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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: waltsmalt on April 23, 2017, 02:42:56 AM

Title: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 23, 2017, 02:42:56 AM
I brewed Denny's Batch 400 from Homebrew All-Stars a few weeks back.  Followed the fermentation schedule of 63 for five days, and then 70 till finish.  The beer then stalled out at about 1.029 vs. calculated 1.009.  I used Wyeast 3787 from a stepped starter.  Used what I thought was plenty of oxygen.  After a few weeks, I moved it up to 80, hoping to get it to ferment further. 

Anything I could have done better to get this to ferment out?  It tastes good, but a little sweeter than I would like. 
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 23, 2017, 02:49:21 AM
I brewed Denny's Batch 400 from Homebrew All-Stars a few weeks back.  Followed the fermentation schedule of 63 for five days, and then 70 till finish.  The beer then stalled out at about 1.029 vs. calculated 1.009.  I used Wyeast 3787 from a stepped starter.  Used what I thought was plenty of oxygen.  After a few weeks, I moved it up to 80, hoping to get it to ferment further. 

Anything I could have done better to get this to ferment out?  It tastes good, but a little sweeter than I would like.

What was the mashing schedule like?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 23, 2017, 03:12:15 AM
90 mins at 147
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 23, 2017, 03:18:00 AM
90 mins at 147

Maybe you fermented too cold? I've personally never started 3787 lower than 65 fa
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: majorvices on April 23, 2017, 03:36:04 AM
90 mins at 147

Maybe you fermented too cold? I've personally never started 3787 lower than 65 fa

I ferment that strain at 64 all the time no problems.

Did you use any sugar/candi syrups? I don't know the recipe so hard to trouble shoot without more info.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 23, 2017, 02:14:08 PM
I use 3787 @ 64F too, for a few days then ramp. Works well for me.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 23, 2017, 03:47:00 PM
90 mins at 147

Maybe you fermented too cold? I've personally never started 3787 lower than 65 fa

But I have and gotten great attenuation.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 23, 2017, 03:47:39 PM
90 mins at 147

Maybe you fermented too cold? I've personally never started 3787 lower than 65 fa

I ferment that strain at 64 all the time no problems.

Did you use any sugar/candi syrups? I don't know the recipe so hard to trouble shoot without more info.

The recipe calls for both sugar and D180.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 23, 2017, 05:00:44 PM
90 mins at 147

Maybe you fermented too cold? I've personally never started 3787 lower than 65 fa

But I have and gotten great attenuation.

Just trying to help the OP troubleshoot. His mash profile and all the rest points toward a very fermentable beer so I'm just trying to suss out why he would have gotten such poor attenuation.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 23, 2017, 05:19:43 PM
Just trying to help the OP troubleshoot. His mash profile and all the rest points toward a very fermentable beer so I'm just trying to suss out why he would have gotten such poor attenuation.

I don't know either, but if he followed my recipe and process we can at least eliminate those as variables.  Maybe thermometer miscalibration?  Poor yeast health?  Have no specific reason to suspect either...kinda thinking out loud.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 23, 2017, 06:59:33 PM
Just trying to help the OP troubleshoot. His mash profile and all the rest points toward a very fermentable beer so I'm just trying to suss out why he would have gotten such poor attenuation.

I don't know either, but if he followed my recipe and process we can at least eliminate those as variables.  Maybe thermometer miscalibration?  Poor yeast health?  Have no specific reason to suspect either...kinda thinking out loud.

The syrup alone would mean you'd have to really try to not get full attenuation.

To the OP: how was your starter? What are your Yeast management methods in general?

Thermometer was calibrated?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 23, 2017, 07:45:12 PM
Just trying to help the OP troubleshoot. His mash profile and all the rest points toward a very fermentable beer so I'm just trying to suss out why he would have gotten such poor attenuation.

I don't know either, but if he followed my recipe and process we can at least eliminate those as variables.  Maybe thermometer miscalibration?  Poor yeast health?  Have no specific reason to suspect either...kinda thinking out loud.

The syrup alone would mean you'd have to really try to not get full attenuation.

To the OP: how was your starter? What are your Yeast management methods in general?

Thermometer was calibrated?

FYI, here's the recipe....http://www.candisyrup.com/uploads/6/0/3/5/6035776/dennys_400th_-_variation_002x.pdf
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 23, 2017, 07:50:08 PM
Just trying to help the OP troubleshoot. His mash profile and all the rest points toward a very fermentable beer so I'm just trying to suss out why he would have gotten such poor attenuation.

I don't know either, but if he followed my recipe and process we can at least eliminate those as variables.  Maybe thermometer miscalibration?  Poor yeast health?  Have no specific reason to suspect either...kinda thinking out loud.

The syrup alone would mean you'd have to really try to not get full attenuation.

To the OP: how was your starter? What are your Yeast management methods in general?

Thermometer was calibrated?

FYI, here's the recipe....http://www.candisyrup.com/uploads/6/0/3/5/6035776/dennys_400th_-_variation_002x.pdf

I know it well. Not as well as you but I know it.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 24, 2017, 01:21:20 AM
My yeast was from a starter that I started with two packs of 3787 and 3 quarts of starter wort.  Then I crashed, decanted, and added three more quarts of wort.  Based on standard calculations I should have had pitched enough yeast. 

I'm wondering if it could be anything with my fermenter?  Ferment in a sanke keg with a corny lid that is welded in.  I vent CO2 through the out post into a jar of sanitizer.  It seems to release pressure just fine as it bubbles vigorously through the first phase.  I often wondered if it's not enough thoough, and creating back pressure?  Probably not, as many people ferment in corny kegs just fine.  I

Sort of at a loss here.  Going to chalk it up to yeast health in some fashion, keg it, and move on to the next batch.  It does taste very good, just a little too sweet.

Any other thoughts would be helpful.  Is it worth trying to pitch more yeast?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 24, 2017, 10:55:07 AM
My yeast was from a starter that I started with two packs of 3787 and 3 quarts of starter wort.  Then I crashed, decanted, and added three more quarts of wort.  Based on standard calculations I should have had pitched enough yeast. 

I'm wondering if it could be anything with my fermenter?  Ferment in a sanke keg with a corny lid that is welded in.  I vent CO2 through the out post into a jar of sanitizer.  It seems to release pressure just fine as it bubbles vigorously through the first phase.  I often wondered if it's not enough thoough, and creating back pressure?  Probably not, as many people ferment in corny kegs just fine.  I

Sort of at a loss here.  Going to chalk it up to yeast health in some fashion, keg it, and move on to the next batch.  It does taste very good, just a little too sweet.

Any other thoughts would be helpful.  Is it worth trying to pitch more yeast?

Have you calibrated your thermometer recently? What style is it?

As Denny said above, the usual suspects don't seek to be panning out, assuming you followed his recipe to a T.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: majorvices on April 24, 2017, 11:25:32 AM
I had a Belgian Dark strong I brewed last year that inexplicably failed to attenuate fully. No matter what I tried, it stalled. It is a beer I have brewed man, many times and I just could not explain. Searching for an explanation I began wondering if it didn't have something to do with the batch of Dark Candi syrup. Since this is a "waste product" from the candi industry in Belgium (or, at least that is what it says in BLAM) could it have been a batch of candi syrup that was dextrinous? I never could come up with an answer. the yeast health was over 90% viable going in and fermentation seemed strong then just stalled. I re-pitched entire conical cone fulls of both Belgian and American Ale yeasts and never could get it to budge another point.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 24, 2017, 11:45:46 AM
I had a Belgian Dark strong I brewed last year that inexplicably failed to attenuate fully. No matter what I tried, it stalled. It is a beer I have brewed man, many times and I just could not explain. Searching for an explanation I began wondering if it didn't have something to do with the batch of Dark Candi syrup. Since this is a "waste product" from the candi industry in Belgium (or, at least that is what it says in BLAM) could it have been a batch of candi syrup that was dextrinous? I never could come up with an answer. the yeast health was over 90% viable going in and fermentation seemed strong then just stalled. I re-pitched entire conical cone fulls of both Belgian and American Ale yeasts and never could get it to budge another point.

If you believe CSI's marketing blurbs, they are making a syrup that is completely different than the big Belgian candy companies.

I've never really considered this though. I have brewed with syrup many times and while I've never had this issue, I don't consider it outside the realm of possibility. These days I'm looking to explore some different recipes for monastic ales using my favorite brewing methods...
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 24, 2017, 03:42:38 PM
I had a Belgian Dark strong I brewed last year that inexplicably failed to attenuate fully. No matter what I tried, it stalled. It is a beer I have brewed man, many times and I just could not explain. Searching for an explanation I began wondering if it didn't have something to do with the batch of Dark Candi syrup. Since this is a "waste product" from the candi industry in Belgium (or, at least that is what it says in BLAM) could it have been a batch of candi syrup that was dextrinous? I never could come up with an answer. the yeast health was over 90% viable going in and fermentation seemed strong then just stalled. I re-pitched entire conical cone fulls of both Belgian and American Ale yeasts and never could get it to budge another point.

If you believe CSI's marketing blurbs, they are making a syrup that is completely different than the big Belgian candy companies.

I've never really considered this though. I have brewed with syrup many times and while I've never had this issue, I don't consider it outside the realm of possibility. These days I'm looking to explore some different recipes for monastic ales using my favorite brewing methods...

I think Keith was referring to the other syrup company, Dark Candi.  But I still have a hard time believing it was the syrup.

I'm wondering if it was the pressure in the fermenter that was causing the problem for the OP.  We've found that the Dupont saison strain needs to be open fermented to obtain a decent FG.  Maybe 3787 has some of the same characteristics?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 24, 2017, 04:27:25 PM
I've never had this happen with syrups (or 3787 for that matter). Doesn't mean it's impossible, I guess. Normally you'd point to yeast viability/quantity or aeration. I give.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 24, 2017, 04:31:42 PM
I've never had this happen with syrups (or 3787 for that matter). Doesn't mean it's impossible, I guess. Normally you'd point to yeast viability/quantity or aeration. I give.

How many of us ferment in a pretty much sealed environment, though?  Although I my be imagining it to be more sealed than it is.  But given that even an airlock can affect the performance of 3726, I have to wonder if that's at play here.  I guess the OP could kinda "open up " his fermenter to see what happens.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 24, 2017, 04:36:08 PM
I've had 3787 stall.  Recently.  Time and temp got it going again, but it took a good week at higher temps (78 or so) to get any noticeable activity.

My fermenter is not sealed beyond a typical airlock, though.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Big Monk on April 24, 2017, 04:42:27 PM
I've never had this happen with syrups (or 3787 for that matter). Doesn't mean it's impossible, I guess. Normally you'd point to yeast viability/quantity or aeration. I give.

How many of us ferment in a pretty much sealed environment, though?  Although I my be imagining it to be more sealed than it is.  But given that even an airlock can affect the performance of 3726, I have to wonder if that's at play here.  I guess the OP could kinda "open up " his fermenter to see what happens.

Interestingly enough, if you read through the Westmalle section in BLAM, it states:

"Westmalle converted to closed fermentation 20 years ago." (2005 - 20 = 1985)

While not explicitly stated, the assumption is they were practitioners of open fermentation prior.

Also:

"They (fermentation tanks) are horizontal shaped, so the pressure column is very wide."

The assumption being they use long, wide horizontal closed tanks to minimize pressure and mimic the characteristics of open fermentation.

Don't know how that factors in ultimately.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 24, 2017, 04:50:09 PM
I've never had this happen with syrups (or 3787 for that matter). Doesn't mean it's impossible, I guess. Normally you'd point to yeast viability/quantity or aeration. I give.

How many of us ferment in a pretty much sealed environment, though?  Although I my be imagining it to be more sealed than it is.  But given that even an airlock can affect the performance of 3726, I have to wonder if that's at play here.  I guess the OP could kinda "open up " his fermenter to see what happens.


I don't disagree, Denny. With all the variety in temp control (and controllers), who's to say we might not be a degree or so off of each other. Maybe that's all it takes with some strains. As for syrups, I've used them with several different strains and haven't stalled. Maybe one batch of syrup wasn't as fermentable for whatever reason.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: narcout on April 24, 2017, 07:29:14 PM
My yeast was from a starter that I started with two packs of 3787 and 3 quarts of starter wort.  Then I crashed, decanted, and added three more quarts of wort.  Based on standard calculations I should have had pitched enough yeast.

Maximum cell density is around 200 billion cells per liter.  Once you hit that, you aren't going to get any more growth. 

So pitching slurry from a 3 liter starter into a second 3 liter starter is only going to net you more cells to the extent you didn't hit the maximum density in the first starter. 

I'm not saying that's your issue, just pointing it out for future reference.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: majorvices on April 25, 2017, 12:02:36 AM
If it wasn't the syrup I have no idea what it was. I can ferment a 60 bbl conical at 64 degrees on a beer 1.090 with this strain no problem, with full attenuation. And like I said no other pitch of yeast would touch it even a point. Even an active fermenting slurry would not lower it any. Who knows what it was, except disappointing....
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 25, 2017, 01:55:08 AM
Thanks for alll the responses.  Definitely gives me some things to think about with this batch and future ones as well. 

So I'll try to answer all the questions in some of the posts above. 

1. I'm using an STC-1000 to control fermentation temps and while I'm not as crazy about it as I thought I would, I think it's pretty stable.  Honestly, I have not calibrated it yet.  I'm definitely going to before the next batch.  Just assumed it was OK out of the box.  As for mash temps, I'm using a PID that I checked when I first put an electric HERMS system in place last fall and that was just 8 batches ago.  I'm fairly confident in that as of now.

2.  I'm beginning to question the back pressure angle as well.  I've been thinking about taking an extra corny lid and drilling a hole for a stopper to use with this.  Before transferring I could just change out lids.  If this happens on another batch, I'm going to try this.

3.  The yeast part I hadn't thought about.  Helpful to consider for future batches. 

Question:  If I open up the fermenter up at this point to try and get it restarted am I risking anything?  Traveling this week for work, so I won't transfer before the weekend so I'm tempted to leave it at 80 (where it's been the last week), then crash when I return home on Friday and keg on Saturday.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: chumley on April 25, 2017, 03:22:21 AM
My two cents......brewing with Belgian (or German wheat) yeasts has a more significant chance of things going south than brewing with lager or ale yeasts, for no reason at all.  For reasons that cannot be determined or readily ascertained. 

Just my two cents.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 25, 2017, 03:17:31 PM
Question:  If I open up the fermenter up at this point to try and get it restarted am I risking anything?  Traveling this week for work, so I won't transfer before the weekend so I'm tempted to leave it at 80 (where it's been the last week), then crash when I return home on Friday and keg on Saturday.  Thoughts?

I guess that depends on how you plan to get it restarted.  For my stalled batch all it took was a week in a hot water bath.  I had also prepared an active starter to pitch, but turned out not needing it.

One thing you can try (and should) is to pull a hydrometer sample of the beer and do a fast fermentation test.  You can pitch a packet of bread yeast into it or, if you prefer, pitch the same yeast your using but pitch a bunch.  Give it a day or so and see if it ferments out at all.  That's the best way to know if you're stalled or finished.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 25, 2017, 04:33:54 PM
Question:  If I open up the fermenter up at this point to try and get it restarted am I risking anything?  Traveling this week for work, so I won't transfer before the weekend so I'm tempted to leave it at 80 (where it's been the last week), then crash when I return home on Friday and keg on Saturday.  Thoughts?

For fermenting buckets "open" means putting some foil loosely over the top of the bucket to keep stuff from falling in.  Can you replicate that in some fashion?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 25, 2017, 04:37:39 PM
I assumed he was opening to add something.  But maybe opening and leaving it is what he meant...

If I opened it and left it, I'd do what Denny suggests but I'd also try to warm it.  I don't think opening it will do enough on it's own.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 25, 2017, 05:07:45 PM
I assumed he was opening to add something.  But maybe opening and leaving it is what he meant...

If I opened it and left it, I'd do what Denny suggests but I'd also try to warm it.  I don't think opening it will do enough on it's own.

Agreed.  At this point I'd do both.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 25, 2017, 06:56:18 PM
It's at 80 right now, should I go any warmer than that?  What's is th ceiling that you would go on this yeast?

  I can pull the corny lid and replace with foil if I'm going the path of the open ferment.  I've always wondered if at some point the chest freezer I ferment in would have pressure as well (probably not enough CO2 produced to create pressure within).

I think I will try the fast fermentation test.  We have plenty of bread yeast around.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 25, 2017, 06:57:19 PM
It's at 80 right now, should I go any warmer than that?  What's is th ceiling that you would go on this yeast?

  I can pull the corny lid and replace with foil if I'm going the path of the open ferment.  I've always wondered if at some point the chest freezer I ferment in would have pressure as well (probably not enough CO2 produced to create pressure within).

I think I will try the fast fermentation test.  We have plenty of bread yeast around.

Nope, 80 is absolutely the highest I'd go.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 25, 2017, 07:12:22 PM
Nope, 80 is absolutely the highest I'd go.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 25, 2017, 10:06:56 PM
How much instant bread yeast I should use with sample pulled from the fermenter if I'm attempting a fast fermentation test?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 26, 2017, 12:17:07 AM
I used a whole packet when I did it.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: denny on April 26, 2017, 02:38:50 PM
How much instant bread yeast I should use with sample pulled from the fermenter if I'm attempting a fast fermentation test?

A lot.  Exact amount doesn't matter.  You're simply testing the limit of attenuation.
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 29, 2017, 07:31:57 PM
Well...did a force fermentation and the gravity didn't move.  So I'm going to drop the temp and keg it.  I think it will still be a drinkable beer, just not exactly what I wanted.  Thanks for everyone's suggestions. 
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 29, 2017, 07:40:54 PM
Are you using a hydrometer or a refractometer to measure?
Title: Re: Belgian Dark Strong / Quad Stalling?
Post by: waltsmalt on April 30, 2017, 03:25:28 AM
Using both.  Checked first with refractometer, and then used a hydrometer.  I have been using on batches lately and I'm finding the adjustment calculators for the refractometer to be pretty close.  I also recently calibrated my refractometer with distilled water.