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hsmith80 10-10-2012 05:20 PM

Stalled brew. Help!
Okay so I'm new to this, and after acquiring some further information thanks to unionrdr, it appears I may have stalled my own brew. Rather than taking hydrometer readings on a White House honey porter, I simply followed the directions Northern Brewer gave me, waited 2 weeks, and racked to secondary. I then took a reading. If I read the hydrometer right, the brew is at 1.025. Well off the mark. Now I'm wondering if/how I can add yeast and/or anything else to raise my ABV/finish the brewing process?

Bensiff 10-10-2012 05:38 PM

Nope, its a White House recipe, just like the stalled economy, the ferment won't go anywhere :). Just teasing. So, I'm assuming the OG probably isn't very high...maybe in the 1.050's so you only got something like 50% attenuation in 2 weeks which indicates some severe issues with the yeast, temperature and/or yeast health. You might be able to get more yeast, make a starter, and then pitch it at high krausen and get the gravity to push lower, if you do this, also push the temperature on the beer into the lower 70's to really encourage fermentation.

hsmith80 10-10-2012 05:49 PM

Hahahaha true. Yeah I think I may end up having to do that. And you're spot in with the o.g. Btw. All of that sounds good, and I vaguely know what it all means, but once again I'm pretty new to this lol. So could you possibly send me more in depth instructions/explain what you said in very novice terms haha

hsmith80 10-10-2012 06:11 PM

Mainly I don't know what the optimal yeast for this type of thing would be, and should I just follow whatever instructions for a yeast starter I can find online? And what do you mean by high krausen?

Bensiff 10-10-2012 07:45 PM

Alrighty, first thing I would suggest is start reading. Palmer's How to Brew is available free online if you look for it...its an older version so the information is a little dated, but plenty to get you going. Then do a search here and find some threads to lead you to some other good books.

Next, get rid of the notion of a secondary, save for a few specific areas they are pretty much pointless in home brewing. Let the beer ferment and finish in the primary and then go to bottle. If everything goes right you should hit you finished gravity in under 7 days. After that I leave it on the yeast for a minimum of 10 days but usually longer to clean up fermentation byproducts...once you remove it from the yeast this cannot be done and is the cause of many people's off flavors, along with moving the beer too much and running into oxygen related issues.

Now, optimal yeast for your situation, I would go with your basic Wyeast 1056, White Labs Cal Ale 001, Safale US-05 (all the same). Why this strain? It is robust and has a clean flavor profile so its impact to the final product will be minimal.

As far as a yeast starter, look up Mr. Malty and read up on JZ's yeast starter, that is a good primer. It does a couple of things, makes sure the yeast is viable, multiplies cell count, and gets their health up so you get the best possible fermentation.

Krausen is the foamy head on top of the beer during fermentation. High krausen is simply referring to when that reaches its peak and means the yeast are actively tearing into the sugars which is exactly the state you want them in if they are to hit the beer running (which they need to be if you are going to get a stuck ferment going). Obviously, you can't know when the krausen is at its absolute peak, so I would just wait until you have a good 1" head and call it good.

Here is what I would do if all I had to work with is basic home stuff...start by warming up the beer if you can. Steal your wife's heating pad and put it to good use. Go to your LHBS and pickup some yeast nutrient, light dry malt extract, and a pack or two of US-05 (in this instance you want to over pitch). Go home and make a 500-750 ml starter solution of 1.035 (roughly 10 grams of DME for every 100 ml of water) with some yeast nutrient added. Cool it to room temp, pour into a sanitized (don't use bleach us something like starsan) ball canning jar, and add the yeast (make sure to rehydrate). Loosely fit the lid on so that it can breath and then regularly agitate it until the krausen looking solid and then swirl it up and pitch it into the porter and cross your fingers that it will get going to finish it off.

kegerators 10-10-2012 08:01 PM

Read Yeast, By Chris W. and Jamil Z. too.

hsmith80 10-11-2012 12:18 AM

Wow. You're like a homebrew god hahaha. Ok so i have just a couple more questions. My current brew is doing nothing so are you saying make a starter, wait till high krausen, and then add more or something? You said to pitch at high krausen, is that referring to the starter or the brew itself? And do you think leaving the lid cracked would cause any wild yeast or anything? I personally think that the whole wild yeast thing is a bit overexaggerated, but what the hell do I know? All of the information you have given is awesome and you may have saved my brew. Cheers!

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