Author Topic: Is my fermentation stalling?  (Read 1834 times)

Offline darkmorford

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Is my fermentation stalling?
« on: April 13, 2011, 10:41:38 AM »
I just brewed my first batch on Sunday: Midwest Supplies' Raspberry Wheat extract kit with White Labs WLP300 yeast. While the brew process itself went well enough—at least, as far as I can tell being a first-timer—the coolest place I could find in my apartment still hovers around 70–72 degrees, which is a bit warmer than these yeast like, as I understand it. I'm using a 6.5-gallon plastic bucket as a fermenter with a 3-piece airlock.

Now, just three days after brewing, the airlock is bubbling only 2-4 times a second. Is this a sign of a stuck/sticking fermentation? Should I re-pitch?

Offline Bret

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 10:44:30 AM »
Be patient, it sounds like it's doing fine.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 10:53:31 AM »
Yep, for a wheat fermenting that warm the vigorous part of fermentation could be complete (not stalled).  But give it plenty more time to finish up.
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Offline denny

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 11:11:06 AM »
As you say, 72-74 is pretty warm, and fermentation creates more heat.  Your temps could easily be in the upper 70s.  That makes the fermentation go quickly.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 11:47:28 AM »
Do you have a hydrometer?  Check your gravity.  What was your OG?
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Offline euge

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2011, 12:00:23 PM »
I just brewed my first batch on Sunday: Midwest Supplies' Raspberry Wheat extract kit with White Labs WLP300 yeast. While the brew process itself went well enough—at least, as far as I can tell being a first-timer—the coolest place I could find in my apartment still hovers around 70–72 degrees, which is a bit warmer than these yeast like, as I understand it. I'm using a 6.5-gallon plastic bucket as a fermenter with a 3-piece airlock.

Now, just three days after brewing, the airlock is bubbling only 2-4 times a second. Is this a sign of a stuck/sticking fermentation? Should I re-pitch?

Primary attenuative phase is probably already done due to the warm temps. Too late now. Next time place the fermenter in a tub of water and swap frozen water bottles out to keep it cool.

You'll probably see some off flavors if the actual (internal) fermentation temp turns out closer to 80F.
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Offline darkmorford

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 10:24:14 AM »
Thanks for all the opinions, guys. I have one of the stick-on thermometers on my fermenter, and I don't think I've ever seen that go above 75, so hopefully the flavor won't end up too far off.

I'm going to start doing gravity checks today to see if it's anywhere near done. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the gravity before I pitched (rookie mistake, yes, but I am a rookie :P), but the instruction sheet for the recipe kit tells me that the final gravity is supposed to be 1.012–1.017, so at least I have something to compare against.

Offline denny

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 10:26:50 AM »
Thanks for all the opinions, guys. I have one of the stick-on thermometers on my fermenter, and I don't think I've ever seen that go above 75, so hopefully the flavor won't end up too far off.

Just for reference next time, that's about 10F more than what you want it to be usually.

I'm going to start doing gravity checks today to see if it's anywhere near done. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the gravity before I pitched (rookie mistake, yes, but I am a rookie :P), but the instruction sheet for the recipe kit tells me that the final gravity is supposed to be 1.012–1.017, so at least I have something to compare against.

The kit probably also told you what OG to expect.  If you used all the ingredients and got the specified volume, you can use that.  And I wouldn't be too certain that you'll hit the FG they predict.  Maybe so, maybe not...
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Offline darkmorford

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 03:57:27 PM »
The kit probably also told you what OG to expect.  If you used all the ingredients and got the specified volume, you can use that.  And I wouldn't be too certain that you'll hit the FG they predict.  Maybe so, maybe not...

It does; the expected OG for this recipe is 1.042–1.046. I just took a sample, and unless something is wrong with either the hydrometer or my reading of it, the brew is already down to 1.010—already below the expected FG for the stuff, and it's only been four days.

I've got a feeling something's very wrong with this picture, but I don't know where to start looking.

Offline denny

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 04:01:16 PM »
With the low OG and the high temp, it could very well have fermented that fast.  Remember, that unless you've brewed a recipe enough to have repeated experience with it, any FG prediction is just a guess.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 06:11:12 PM »
With the low OG and the high temp, it could very well have fermented that fast.

this
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Offline darkmorford

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2011, 07:19:45 PM »
Well, the gravity hasn't budged since Thursday, and the airlock isn't doing anything at all. I'm going to see if I can't find a couple hours tomorrow to bottle this stuff. Wish me luck!

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2011, 07:28:11 PM »
I'm going to see if I can't find a couple hours tomorrow to bottle this stuff.

Way too soon. Give it another week at least.
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Offline darkmorford

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2011, 10:46:02 PM »
I'm going to see if I can't find a couple hours tomorrow to bottle this stuff.

Way too soon. Give it another week at least.
Not to be a jerk, but why? The gravity isn't getting any lower, the bubbling has stopped completely, and several people now have said that the higher temperature would make the fermentation go faster. Everything points to it being done fermenting, so what's to be gained from letting it sit dormant another week?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Is my fermentation stalling?
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2011, 11:57:08 PM »
It's not dormant, just because the yeast are done fermenting doesn't mean they're done cleaning up after themselves.  You should really taste it and see how it's doing, but absent that, leaving it on the yeast for another week is a good idea.
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