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Old 04-12-2011, 05:45 AM   #1
ejbru
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Default Stuck fermentation involving brett

Here is my problem, early in Feb. I brewed a beer and pitched Wyeast Belgian Saison (3724) along with a pack of Brett B. After about a week I started doing a couple tests, it had gone from 1.052 to about 1.041 and had stopped there. I then racked to a secondary and left it alone for a little over a month only to test it and see it still sitting at 1.041.

So at that point I figured the sacch. strain had overrun the brett, the brett flocced out and when I racked I left it behind. To fix this problem I pitched a vial of Brett C. I had laying around, sealed it up and walked away.

Another month goes by and I give it another test, still sitting right at 1.041 and that brings me to the twist. Shortly after I pitched the vial of C. I discovered that the thermometer I had used to set mash temp was reading 16 degrees high at freezing, and about 10 high at boiling.

I had set mash temp at about 155 for this beer, so worst case I actually mashed at 139, best case 145, it was probably somewhere in between the two. Currently the beer has no dregs in it and my next planned move was to pitch some J.P. dregs.

My question is, should I continue to attempt to finish this one out, or am I just wasting good dregs and fermentation space.

Also, this was my recipe, I usually hit about 72% (and did for this wort) and brew 5 gallons. Thoughts?

8 lb belgian pils
2 lb wheat
1 lb caravienne

.5 oz perle at 60 minutes
.5 saaz added intermittently starting at 15 minutes with about .2 oz added at flameout



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Old 04-12-2011, 06:06 AM   #2
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Well you didn't help yourself by going to secondary after only a week. But, that low of fermentation temps mean you have some serious unfermentables going on. There are two paths I can see and you hit both of them in your post, to pitch the funk or not. Given the unknowns due to the thermometer I personally would dump the batch and save the awesome dregs for something else. That being said, I would also defer to someone with more knowledge in brewing with bugs than I have if they think it can be salvaged with some pedio/lacto/brett combo.



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Old 04-12-2011, 06:44 AM   #3
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I should have mentioned, my intent was to let the Sacch yeast stick as it is known to (I was hoping it would go a bit further) and then use the brett to finish it. My vision was to try and get some of the sacch profile but also get a notable funk. Therefore the plan was to let it stick and then get it away from as much of the sacch yeast as possible to let the brett take over. Looking back, to get the desired effect I should have waited until racking to pitch the brett.

This brings me to my next question, was I over thinking my pitch strategy as a whole?

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Old 04-14-2011, 11:14 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are going for something like an Orval. For that you would want to let the sacc finish the beer and then pitch the brett. The trick being that you either mash at a higher heat to leave behind something for the brett to chew on or to use crystal malt, which your caravienna would have done just fine for the roll.

However, if your thermometer is 16 degrees off that means you mashed right on the range of denaturing the amylase which is a likely culprit as to why your attenuation sucked. Looking at lambic schedules presented in Wild Brews its kind of hard to decipher if what they are doing at Cantillon would result in residual starches or how much...I say that because you are likely dealing with a lot of starches left over, those starches are what things like pedio are going to eat so if you want to try to push this into something like a lambic you might consider tossing the JP dregs and see if they have what it takes to start finishing off the beer. I'd be interested to see what Oldsock or someone with good experience in this realm would have to say though.

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Old 05-05-2011, 06:08 AM   #5
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Quick update, rather than actually being decisive and picking a course of action I have continued to just stare at the carboy and say nice things to the yeast. It would appear that this has worked because about a week ago I started to see some action again, and today I tested it and it has dropped to about 1.030. This is enough for me to give it some more time, and at this point if it does stick again I will pitch dregs. Crisis averted.

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Old 05-05-2011, 12:54 PM   #6
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From what I've read here on the forums, Wyeast 3724 requires fairly high temps to attenuate properly, as in 80*F or above. Fortunately, the posts that I've read also indicate that it's pretty easy to fix a stuck fermentation with 3724 simply by raising the temperature of the fermenting beer slowly until the gravity starts to fall again.

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Old 05-05-2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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Yeah, I had never intended that yeast to finish it, I wanted to get some of that character (and did, I can taste it already) but I wanted the Brett to have plenty of sugars to funk it up. The problem is, it has taken the brett several months to do anything at all.



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