Accidental high gravity saison

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Accidental high gravity saison

Postby Vaughandy » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:11 am

Hi out there. Working on my fourth batch of homebrew. Trying to make a Saison. After a couple days in primary I looked back at the recipe and realized I switched around part of the partial mash recipe with the all grain recipe. This resulted in me using 9lbs malt extract rather than 6. I figured it would just result in a higher alcohol beer so wasn't too worried. Tons of airlock activity in the primary and after a week I moved it to the secondary. I'm guessing fermentation stalled in the primary at some point because I got a ton of bubbling and krausen for the first week in secondary.

What worries me is that it's now been in secondary for almost a month. Yeast also sank (more trub than I would normally like for the secondary) but I still have airlock activity(like 4-5 bubbles per minute) and it's VERY cloudy. Worried that there might be contamination and that the bacteria is metabolizing something to produce the gas. On the other hand, I don't see super obvious contamination... There are a few little "chunks" floating, but I'm pretty sure it's just dead yeast, as I've had that in earlier batches and it didn't cause any problems or bad flavors..

Any idea what might be going on?
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Re: Accidental high gravity saison

Postby pclemon » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:27 am

You don't say specifically in your post - but did you take any hydrometer readings on it? Taste the sample? It sounds to me like you move it from primary to secondary before it was finished fermenting.... because it wasn't finished and a bulk of the yeast was still in suspension, it's likely close to done now but as you said, you've now got a fairly large layer of yeast on the bottom of the secondary. Depending on what yeast you used, in my experience belgian yeast strains can be temperamental and prefer to be at the warmer end of the temp range - if not kept there they will drop out.

Most people on this forum, myself among them, will tell you you're wasting your time by even doing a secondary. It just opens up the beer to possibility of infection or oxidation with no real benefit.

Take a sample and measure it for final gravity and taste the sample. If it's infected you'll know it - but it won't hurt you.
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Re: Accidental high gravity saison

Postby rplace » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:44 am

Agree with Pete 100%.

Guessing you racked too soon for a large beer and you are seeing the yeast settle out now. Often the beer will take on some Co2 during fermentation much like force carbonization but at a lower level. Later as things settle down the Co2 off gasses. The beer is done when it is done meaning don't count bubbles or expect something to happen in XX days. Rather take a gravity reading a few days apart and if no change it is done.

Personally I'd skip the secondary for future batches....same reasons Pete suggests. Most beers will be totally done in 3-4 weeks, clearing up nicely. I don't even take gravity readings till then.
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Re: Accidental high gravity saison

Postby Vaughandy » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:40 pm

thank you both!!! I guess I'll bottle soon.
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Re: Accidental high gravity saison

Postby Vaughandy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:44 pm

man alive... so I decided to try cold-crashing and adding gelatin to this to clear it up, assuming the continual airlock activity wasn't fermentation. so anyway, I did that, beer cleared up pretty well. since then I brought it back to room temp, and what do you know... fermenting again. return of the haziness as well, and i can see the bubbles forming on top. how can this thing still be fermenting? anybody have any idea what's going on??
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Re: Accidental high gravity saison

Postby pclemon » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:47 am

Vaughandy wrote:man alive... so I decided to try cold-crashing and adding gelatin to this to clear it up, assuming the continual airlock activity wasn't fermentation. so anyway, I did that, beer cleared up pretty well. since then I brought it back to room temp, and what do you know... fermenting again. return of the haziness as well, and i can see the bubbles forming on top. how can this thing still be fermenting? anybody have any idea what's going on??


Have you taken any readings on it?
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