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Paternoster

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Good afternoon.

To cut to the chase: Can yeast turn black?
(I've done a few searches but haven't been able to find answers)

In more depth:
I purchased my first brewing kit around three weeks ago, sanitised everything thoroughly with brewshield, and followed the instructions on my can of Cascade Imperial Voyage Pale to the letter, used 1kg Brew Booster #15 instead of sugar, and pitched the included yeast at 24 degrees.
The fermentor bubbled away happily for around 2 days before the airlock halted completely (it was 18 degrees at this point). On the advise of a friend who's been brewing for years I checked the SG (1020 down from the OG of 1040) then left it for around a week, at which point I took another reading which showed it was still 1020.
At this point, deciding that I didn't want to have 2.1% alcohol in my beer I added another yeast sachet (this was from the lid of a wheat beer recipe kit that I had purchased that included an additional yeast packet that is used instead of the one in the lid).
A week later and it still had the same gravity of 1020 so I thought "Bugger it" and bottled the beer (all bottles were used glass bottles I've been saving over time - all have been meticulously washed in hot water with a little bleach and then sanitised and dried on a bottle tree).
I should mention that prior to bottling it smelled and tasted like pale ale. I haven't tasted it since bottling last Saturday.

So... last night I checked on my bottles to make sure they were all safe and happy on my bathroom floor under the towell (to keep the light off them). Holding one up to the light I tipped it upside down, as I've read it's good to do this to dissolve any remaining sugar, and noticed the sediment that was creeping towards the neck of the bottle was black. This doesn't look right at all.
A few nights ago it was a bit chilly so I had the central heating on overnight - the bottles are in front of the vent so I'm not sure if the heat could have affected them - it appears that all of the bottles (or the dozen that I've checked) have the same black swirly cloud living in the bottom of the bottle.
There's nothing floating on top of the beer so I doubt it's mold.
As this is my first brew it's very possible I'm just being finicky and it's my baby so I don't want it to get sick.

Any light that anybody could shed on this would be very much appreciated.


Cheers
Paternoster

PS. Sorry for the essay - I thought it would be better to provide more rather than less info.
 

JaseH

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My first brew was the same kit & ingredients as yours, I intended to use a different yeast than the kit one but couldn't get hold of anything else at the time, and being too impatient I just went ahead with it. It also stuck at 1020 and I had all kinds of trouble getting it to move.

I would be very wary of those bottles, as 1020 is too high a gravity to finish at. I eventually got mine down to 1011 by racking to a second vessel and warming things up a few degrees.

Handle the bottles very carefully(if you must) as they very well could be bottle bombs. How long has it been since you bottled? There will be dark yeast sediment in the bottom which is normal. I'd be more concerned about the possibility of exploding bottles at the moment.
 

QldKev

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With a gravity of 1.020 and bottling, I would be putting your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. I would consider closing the door to the bathroom and selling the house very soon. :D :eek: only jk

Fingers crossed you just had a lot of crap from the fermentor in the sample when you took the gravity reading. Otherwise I think you will be in for bottle bombs for sure.

Did you use a hydrometer or refractometer to take the reading?


QldKev
 

Paternoster

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I would be very wary of those bottles, as 1020 is too high a gravity to finish at. I eventually got mine down to 1011 by racking to a second vessel and warming things up a few degrees.

Handle the bottles very carefully(if you must) as they very well could be bottle bombs. How long has it been since you bottled? There will be dark yeast sediment in the bottom which is normal. I'd be more concerned about the possibility of exploding bottles at the moment.
Thanks Frothie.

I bottled 5 days ago and no kaboom yet, though I guess if there's a time limit on this it might at least several weeks for carbonation to finish completely.

The bottle bomb threat was why they're in the bathroom. If any explode they'll be easy to clean up and the towel should help contain the blast. I'm of the assumption that a bottle exploding is more like a loud pop and glass shrapnel won't fly in every direction - but that's an assumption only.
 

Paternoster

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With a gravity of 1.020 and bottling, I would be putting your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. I would consider closing the door to the bathroom and selling the house very soon. :D :eek: only jk

Fingers crossed you just had a lot of crap from the fermentor in the sample when you took the gravity reading. Otherwise I think you will be in for bottle bombs for sure.

Did you use a hydrometer or refractometer to take the reading?


QldKev
I used a hydrometer QldKev. I was considering cracking open one of the bottles tonight to do another reading and have a sniff but going by what you and Frothie have said I may need to update my will and don a welding mask beforehand.
 

cdbrown

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Very strange that it stopped at 1.020 and the other packet didn't chew anymore. Have you checked the hydrometer in water to see if it reads 1.000? I don't remember the sediment being black, most times a light tan colour.

Open one up and have a taste - see if there's any signs of carbonation happening. Hopefully you've just got the wrong hydro reading. Does the hydro have a decent scale to read from?
 

JaseH

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Yep I would be very careful. I haven't seen it myself but have heard plenty of stories about bottles exploding into shards. I remember reading a thread on the US forum where a guy had some of his homebrews sitting in an open esky next to a couch at a gathering, one of the bottles exploded sending the jagged neck piece of the bottle across the couch slicing his mates thumb open.

5 days isnt long, they will still have plenty of bottle fermentation to go. I'd put one in the fridge to cool down(cold helps more C02 stay in the liquid), then take some precautions(eye protection, leather gloves maybe) and open one to see whats going on.

Probably even best to cool them all down to stop fermentation and open them all to release some C02, then recap, But there may be other more informed opinions to come.
 

Paternoster

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Very strange that it stopped at 1.020 and the other packet didn't chew anymore. Have you checked the hydrometer in water to see if it reads 1.000? I don't remember the sediment being black, most times a light tan colour.

Open one up and have a taste - see if there's any signs of carbonation happening. Hopefully you've just got the wrong hydro reading. Does the hydro have a decent scale to read from?
I checked it a few days ago in water and it was perfect. What do you mean by a decent scale?
I'm not sure of the brand but it's for beer and wine and has 1.00, 10, 20, 30, 40 etc. markings and is colour coded, e.g. red for starting beer, yellow around 1.00 to indicate bottling.
 

manticle

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For future reference:

http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showarticle=130

Bottles can explode with the bottom simply cracking or they can embed shards of glass in the ceiling. Take them reasonably seriously - they can do more than make a mess in your house.

As for the black - open one up, pour it gently into a glass and see if there actually is black sediment in there. I doubt it's yeast. Could be a trick of the light, undissolved sugar particles or carbonation appearing black or could be your bottles weren't properly clean.

If you open one and it's over fizzy, tightly wrap the rest in glad wrap (individually and several layers) which will contain any explosions. Then chill right down before opening. You can degas them by opening, allowing to sit, then recapping but how long is anybody's guess and how much dust and crap will fall in while you do that is also anybody's guess.
 
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I over carbed a brew once. All I did was twist the cap whilst leaving it on the bottle until the fizz went and then retightened, worked a treat. Seeing that it was releasing pressure it would of let very little in. You may have to do this twice, but you should try a bottle each time.

Good luck.
 

seamad

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Make sure your hydro sample is flat, degas by pouring from cup to cup or just leaave it a while. If sample is a bit fizzy still will lift the hydro up and give a false reading.
Get some plastic bottles.
cheers
sean
 

Paternoster

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Thanks to everyone who gave insight. It turns out the black swirly stuff was indeed a trick of the light as Manticle suggested.
As for over carbonation - yep - way too carbonated. Though I should consider myself lucky. I opened one bottle and it didn't overflow but it gave a hell of a pop (Grolsch bottle) when I unclasped the lid. Beer is fizzy to the point that it's more carbonated than soft drink, but still tastes ok when it's left to sit for a few hours in the fridge with the lid off.
I've moved the entire batch into the fridge to prevent any explosions and I guess I'll start removing the lids to de-gas and then re-cap.
 

manticle

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Good luck with it.

If it doesn't taste great, don't be turned off having another crack. Beer that isn't given the chance to finish out properly can contain byproducts of fermentation that yeast would normally consume so the flavour may not be magnificent.

Lesson learned, next beer will be an improvement.
 

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