Stalled ferment - pH

Production methods from starch to sugars.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Fri May 11, 2018 9:09 am

I set my first all-barley wort to ferment the other day. Starting gravity of 1.055. Added a teaspoon of nutrients bought at my local brewshop and Safbrew S-33 as my yeast. The pH of my wort was 5.8 , temperature 22C and all looked dandy as the storm-fermentation started after only a short hour. Then for the next 16 hours my two fermentation buckets kept on bubbling continously, they were frothing. Then something happened. After about 20 hours both fermenters completely stopped.

Temperature was 20C, SG was now 1.020 but the pH had plummeted to 3.1. Had I been making beer, I might have been happy with that. But I'm not, so I'm not.

Both fermenters were using S-33. I was thinking of using fresh bakers yeast for one of them but didn't bother when I was finally done with the meshing and wort boiling. So I can't say if that would have produced a different outcome.

Now, since I don't learn from other peoples mistakes I have to do my own. I used a spoonful of Sodium Carbonate in a cup of water and stirred into the fermentation buckets. That pulled the pH back up to 5-5.5 again. And one of the fermentation buckets started plopping again after only 30 minutes. The other one was still is silent, so I gave it a dose of fresh bakers yeast. You only learn whey you try I say.

In your experience - how stupid was this? Should I still try to get some whisky out of these batches, or is it better just to extract neutral?
Last edited by rubelstrudel on Fri May 11, 2018 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby bluefish_dist » Fri May 11, 2018 9:18 am

As you found, ph buffering may be needed. I would let the one that restarted finish, then run them both. I have never had good luck restarting.
When I first started doing agave I stalled at 1.035 and could not restart. It made some nice spirits when distilled.

Next time I would add the cc at pitch and then adjust ph with a little citric acid. That will dissolve more calcium into the wort giving more of a buffer against the ph crash.
Blue Fish Distillery
Dsp-CO-20051
User avatar
bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 518
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Fri May 11, 2018 9:24 am

Yep. Buffering would have helped me here. I'll give them some time and see how low I can get the SG. When it stops now, I'll dump it all in the boiler and extract what is there. The bucket with bakers yeast might benefit from a bit more heat, but we'll see in a few hours if that one also starts bubbling again... or not.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby StillerBoy » Fri May 11, 2018 1:14 pm

Your mash should be ok whiskey wise.. will it finish out dry ????

Your starting Ph was on the high side at 5.8.. start your mash at pitching time around the 5 - 5.2 by adding citric acid for adjustment.. by starting at the 5 range, the Ph will not fluctuate as much and will be more stable at the first 24 hrs mark..

I start my at 5, and adjust the Ph at the 24 hrs mark, which will be in the range of 4 - 4.2, back up to 4.7 - 5 by adding calcium carbonate, and is stable after that, and done within 3 days..

Mars
StillerBoy
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Sat May 12, 2018 12:29 am

Good to hear Stillerboy. Would be a shame to make neutral of good whisky.

My two fermenters are right now burping happily every 20-30 seconds again. so I have good hopes both of them will ferment out dry. Both the fermenter that restarted on its own and the one I added a cube of fresh yeast paste to.

After my first 20 hours, the pH had dropped from 5.8 to 3.1 - and the ferment had stalled completely. I was expecting more what Stillerboy usually sees - a drop from 5.8 -> 4.5 or something like that. Adding a small carbonate/acid buffer before adding yeast would probably have helped me in this regard. I did not have calcium carbonate, only baking powder that is mixed with some phosfate and cream of tartar, so I decided to use sodium carbonate from the cleaning aisle in the supermarket to raise the pH instead. And it seems to have worked.

I'll leave it a couple of days now before opening the fermenters again. As long as it is burping, it is working.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby still_stirrin » Sat May 12, 2018 4:25 am

rubelstrudel wrote:...so I decided to use sodium carbonate from the cleaning aisle in the supermarket to raise the pH instead.

Next time, keep walking over to the canning aisle and get some of the “pickling lime”. It’s calcium hydroxide, a much stronger base (10 times stronger). And it will likewise add calcium to the ferment, which the yeast need to metabolize the sugars. You’ll need much less of the powder (hydrated in a cup of warm water) to raise the pH. And it works quickly.

The soap is OK, but the pickling lime is....wow! Try it.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5711
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Sat May 12, 2018 5:07 am

I really would like to get my hand on some calcium hydroxide, but none of the supermarkets around here were carrying it. I do have sodium hydroxide, but.... I'm not quite there yet. I use that to hydrolyze esters in low wines. So I went to the brewers shop today and bought some chalk instead. Calsium Carbonate will have to do next time. Despite the DIY-shop being next door I am not quite ready to dump portland sement into my brew.

Either hydroxide is good for cleaning though.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Wed May 16, 2018 12:19 pm

After a few more days I had to adjust my pH again. The ferment was slowing down and the pH had fallen to 4.01 (measured with my new fancy electronic meter). Now I added a dollop of Calciumcarbonate slush, and the ferment picked up quickly.

Should my all-barley malt really get so sour so fast?
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby der wo » Wed May 16, 2018 1:11 pm

And the SG has dropped now? If not, perhaps not the pH was the problem?
User avatar
der wo
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 3608
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:40 am
Location: Germany

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby zapata » Wed May 16, 2018 1:21 pm

rubelstrudel wrote:
Should my all-barley malt really get so sour so fast?

No. Gotta be a bacteria doing that work I would think.
zapata
Trainee
 
Posts: 982
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Thu May 17, 2018 10:03 am

The SG has dropped to 1.01 now, from an OG of 1.055.
So there is fermentation going on.
But the pH is now 4.6 after three rounds of pH adjustment.

There is no scum floating on the brew. It looks rather nice.
But I do suspect bacteria infection being behind the bulk of the acidity.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby der wo » Thu May 17, 2018 11:54 am

I think, you have added way enough. 4.6 is all fine. Higher than usual a finished ferment.
If the SG doesn't drop further, it's because you didn't convert enough starches I think. A FG of 1.010 is not perfect, but no disaster. Try to find out where you could optimate your mashing protocol. And use more grain. 1.055 is low. Aim for 1.070 for example.
User avatar
der wo
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 3608
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:40 am
Location: Germany

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Thu May 17, 2018 12:37 pm

Thanks for supporting words. I am experimenting my way through this. And the first is always so tricky to determine if it went wrong or well.
The buckets are actually still burping, although slow. And since I can't do anything about them until next week I'll just let them stand there and see where things are leading.

I may have more unfermentable sugars than I wanted. It really depends on the temperature regime during mashing as I understand it. And it's only been one week. I'll give it another.
As you say, even if I don't get anything more out of it, what I have now should make for an interesting stilling session anyways.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby StillerBoy » Thu May 17, 2018 1:35 pm

rubelstrudel wrote:The buckets are actually still burping, although slow. And since I can't do anything about them until next week I'll just let them stand there and see where things are leading.

My experiences with all grains, and the last few have been all 2-row malt, is that once the fermenting slows down, the grain will start to settle to the bottom and the top will start to clear.. this usally start around the forth day or so and let it go for a few extra days, then rack it and let settle for a few days..

Mars
StillerBoy
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:27 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Fri May 18, 2018 1:15 am

I used a grain bag and removed the grain from the wort before fermenting. My sparging was not the best, mainly because I didn't have any way of hoisting the grain bag out of the wort properly. Anyhow - my brew started clearing up after 24 hours really, at the same time it was down at pH 3.07. Since the yeast had suicided on acid I added bakers yeast to finish the ferment. The bakers yeast is still clouding, but most of the solids have settled to the bottom.

Next week I'll try to get the wort into the boiler with as little of the yeast and solids as possible.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby DuckofDeath » Fri May 18, 2018 6:05 am

Some yeast can go really low ph. check the temperature range for the yeast and see if you were outside that.
DuckofDeath
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:23 pm
Location: Where the rubber hits tthe road

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Fri May 18, 2018 11:12 am

At 24C the safbrew s-33 was operating at the upper end of the scale. That may have making things worse.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Sat May 19, 2018 11:00 am

Planned family outing was cancelled, so I have two days to hang around in the cave.
Reconfiguring for potstill-mode.

potstill.jpg
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby Pikey » Sat May 19, 2018 1:33 pm

rubelstrudel wrote:I really would like to get my hand on some calcium hydroxide, but none of the supermarkets around here were carrying it..................


Calcium Hydroxide is "Slaked Lime" - ie "Quicklime" which has been "Hydrated" - - You can buy it at the Builders Merchan as "Builders Lime, SLaked Lime etc - DO NOT use "Quicklime" - it gets hot in the slaking process.

I believe in the STates Calcium Hydroxide is also called "Pickling Lime"

- If you Must chuck stuff in your wash ! :lol:
Pikey
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:29 pm
Location: At the edge of the Wild Wood

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Sun May 20, 2018 1:39 am

Thanks Pikey

You helped med dig up some old knowledge from way back. "Slaked lime" is more or less the word used here to. And like most other useful stuff I can get it at the local farmers store/feed store. The name the farmers buy it under is "hydrateted lime" (hydratkalk) around here. So far the smallest batch I have found is 20kg sacks, but they may have some 5kg buckets as well.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold

Re: Stalled ferment - pH

Postby rubelstrudel » Sun May 20, 2018 5:44 am

With a bit of time on my hand today I decided to run my stalled and restarted whisky batch.
The SG was at 1.01 and that would give me a theoretical yield of 2.5l of pure alcohol in my 45l of brew.
I reconfigured to potstill mode, and added a sight glass to see when the brew was puking.
By starting carefully and boiling slowly I was able to avoid puking up into the column and the little bit of packing I had placed there.

whiskycuts.jpg


Everything came out slightly cloudy. Interesting.
It smells strongly of .... fruit ? Plums?
Smells a lot like the plum hooch you get in Croatia.
But the taste was definitely whisky. Smoke and grain.
With a bit of oaking I believe this can be pleasant even.

After taking out most of the original alcohol of the brew, I added
2l of a bit estery neutral to see if I could find some flavour for that in the boil.
And that seems to be a success. The last four bottles contain a lot of grain, smoke and
the original hooch hasn't made it worse.

Now with a bit of blending, oaking and storage. It will be fun to see how this turns out.
My still - the Rubelstrudel https://imgur.com/qRHkffO
User avatar
rubelstrudel
Novice
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:48 am
Location: Vestfold


Return to Mashing and Fermenting



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests