S-04 stuck?

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StrontiumDog
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S-04 stuck?

Post by StrontiumDog » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:03 pm

Hi all, hope you had a good Christmas and New Year.

Think I have a stuck fermentation using Safale S-04 (not from dry but a starter from washing an old batch)

I pitched Tuesday evening (2nd Jan) with an OG of 1.043. typical of S-04 it was going like crazy but now it's stopped and is sitting at 1.019 and has been for a couple of days.

Got it in a fermentation fridge and it's been at a steady temp of 20°C.

Fermenting in a conical (Fermentasaurus) and my grain bill was;

3.8 kg Maris Otter
300 g Crystal
150 g Roasted Barley

I have a decent layer of yeast in the collection ball. Could I disconnect, give it a swirl, then pour back in through the top?

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thepatchworkdoll
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by thepatchworkdoll » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:48 pm

Hi Jason
Cant help you with your problem but very keen to get your views on the Fermentasaurus. Any feed back regards it will be very much appreciated.
Regards
Patch

MTW
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by MTW » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:39 pm

Yes I would, though I've never had a conical but I guess that's the equivalent of giving it a stir in a bucket. If you can pour back just the yeast, mainly without any trub that may be at the bottom of the ball, even better.

S04 is pretty flocullant stuff, so I'd definitely rouse it one way or the other, based on what you say.

EDIT By the way, do you reckon your harvesting and/or yeast washing method could be selecting increasingly flocculant yeast and may have led to this? Just a thought.
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StrontiumDog
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by StrontiumDog » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:14 pm

thepatchworkdoll wrote:Hi Jason
Cant help you with your problem but very keen to get your views on the Fermentasaurus. Any feed back regards it will be very much appreciated.
Regards
Patch
Hi Patch

Really sorry I've not got back to you before now, had a crazy few weeks!!

I think it's a great bit of kit, takes a bit of getting used to having never had a conical before. I'm worried about introducing too much air when changing over the collection ball but that's not the fault of the Fermentasaurus.

For £100 you can't go wrong but I'd definitely recommend stumping out the extra c.£45 for the pressure kit, just being able to do pressure transfers has made it worth it! Still to experiment with natural carbing as I want to perfect my actual brew making before I try to get all clever lol.

My only gripe if I were to have one is that the opening could be a bit wider to get my arm all the way in to clean but a good soak and a blast with the shower and it's come up nice and clean anyway.

Lots of people complained about the threaded connection on the fastferment but the ones on the Fermentasaurus are really robust.

Any specific questions then give me a shout, I'll be happy to answer

J

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StrontiumDog
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by StrontiumDog » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:17 pm

MTW wrote:Yes I would, though I've never had a conical but I guess that's the equivalent of giving it a stir in a bucket. If you can pour back just the yeast, mainly without any trub that may be at the bottom of the ball, even better.

S04 is pretty flocullant stuff, so I'd definitely rouse it one way or the other, based on what you say.

EDIT By the way, do you reckon your harvesting and/or yeast washing method could be selecting increasingly flocculant yeast and may have led to this? Just a thought.
Thanks MTW

Yeah could be my yeast harvesting, it's still something I'm learning. I also wonder if I emptied the collection ball a bit too soon, I do no chill so my trub layer is usually pretty small but the ball full up. learning points for next time :-)

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Kingfisher4
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by Kingfisher4 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:17 am

First time using S-04, only my fourth brew, using a grainfather. Seem to have experienced a similar problem.

Just brewed an East Kent Goldings single ale from Greg Hughes “Home brew beer” book.

Grain bill for a 25 L batch was:
5.11 kg Maris Otter and 260 g of crystal.

Rehydrated the S-04 at 25° C and pitched at 24° C wort temp. S-04 claims 1 packet fine for up to 30litres.

Fermentation in conical Fastferment vessel, no fermentation fridge but room temperature has been 16 to 20° and fermentation vessel (internal) temperature 15 to 18°, slightly higher initially, during the yeast growth phase, so within optimal temp range from data sheet.

First time using S-04, but rapid initial fermentation. Original gravity 1.052; 1.018 reached by 48 hours. The yeast did seem to flocculate very rapidly, with the ball filling by 48 hours.

Gravity stopped at 1.018 by end of primary at seven days, yesterday. Despite rousing to try to activate again a couple of times during primary between 2 and 7 days.

Recipe suggests gravity should aim to be 1.010.

I have no problem with slightly lower ABV at 4.6 vs. expected 5.4, yeast attenuation does seem low at 65%; but have two questions:

If gravity stays at 1.018 is it safe to bottle, without adding any priming sugar, as per Graham Wheeler advice for prolonged bottle conditioning. I aim for slight effervescence as per cask ale from a handpulled pub pint so happy with "under carbed" ale?

Is there any obvious way to avoid this in future, or could it be a function of very flocculent yeast in a conical fermenter? The ball was absolutely full of very thick yeast / trub when emptied last night, which wouldn’t readily be available to continue fermentation. Perhaps try other yeasts?

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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by MTW » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:55 am

Kingfisher4 wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:17 am
First time using S-04, only my fourth brew, using a grainfather. Seem to have experienced a similar problem.

Just brewed an East Kent Goldings single ale from Greg Hughes “Home brew beer” book.

Grain bill for a 25 L batch was:
5.11 kg Maris Otter and 260 g of crystal.

Rehydrated the S-04 at 25° C and pitched at 24° C wort temp. S-04 claims 1 packet fine for up to 30litres.

Fermentation in conical Fastferment vessel, no fermentation fridge but room temperature has been 16 to 20° and fermentation vessel (internal) temperature 15 to 18°, slightly higher initially, during the yeast growth phase, so within optimal temp range from data sheet.

First time using S-04, but rapid initial fermentation. Original gravity 1.052; 1.018 reached by 48 hours. The yeast did seem to flocculate very rapidly, with the ball filling by 48 hours.

Gravity stopped at 1.018 by end of primary at seven days, yesterday. Despite rousing to try to activate again a couple of times during primary between 2 and 7 days.

Recipe suggests gravity should aim to be 1.010.

I have no problem with slightly lower ABV at 4.6 vs. expected 5.4, yeast attenuation does seem low at 65%; but have two questions:

If gravity stays at 1.018 is it safe to bottle, without adding any priming sugar, as per Graham Wheeler advice for prolonged bottle conditioning. I aim for slight effervescence as per cask ale from a handpulled pub pint so happy with "under carbed" ale?

Is there any obvious way to avoid this in future, or could it be a function of very flocculent yeast in a conical fermenter? The ball was absolutely full of very thick yeast / trub when emptied last night, which wouldn’t readily be available to continue fermentation. Perhaps try other yeasts?
My short answer is that I would not bottle at 1.018 with that recipe and OG.

Pitching a bit warmer is not usually a problem, but letting it drop from 24C to 15C and expecting the yeast to attenuate fully seems risky to me. Shame you've done away with the ball yeast. Can you get it warmed up somehow? I would try to get it up as high as you can comfortably maintain (up to 22-23 or so) at this stage. I'm guessing you would have said if this was a possibility. I would consider adding some US05, rehydrated, rousing again, and if that doesn't work, due to the hostile environment of the nearly-finished beer, you may have to make a 1L DME/wort starter to acclimatise it (with some more US05, rehydrated). Pitch that whole and fully active after 12-18hrs. None of this will be as effective as getting a stable, slightly higher temperature, now and in future brews.

You have a Grainfather and a conical, but no temperature control or means to keep it warmer than a 15C minimum? That's putting the cart before the horse to me IMHO. If you've got space around your FV of just a few inches, and a power socket nearby, a trug with an aquarium heater may be a good investment.
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Kingfisher4
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by Kingfisher4 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:45 pm

Many thanks for your thorough and helpful reply.

My apparently odd choice / mix of kit is mainly to try to fit in the house and utility room, without being too obtrusive during the brewing and fermenting stages. We have some limited space in the garage for storage, but again at a premium. I certainly see what you mean about cart and horse!

The Grainfather is shared with a friend, so exceptional value! Also much more compact than my brewer friend’s multivessel kit. The Conical was an Xmas present, as recommended by said brewer. Slowly building up experience through reading and this forum, a few others already made and lots of mistakes ahead still. Lots of learning curves, makes the process fun and challenging.

I have made a jig with casters for the conical, and have managed to keep it considerably warmer for the previous brews, by moving it around. Thanks to your reply, my attention will be firmly directed at better temperature control. A 65 litre trug and 100 W aquarium heater, bought yesterday despite raising the trug to the level of the ball on the fastFerment, did not manage to raise the temperature more than a couple of degrees. Too little of the FV fits in the trug and its large surface area means it loses heat more rapidly than transferring into the wort. It is too wide vs height.

Great principle though, I will probably get a slimline 100 litre water butt and cut its height down to size, it will allow much more of the conical to be immersed and should raise the temperature much better with the aquatic heater. Luckily, plenty of room around my FV to do this I hope.

Repitched today after warming up and stirring again, activity is starting up so will await progress and adapt with your advice. Fully appreciate it's a suboptimal hostile environment for the yeast now - will get it better throughout the ferment next time.

Thanks again for your help, another nudge in the right direction.

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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by MTW » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:15 pm

Hope it gets going.

I have to admit, I was thinking of just a cheap bucket FV for use with the trug, just for when you're struggling with the ambient temperature. I'm not sure I'd use it with the conical.

PS Nice to have shared use of the GF!
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Kingfisher4
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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by Kingfisher4 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:58 am

I realised the trug would be best with a standard shape cheap FV, but have the dilemma of transferring / infection / contamination / oxidation etc with the current batch, so the challenge of engineering an alternative future solution is part of the fun.

Used the rest of the yeast in the ball to repitch as well, a bit like a starter, gentle bubbling so hope your tips will work for this one. Hopefully, the “beast from the East” and drop in nocturnal temperatures won’t be a problem for future brews, but will pay more attention to lower temps and potential stalling primary ferments.

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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by Kingfisher4 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:46 pm

MTW wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:15 pm
Hope it gets going.

I have to admit, I was thinking of just a cheap bucket FV for use with the trug, just for when you're struggling with the ambient temperature. I'm not sure I'd use it with the conical.

PS Nice to have shared use of the GF!
Thanks again, the brew did get going again and managed to get gravity down to 1.010 by today so bottled tonight, despite the challenges of lack of accurate temperature control.

None of the suggested yeast available so repitched and stirred the contents of the fastferment ball as well as adding additional Crossmyloof rehydrated yeast.

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Re: S-04 stuck?

Post by MTW » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:56 am

Kingfisher4 wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:46 pm
MTW wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:15 pm
Hope it gets going.

I have to admit, I was thinking of just a cheap bucket FV for use with the trug, just for when you're struggling with the ambient temperature. I'm not sure I'd use it with the conical.

PS Nice to have shared use of the GF!
Thanks again, the brew did get going again and managed to get gravity down to 1.010 by today so bottled tonight, despite the challenges of lack of accurate temperature control.

None of the suggested yeast available so repitched and stirred the contents of the fastferment ball as well as adding additional Crossmyloof rehydrated yeast.
Thanks for the update, that's good.

I used the trug method before getting a brewfridge setup. The rest of my gear is less 'sophisticated', and it shows how everyone's gear and process can vary! You may find a better long term solution for heating and controlling the conical; I think people have secured pads on, for example, for the heat side at least.

I think temperature control and sanitation are the most important things to nail down, in producing reliable beer.
Busy in the Summer House Brewery

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