Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Don't know what I don't know

All -

Last Sat am I brewed a NB Choc Milk Stout. Used White Labs Irish Ale WLP004 yeast instead of what came with the kit. (my first brew ever)

I got a real vigorous fermentation on Sunday/Monday, slight slowing on Monday and I was still getting bubbles yesterday. Today, doesn’t seem to be doing much today. I’ve given the carboy a good swirl.

To define my fermentation - Sunday at 9am I had a krausen that covered about 60% of the top of the wort, in 2 hours it was 100% and by 2pm I had to go to a blow off tube as it had blown thru my air lock. Fermentation temp of 68.3 degrees.

So do I have a stuck fermentation? What’s the determining factor? I had a dead on 1051 OG but have no idea where my FG is supposed to be so how do I know if it’s where it’s supposed to be?

I was surprised at how quick the yeast reacted and I had heard that this particular yeast tends to take off fast. Just hoping it didn’t peak too early. On White Labs site reviews some are claiming full attenuation in 72 hours 1070 to 1018 (different brew/technique and I don’t know the guy so I take that with some salt for sure) but the over all theme seems to be that this yeast is particularly aggressive and quick. They’re talking 2 weeks before bottling.

Wondering if I should siphon off to my secondary and then brew again this Sat? I only have the one primary and I know I should be brewing more to get better…

You’ll know when you’ve reached proper FG when you take a couple of matching gravity readings over a couple of days. At least two weeks in the primary will give your yeast time to fully clean up after themselves. If you want to brew faster, get another primary! :wink:

I need another - tried to get one yesterday. LHBS was OUT! Said they were supposed to get more the last 2 orders but never received them but are supposed to get more this Thur. I’ll try…

Or I could siphon it to a secondary I have and then toss into that primary on Sat…

It sounds totally normal to me. Wait 10-14 days and take a gravity reading. I would expect your final gravity to be near 1.012. You don’t need to do anything now except keep the beer in the mid 60’s F. Wait a day or 2 then take another reading. If it is the same and near 1.012 the fermentation is finished. You can now transfer to secondary or wait another week or (better yet) two and bottle directly from primary.

My suggestion is spend a lot of time on this forum and read everything. Most of your questions will get asked and answered in a few days. If you search most of them have already been asked and answered.

Brew On! :cheers:

[quote=“teal”]I need another - tried to get one yesterday. LHBS was OUT! Said they were supposed to get more the last 2 orders but never received them but are supposed to get more this Thur. I’ll try…

Or I could siphon it to a secondary I have and then toss into that primary on Sat…[/quote]

Shadetree offers sound advice. If you don’t have patience and rush the beer, you will not really know how good it could be. So if you rush it by brewing this weekend and not allowing the first to clean itself up, what are you measuring your improvement against?

Trust me, I am a fairly new brewer and know how hard it is to wait, but give every batch at least 2 weeks in primary. Don’t transfer to secondary until the primary is done, or as many will tell you, skip the secondary and wait another week after primary is done (3 weeks in your case) and go straight to bottle or keg.

Get a second primary. You won’t regret it and it will take tremendous pressure off for very little cost. With an additional secondary, think about it, you could have 4 beers going at once.

Patience is worth it. Since I brew ales I have found that racking to a secondary is not necessary if it will be sitting on the yeast cake for 3 to 4 weeks. Being impatient and racking or bottling too soon is not worth it, you already have a lot of time and effort into brewing the batch, a little more time with a clean and properly finished beer is always worth the wait. I am not sure if you want to reuse the primary yeast cake and that is the motivation to move the beer sooner. Consider getting some good batches made and how enjoyable that can be versus going for quantity. Nothing is more discouraging than making 15 gallons of nasty beer versus one good 5 gallon batch, if rushing the beer is part of the problem. Later you can look into washing yeast or other reuse options once you get a nice consistent string of batches going. But intrepid adventures in brewing can result in some pleasant surprises, so good luck.

[quote=“teal”]Fermentation temp of 68.3 degrees.

So do I have a stuck fermentation? What’s the determining factor? I had a dead on 1051 OG but have no idea where my FG is supposed to be so how do I know if it’s where it’s supposed to be?[/quote]

Is 68.3°F the air temperature or beer temperature? If that’s the ambient temp then the beer probably fermented up around 75°F and a short, vigorous fermentation would be normal.

Predicting FG on a milk stout can be a little tricky since the lactose isn’t fermentable. Looking at the kit (I’m assuming it was the extract version), the other fermentables are all dark extract. So if you subtract the gravity contribution of the lactose (~8 “points”), figure 60% ADF for the extract, and then add the lactose back in, you’d have a predicted FG of 1.025. That’s strictly a guess, but I’d bet it’ll be within a few points of there.

Regardless, once you have identical gravity readings 3-4 days apart, fermentation is finished. For a beer this small, you could transfer immediately after that IMHO.

A very timely topic, for me. I brewed a chocolate stout based on the Sweet Stout extract kit, since we have our own nibs. We used the NeoBritannia called for in the kit. After 10 days in the fermenter, activity died down to the point where I wanted to start testing. That was Wednesday, 2 days ago. OG was 1.050, SG at test was 1.025. I was going to wait another couple days to test again, but my brother is coming over tonight to check out the setup and I figure he would enjoy a sample.

From what I’ve been reading it looks like this one could be done. If it’s 1.025 again I’ll plan on racking to secondary with delicious chocolate within the next few days. Then I plan to reuse the yeast for the barley wine extract kit.

In my experience, WPL004 is the fastest yeast I’ve used. I once needed to make a quick batch for a weekend trip, but had under two weeks to make it. So, I made a dry Irish stout with WPL004. From brew day to cracking open the first bottle (fully carbonated, btw) was 11 days. Check your gravity, but I would bank on it being done fermenting.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com