Warm Fermenting

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I'm trying my first batch of home brew, and am having a small problem.

I'm having to use an un-air conditioned area of my house, where the
temps got into the mid 70's a couple of days in a row during primary
fermentation.  

1)  What effect could this have on my beer?

My batch started out fermenting great guns, but has stopped at SG
1.014, which is a little higher than the predicted 1.009.  

Should I be concerned?

I took it from the bucket to the carboy when fermentation was one
bubble every 81 seconds.  Since then, I can't tell that it is doing
anything.  From my calculations, my alcohol content is rather low.
(2.5%)

Which brings the last question...can I dump a fifth of PGA into the
bottling bucket before bottling to get my alcohol back up where it is
acceptable?

I have no intention of drinking Near Beer.

Thanks in advance to all that respond kindly.

Jeff.

--------
Jeff N. Cantwell
Contract Programmer
Downtown Little Rock, AR
ICQ #19444448

NRA Life, Member ARPA, Libertarian
    [www.ARPA-Online.org]
    NRA EVC - 2nd District

Re: Warm Fermenting



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It could well be that the higher temperatures have speeded up your
fermentation and that your batch is nearly done.  1.014 is a pretty
normal final gravity.

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You didn't list your starting gravity or your ingredients.  Perhaps your
initial gravity reading was in error - too low (that often happens in
extract brewing when the heavier, thicker extract part sinks below the
lighter, mostly water part - a good stirring before your measurement
might help some).  List your ingredients and amount of water and the
starting gravity can be calculated pretty well.


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It's your beer, you can do what you want.  You're the one that will have
to live with whatever it tastes like!  Personally, I'd taste it
before bottling and decide.  Remember, you can always bottle as-is and
add the PGA to each glass - if that is what you want to do.  To me, the
alcohol level is secondary (or terciary) to taste.

Derric


Re: Warm Fermenting


On Thu, 19 May 2005 14:24:46 -0000, Derric
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OG 1.033, adjusted for temp.  A little lower than the expected.

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It was an American Amber kit of unknown vintage that came with my
setup.  The dry malt was a solid brick by now, having absorbed water
from the air.  Since it was old, and I figured the first batch to be
iffy anyway, I started with it.  (I still have an Irish Red and
Guiness clone)

My bucket wasn't graduated, so I ended up with about 1/2 to 2/3 of a
gallon too much water.  (Explains the low OG)

I mixed the Yeast that came with the kit with half a cup of wort, and
sealed overnight, while I waited for the rest of the wort to come up
to temp.  (70 degrees).

Next morning, the cup had no action, so I presumed the kit was old
enough for the yeast to be dead.  I pitched with yeast from the
Cooper's Irish Red kit.

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agreed, but I'm trying to salvage what may be a mess.  I'd hate to
wait another 2-3 weeks and find I'd wasted my time.

On the plus side, I seem to have sterilized sufficiently, as I don't
see any extra growth in the carboy.

Then again, maybe I'm just over analysing and worrying too much.


Re: Warm Fermenting


On Fri, 20 May 2005 14:26:28 GMT, Jeff Cantwell

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I found the same thing with some light dried extract.  It sat in my
"beer room" for a year and was a dark solid mass.  The ale I made had
a very distinct red hue, but was otherwise OK.

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You want to chill the wort down <~100 F as quickly as possible.  It is
less important in "partial boil," techniques.  Failure to cool it,
results in cloudy beer, but doesn't otherwise affect taste.  Getting a
lot of air into hot wort is not good - that will affect taste.

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If by no action you mean no froth - it could have acted and settled in
that amount of time.  The bubbles last about an hour.  Starter wort
should be weaker than your batch - rehydrating yeast don't tolerate a
lot of sugar.  I use about a tablespoon of DME in three cups of water.
(boiled separately and well in advance of pitching time so I can do it
over if need be)
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Waiting depends on the price of carboys and how committed to the hobby
one is.  A "Crate and Barrel" store had glass carboys for $5 several
years ago - now they cost ~$20 from a brew shop or maybe a little less
at flea markets.  I've a nephew in Colorado who claims he paid $50 for
his carboy.
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definitely

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Horrible First Batch (was: Warm Fermenting)


On Fri, 20 May 2005 14:26:28 GMT, Jeff Cantwell

I bottled Sunday, so I know its supposed to sit for a bit.  3 weeks
according to instructions, but I wanted to see how it was doing, even
if only after 3 days of carbonation.

UGGGh.  Can it be watery and malty at the same time?  It had a little
bit of fizz already, but not a lot.  Even highly carbonated, I don't
think it will improve the flavor much.

I've drank plenty of flat Busch the morning after in my college days,
and it still beats this.

I know everyone will say I'm rushing it, but I'm starting my 2nd batch
this weekend, and I'm trying to clear up any errors other than those
already noted:

Too much water.
Old ingredients.
Fermented warmer than recommended.
These are extract kits, so how full a boil is required?  I boiled
slowly for an hour and a half to prevent sticking/scorching.  Could
that have contributed?


Jeff N. Cantwell
Downtown Little Rock

NRA, ARPA, Libertarian
'86, '91 300zx 2+2

Re: Horrible First Batch (was: Warm Fermenting)


3 weeks
according to instructions, but I wanted to see how it was doing, even
if only after 3 days of carbonation.


After that it has carbonated, let it cold condition, or sit in the
fridge for another 2 weeks. As John has pointed out, it will improve
dramatically. It took me two years of having the last bottle of a batch
be spectacular before I learned enough patience to let it age long
enough...

_Randal


Re: Horrible First Batch (was: Warm Fermenting)


Thanks, I'll remember that.


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Jeff N. Cantwell
Downtown Little Rock

NRA, ARPA, Libertarian
'86, '91 300zx 2+2

Re: Warm Fermenting


wrote:

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It is your first batch . . . don't worry, it is probably fine.

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Temperature speeds fermentation.  You say nothing of the ingredients
or technique you are using.  Lager likes cool temperatures (60's and
lower) Ales like high temperatures 60 -70.  
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If it is an ale, it will just be ready a little sooner.  If it is a
lager some off-flavors develop (you may smell something like rotten
eggs) - ignore it, the yeast is complaining about temperature, let it
sit in the secondary a little longer and the yeasties will take care
of the off-odor by themselves.

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Nah.  How accurate is your hydrometer reading?  Did you correct for
temperature.  Was the wort mixed and aerated for the initial gravity
reading?  (initial gravity readings are often misleading due to a
variety of factors)
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It may be finished fermenting, or you may have a small leak around the
airlock.  I'd guess finished.

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I don't know what a "fifth of PGA" is, but in general I'd say "no."
Don't mess with it.
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"You want to learn how to cook?  Eat your mistakes;  you'll learn!"

Don't become a slave to the hydrometer.  It only measure specific
gravity not the alcohol content.  It can be wildly inaccurate, for a
number of reasons . . .  We presume to know the alcohol based on SG,
but in fact, we only know the SG.  It takes a lot more sophisticated
equipment than a float in a glass to actually measure alcohol.  

More info on your recipe and technique would be helpful.

There's a lot more to beer than alcohol.  Drink what you made, then
decide if it needs improving.  Post questions specific to things like
body, bitterness, hops aroma, alcohol, off flavors, head retention,
etc. after you try it.  Then post your recipe, technique and
conditions, and there'll be plenty of suggestions on how to address
each concern.

New brewers always worry, usually it is unnecessary.   I'd want to
know how much sugar (pounds per 5 gallon batch)  you used and the type
of sugar (sucrose, dextrose, maltose, dextrin, fructose, etc.).  

Back when I did take SG readings, I was getting about .8% alcohol per
pound of sugar in five gallons of water.  Unless you used some sugar
that isn't fermented out completely, that's about what you should get.

If you are stealing samples for SG readings - have you tried tasting
the sample?  If it is sweet, it needs further fermenting and you could
try pitching some champagne yeast into the secondary.  Or you
purchased some "brewing sugar" that contained sugar (dextrin) that
won't ferment, ever.

Some yeasts won't tolerate high alcohol as well as others.  That's
where a second pitching helps complete the fermentation.  One yeast
for flavor - another for alcohol - but usually only necessary when you
start getting over 6%.

Amylase enzyme is another technique to help with complete
fermentation.  It helps break down sugars and starches to make them
more palatable to the yeast.  A teaspoon in the primary (cooled wort -
enzymes die at high temperatures >160 or so) is the normal course for
its use.
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Re: Warm Fermenting


I am assuming that pga means pure grain alcohol. Why mix pure grain in?
  You will just ruin your batch. You have got beer, drink and enjoy!
Chris

Re: Warm Fermenting


On Thu, 19 May 2005 14:02:50 -0400, Chris Dorn

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Thanks.  You're probably right.  

His sig is "programmer."  They do tend to see things in black and
white.  Adding 200 proof grain alcohol would result in something like
8%,  + whatever his real alcoholic content is.  

Reminds me of some Japanese beer I tried - like someone took weak beer
and dosed it with vodka.  I get the willies thinking about it - and
that was 10 years ago.

Only use for grain alcohol (IMHO) is to fill airlocks or sanitize.


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Re: Warm Fermenting


wrote:



  From my calculations, my alcohol content is rather low.


How did you calculate this?  What was your original gravity?  I always
subtract the FG from the OG, multiply by 1.05, which gives the alc. by
weight.  Then by 1.25 to give alc. by volume.  Is this what you did?

Re: Warm Fermenting



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Yes.  OG was 1.033 after adjusting for temp.  Final is 1.014.  Was
supposed to be an amber, but is VERY dark.  I really won't know what
to make of it until its bottled and carbonated, but I have images of
waiting another 2-3 weeks, and having near bear.
--------
Jeff N. Cantwell
Contract Programmer
Downtown Little Rock, AR
ICQ #19444448

NRA Life, Member ARPA, Libertarian
    [www.ARPA-Online.org]
    NRA EVC - 2nd District

Re: Warm Fermenting


According to Pro Mash you made a beer with an abv of 2.5% sound like Bud
light!
Chris
Seriously though you know where your mistakes were so next time you will
do better.

Re: Warm Fermenting


wrote:

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Brew on brother!
SW US desert

Re: Warm Fermenting


wrote:

Snipped everything.

You are approaching this "problem" like it has a simple (arithmetic)
solution, and fail to appreciate the variables involved.

Back in the 60's, in a warm climate, due to circumstances, I was
living on rice and whatever condiments were left over in the fridge.
I made alcohol from sugar and baker's yeast.  I knew nothing of
zymurgy or making beer.  But damn if I didn't get roaring drunk.  All
one needs is sugar, yeast, and a little time.  The sugar can be nearly
anything (chopped strawberries, chopped sugar cane, bags of refined
cane sugar, etc,).  It will get one drunk, but the taste . . .

Don't concentrate on one characteristic of "beer," look at the
gestalt.  First make something you enjoy drinking, then tweak in the
various characteristics.

If alcohol is the only thing you want - that's easy.  Prison inmates
make something they call "raisin jack"  they just secrete whatever
sugar or sweet fruit they can get their hands on, mix with a little
water, and crumble some bread into it (for the yeast).

Don't think in terms of programming, this is engineering (art AND
science).

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Re: Warm Fermenting



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What was the alcohol you made from sugar and baking yeast like? Did it taste
rather awful?

I've been contemplating getting a still for a while now. To make the alcohol
you simply add sugar, yeast and water in large quantities. Then simply
distill to purify the alcohol to about 80%. Pleasant dreams :)

Re: Warm Fermenting



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The taste with plain sugar was rather like club soda missing some fizz
and a strong taste of yeast and bite of alcohol, adding some sugar or
crushed fruit to the finished product made it more palatable..  As a
semi frozen slurry it wasn't half bad, but it wasn't beer.

http://homedistiller.org/ has info on homemade stills including a
fairly inexpensive "amazing" still.  Lot of info on the site.

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Re: Warm Fermenting


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Thanks, I checked out that site and it had some good info. I'll likely buy a
reflux still. I wonder how lightly distilled beer will taste.. perhaps
similar to young whiskey?

Re: Warm Fermenting



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I don't know . . . seems to me the aim of distillation is to remove
most of the taste in favor of the alcohol.  Moonshine or green alcohol
is some pretty rough stuff.  You'd have something like green scotch.

Maybe you could try something like a brandy?  Remove the alcohol, hold
it separately, then reduce the remaining beer (boil off water) then
recombine them.

Brandy was supposed to have originated with a Dutchman who wanted to
import French wine.  In theory, the concentrated wine (brandy) was
supposed to get mixed with water at the destination.  Trivia.

Sweet under hopped porter might be a good test subject - reducing
would lose the hops flavor and aroma and might increase the
bitterness.  

If you try something along those lines, let us know how it turns out .
. .

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Re: Warm Fermenting



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I will be sure to try your suggestions! Thanks for your input. I'll let you
know how they pan out :)

Regards
Heath

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