It's Fermenting Very Slowly and Tastes Way Bitter

Reactions to and impressions of commercial and home made beers and beverages. Travelling and experiencing beers from around the world.

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It's Fermenting Very Slowly and Tastes Way Bitter

Postby dregsucker » Mon Jul 14, 2003 11:02 am

My five-gallon carboy of stout has been fermenting for nine days now. It had a six-hour lag time and the blow-off phase was over in about 24 hours. Now it's poking along at one bubble through the airlock every 45 seconds or so. I used Safale S-104 ale yeast and the carboy temp is about 70 degrees. I may need to rack this stuff to a secondary fermenter at this rate.

BTW, I tried some yesterday and it was really bitter. This is my first time with this recipe, but I don't think it's supposed to have this much zing (morebeer B3 stout). Will it mellow out in the bottle?
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Gravity and Bitterness

Postby BillyBock » Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:27 pm

There's two ways you can check to see if it's done fermenting. One is to observe the krausen. If it's fallen back into the beer, so the surface of the beer looks calm (except for little patches of CO2 bubbles), then primary is over. The other method is to check with a hydrometer. If the readings remain the same over a few days then it's done.

Bitterness tends to mellow given time in the bottle. Green beer is usually pretty harsh. The higher the starting gravity, the more time it takes to age to peak flavor. Complex brews, like stouts, need time for the flavors to blend together. What are the IBU and gravity stats for this brew?

v/r
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we have no IBUs today

Postby dregsucker » Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:58 pm

I really don't know what the IBU rating is for this brew. The recipe calls for one ounce of Norther Brewer hops to be boiled for one hour and one ounce of Kent Golding for the last minute of the boil for aroma. I let them steep for another hour while I fought to get the wort temperature down. (The hop oils won't continue to be extracted without boiling, will they?) The OG was supposed to be between 1.055 and 1.060. If my hydrometer reading was accurate, I got 1.034. The gravity was 1.020 yesterday.

I used a blow-off tube, so most of the krausen is already gone. There are small patches of something floating on the surface of the beer. I can't really tell if they are CO2 or krausen. They look kind of solid for bubbles.

When fermentation stops, won't the bubbles through the fermentation lock stop as well?
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Contamination?

Postby jayhawk » Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:41 pm

Does the bitterness attack the sides of your tongue and have a vinegar-like quality? Your hopping rates seem normal, but the bitterness you describe seems excessive. I have had periodic episodes of sour beer, and the flavour of these brews certainly has a "zing". Perhaps this batch was invaded by some undesirable bacteria and has spoiled the batch.
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yeast

Postby Fraoch » Tue Jul 15, 2003 1:56 am

suspended yeast can taste very bitter during the primary or just after it.when you rack off to 2ndary and things settle a bit you may well find that the bitterness subsides somewhat.
Hang in there. In a couple of weeks youll be wondering at what the panic was about.bet my bottom $ on it.

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CO2 Release

Postby BillyBock » Tue Jul 15, 2003 2:27 am

Even when fermentation stops, bubbles will still come out of the airlock although at a much slower rate. What you're seeing right now (assuming the krausen is gone) is CO2 release where the beer is de-gassing.

The patch as you describe sounds like it's a yeast colony hitching a ride on some bubbles. Eventually they'll fall to the bottom.

Another possibility as far as bitterness is your malt/hops balance. To get the same level of bitterness is a higher gravity beer as in a lighter one, you'd have to use more hops. The converse is also true. So if your starting gravity was truly 1.034, and the recipe was stated at 1.060, and you hopped per the directions for a wort of 1.060, then the beer will be more bitter. If this is the case, not to worry, I did this on an IPA a long time ago and it took 4 months in the bottle to blend and mellow.

Double-check the hydrometer (in distilled water) and thermometer (at freezing and boiling). I'm still perplexed why your original gravity was 1.034.

v/r
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not really a vinegar-esque taste

Postby dregsucker » Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:56 am

The brew didn't have any vinegar-like flavors, it just tasted like excessively bitter beer. There seemed to be some nice malt flavor in there, but it was overpowered and beaten down by the bitterness. It did smell good, though.

I will check the specific gravity tonight and see if it has gotten above 1.020. If so, I'll bottle in the next day or two. Thanks for the information, everybody.

Oh, let me give you the complete recipe to see if anything else catches your eye.

8 lbs. ultralight malt extract
4 oz. maltodextrin
1 lb. black roasted barley
8 oz. Munich
1 oz. Northern Brewer hops
1 oz. Kent Goldings hops
1 tablet whirfloc
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Complete recipie

Postby BlackNugget » Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:44 pm

I'd be reconsidering that 1lb of Black Roasted Barley. That ingredient can be very bitter and should be used in moderation. I make a great porter using Black Patent malt (close to the roaster barley) and in that I only put in 12oz but also include some Chocolate malt.
Ken @ Blacknugget Brewery
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RE:

Postby Hacky2447 » Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:02 pm

From when i was talking to the people at the brewery shop, they were telling me that a lot of people would only use about 2 to 3 oz of taht type of malt or chocolate malt be cause of the sever bitterness and burnt flavor that they give off to the beer, but thats about all i know about it.
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