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First Stout - it's gone berserk!

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TWW

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Hi All, just came across this site after a couple of attempts brewing straight from a kit (a couple of Ales) with reasonable success (what could go wrong?).

I am now having a go at brewing a Stout with some extras and keen to get some advice/information on progress as it went berserk on day 1 in the fermenter (primary fermentation?), foaming all over the place!

I have used the following:
1 x can Morgan's premium dockside stout + yeast
1 x 1.5kg can Morgan's dark roasted Malt (liquid/syrup)
500g dark malt (powdered)
1 x 50g chocolate essence/additive

I basically followed the instructions on the can, with the addition of the extra 500g powdered malt & the chocolate (Hoping to create some more depth of flavour). SG was at 1.048...

I put the yeast in @ approx 28 degrees, gave it a quick stir(?) and sealed it up. The next morning I had what resembled a primary school 'make your own volcanic eruption' science experiment in the garage with foam covering the top of the fermenter and continuing to spew out of the hydro/air lock. After a bit of a clean up it is now just quietly, and very slowly bubbling along at between 24/26 degrees. I am hoping that the initial foam party hasn't affected the brewing process or the yeast (quantity/activity)?

Interested in your thoughts/advice - anything I should/could consider doing? Or just leave it be and wait and see?

Thanks in advance...
 

GrumpyPaul

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Just leave it and wait and see. What you have is just a very active ferment.

I would suggest that 28 degrees is not ideal - it's too warm. Despite the fact that a lot of kits give instructions to ferment high, your yeast will be happier at around 20. If you have some way you control temp I would try keep the temp lower.

The high temp is also probably the reason fermentation kicked of so quickly and vigorously too.

Your SG seems a bit low for that recipe - I reckon it should be about 1.070 (assuming 23litres)

At the end of the day you are going to make bit.
 

kadmium

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Agreed with grumpy. Also, one thing to consider is to install a 'blow off' for the first few days, to avoid your paper mache volcano!

Essentially, get an airlock (I find the 2 piece airlocks work well) and just stick a piece of tubing like you would for transferring your beer (pvc tubing is fine) and run that into a bucket with sanitiser in it. Then keep the end of the tube under the liquid level. If fermentation gets too crazy, it will travel up the tube and into the bucket.

I wouldn't imagine that you have infected your brew or anything to stress about, but Grumpy is right that 28 can probably leave the yeast a bit hot and stressed, which can lead to a 'hot' alcohol taste (Fusel alcohol) which gives that almost cheap vodka burn / taste. The best way to control that is to monitor your temps and keep the yeast cooler.

Good luck and let us know how you go!
 
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Grmblz

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Pretty much what Grumpy/Kadmium said ^. Except 28 is HOT imho, you're getting close to Kveik temp's, 20 ish is where you want to be, gumtree fridge $50-$100 Inkbird temp controller (or similar) $40, job sorted.
Stouts at the strongish end do have a tendency to explode, as Kadmium suggests a blow off tube is a cheap easy fix.
fwiw my quick calc puts your OG around 1055-1060, either way 1048 seems a bit light on (23L batch)
 
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matt77

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I was worried about this withmy stout.
I set ferment temperatire around 14°c just to slow it right down
 
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Feldon

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When making a stout (toucan variety) I fill the fermenter up to only about 18L. That leaves enough extra headroom to contain the excessive foam. After the initial foaming has subsided a bit (day 2 or 3) I top up gently with cooled boiled water to the make up to 23L.
Got the tip from the Coopers website. Works a treat.
 
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Grmblz

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I was worried about this withmy stout.
I set ferment temperatire around 14°c just to slow it right down
Be careful Matt, 14 is really at the bottom end, you don't want it to stall, should be ok (yeast strain dependant) but I wouldn't go any lower, and consider going to 18 after it slows down a bit.
 
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philrob

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28 is not too hot, in fact, the yeast will love it, as evidenced by the volcanic fermentation.

But....it is not the happiest temperature for making good beer. As others have already said, 18 to20º is better for ales (lagers are a different beast).

I generally start mine off at 18ºC for the first couple of days, then let it free rise to 20ºC. Max time in the fermenter for me is 2 weeks tops.
 

TWW

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Just leave it and wait and see. What you have is just a very active ferment.

I would suggest that 28 degrees is not ideal - it's too warm. Despite the fact that a lot of kits give instructions to ferment high, your yeast will be happier at around 20. If you have some way you control temp I would try keep the temp lower.

The high temp is also probably the reason fermentation kicked of so quickly and vigorously too.

Your SG seems a bit low for that recipe - I reckon it should be about 1.070 (assuming 23litres)

At the end of the day you are going to make bit.
Thanks for the info Grumpy. Really appreciate the response.
 

TWW

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Agreed with grumpy. Also, one thing to consider is to install a 'blow off' for the first few days, to avoid your paper mache volcano!

Essentially, get an airlock (I find the 2 piece airlocks work well) and just stick a piece of tubing like you would for transferring your beer (pvc tubing is fine) and run that into a bucket with sanitiser in it. Then keep the end of the tube under the liquid level. If fermentation gets too crazy, it will travel up the tube and into the bucket.

I wouldn't imagine that you have infected your brew or anything to stress about, but Grumpy is right that 28 can probably leave the yeast a bit hot and stressed, which can lead to a 'hot' alcohol taste (Fusel alcohol) which gives that almost cheap vodka burn / taste. The best way to control that is to monitor your temps and keep the yeast cooler.

Good luck and let us know how you go!
Thanks for the tip Kadmium. Will tee that up for the next attempt!
 

TWW

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Pretty much what Grumpy/Kadmium said ^. Except 28 is HOT imho, you're getting close to Kveik temp's, 20 ish is where you want to be, gumtree fridge $50-$100 Inkbird temp controller (or similar) $40, job sorted.
Stouts at the strongish end do have a tendency to explode, as Kadmium suggests a blow off tube is a cheap easy fix.
fwiw my quick calc puts your OG around 1055-1060, either way 1048 seems a bit light on (23L batch)
Thanks. I took the SG ready pre pitching the yeast. I should probably calibrate my hydrometer again too. Good tips on the fridge set up too! I am in SEQ and she's warming up so some way to regulate temperature other than relying on the ambient temp of the garage is a wise call.
 

TWW

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28 is not too hot, in fact, the yeast will love it, as evidenced by the volcanic fermentation.

But....it is not the happiest temperature for making good beer. As others have already said, 18 to20º is better for ales (lagers are a different beast).

I generally start mine off at 18ºC for the first couple of days, then let it free rise to 20ºC. Max time in the fermenter for me is 2 weeks tops.
Thanks Philrob. Hoping the temp drops further over the next day or so.
 

philrob

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You can wrap a damp towel around the fermenter. It will help to cool it down a bit.
 
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kadmium

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Yep and if you have a fan you can steal it from the missus and use it to cool your true love. Fan over damp towel works well!
 
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Grmblz

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28 is not too hot, in fact, the yeast will love it, as evidenced by the volcanic fermentation.
Sorry Phil but you're wrong, the whole pressure fermenting thing is so you can ferment at higher temp's and not produce nasties.

The nasties I refer to are what gives homebrew a bad rap, I've said it before on this forum, we are not here to produce "homebrew" we are trying to produce craft beers (ales and or lagers) if you want "homebrew" just chuck a can and a kilo into a bucket and ferment it in the garage during summer.

"A maximum of 32 degrees is listed as the upper limit in one well known brewing kit! The yeast will have no difficulty working at these temperatures. In fact it will flourish, fermenting out the beer in rapid-fire time." RINGS A BELL?

"Unfortunately, the object of brewing beer is not to ferment out the beer as fast as you can, but to produce beer as good as you possibly can with the equipment and ingredients you have at hand, and to do this you must ferment at lower temperatures" I rest my case.

Here's the complete article Brewing In Summer - How To Beat The Heat! - Aussie Brewer - Craft Brewing Supplies may I humbly suggest that anyone that thinks 28 deg's is ok to ferment at, has a read of it, unless you're using Kveik, in which case you're too cold, turn it up to 35, but that's a different discussion.
 
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Grmblz

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For anyone wanting something a bit more scientific.
  • fermentation temperature: Higher temperatures accelerate the yeast's metabolism and the yeast will be able to consume the sugars faster and generally more complete. But the production of unwanted flavor compounds at higher temperatures limits the fermentation temperature. With good yeast health and sufficient pitching rate the fermentation temperature can be kept fairly low while still ensuring sufficient attenuation. A temperature rise towards the end of fermentation can be beneficial to attenuation while avoiding the off-flavors that higher fermentation temperature early in the fermentation can create.
Courtesy of http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Understanding_Attenuation
 
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philrob

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The point of my reply was that 28 is too hot to produce good beer, but good for keeping yeast happy. Again, not to make the best beer.
I'm not talking about kveik or pressure fermenting, which seem to be recent adaptations. I don't use either of these.
 

kadmium

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Kveik has been around longer than most beer styles so it's not new. It's just a new fad (pedantic I know)

And I would argue that yeast aren't happy at 28c, they are stressed and in a feeding frenzy. That's why they produce fusel alcohols and other undesirable off flavours.

Yeast that can reproduce, eat and clean up after themselves are happiest (I admit though I've never asked one)

Thats why the fermentation range is specific to the yeast strain. Some prefer cooler, but too cool and they sleep. Too warm and they enter into a frenzy, and as a by-product of stress improperly metabolise the sugars creating by-products which do not taste good.

It's also dangerous to say "yeast are happy at 28" without quantifying it with the preceeding information, as a new brewer may take that as they should ferment hot. Just my thoughts.
 
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Outback

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I disagree with Grimblz, and agree totally with Philrob.
Yeast love higher temps, it just makes for not very nice beer flavours.
Lager yeast don't enjoy being kept so freaking cold, they just manage to keep chipping away, but it's why we have to pitch more of the little wonder makers.
 

GrumpyPaul

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Its funny how much disagreement we can have to say the same thing.....

What I hear everyone saying is....

Under traditional fermentation conditions (ie not pressure fermenting) high temps will produce flavours in the beer we don't want.

The funny thing, to me, is that most of the disagreements above are about the "feelings" of the yeast - whether it's "happy" or "stressed".

I might be heartless....but I don't care about the feelings of my yeast. I just want to make good beer so that means have a temp that gets the best out of the yeast.
 

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