I intend.  I'm embarrassed to say the current 1-gallon cider I have going has been in the primary since April '17.  Yes, '17.  Ouch.  I guess I should bottle that.  RDWHAHB...

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