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Offline KGB  
#1 Posted : Monday, February 27, 2012 12:10:34 AM(UTC)
KGB


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"Hey guys,

I have now tried two separate batches using EC 1118 yeast. I think both batches were failures. After several weeks of fermentation, alcohol production is very low.

I rarely saw bubbles nor foam in either batch. However, particles in the wash of each batch were quite active for several weeks (quickly floating to the surface and falling back down) but no small bubbles or foam. Each batch had a surface activity that's very hard to describe but I will make an attempt to describe what I have seen.

I know I just said that I saw no bubbles or foam. And I haven't seen bubbles ""rising from the deep"" but when I look down into my barrel using a flashlight, though I see no bubbles rising to the surface, I am seeing very small, delicate ""high speed explosions"" of popping bubbles ON THE SURFACE that reminds me of white phosphorous explosions when looking from high above. And just for a very quick moment, it reminds me of pictures that I have seen of the moon where there was a central crater with hundreds of lines leading away from the crater and then this quickly disappeared. This is occurring all over the surface of the wash but it can only be easily seen when strong light strikes the surface.

The smell of alcohol is strong but after two weeks, I have gotten only 4% alcohol in the wash. After the first week I followed the directions and hydrated 5 packets of EC 1118. After waiting the recommended time I pitched the yeast. There was a foam for only a few minutes and activity was so loud that it sounded like something was frying on low heat. This lasted for about 8 minutes after which all foaming stopped, sizzling stopped, and I was back to tiny explosions being seen using strong light.

Can someone tell me what is going on? This is only my second time to use EC 1118 and it's doing noting like that described by other frequent users.

KGB"
Offline muadib2001  
#2 Posted : Monday, February 27, 2012 3:48:10 AM(UTC)
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"Their web site states that it can ferment from 50 to 86 degrees, but I think it will ferment faster in the upper range.

Mine is sizzling away after a week now using EC-1118. Sounds like Rice Crispies cereal. I keep an electric blanket around the fermenter at a low setting. I have not tested the ABV%."
Offline heeler  
#3 Posted : Monday, February 27, 2012 4:05:41 AM(UTC)
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"A few questions.... what was the recipe you used??
How much sugar did it call for??
Why 5 pks of yeast???
How do you know you only got 4% abv???
How hot was the wash when you added the yeast??
Maybe some of us can help you figger out what happened."
Offline KGB  
#4 Posted : Monday, February 27, 2012 4:35:48 AM(UTC)
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"
Originally Posted by: heeler Go to Quoted Post
A few questions.... what was the recipe you used??
How much sugar did it call for??
Why 5 pks of yeast???
How do you know you only got 4% abv???
How hot was the wash when you added the yeast??
Maybe some of us can help you figger out what happened.


Thanks to all for responding.

*heeler* I am at work and I WILL answer all your questions when I get home this evening ~6:30 Alaska time.

Thanks again guys.

KGB"
Offline KGB  
#5 Posted : Monday, February 27, 2012 3:49:47 PM(UTC)
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"Hi Guys,
It's ~ 6:30 and as promised I am providing answers to your questions.

The recipe was as follows:

3.5 gal water
5 lbs flaked corn
1 lb 6 row pale Barley

After conversion, I added to the above 20 lbs sugar and 11.5 gal water

Because EC 1118 packet states, ""each packet good for 1 to 5 gal"" I added 3 (three) packets of EC 1118 yeast.

After waiting 7 days with practically no ""obvious fermentation"" I added 5 packets of yeast in hopes of ""kick-starting"" what I thought may be a stalled fermentation. It was also added with thoughts that if this addition ""got things going"" fermentation may not take too much more time.

I used the following formula to arrive at 4% alcohol. 1000(OG-TG)/7.4 = %alcohol. I came to this % approximation via two methods: hydrometer and refractometer.

My wash was ~80F when pitching.

At the end of the second week I pitched another 5 packets.

There is much info between the beginning and now. I won't waste your time with particulars unless you ask specific questions or make written assumptions that are incorrect and then I will provide additional info as you desire or as is needed to correct assumptions that have gone astray.

KGB"
Offline scotty  
#6 Posted : Monday, February 27, 2012 11:04:51 PM(UTC)
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what method of aeration did you use?:)
Offline KGB  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, February 28, 2012 12:27:01 AM(UTC)
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"
Originally Posted by: scotty Go to Quoted Post
what method of aeration did you use?:)


Poured wash from one container to another several times and then used aquarium pump with in-line HEPA air filter. Aerated for ~15 minutes.

KGB"
Offline heeler  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:47:20 AM(UTC)
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"KGB, I see your local is Alaska so is it possible that the wash - after sitting was too cold to ferment properly? Thats alotta sugar and yeast not to ferment somewhat.
You said you saw little sizzling bubbles on top and thats what EC-1118 does. It is a good yeast if handled and fed properly. I'm not saying you did anything wrong just still trying to figger it out. It might just have been too cold to really get to kickin."
Offline KGB  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:29:16 AM(UTC)
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"
Originally Posted by: heeler Go to Quoted Post
KGB, I see your local is Alaska so is it possible that the wash - after sitting was too cold to ferment properly? Thats alotta sugar and yeast not to ferment somewhat.
You said you saw little sizzling bubbles on top and thats what EC-1118 does. It is a good yeast if handled and fed properly. I'm not saying you did anything wrong just still trying to figger it out. It might just have been too cold to really get to kickin.


Good Morning Heeler,

Much appreciate your reply. Your having said, "" ...... that's what EC 1118 does"" means a great deal to me. Of all times in the past, I have always used fresh cake yeast and fermentation using fresh cake yeast acts differently than EC 1118 so the way that EC 1118 was fermenting was throwing me for a loop. I have been experiencing a VERY SLOW fermentation relative to previous experiences. Fermentation with EC 1118 has lasted 2 weeks and is still fermenting. Slowly, the SG, i.e. TG is lowering but it has been SLOW and has much more to go. I'm only at ~1.040. I threw an additional 5 packet of yeast Saturday and I have begun seeing bubbles as of yesterday. Frog-eyes are hitting the surface every second or so.

I have basically kept my wash at 82F (+ or - a degree or so) so I don't know why the slow start. Possibly too much sugar. Maybe I should have made a bunch of ""starter yeast"" to initially kick-start my wash.

My plan is to keep an eye on the wash and when everything slows to a very slow roll then I will ""kick the pig"" and cook.

Any further ideas?

KGB"
Offline KGB  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:33:39 PM(UTC)
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"I checked progress when I returned from work this evening. Still have ""micro-explosions"" at the surface but with fewer ""frog-eyes"" making their way to the surface. Regardless, tiny rolling particulate is sill quite obvious. I have no more ""snap, crackle, and pop"" sounds. My wash (beer) has a stronger sour taste and the relative Specific Gravity is slowly decreasing but the liquid continues to have a sweet taste. This seems to indicate that after 2 weeks and 2 days of working, it still needs more time to work before it's ready to run. I wonder if I should stir the barrel a wee bit?

KGB"
Offline div4gold  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, February 29, 2012 5:15:20 PM(UTC)
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"
Originally Posted by: KGB Go to Quoted Post
I checked progress when I returned from work this evening. Still have ""micro-explosions"" at the surface but with fewer ""frog-eyes"" making their way to the surface. Regardless, tiny rolling particulate is sill quite obvious. I have no more ""snap, crackle, and pop"" sounds. My wash (beer) has a stronger sour taste and the relative Specific Gravity is slowly decreasing but the liquid continues to have a sweet taste. This seems to indicate that after 2 weeks and 2 days of working, it still needs more time to work before it's ready to run. I wonder if I should stir the barrel a wee bit?

KGB


I found out the hard way that if you stir your carboy at the wrong time it can end up like being the biggest pop bottle of shook up root beer you have ever seen. If you do that within a few days of starting the ferment lock-down do it outside or have lots of towels ready just in case. After a week or so it didn't seem to do that any more. That stuff sure makes a sticky mess of the floor :)"
Offline roostershooter7  
#12 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2012 1:06:49 AM(UTC)
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"
Originally Posted by: KGB Go to Quoted Post
Hi Guys,
It's ~ 6:30 and as promised I am providing answers to your questions.

The recipe was as follows:

3.5 gal water
5 lbs flaked corn
1 lb 6 row pale Barley

After conversion, I added to the above 20 lbs sugar and 11.5 gal water

Because EC 1118 packet states, ""each packet good for 1 to 5 gal"" I added 3 (three) packets of EC 1118 yeast.

After waiting 7 days with practically no ""obvious fermentation"" I added 5 packets of yeast in hopes of ""kick-starting"" what I thought may be a stalled fermentation. It was also added with thoughts that if this addition ""got things going"" fermentation may not take too much more time.

I used the following formula to arrive at 4% alcohol. 1000(OG-TG)/7.4 = %alcohol. I came to this % approximation via two methods: hydrometer and refractometer.

My wash was ~80F when pitching.

At the end of the second week I pitched another 5 packets.

There is much info between the beginning and now. I won't waste your time with particulars unless you ask specific questions or make written assumptions that are incorrect and then I will provide additional info as you desire or as is needed to correct assumptions that have gone astray.

KGB


I know I'm late to the 'show', but I'll put in my 2 cents.

EC1118 is a very versatile yeast. Why did you add so much? Just asking.

What temp did the fermentation STAY at during the entire period?

What was your water pH? I know some Alaskans have very hard water with a lot of Iron in it. How is yours? Iron will kill yeast.

Are you sure you got conversion when you mashed the ingredients? How do you know?

Just trying to help you figure this one out. Oh yeah, EC1118 is a very low 'head' yeast. You WILL NOT see a lot of foam out of it. It's a highly tolerant champagne type yeast."
Offline KGB  
#13 Posted : Friday, March 16, 2012 4:32:21 AM(UTC)
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"Good Morning roostershooter7,

I will attempt to answer your questions. My use of EC 1118 has a somewhat interesting yet tortuous history which can be reviewed, in its entirety, at the following web site:

http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27566

(Q) Why did you add so much yeast?
(A) During the first week of fermentation I was having problems with a massive "slime" formation. Many speculated it was an infection however it never had a foul odor nor a foul taste ...... even after 3 weeks of on-going fermentation. One individual replied to my slime & slow fermentation issue with the following statement and this is why I pitched so much yeast (experiment):

Beta glucan is the same thing that happens with a mash when it's not step mashed. It turns into the consistency of snot. I've never had an infection that acted like you"re describing, but I've not had many. Your fermentation temp is good, your yeast to liquid ratio is a little low but not terrible, your recipe is a little low on the grain side but that's acceptable to. It doesn't stink and it smells like alcohol, but in a week it's only dropped one gravity point. You got me, I'm all out of ideas but one. Pitch a quarter cup of Baker"s Yeast and see what happens.

In retrospect, I am glad I pitched extra yeast because my slime problem vanished.

(Q) What temp did the fermentation STAY at during the entire period?
(A) 82 -85F

(Q) What was your water pH?
(A) pH of water (from the ground) is pH7. pH of mash culminated at ph4 and then I stripped the beer.

(Q) I know some Alaskans have very hard water with a lot of Iron in it. How is yours? Iron will kill yeast.
(A) No Iron

(Q) Are you sure you got conversion when you mashed the ingredients?
(A) YES

(Q) How do you know?
(A) I used Iodine to test my conversion. There was NO BLUE.

KGB"
Offline heeler  
#14 Posted : Saturday, March 17, 2012 4:29:37 AM(UTC)
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KGB, did you finaly run that wash and how did it come out?? The whole discussion about slime REALLY made an impression on me -- I've luckly never had the pleasure of a slime filled wash so I'm wondering if it turned out drinkable?? OhMyGod
Offline KGB  
#15 Posted : Saturday, March 17, 2012 7:47:54 AM(UTC)
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"
Originally Posted by: heeler Go to Quoted Post
KGB, did you finaly run that wash and how did it come out?? The whole discussion about slime REALLY made an impression on me -- I've luckly never had the pleasure of a slime filled wash so I'm wondering if it turned out drinkable?? OhMyGod


I most assuredly ran it and it turned out to be spectacular! I got a high volume of wine ...... far more than ever expected. During the spirit run I was SHOCKED to get a very high proof spirit in large volume!!! During the entire process, there was NEVER even a *hint* of foul smell nor bad taste. I am nearly certain it was beta glucan directly related to my never having converted in 'steps'. There are other reasons too but totally unrelated to infection. It was clean to the last ounce that was cannibalized from the bottom of the fermenter.

I am about to revisit the same EXACT recipe except I plan to convert in stages.

After all these years I have had but only one *known* infection and that was several months ago when attempting a crazy, grain recipe. The bottom of my fermenter smelled like an infant's feces who is still being fed Enfamil containing iron. It was horrible and it looked like exactly like yellow baby poo. As a side note, it has been nearly 40 years since changing my children's diapers and I have NEVER forgotten that smell. That's a damn infection that anyone can detect.


KGB"
Offline muadib2001  
#16 Posted : Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:35:33 AM(UTC)
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On my first ferment, I used EC-1118 yeast (http://www.brewhausforum.com/showthread.php?t=2100). Ignore the recipe at the top of the thread, scroll down where I said I put it together two days ago. Well, that was 02/21/2012 when I started. 11/2 weeks later, it seemed to have fizzled out, so I threw another packet of EC-1118 into the fermenter. 31/2 OhMyGod weeks later, the SG finally reached 0.990 and I ran it via pot still. 5 weeks total. 21/2 liters averaging 52.4% ABV. At least I did get something.

The night after the run, I figured I would put together another wash. So I tried the All-Bran recipe. I used bakers yeast. Aerated like it said for an hour with an aquarium pump (but no airstone). SG was 1.080
95 degrees (unadjusted). 21/2 days later, SG is ~0.995! No foam cap, yellow color, no activity. Hoo-Ahh! Waiting for it to clear now.

So, I guess my question is: did I do anything wrong on the first batch with the EC-1118? Nutrients were 2 multivitamins and I used a paint stirrer in my drill to mix/areate, but not for an hour.

I guess what I'm saying is, do I need to abandon the EC-1118 if it's going to be as slow as Christmas?

Muadib
Offline muadib2001  
#17 Posted : Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:49:06 PM(UTC)
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Yeah, I bought a pound of that. Haven't opened it yet. Will try that ASAP.

On the other hand, anyone want to take 18 packets of EC-1118 off my hands?

Otherwise, I will use them in "mass quantities" on a batch. An All-Bran batch. Unless I come by some real yeast nutrients.

Muadib
Offline div4gold  
#18 Posted : Thursday, March 29, 2012 1:24:33 PM(UTC)
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It must have something to do with the recipe you are using. I've never had any problems with the 1118 yeast and I've never used more than one of the little packets for a 5 gallon recipe. Most of the time I get the 'S' trap perking within 3-4 minutes.
Offline muadib2001  
#19 Posted : Friday, March 30, 2012 11:42:11 AM(UTC)
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Both ferments did have lemon juice in them. The first one was meticulously measured and the second one I just squirted a goodly amount in the pot.

I do not boil my sugar, but instead just get the 3-4 gallons of water and lemon juice to boiling and then pour that over the sugar. I then hit that with the paint stirrer in the electric drill for several minutes.

http://homedistiller.org/forum/...opic.php?f=15&t=8440

The thread above discusses the inverted sugar and the yellow color you mention. It appears they are making a syrup that, when needed, can be used without boiling. Just thin it down and start your ferment. It's an extra separate step but saves time when you put the ferment together.

Muadib
Offline muadib2001  
#20 Posted : Friday, March 30, 2012 12:29:21 PM(UTC)
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I don't post there either, but you have to glean some information anywhere you can! Wink
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