Author Topic: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)  (Read 1406 times)

Offline jweiss206

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1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« on: February 08, 2017, 08:31:48 PM »
I have an 8 gallon batch of 1.072 porter split into 2 four gallon batches for primary fermentation that I brewed on 1/21. I pitched one entire rehydrated pack of Danstar Windsor dry yeast into each fermenter at 68 degrees. Curiously both batches have been stuck at 1.040 for over 10 days. I've attempted to rouse both the yeast and temperature to no avail. I've read that this yeast is a poor attenuator, but not this poor. Oh what to do? This is intended to be transferred into a hungry whiskey barrel that I'm also having to nurture to ensure that it doesn't dry out as it's been empty for going on eight weeks. Should I make a small starter and repitch? Worst case I could toss in some Brett C but I don't really want to leave this in the barrel for the requisite 12 months. Thanks for any advice. First time I've ever encountered this.

Jason
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 08:52:34 PM by jweiss206 »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 1st stuck sparge in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 08:41:03 PM »
Roughly 43% attenuation isn't great obviously. With both fermenters stuck at 1.040, it seems to point to a process or grist issue. Are your thermometer and hydrometer both calibrated and reliable? You could be mashing higher or lower than you thought. Did your FG readings come from a refractometer or hydrometer? Using a refractometer to read FG is inaccurate unless you use a correction factor to account for the abv present. No big change in grist? Do you control pH?
Jon H.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2017, 08:43:30 PM »
*You meant to say "stuck fermentation", not "stuck sparge".

1.040 is pretty bad, even for Windsor.  I got 62% attenuation on my last batch, which would have gotten your beer down to around 1.028-1.030 at least.

How are you measuring final gravity?  If using refractometer, DON'T.  You need to use a hydrometer instead.  If using a hydrometer, ensure it's calibrated by measuring plain water at 60 F to ensure it reads 1.000, and if not, then adjust all other readings.

What was your mash temperature (if mashed)?

What was your malt bill?

In any case, I think if you add Nottingham or US-05 or something like that, fermentation will take off again and you'll get closer to what you wanted.  Try that before anything else.
Dave

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Offline goschman

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Re: 1st stuck sparge in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2017, 08:52:32 PM »
When I have had attenuation issues it was normally because of my recipe construction.
On Tap/Bottled: Amber Rye, Hazeless Daze IPA, Gringo Mexican Lager, G Pils, Doppelbraun                

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Offline jweiss206

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2017, 09:26:16 PM »
Here's my grain bill. It's a 6 gallon batch split into 2 with 1 gallon of top off water added to each. OG before split was 1.100 and after top off was 1.072. Oxygenated both after top off. I use a properly calibrated hydrometer. I mashed for 80 minutes at 152. I have ph strips but didn't use them in this case. Never had a problem before. (incidentally I've never had a stuck sparge either) - Thanks again for all advice.

11.5 lb    Maris Otter Pale (UK)   
3.0 lb    Dry Malt Extract - Dark   
2.0 lb    Brown Malt (UK)   
2.0 lb    Munich (DE)   
1.5 lb    Chocolate (UK)   
1.0 lb    Coffee Malt (UK)   
1.0 lb    Pale Chocolate (UK)   
1.0 lb    Caramel/Crystal 60L (US)

Offline brewinhard

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2017, 09:29:34 PM »
That seems like a quite a bit of unfermentable grains in that recipe for a 6 gallon batch.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 09:52:13 PM »
That seems like a quite a bit of unfermentable grains in that recipe for a 6 gallon batch.

Yep.  The following is nearly 50% unfermentable (at least by Windsor if not other yeasts):

3.0 lb    Dry Malt Extract - Dark   
Dave

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 10:17:11 PM »
That seems like a quite a bit of unfermentable grains in that recipe for a 6 gallon batch.

Yep.  The following is nearly 50% unfermentable (at least by Windsor if not other yeasts):

3.0 lb    Dry Malt Extract - Dark   



My thoughts, too. It may be done.
Jon H.

Offline kramerog

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2017, 10:20:45 PM »
Time to pitch some Nottingham.

Offline jweiss206

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2017, 10:35:58 PM »
That seems like a quite a bit of unfermentable grains in that recipe for a 6 gallon batch.

Yep.  The following is nearly 50% unfermentable (at least by Windsor if not other yeasts):

3.0 lb    Dry Malt Extract - Dark

Yep, I forgot that extract isn't as fermentable as base grain (I rarely use it these days). I considered it and the Maris to combine for 63% of the bill which sounded reasonable enough at the time. I also based the bill on an 8 gallon batch even though I only brewed 6. I guess I'll toss in some Nottingham and see how it goes otherwise it'll get a healthy dose of Brett C. This will be my third batch through the barrel, so I planned on converting it to a wild barrel after this anyways. Thanks for sharing all of the opinions.

My system pretty much maxes out at six gallons, so having to account for the barrel needing eight has been an interesting recipe building experience. For the previous two batches I just brewed two four and 1/2 gallon batches back to back using the same recipe. Guess I should have done that for the third. Pesky shortcuts.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2017, 07:40:59 PM »
I don't think tossing in more yeast at this point will change your FG.

As stated above, your best bet would be to pull a small sample of the beer and put it in a flask with some yeast (your Nottingham) for instance and see if you can get it to ferment out any more (A fast ferment test  - FFT).
If you see a change in gravity, then you will know if adding more yeast will make a difference.

My guess is no. But I am not your beer. Good luck and let us know how it works out. Cheers!  8)

Offline jweiss206

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 03:39:20 AM »

My guess is no. But I am not your beer. Good luck and let us know how it works out. Cheers!  8)

I ended up repitching a packet of rehydrated Nottingham into each fermenter. After a few days the gravity hadn't changed. I chose to just transfer the beer to the rye barrel as is and hope for the best, worst case being I throw in some Brett C and let it sit for a year. I just pulled a sample after five weeks to get an update on the gravity. I'm assuming due to the rousing of the yeast during the transfer, the gravity is now at 1.020 at 53 degrees  ;D. Just needed a lot more time I guess. The whiskey flavor is also already quite noticeable. I'm surprised how much in fact as this is the third beer to go through it, the other two having aged in it already for a total of 14 months.

Thanks for all the advice guys. All's well that ends well.


Offline SWSommer

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 07:17:56 PM »
It must be in the air, since i had my first stuck batch recently as well.  I was using Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity) for a Belgian Dubbel and found it sulking at 1.030 for a week or more.  I used two smack packs and made a starter, let it ferment for 24 hours, but probably should have let it go for an additional day.  The yeast was pretty darn active, since it blew off my fermenter lid within 18 hours.  I learned my lesson to use a blow-off tube for the first few days of fermentation, at least.

It ended up reviving as I raised the temperature closer to its maximum fermentation temp of 78F.  It had been fermenting at 68F.  After it "kick-started" again, I slowly let the temp come back to about 70F.  The resulting beer is fantastic.  I think I got lucky.

I have read that Wyeast 3787 is famous for getting "stuck" and that the best course of action for high gravity beers is to do an incremental addition of corn syrup or candi sugar during the fermentation.  The next time I make this recipe I will hold off adding the simple sugars until fermentation is well developed, and then pitch 1/3 of the sugar each day for 3 days.  I think letting the primary go for at least 2 weeks would be enough time to sufficiently ferment the malt and simple sugars and give the yeast enough "clean up" time before racking to secondary for 2 weeks.
Scott S.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 07:48:48 PM »
Wyeast 3787 is indeed an extremely fussy yeast.  I've gotten it to perform okay if I start cool in the mid 60s F then raise to mid-70s F after the first week or so and keep it high until it's done.  Swirling the fermenter every day might also help a bit.  But it can definitely be a pain to deal with, and requires patience.  It takes off fast in the beginning, but it's those last 10 or 15 gravity points that take like a whole month for it to burn off.
Dave

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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: 1st stuck fermentation in 5 years (Windsor yeast)
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 07:55:59 PM »
I had 3787 stick recently at 1.040. Raised the temp an it was good to go and finished out nicely. Rather than go with incremental sugar feedings I would recommend  raising the temp after the first few days.


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