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Bourbon Barrel Porter Fermentation Issues

So I have been in and out of town a lot lately and haven’t had the time to watch my 5 gallon bourbon barrel porter kit from NB. At first my yeastie buddies got a little over excited and blew a load on the floor, much to my wife’s enjoyment, and then settled down dramatically in the first 24 hours. Then it appeared that fermentation took a crap on me after a day or so, after waiting a few more days I repitched another packet of yeast thinking I just didn’t get things going. No dice there, as it sat flat without any movement whatsoever. So here I sit, 3 weeks after boil not sure to drop my oak and bourbon and hope for the best, or to scrap it as a failed batch. My OG sat at 1.052 and my current gravity sits at 1.040, which seems a bit high, but I haven’t jumped into gravity readings much and don’t know that for sure. Can someone give me a nudge in the right direction? Am I doomed to dump 5 gallons or can I proceed without wasting some bourbon too?



What was/is the temperature? Sounds like it may have just finished really fast, but the gravity should be a bit lower than that I would think.

From what I have seen, usually quick and violent fermentations are a result of the temp being off.

Did you try to taste it?

How about aeration? Did you aerate properly before pitching the yeast? What was the wort temp when you pitched? What was the temp did you ferment at? Did you use dry or liquid yeast?

It’s fermenting a little warm as I’m in Phoenix and it’s 78 inside the house. I did taste t and it’s a little malty, but not bad, it would be nice if I could force carb a few ounces but I bottle condition and don’t have the materials.

I used dry yeast, Safale 04, gave it a shake for aeration (going to get a stone for next one), pitch temp was room temp at 78, fermented at 78. Thanks gents.

To me (and I am new as well but spend time reading the forums and read the book How to Brew), it seems that it was quite warm and maybe not quite enough aeration.

The stone is a good idea. I don’t have one, but I do sit there and rock the carboy for about 5 minutes straight. I attempt to rock it vigorously for the whole duration. Not sure a quick shake gives it enough. I just figure more is better.

Safale 04 ideal temps are 64-75, so you’re well over that especially if the ambient temp is 78. Generally, you want to pitch at the bottom end of the ideal range and then keep it cool. Some say you can allow it to warm after the foam has subsided, but I am not exactly sure of the benefits of that, so maybe an expert can chime in. I think you pitched and fermented very warm, and it finished very quickly.

I keep the temp in my house at about 73 during the summer to save on energy costs. I live in NC, so definitely not as hot as you, but with my Caribou Slobber I had to use a “swamp cooler.” I had my carboy wrapped in a towel in a bathtub with a little bit of water, a couple of ice packs I changed out from time to time, and a fan blowing on it. Brought the temp down from 75 to about 68. Since then, I’ve bought a chest freezer and have a temp control thing attached. My latest batch of pumpkin ale has been steady at 67 degrees with no issues. The swamp cooler method is very cost efficient and it works very well, just fyi.

Twitzke, I’m sorry but I have no good news for you. You can’t ferment at those temps and make good beer unless brewing a saison. I would guess it will be super fruity and be full of fusel alcohol (tastes like solvent). It’s a shame because those two things will really overwhelm any roasted malt flavors. If you can drink it that’s fine, but please don’t force it down like many new brewers do. Just dump it and try again. Next time pitch at around 68F and ferment there if you can, but at least keep it under 70F. I am talking beer temperature not ambient temps. Just do a search for swamp cooler on this forum for a cheap temp control solution. You should only need to keep the temps in this range for 3 days and then you can let it warm up. Your OG and FG are also way off. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but make sure you use the proper amount of water to hit the correct batch size and take your readings at or near 60F. Keep reading on this forum and you will be making good beer in no time. :cheers:

Templar beat me to it, but maybe I added some useful information.

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