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Old 09-01-2012, 10:25 AM   #1
darkstar37
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Default fermentation length

Just wondering how long a beer can ferment in a primary at a temp of 20 degrees before going off and what can I do about a stuck attenuation? Sitting at 1020 down from 1058?

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:08 AM   #2
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Easily weeks, likely months...the less you open the vessel the better IMHO.

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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For a stuck fermentation most just pitch a high alcohol tolerant and high attenuating yeast like champagne yeast. You might be able to restart your fermentation with the yeast you are using. The best way is to make a starter and pitch at a time when fermentation in the starter is highest. Also, the starter should be made with an airlock and not tin foil lid according to the yeast book. You want the yeast to be in the proper state, anaerobic vs aerobic. You will need to re oxygentate the wert as well. The damage to the beer is already done. At this point you want to salvage what you have. Finally, try to figure out what went wrong. Did you make a starter before pitching? Did you pitch when the temps where too high? Was there a huge temp swing during fermentation? Did you use nutrients? Did you aerate enough? Was the yeast fresh and active? Everyone gets a stuck fermentation eventually do don't feel too bad.

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Old 09-01-2012, 12:17 PM   #4
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I'm using a west yorkshire wyeast into its 3rd generation no starter just washed and re pitched at around 24 degrees temp constant at 20 degrees and cheers for the information I'm still learning and taking everything on board

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:29 PM   #5
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Pitch dried a pack of dried yeast (US-05 or even larger yeast would work), if that doesn't get it any lower then there's nothing left for yeast without adding enymes.

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:34 PM   #6
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Are you sure it's stuck, or not just finished? A beer can be stuck usually if the temp suddenly drops to the yeasts dormancy/flocculation point. So swirling warming does indeed work. Or rarely the yeast tires out, and swirling it back into suspension will help bring it down a few more points.

But what most new brewers think is a stuck fermentation is usually a matter of the yeast eating all the fermentables and finishing high, like what we call the 1.020 or 1.030 curse. If you mashed too high and got a lot of unfermentables, or in the case of extract, a lot of unfermentables/caramelization. Nothing you can do short of maybe adding an alpha amalaze to "break" the unfermentable sugars down will work.

Swirling won't, warming it up won't, heck even adding more yeast won't. A beer can be done high, and nothing's really wrong.

For example I have a barleywine that is FINISHED at 1.040. The og was 1.170 and it has a lot of caramel malts and extremely dark (50 year old) honey in it. That dark translates into unfermentable sugars. It's been multiply yeasted, and has been sitting in a tertiary for close to two years. Despite the numbers it is finished, NOT STUCK, there's just nothing left for the yeast to eat.

Is this an extract beer? There's what is known as the 1.020 curse, where a lot of extract batches tend to peter out at that point. Making sure you have put in plenty of oxygen and yeast on brew day helps. But some beer seem to stick regardless. A lot of that I think has to do with wort caramelization, where both the process of making and boiling the extract produces or converts some of the sugars into unfermentable ones.

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
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That could be where the problem lies, I used an extract and added a partial mash maybe 1020 is as low as it will go, I'll leave it for a few more days and maybe add a bit of Dextrose in water solution to try and drop a few more points, would half a kilo be too much?

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Old 09-03-2012, 12:27 PM   #8
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Please excuse my ignorance, the only thing Dextrose will do is raise the alc level which isn't a bad thing, now those points that go back up on my hydro do I add them to my og to get a correct abv?

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Old 09-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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I've had some batches stop at around 1.020. After I was convinced they weren't going any lower, I bottled - the beer turned out really good.

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Old 09-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #10
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Does it taste bad?

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