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TimHitchings

Still unsure if it's time to bottle after 3 weeks in LBK

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It's been 3 weeks in the LBK and the Stout has chunks of gunk on the top and tastes like vinger/apple cider.  This is my second batch and my first I didn't sit for 3 weeks and bottle for 4 weeks and was disappointed.

Reaching out to you all cause I really want this batch to be more drinkable.  

Any thoughts?  Should I bottle tomorrow on schedule despite the taste?

Should I stir it up in hopes if getting better fermentation and taste?

Thanks for your help.

Tim

 

4a7dae45-1c9c-4478-8a2a-12a51bdf80a1.jpg

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Sorry to hear that. I'm fairly new at this myself, and have had a couple batches that didn't taste too good. I didn't let that discourage me. I can't say if anything is wrong, but it looks like the yeast is still fermenting-mine looks like this after a few days now-What ingredients are you using? How was the temperature while it was brewing? Did you open the keg during the past 3 weeks?

Hopefully someone will be able to chime in with better advice.

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um, need some clarification here...are you saying the BEER has that vinegar/apple taste or the  krousen had that taste?

as far as the vinegar bit: normally cause by bacteria [lactobacillia] gives it that vinegar taste. also, it may be an indication that oxygen is getting into your beer.

as far as the apple bit: indicates your beer is too young, and can be resolved by conditioning. to fix this part, warm up the beer to about 74* or so and let it finish out. let it sit on the yeast cake a wee bit longer, and give the yeast cake a stir. It will all settle out again. 

But the main problem I see is the first problem. you may not ever get rid of that vinegar taste. So if you don't like that, the only resolution that I know of is: Dump it. Sanitize the snot out of the fermenter, all parts...total disassembly of EACH component. Then try again. This time, watch your pitching temp as it may have been too high to start with.

oh, and sanitize. 

Did I say sanitize? you might want to try that. 

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What temps are you fermenting.  At three weeks it should be pretty much done.   I'm thinking possibly an infection. 

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HI Tim, it's best to just let the beer sit rather than stirring the beer. It is actions like that which may have caused the infection (if there is one) in the first place. A normal fermenting beer should have yeast settle by itself. Also, a few bits a floating yeast clumps are nothing to fear, even once the beer is done.

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Gotcha.  Thanks.  No I haven't touched it in 3 weeks.  I'll take another sip next Saturday and bottle on Sunday and we'll see how it goes.

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For a standard MrB refill it should not take more than three weeks.  In almost all cases it will be done by the second week, but if you arent taking hydrometer readings we have always advised to let it sit longer to be on the safe side.  This is assuming that it has fermented in the temperature range and not on the cold side.  But, as you have stirred things up and possibly got the yeasties moving again, you may want to wait a few days then put it in the fridge for a few days to cold crash.

I would also store your bottles somplace like a cooler or garbage bag lined box since if it is an infection (hard to tell from that pic - looks like krausen but after three weeks who knows) you wont have a mess on your hands if a bottle blows.  One thing I have learned is the best way to have SWMBO really frown on the brewing hobby is to have a bottle bomb.

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Not sure where u went with this one, but I'll make a couple comments.

For the best answer, post up your recipe, temps pitched, temps fermented at, time in the LBK (u said 3 weeks?), etc.  You will get all sorts of answers all over the place, but for the best answer, post every detail.  You'd be surprised at how one or 2 minor details affect the batch.

Like said, it should have been done by week 2 if everything was done per directions and temps were good.  I tell ppl without hydrometers, if it taste like flat beer, bottle it.  If it taste sweet, let it run a couple more days and taste again.

I have had those islands of yeast floating on top.  What I have done is cold crash the beer for 3 days before bottling.  Most if not all fall to the bottom of the LBK by then.  To cold crash, gently move LBK to the refrigerator and leave it alone for 3 days.  When your ready to bottle, get everything ready/sanitized then very gently move LBK to top of counter, table, or where ever you bottle at.  Then bottle as normal.  You will shake up some of the trub on the bottom from moving it, don't fret about it.  What makes it into the bottle will settle to the bottom of the bottle when you put them in da fridge for atleast 3 days before you drink it.  Of course, your aware that carbing/conditioning is done at room temp for 4 weeks, right?  Don't touch bottles during that time.

As for the cider taste, also as mentioned, there are a couple things that can cause that.  From pitching too hot, fermenting too hot, too high and adjunct level all come to mind.  If after you bottle, carb & condition, you still have that cider taste, remove the brew from the fridge and let sit a while.  I like to condition my stouts for atleast 6 months (u said it was a stout?).  A long conditioning time helps, as I have found that leaving them alone in the chill box for 3-4 weeks also helps tame down the aftertaste, but it will still be there.  Good luck.

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One other thing, don't ya dare stir it, you will bring in a new set of problems you don't want.

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Repost with foot notes:

um, need some clarification here...are you saying the BEER has that vinegar/apple taste or the  krousen had that taste?

as far as the vinegar bit: normally cause by bacteria [lactobacillia] gives it that vinegar taste. also, it may be an indication that oxygen is getting into your beer.

as far as the apple bit: indicates your beer is too young, and can be resolved by conditioning. to fix this part, warm up the beer to about 74* or so and let it finish out. let it sit on the yeast cake a wee bit longer, and give the yeast cake a stir. It will all settle out again. 

But the main problem I see is the first problem. you may not ever get rid of that vinegar taste. So if you don't like that, the only resolution that I know of is: Dump it. [ref: How to Brew//John J. Palmer//2006//pg 252 "cause 1: cure". ]

Sanitize the snot out of the fermenter, all parts...total disassembly of EACH component.

[ref: How to Brew//John J. Palmer//2006//pg 252 "cause 2: cure"]

Then try again. This time, watch your pitching temp as it may have been too high to start with. [ref: How to Brew//John J. Palmer//2006//pg 253 "Acetaldehyde: "To Reduce"// "to clean up:" ] What I said was rouse the yeast, not the krousen on top.

Just say'n :0{P}

oh, and sanitize. 

Did I say sanitize? you might want to try that. 

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Thanks to everyone here for the advice. I tasted today and the stout was more like beer and less like apple cider. I've put the LBK in the fridge and will be sanitizing and bottling this weekend. I'm very excited to see how it turns out in a month 

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JohnDubya said: I have had those islands of yeast floating on top.  What I have done is cold crash the beer for 3 days before bottling.  Most if not all fall to the bottom of the LBK by then.  To cold crash, gently move LBK to the refrigerator and leave it alone for 3 days.  When your ready to bottle, get everything ready/sanitized then very gently move LBK to top of counter, table, or where ever you bottle at.  Then bottle as normal.  You will shake up some of the trub on the bottom from moving it, don't fret about it.  What makes it into the bottle will settle to the bottom of the bottle when you put them in da fridge for atleast 3 days before you drink it.

Just for the record. I'm relatively new to this obsession myself but I have had great success using this method with batch priming.

My keg sits on 2 CD cases (underneath the front bottom) from the cooler, to the fridge (to cold crash for 2-3 days) to the counter. Then I run my beer w/ tubing into my 2nd keg (w/ the sugar for batch priming) and watch closely. Towards the end eventually removing the CD cases and even tilting forward to get all of the salvageable goodness out.

The trub seems almost "frozen" or hard to the bottom and if I'm real careful I get a real nice clean beer into my priming keg and then bottle from there. 

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Dude, if you're taking the lid off the fermenter before you bottle ... you are opening up for infection (more so in the early days of the fermentation period than the later ... but even then)  and letting oxygen in to the head space which had become Co2 filled from the fermentation.  You open that LBK and stir ... and close again ... and wait ... you are doing everything in your power to ruin your beer. 

The krausen should have mostly settled by the end of fermentation ... that is likely more than a krausen.

I'd bottle the beer now, put it aside, let it carb and condition, and open one to taste in about four weeks, knowing that they might all have to go ... but don't dump beer until you're sure you have to (taste will tell ... after conditioning).

I've never fermented more than 14 days or so, always hit my FG about, and get great ales ... for almost 300 batches now.

When you brew, follow the sanitation guidelines by MrB (very important) , and once you pitch that yeast and close lid after the stir, do not open the keg until bottling day.    You can tak an FG sample without loosening the lid, it just pours a little slow.   This BTW, is why I never add anything after the pitch.   It's too risky.

I've never had an infection, which I believe is what you have there.  But you won't know until the beer is conditioned.   If you think the liklihood is high that the beer is infected, and don't want to go through bottling and conditioning, it's your call.   I have a very large empty bottle inventory, so I'd just prime and bottle, but that's me.

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I would agree with Tabasco.  Every time  you  open the keg you risk infection. I will open  to dry  hop but that is all.

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