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Houblonmonstre Trouble

The problems of rushing a homebrew creep up - on the Houblonmonstre extract kit, it orders to add the two pounds of corn sugar at the very end of the boil, just before the cold crash. Now, some of this sugar had already been used to feed my yeast starter, leaving me with roughly 1 2/3 lb. sugar. Unfortunately in my haste, I forgot all about it until I had already crashed, and ended up putting the remaining sugar in just before pitching the yeast, while the wort was roughly 85-90 degrees. Have I profoundly messed up my beer? If it’s only slightly askew, is there a salvation method?

The late addition of the sugar isn’t your problem, it’s that you used it to feed your yeast. Don’t use simple sugars when growing yeast, use malt extract or something comparable. The chance of bad growth patterns and ill cells increases quite a bit when using simple sugar to grow yeast.

Thank you for the info. For the record, the starter was initiated with malt syrup, and actually went on with a syrup stage 2. The corn sugar was just used to string the yeast along since Brew Day didn’t come quite when I hoped.

The OG for the wort was 1.071, which is considerably lower than the kit’s projected OG but still makes sense with how much of the syrup and sugar ended up going in after the reading with the yeast.

All that sugar might have been a worse decision than I thought - fermentation won’t start on my wort. I pitched Monday evening, and have had no action on my blowoff setup. The primary bucket is sealed fine, and the hydrometer reads no change. There is no krausen, nothing. Any tips or suggestions?

Pitching at 85F in a higher-gravity wort with a fair amount of simple sugar should have led to a fast and vigorous start to fermentation. I would guess that there’s something amiss with your yeast - did you witness krausen in the starter and/or check the gravity to make sure that it had in fact fermented out the wort? Did you cold-crash the starter and decant before pitching or pitch the whole starter (either method ensures that you get all or at least most of the yeast into the wort)?

As an aside, for future batches you might want to chill the wort down a bit further before pitching, low- to mid-60s is good. Pitching at 80+F is just about guaranteeing that you’ll get some tasty acetone-like flavors and aromas in the final product.

The wort was a mite over 80, and the starter fermented fine: plenty of action with the syrup portion. I’m less sure of how the fermentation went with the pure sugar add. I didn’t specifically note krausen, but I keep my starter in a shut cabinet.

Okay, I’m going to pitch more yeast and see if I can kick-start this thing. The problem is, I used all of my LME when I boiled the wort. I got a WLP550 (Mr. Malty says it’s the Belgian Ardennes equivalent) tube ready to go, but I don’t feel comfortable pitching without a starter. I have light candi sugar, table sugaer, and a vial of yeast nutrient. However, I’d certainly like advise before I take more shots at bombing this thing.

[quote=“Smilner”]However, I’d certainly like advise before I take more shots at bombing this thing.[/quote]What’s the gravity now?

1.071

If it’s been sitting for a week with no yeast activity, I would pitch two packets of US-05 right now and get some yeast going and cross fingers that there’s no infection.

It’s odd: this is the second time I’ve had yeast activity just stymie like this. The first time was with the Wheaten Beatdown. Both times were the only times I used my 6 gallon plastic bucket insteading of doing my primary in a glass carboy. It’s making me superstitious.

Alright - this should be my last question. I pitched the WL550 with a starter from some of the wort, and it worked like a charm. The blowoff is bubbling furiously. However, I’d like it to be a bit closer in gravity to the original intended 1.082. Would it be unwise to do a small simple syrup with the light candi sugar I’ve got? How much would it take to boost the gravity .01?

[quote=“Smilner”] Would it be unwise to do a small simple syrup with the light candi sugar I’ve got? How much would it take to boost the gravity .01?[/quote]If you use cane sugar (and you should, it’s what the Belgians use), each lb boosts the gravity by about 8 points (in a 5-gal batch), so for 10 points you would need 1.25 lbs.

You have been a great help. If this works out, I shall rename the brew Shadetree Ale. Unless it sucks. Then I’ll have other names for it.

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