Still having problems with the holiday porter

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by FedoraDave, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. FedoraDave

    FedoraDave Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    North and west of the City
    I posted a few months ago that I was brewing my spiced holiday porter, and asked for advice on the excessive foaming that I've experienced in the past upon opening the bottles.

    Everything was fine, in terms of the amount of time in the bottle for proper carbonation and conditioning. I reduced the priming sugar, as was suggested in the previous post. But the gushing continues. I honestly lose over half a bomber to the excessive foam.

    The base recipe seems good, so I have to assume it's an issue with the spice adjuncts. If anyone would follow the link, check out the adjuncts under "Other Ingredients" and give me some feedback, I'd be most appreciative.

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/edit/751461

    My only other option is to start from scratch; brew the base recipe and see if there's any issue and if not, brew it again with just one of the adjuncts, and go from there. I'd prefer not to do that, but if I have to, I have to.
     
  2. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2019
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    1,762
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I doubt it's the adjuncts.

    Do all the bottles gush, or just some from a particular batch?
    Do all of your beers gush, or just this recipe?

    Assuming the sugar is mixed completely...

    My understanding is that gushers are either from:
    1. Too much sugar causing over-carbonation.
    A - Too much priming sugar
    B - Residual wort sugar because the beer never reached reached final gravity before bottling
    2. Infection somewhere that leads to bugs eating other wort sugars that the yeast could not. (Dirty bottles, hoses, racking cane etc...)
    3. Shaking the bottles just before opening them! :p

    Let's assume its not 3. Could it be any of the other possibilities?


    ***EDIT***
    Looking at the recipe a little closer, I suppose it could be from the secondary additions. What are the steps you take before adding the cinnamon and orange?
     
  3. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    820
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    Megary has some good points, all valid. The recipe looks good, I can’t see any reason why the spice and peel addition would cause any problems. It seems to me that you may have underpitched your yeast, the recipe calls for a .35 pitch. What was the FG? The yeast may have stalled, then after a period of time or when you primed the batch the yeast finished not only the priming sugar, but also some of the sugars left over from the stall.

    To get good attenuation it’s important to pitch the proper amount of yeast, .5 to .75 pitch would be better. It’s also important to aerate the wort immediately after pitch, pure oxygen works best (10-15 ppm of oxygen is required for liquid yeast) It may be better to use dry yeast next time as a test. S04 is a good all around yeast. 1 packet will give you @.75 pitch, in addition dry yeast is much more tolerate of low oxygen levels in the wort due to the dehydration process the manufacturer uses. Dry yeast contains enough lipids to reproduce 3-4 times without any oxygen additions. That beer should finish around 1.014 to 1.012.

    To give your beer the best chance of finishing, rehydrate the yeast before pitching. It preserves more yeast than a direct pitch into the wort and you’ll get a faster start out of the yeast.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    6,669
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Gushing can have three causes. One is excessive carbonation, either through bottling a beer that hadn't completely finished fermenting or through an infection with some bug that can digest more complex sugars. The other one is the formation of condensation nuclei, little crystals or other particles that allow the CO2 to precipitate from the solution rapidly. Agitation is a third possibility. Here are some things to check:
    - Infection: You'd smell it or taste it.
    - Excessive carbonation (underattenuation): Degas a sample and take a gravity reading. If it's less than your recorded FG, that's your problem.
    - Excessive carbonation (too much priming sugar): Could be a measurement mistake or a miscalculation. Check your records.
    - Agitation: You shook, dropped, rolled or otherwise disturbed your beer.
    - Condensation nuclei: That's the hardest one to detect, it's almost really only detectable if you've eliminated other causes. Things to look for: Are you getting beerstone buildups anywhere on your equipment? Then you could have oxalate crystals precipitating out in your beer. Do you use chalk as a water agent? When I do, I get gushers, I've read that the carbonates react with other ions to stay in solution while the phosphates react with calcium and form the mineral apatite. I suppose you could look at the sludge in the bottom of the gushers through a microscope and see if there are any small crystals in it...
     
  5. FedoraDave

    FedoraDave Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    North and west of the City
    Thanks for the responses.

    To answer Megary's questions:

    All the bottles of this recipe have had issues with gushing. I've made this recipe every year for the holidays for about four or five years, and it's become something of a joke. While it's a tasty holiday beer, people have learned to handle it like a hand grenade.

    None of my other beers gush. I usually keg, but any that I've bottled, such as competition entries and my saison, do not have this issue, and I bottle the saison with a very high amount of priming sugar, since that's the style.

    1. Too much sugar is a possibility, but I gave the beer enough time to reach FG and stabilize. I cut the priming sugar to be under what was recommended by the software I use. And I've never had issues with any of my other beers. I batch prime, so the distribution should be consistent bottle to bottle. And I use this priming calculator with all the beers I bottle and haven't had any issues, as I stated above.
    2. Infection is not likely. Equipment conditions are the same as for every other batch. Procedures, also. No issues elsewhere but this beer, every time.
    3. Ho ho. Very funny. :p

    As far as the steps taken to add the late adjuncts, I take two whole cinnamon sticks and crack them once or twice with a meat mallet, yielding large shards. The orange zest is from two fresh oranges, the zest removed via cheese grater. I use this technique to add zest to my lemon wheat beer and have had no problems with that recipe. Both the cinnamon shards and the zest are put into a sanitized muslin hop sack, tied off, and dumped into the beer, same as I would with a dry hop.

    I will take the advice of HighVoltageMan! and try a different yeast. I don't think aeration is a problem, though. I cool the wort of my small batches using an ice bath and constant stirring with a whisk. This aerates very thoroughly, and I've found it works well with all my other beers.
     
  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    9,450
    Likes Received:
    9,524
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pest control tech
    Location:
    Palmwoods QLD
    What a curve ball I hope the different yeast strain helps. Have you used this burton ale yeast in other bottled beers without gushing?
    I see how you've reduced it down to the spices it seems one of them maybe the culprit.
    Do you make any spice additions to other bottled beer without gushing?

    My only reasonable thought could be some sorta wild yeast inoculated through your secondary spice addition to your beer like the orange peel or cinnamon stick.
    You could try a tincture next brew with a bit of vodka soak with spices to kill any problem yeast. Or as ive been doing I freeze the spice addition and or pasturise at 80c 20-30minutes before entering fermentor.

    Good luck interested to see what's causing this one.

    Oh and as Noseybear said if it is some refermentation on bottle through wild yeast the FG should be lower than your recorded...
     
  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    6,904
    Trophy Points:
    113
    If it is something to do with the spice additions, maybe consider adding them as a late boil addition. I have had good results doing this, hope you nail down what the culprit is.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    6,669
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Unless he's getting ground spices into the bottle, I don't see this as being his issue.
     
  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    820
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    This is true to a point. That method will produce about 5-7ppm of oxygen, which works for most yeasts. But if you really pitched that low, more oxygen would help and is needed by the yeast since they will have to reproduce more often with the lower pitch. What was your FG? Was there any indication of a stall? The most common source of a gusher, aside from infection, is a stalled or incomplete fermentation.
     
  10. FedoraDave

    FedoraDave Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    North and west of the City
    To answer some of these issues randomly:

    I had used ground cloves, and thought the gushing might have been from small amounts of particulate getting into the bottles and creating nucleation sites. That's why I add whole cloves at the end of the boil rather than adding ground cloves during the "dry hop" phase. Same with the cinnamon sticks. I figured large shards would impart the spicy cinnamon flavor I want, but would not be able to infiltrate through the muslin hop sack.

    As far as wild yeast, I've never experienced a wild yeast-type problem in ten years of home brewing. I doubt it would occur now, and only with this one particular batch, although the idea that something from the cinnamon might have infiltrated has been taken under advisement. I may make a tincture and add that instead. The orange zest is a non-starter, IMO.

    I also wondered if the cloves added oil that is somehow volatile. I don't know much about clove oil, but it may not be compatible with beer. A shame, since I wanted the spices to mimic the pomanders my mom used to make by sticking whole cloves all around an orange. The smell is quite nice, and, to me, bespeaks Christmas.

    Perhaps I'll retool the entire recipe and instead of a spiced porter make it a gingerbread porter. An addition of chopped ginger and some graham flour? Clearly, more research is needed.

    Thanks for the replies. They've given me a lot to think about.
     
  11. Kosh

    Kosh Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2019
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Self
    Location:
    Alabama
    With all info, still sounds like wild yeast/ infection to me. can happen to anyone anytime. keep thread updated on progress. good luck!
     

Share This Page

arrow_white