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Old 07-11-2008, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default PSA: Foolproof Stuck-Ferment-Fixer

I get stuck fermentations here and there. It's just in the course of business. Not often, but once in a good while. Doesn't matter how big the starter is, how much I oxygenate the wort, sometimes the yeast will just poop out a little too high. Dumping dry yeast on it never helps. Even making a starter from a liquid culture and dumping it at high krausen has never worked for me.

So couple months back I ended up with a Saison that finished at 1.017...way too high. I tried raising the temp, rousing the cake, nothing. Just by happenstance, I had a Forbidden Fruit cake from a witbier sitting there waiting to be washed and harvested, so I dumped the Saison on that cake. Bam, a couple days later I was at 1.010!

So last weekend I brewed a Southern English Brown with a nice healthy starter of WLP002. It pooped out around 1.020 3 days later. Well, I thought, now's a good time to test out my hypothesis. So I had a batch of a very simple ale that I fermented with S-05 and it was highly attenuative (will one day be a kriek) that was ready to be racked. Last night, I racked it off the cake and racked the SEBA onto it. As expected, this morning, there's a nice little mini-krausen and some airlock activity.

So there's my PSA. You got a stuck fermentation? Just wait until you have a healthy cake (meaning, that beer attenuated fully with it), and dump the stuck beer right on top of it. I'm batting 1.000 so far...and I'll keep updating this thread if I have any future experiences with the technique.

EDIT: I'm not taking credit for this technique, it's nothing new, I just wanted to start a PSA thread for everyone to see. Credit for giving me the idea in the first place goes to ColoradoXJ13!

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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)

Last edited by Evan!; 07-11-2008 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Giving credit where it's due.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:59 PM   #2
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Nice tip! Thanks

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Old 07-11-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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And it's a good excuse to make another quick batch.

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Old 07-11-2008, 02:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
And it's a good excuse to make another quick batch.
WHOOO, you goddamn right.
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:01 PM   #5
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Nice tip. I'm presently dealing with my very first stuck fermentation myself.
Anyone got a nice healthy yeast cake I can dump my imperial pilsener on?

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Old 07-11-2008, 02:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glibbidy View Post
Nice tip. I'm presently dealing with my very first stuck fermentation myself.
Anyone got a nice healthy yeast cake I can dump my imperial pilsener on?
bes' git brewin!
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:14 PM   #7
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do you really get stuck fermentations that often?

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Old 07-11-2008, 02:15 PM   #8
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That's a great technique I've used before as well.

But did you really consider it stuck after only 3 days or did I read that wrong?

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Old 07-11-2008, 02:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone View Post
do you really get stuck fermentations that often?
Not that often, but yeah, here and there, like I said. I'd say 95% of my beers finish fine, but there are just those times when it happens. No rhyme or reason. I use big 2L starters, I oxygenate correctly with pure 02, it's just, sometimes, the yeast says, "ah, screw this, I'm going to sleep".

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsul View Post
That's a great technique I've used before as well

But did you really consider it stuck after only 3 days or did I read that wrong?
You read correctly, sort of. Fermentation pretty much stopped after 3 days. It was going strong, then the krausen dropped, airlock activity subsided, and I took an SG reading. 1.020. Took another one last night (3 days later) and it hadn't changed. The yeast had flocculated into a compact cake (you know, that nice, highly-defined line between the cake and beer), the top of the beer was smooth as glass, and it was done. I've lorded over enough fermentations to know when they've finished, but my SG reading confirmed it.
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
You read correctly, sort of. Fermentation pretty much stopped after 3 days. It was going strong, then the krausen dropped, airlock activity subsided, and I took an SG reading. 1.020. Took another one last night (3 days later) and it hadn't changed. The yeast had flocculated into a compact cake (you know, that nice, highly-defined line between the cake and beer), the top of the beer was smooth as glass, and it was done. I've lorded over enough fermentations to know when they've finished, but my SG reading confirmed it.
Gotcha, thanks for the clarification!
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