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General Category => Extract/Partial Mash Brewing => Topic started by: cliffdawg on January 24, 2011, 09:50:35 pm

Title: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: cliffdawg on January 24, 2011, 09:50:35 pm
Hello Everyone!
First I would like to tell everyone, thank you for being here. I always love getting help for a great and supportive community. I am new to the forum so be gentle, I am not new to brewing though, I have not brewed anything before this current batch in 4 years :-(  I have made 7-8 beers over about 10 years. With almost 100% success. I make all of my beers from kits from my local supply (Maltose Express) and they are always very good with great directions.  
On to my latest kit: it's a dry-hopped IPA, partial boil with a grain component dry malt extract and a liquid malt extract,  and with respects to the creators of the recipe I will not go though the whole recipe, but just give the info pertinent  to my situation.
According to the recipe:
OG:  1.064
FG: 1.016
First off my conclusion to my situation is that I over cooked my grain mixture creating not enough fermentable sugars. That is what I think, but I will let the more experienced people here confirm or deny that for me. The reason for this is because I used a meat thermometer for the steep of the grain... yeah I know very dumb, but I didn't have an instant read or any other thermometer at the time. Again very dumb.  
After this error, I followed the directions to a "t" and I believe followed all sanitary practices properly, adding everything needed to the primary. I pitched my yeast after buying a new thermometer (should have done that to start...) at 70 degrees. All of this was done on December 31.
After about 12 hours I had a very active air lock, it got a little gunked up, but not enough to ruin the lock. It was active for 3-4 days at a house temp of 60-63 degrees.
Following the recipe I waited 7 days and racked the beer to my carboy. Also there is a baggy of dry hops added to the mix.(sanitized) Did I take a gravity reading like an intelligent home brewer? no, very stupid...  It would have been difficult because I insert the hydrometer into the carboy itself and it had a bit of star san foam so a reading would have been tough anyhow.  January  7th
So I live in the north east and we are experiencing a lot of cold weather and needless to say my carboy probably lived for a few days at temps 58-65 from January  7-11 and my gravity did not change at all and there was almost no activity on the airlock. Gravity: 1.045
January 13th FREAKING out, I go out and buy Charlie Papazian's Joy of Home Brewing  which helps me feel good about brewing beer but not better about my situation. Good book though. I also call my local supply shop and he tells me to move my carboy to a warmer spot in my home and to gently agitate the carboy to stir up the yeast.  Which I did. This process creates some activity, and my air lock becomes active again.
January 24th and my wife is ready to kill me because my electric heat has been turned up for a week now at 70 in the bathroom. The gravity is now at 1.037, and I am concerned. Can anyone provide any advice on my situation? Am I screwed? Am I being impatient? The recipe says that this secondary fermentation can take 3 weeks, so maybe I am freaking out a bit. Also the yeast seems very settled and the beer appears very clear. hummmmm....  Any help would be appreciated guys.

Thanks everyone,

Ryan Clifford

::::Note: My Hydrometer is an oldy and its possible it is not accurate, I know that throws a wrench into the mix. its a had me down that I have never used before, because I cannot find mine. Its got a scale that just goes from 1-10 with some hash marks inbetween each number. I dont know what scale it is...
Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: tschmidlin on January 24, 2011, 10:51:00 pm
You need to give us more information . . .

How much LME?  DME?
What were the grains you used and what were the amounts?

Also, what yeast?  Dry or liquid?  Did you make a starter?  Did you check the date?
Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: cliffdawg on January 24, 2011, 10:57:42 pm
I can give you what I can, the recipe is the abreviated one from their newest book and does not have weights or quantities, but they are pro's and their kits turn out well. So I have to assume that the LME and DME were appropriate quantities for brewing. I know that some are more difficult to work with and some take maybe, more time??? I do know that I used Wyeast 1098 with the activator pack Brit ale yeast (it was fresh). Sorry I cannot be more specific, I could call the shop tommorow and find out.

Thank you for your reply,

Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: tschmidlin on January 24, 2011, 11:09:02 pm
I don't doubt the amounts of LME and DME were appropriate, I'm trying to figure out the expected contribution from the grains.  And without knowing the types of grains I can't say if a high temp would really affect anything, that is, whether they actually needed to be mashed or just steeped.  You didn't get an OG, but we have their estimate to go from so that's fine for a recipe that is mostly extract.

Also, for future reference, racking your beer after 7 days without taking a gravity measurement is never a good idea.  :)

I think it is most likely that you racked too soon and it just wasn't finished fermenting, so you left the yeast behind.  Without more information, I would add more yeast to get it to finish.
Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: cliffdawg on January 25, 2011, 12:18:30 am
I thank you for any info you can give me. All of this is very helpful, I will call the shop tomorrow and find out exact amounts of all products. Your last post makes me happy! I can def. see that maybe I don't have enough yeast at 7 days because I racked too early. FYI (There is a 1/2 inch to 3/4 of sediment at the bottom of the carboy.)

 Thank you for the lesson.

Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: tschmidlin on January 25, 2011, 09:10:41 am
Let us know what you find out.

The sediment in the bottom could be lots of things besides yeast, and the early racking and low temps wouldn't help get good attenuation.  It's fixable, RDWHAHB :)
Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: cliffdawg on January 25, 2011, 11:10:02 am
Thanks Tom!
Title: Re: Stuck Fermentation
Post by: cliffdawg on January 29, 2011, 09:40:46 pm
WELL... Went to my brewing supply store today, and bought a new hydrometer and more yeast to pitch. Took my thief and got my sample and my reading was 1.018!!!!!! and the sample tasted amazing!!!! so freakin stoked right now, I decided to celebrate with a beer. Thank you everyone for the help,