Author Topic: Stuck Fermentation  (Read 641 times)

Offline CrateOfRum

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Stuck Fermentation
« on: July 24, 2014, 01:51:09 PM »
Hey this is my first time posting. So I tried my hand at making a high gravity stout doing a partial boil with extract and steeping grains. My OG came to 1.124 and I let it stay in first fermentation for about three weeks. I originally pitched two packets of rehydrated s-04 and had very active fermentation for about a week or two. My question: Is there any harm in racking off a quart from the secondary, heating it up to a boil and re-pitching a pack of s-04 into it, and transferring it all back into the fermentor?

My Recipe:
1 lbs Caram Malt 120 SRM
1 lbs Chocolate Wheat 415 SRM
1 lbs Roasted Barley 300 SRM
12 oz Chocolate Malt 350 SRM
8 oz Caramunich Malt 56 SRM
10 lbs DME Golden Light 4 SRM
2 lbs 8 oz LME Golden Light 4 SRM
8 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose)

1 oz Magnuim [15.5%] 60 min
1 oz Apollo [17%] 45 min
2 oz Sovereign [5.5%] 5 min


OG 1.124
SG when transferred off of trub: 1.062 (after three weeks)

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 01:56:55 PM »
what do you expect that to accomplish? the potential harm is having a quart of nasty boiled beer in your batch for no reason.

Are you using a hydrometer or a refractometer to measure your gravity?

next time don't transfer until the beer is done. big beers in particular can take a while to reach FG and if you remove a big chunk of the yeast it's going to take even longer. You could try pitching a very large very active batch of yeast. Do you have a local brewery that is friendly to homebrewers? if so try to find out if they will give you a pint of fresh slurry and pitch that in. might not work but it might.

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Offline CrateOfRum

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 01:59:47 PM »
I am using a hydrometer. So possibly just adding more yeast slurry? It makes sense that it would be stuck if I racked it over too early and left a large population of yeast behind. I can check with some of the breweries around my town.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 02:01:10 PM »
I think boiling fermented beer and adding it back will give it a weird flavor. Just use some DME if you want to repitch. It's going to be tough to get that going again since you removed the original yeast. Based on the recipe it might be close to done anyway. You did get a lot of fermentation.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 02:02:13 PM »
Are you sure the hydrometer wasn't sitting on the bottom of the cylinder?
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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2014, 02:03:54 PM »
Are you sure the hydrometer wasn't sitting on the bottom of the cylinder?

That was my thought, too.
Jon H.

Offline CrateOfRum

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 02:05:33 PM »
Hydrometer was floating and spun it a little to ensure a proper reading. I guess I can always get a little DME and some more yeast and make a fresh slurry to add to the carboy. It still has a syrup-y sweetness to it and I'm hoping to reach a final gravity of 1.010 - 1.027 Maybe stir it up a little and put in a warm room for a few days?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 02:20:54 PM »
What does it taste like?

Offline erockrph

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 03:41:40 PM »
Hydrometer was floating and spun it a little to ensure a proper reading. I guess I can always get a little DME and some more yeast and make a fresh slurry to add to the carboy. It still has a syrup-y sweetness to it and I'm hoping to reach a final gravity of 1.010 - 1.027 Maybe stir it up a little and put in a warm room for a few days?
There is just no way S-04 is going to get an 1.124 extract barleywine down to 1.010. Even 1.027 isn't guaranteed, to be honest. I'd pitch an active slurry of yeast ASAP.

Racking off the yeast cake didn't help your cause. At homebrew scales autolysis isn't an issue even after a few months. You should never rack a beer to secondary until you've hit your FG.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 04:07:19 PM »
Yeah. You're numbers would be 80-92% attenuation. That's not going to happen. Still, your currently at 50% which is really low and probably does taste sugary. You're best bet would be to let it age a while while you brew another smaller beer with something neutral and attenuative. Then transfer it and pitch a bunch of the yeast slurry into the barleywine.
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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 04:25:27 PM »
Hydrometer was floating and spun it a little to ensure a proper reading. I guess I can always get a little DME and some more yeast and make a fresh slurry to add to the carboy. It still has a syrup-y sweetness to it and I'm hoping to reach a final gravity of 1.010 - 1.027 Maybe stir it up a little and put in a warm room for a few days?
There is just no way S-04 is going to get an 1.124 extract barleywine down to 1.010. Even 1.027 isn't guaranteed, to be honest. I'd pitch an active slurry of yeast ASAP.

Racking off the yeast cake didn't help your cause. At homebrew scales autolysis isn't an issue even after a few months. You should never rack a beer to secondary until you've hit your FG.

Yeah, I wouldn't trust S-04 to get a BW that low ever.  And autolysis in the home brewery has been overstated big time IMO.  The pressure exerted on yeast in a 300 bbl brewery fermenter is a much bigger concern than the pressure on the yeast in my 8 gallon bucket. I think the bigger risk, by far, is the rush to bottle/keg beer that is barely done or not done fermenting and taking away the chance for the yeast to clean up by products that taste like s#*t.

EDIT  - Not saying that beer should stay on yeast forever. It shouldn't . But, at cool temps (<70F)  it can easily stay on yeast without negative results (but positive results) for at least 6 weeks IMO.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 06:02:31 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline CrateOfRum

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 04:41:00 PM »
Well I can always make a quick Oatmeal Stout and use the slurry from that. I was being impatient and trying to hurry along this batch (gotta learn from my mistake I suppose) next time I'll give it like 6-8 weeks in primary.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 04:44:35 PM by CrateOfRum »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 05:19:51 PM »
Well I can always make a quick Oatmeal Stout and use the slurry from that. I was being impatient and trying to hurry along this batch (gotta learn from my mistake I suppose) next time I'll give it like 6-8 weeks in primary.

Bingo. For big beers, low & slow is the way to go. I guarantee you will like the results much better.
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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2014, 05:20:33 PM »
Well I can always make a quick Oatmeal Stout and use the slurry from that. I was being impatient and trying to hurry along this batch (gotta learn from my mistake I suppose) next time I'll give it like 6-8 weeks in primary.

I'll tell you what I do with Barleywine - by no means is it 'the rules of BW'.  I don't even check for FG (as a rule) for 3 weeks. When I verify final gravity - no change in SG every other day for 3 checks - I give it 2 more weeks, to give the yeast time to clean up its off flavors. Never once have I experienced sub par beer doing this. BUT, I for sure have experienced the problems associated with racking/packaging too soon.
Jon H.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Stuck Fermentation
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2014, 06:34:22 PM »
Well I can always make a quick Oatmeal Stout and use the slurry from that. I was being impatient and trying to hurry along this batch (gotta learn from my mistake I suppose) next time I'll give it like 6-8 weeks in primary.
That would work. Then you'd have plenty of yeast cells to go to work.
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