View Full Version : Hurricanes, Power, Mead and Beer oh my!

09-04-2012, 01:21 AM
So having survived hurricane Isaac itself my girlfriend and I spent one day in the sweltering heat of its aftermath without any power. Upon hearing that it could be up to 9 days before power was restored to everyone we decided that it was not worth sitting in the dark and sweating ourselves to death while neither she had work nor I had school. So we went to Florida for 3 days. Lucky for us the day before we left our power was back on. Now on to what I saw upon my return and what I suspect occurred while we were gone.

Information that applies to all my questions: I assume the temperature in our house without air was between 85-90 degrees F. And I also assume the humidity was quite high. The air was on when we got back but judging by what it was like before we left I think my assumptions are safe.

All of my questions relate to how good my projects still might be and if there might be any problems.

I'll start with my beer.
Ingredients aside it is a oatmeal wheat beer that started with a big healthy OG of 1.096. It had been in primary for about 3 weeks before the storm and had a temp of roughly 76 degrees using Belgian Strong Ale yeast (high temp. profile). While in primary it was quite active. When we got home I opened it up and it had some floaties on top that i believe were probably yeast colonies or whatever. They didn't look to have any malice to them so I ignored them. I racked to my secondary/bottling bucket and was left with tons and tons of lees. I mean it was really thick. I believe part of this was just unused ruffage from the oats but whatever there were tons of lees... btw this was second generation yeast (that I had washed) I was using. It started up like wild fire too. In any case, any ideas on how you guys think this beer might turn out? It seems fine and I'm going to give it a week or maybe 2 in secondary before bottling but does anyone know of any harm that might have been done to it if the temps and humidity got that high?
BTW: I haven't taken any readings since I got back. I will be doing some readings from secondary before I bottle.

Now to my meads.

My JAO -
It is a normal JAO that was done by the bok except for the spices. I do not like those kinds of spices especially in my brews. Before Isaac hit it was looking like the fruit was about to drop. Well, when we got back some of the fruit HAD dropped but I noticed the damn airlock was almost dry. So it had been sitting almost in open air (obvious exaggeration) for those 3 days. I refilled the airlock and put it back and unlike before it seems to have not risen. As in there is no pressure on the airlock. Does this sound like a concern to anyone? I'm guessing it was already pretty much done and any pressure I saw on the airlock was just slowly dissipating gasses being released. Does that sound right to you? I dunno. That's why I'm asking.

My peach JAOV -
This air lock was not as low as the other but it still had no activity and the middle part was not pushed up. I gave the fruit a few pushes with my plastic spoon and re-did the airlock. This one seems to have resumed activity. Again, could there be any problems?

My traditional Mead (only because I used small amounts of nutrients twice). This is using 1118 btw.
This one was very high gravity and had decent activity for a few days but it never was super active except when I aerated it.. it liked to fizz and foam. When we got back this one actually still had all the water in the airlock and was still kind of active but there are a crap-ton of lees at the bottom. I am thinking about giving it a little bit of a mild stir tomorrow and see if activity resumes a bit more and just to degas and get some of the yeast back into activation. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks for any info guys. It's nice to be back.

Chevette Girl
09-04-2012, 11:02 AM
I'll leave the beer advice to the beermakers...

But your JAO should be fine. If the fruit's sunk and it's clear, it's probably done, I wouldn't expect bubbles at this point anyway, and any bubbling you were getting previously were most likely degassing, not fermentation, and it's possible the pressure changes what with hurricane and all may have jogged the CO2 out of the must. And three days with low water level in the airlock isn't going to hurt a JAO, they're pretty hardy compared to grape wines and melomels. And if the fruit starts floating again, you'll know it was just a pressure thing...

The peach one, I'm not sure how long it'll take. There might have been a decrease in the amount of gas released if there was a significant pressure drop and if it is still fermenting it may take a few days to build up enough pressure in the must to start bubbling again. Alternately, it's possible that your fermentation is finished and that your stirring it didn't renew the fermentation so much as knock more gas out of solution and what you're seeing is degassing.

With your traditional, yeah, I'd give it a stir, it can't hurt anything.

The biggest thing that will ACTUALLY tell you what's going on with your brews though, is checking your SG's and comparing them with either a week ago or next week, and see which ones are still fermenting. Everything I've said is speculation without knowing if your SG's are still changing.

09-04-2012, 09:04 PM
Sounds like the beer was done before the storm, so I don't think anything bad happened. Consider it an extreme diacetyl rest.

Definitely check the SG of that traditional before you decide what needs doing.