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Strange clumps in primary fermenter

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Post time 2022-11-12 08:09:52 | Show all posts |Read mode
This is an American Ale from extract kit. Got it from MoreBeer. I am approaching the second week of fermentation. There are these large clumps rising and falling out of the beer and it is still active. I removed the bung to take a small whiff and it smells ‘off’. Not sure if it supposed to smell like that because it apparently is not done fermenting or if there is some contamination. Any thoughts?
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Post time 2022-11-12 08:21:49 | Show all posts
my best guess, yeast...give it a jiggle and they'll sink....
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Post time 2022-11-12 09:50:55 | Show all posts
1.) Which yeast did you select?
2.) Did you use tap water or RO/distilled water?
3.) Was it the DME or LME kit?
4.) What was the OG?
5.) Did you use yeast nutrient?
6.) What is the "off" smell?
Sometimes yeast clump together when a yeast cell clones itself, budding an identical "daughter cell," but fails to pinch the clone entirely free.
Yeast Show Humans Why It's Better to Be a ClumpYeast Show Humans Why It's Better to Be a Clump

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qfzok52enr1.png

www.discovermagazine.com
My questions are just curiosity related to the question of does this occur due to environment (low food concentration), is it related more to genetics - or most probably both.
Swirling or gently sloshing the fermenter might break them up or cause them to sink.
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-12 10:25:43 | Show all posts
I sanitized a long spoon and gently stirred it. That seemed to do it.
1. SafAle 05 dry yeast.
2. Tap water with 1/2 Campden tablet.
3. LME kit.

4. O.G. Of 1.042.
5. No nutrient.
6. A kind of light sour smell. Not sure if that is the yeast, never made an American ale before and never smelled a beer halfway through fermenting. Could be completely normal.
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Post time 2022-11-12 10:26:56 | Show all posts
Those clumps are probably proteins, perhaps combined with some yeast.
Leave it be, the yeast "knows" what to do.
When it's ready to package in another week or 2, you'll transfer the (clear) beer with a racking cane or siphon to a bottling bucket or keg. It will leave all the clumps, floating or not, and trub on the bottom behind, anyway.
No need to interfere, removing stoppers, airlocks, or do smell tests. No need for a secondary either, leave it where it is in the "primary" fermenter, at around 66-72F, the beer is still green, and needs to condition out for 2 weeks.
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-12 10:30:37 | Show all posts
Thanks. I am new at this and just want to make sure. Each time I learn something new, it seems there is more and more I do not know.
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Post time 2022-11-12 10:40:33 | Show all posts
Does anyone know what (factors) would coagulate proteins like that during fermentation?
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Post time 2022-11-12 10:41:22 | Show all posts
The less you interfere, the better it is. Just keep the temps constant, on the low side of the yeast's range during active fermentation (there's foam, bubbling, etc.). When activity has slowed down you can raise the temps a few degrees to keep her engaged, help her finish out and condition your beer for another 2-3 weeks.
If it hasn't been suggested yet, reading John Palmer's How to Brew, 4th Ed. is recommended.
There was no need for doing that. It will be OK, not a major issue, just remember for next time that tinkering with your beer (and fermenter) is generally counterproductive.
Sorry, I was typing up my previous reply as you posted that. Now you'll know for next time.  
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-12 10:46:13 | Show all posts
Thank you everyone!
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Post time 2022-11-12 11:00:36 | Show all posts
The proteins (they're in the grain and extracts) coagulate (as small flakes) and precipitate after the boil, while chilling. That's the cold break!
Earlier on, during the boil, there can also be a hot break. But it's usually only with all grain or partial mash brews, especially when using large amount of protein rich grain such as wheat or rye or adjuncts.
Slow chilling could prevent a good solid cold break from happening. Adding half a teaspoon of Irish Moss 10' before flameout can help coagulating them better and settle out more completely. You would leave most or all that trub behind on the bottom of the kettle, only transferring the mostly clear wort on top to the fermenter.
If you dump the whole kettle's content into the fermenter all that protein is still in there too. Then with the yeast doing her thing, you may get those clumps! They're completely harmless.
Fermentations can be very gnarly, and smelly too.
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Post time 2022-11-12 12:38:51 | Show all posts

if that was a response to me...that's what I'D do, but most people would worry about O2, and a gentle rock back and forth would appease the LoDo crowd more....
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-13 07:16:54 | Show all posts
Well, thanks everyone….We will see next weekend when I bottle it up.
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-16 08:20:08 | Show all posts
Well, as a follow up, the clumps look worse and there is a sour acidic smell coming from the airlock. The bottom of the fermenter does not have the ‘sandy’ looking trub that you normally see, it looks like a light tan cottage cheese…I am. Not confident in this…
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Post time 2022-11-16 08:31:28 | Show all posts
Post a picture of this phenomenon! All from the venerable 05 strain. Do you know the current SG?
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Post time 2022-11-16 09:02:28 | Show all posts

Well... that sucks. It was still worth leaving it to be sure. Give the beer an actual taste and if it does indeed taste bad then unfortunately it's time for it to go. Airlock smells aren't always great, they are mostly CO2, maybe a bit of your sanitizer, and yeast flavors that honestly aren't super pleasant.
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Post time 2022-11-16 09:22:41 | Show all posts
I get them all the time, I use Irish moss and wirfloc together and I always see clumps of yeast rising and falling and when I cold crash they fall to the bottom, the smell you mentioned is most likely Co2 , I wouldn’t worry
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Post time 2022-11-16 10:00:47 | Show all posts
It is what it is. Don't just give up on it.
Even infected beer might taste good. Quite a while back this year I had some infected beer that tasted nasty after being bottled and conditioned. But bottles I kept for several months actually developed a decent enough taste. Not great but not bad either. It was just a 1 gallon batch of beer. I wish in this case I'd had more bottles to leave longer and see what even longer time did for it.
Infection doesn't mean poison. Still, we aren't convinced it's infection you have.
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Post time 2022-11-16 10:24:53 | Show all posts

zvd52r3rjvt.jpeg

zvd52r3rjvt.jpeg

Like I said, happens all the time

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3nyf3y5qtsm.png

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Post time 2022-11-16 12:40:04 | Show all posts
I'm still back to why the yeast is clumping?
Maybe adding yeast nutrient (zinc) would cause the yeast to finish pinching off the clones.
Do these clumps biologically cooperate via their connection to the clone to process the food around them?
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Post time 2022-11-16 20:34:58 | Show all posts

CO2 is odorless. And although it can cause a burning sensation in the nose, it doesn't evoke "sour" by any stretch of the imagination, at least in my imagination.
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Post time 2022-11-17 11:38:04 | Show all posts
I really meant the Co2 mixed with the yeast Krausen and malt proteins would have that kind of smell,
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-20 10:25:15 | Show all posts
Well, I transferred it into my bottling bucket by passing it through a sanitized hop screen. Got all the gunk out. Smelled fine. Added my conditioning syrup to it and bottled it up. I tasted some before and after adding the priming solution and tastes fine. Am slowly learning that beer evolves its taste profiles while growing up. I will see in about a week or so after it conditions.
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-20 10:25:47 | Show all posts
Yeah - kinda like that, but not as pillowy...
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-23 18:01:36 | Show all posts
Thanks everyone. It came out fine. Needs a little more conditioning time, but wanted to sample it just to make sure it was fine overall.
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