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Minimal krausen

Due to popular demand I just made a batch of Orange Petit for the third time--------first time doing 10 gallons. I split it in two and used Wyeast 1214 and 1968 separately, along with a yeast starter. Both batches showed a krausen within 12 hours but neither grew more than 1/4 inch. Both have “fallen back” within 3 days. Should I be concerned? My previous batches yielded 1-2 inches of krausen both times.

Size of krausen could be different depending on many things like yeast strain, temp, fermenter geometry, gravity, etc. I wouldn’t use it as an indicator for much in the way of quality of fermentation though. That’s where taste and gravity readings come in.

I will be taking the final gravity reading in a few days. If the FG reading is too high (according to BeerSmith) do I throw an additional packet of yeast in or is too late for a remedy? Thanks.

I wouldn’t go by BeerSmith. That’s really just an estimate and doesn’t take into consideration the many variables of your fermenting conditions. Take a look at the apparent attenuation of the yeast strains in question and then calculate the attenuation of your fermentation and see if they are in the expected range (this calculator gives apparent attentuation

). If they aren’t, there could be a number of reasons and only one of which would be not enough yeast. My first suspicion would be the fermentability of the wort. If it’s an extract brew, this is expected. Wort from extract creates a less fermentable wort. If it’s an all-grain brew you may have mashed at too high a temp causing your conversion to be incomplete.

Another variable could be the temperature you fermented at. If you were fermenting at the lower range of the optimal temp for that yeast you may experience a lower attenuation. I like to ferment my ales around 65-67 to guarantee a nice full fermentation with little to no ester production.

So while it’s possible not enough healthy yeast was pitched, in my experience, the other possibilities I mentioned above are more likely.

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