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Old 04-23-2013, 04:52 PM   #1
strongarm
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Default Fermentation stops at 1.050...now what?

As the title says my gravity is at 1.050 after repitching yeast in my big stout and I have no activity.

OG 1.142
Mash temp 155
Mash ph 4.9 is what I calculated, not sure what happened there

Grain bill for mash
29lbs Maris Otter
1.5lbs oats
1.5lbs rye
1.5lbs special b

Grain bill for cold steep...36 hours in cold water then strained
1 lb each
Crystal 120
Roasted Barley
British Chocolate

Other
.5lbs molasses

Pitched a 4l starter of Dry English Ale WLP007 with 60 seconds of pure O2 fermenting at 65f. After a week I was down to 1.050. That makes sense since the yeast tolerance is less than the 12% I hit. I had a 2l starter of super high gravity WLP099 that I then pitched. 4 days now and no activity, took samples.

What happened? Is the 2l starter of 099 really not enough to get this fermenting? I did raise the temp to 70f, I did rock the bucket back and forth a few times...have not tried to stir yet. Beersmith shows that this should get down to 1.034? I did a similar ABV stout last year but with all extract and got it down to 1.021.

Any suggestions?



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Old 04-23-2013, 05:19 PM   #2
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So, no movement at all on the SG with the 099 on board? Woof!

Calibrated your mash thermometer lately?

Cheers!



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Old 04-23-2013, 06:00 PM   #3
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is it at all possible it is done... 1.142 is a monster stout and you mashed that pretty high 155. that combined with the oats rye and another 4lbs of specialty grains. my guess is that you mashed too high Especially if 099 isn't doing anything. you could add some dextrose to try and dry it out or pitch some brett that will go to work on the longer chained sugars that the regular yeast cant eat

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Old 04-23-2013, 06:26 PM   #4
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My mash thermometer is the blichmann on the pot but I also use a thermapen. The issue with the thermapen is I normally get different reading since it takes it from the top of the pot. The thermapen actually had a slightly lower reading.

The Brett sounds like a preferred method to try first. Is there a certain type of Brett I should use. Do you recommend making a starter and how large? Are there going to be any negative effects with using Brett?


The second method is Dextrose you mentioned. My goal was 15% so if I add 2.5lbs of dextrose my OG would jump to 1.165 and 15.1% ABV if it all fermented out. How does that sound?

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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depends on what you want... the Brett is defiantly going to change the character of your beer and might make it a little funky which might be good or bad (depending on if you like that or not) I would throw some white labs WLP644 Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois if you go brett. It is a bit more mild on the brett front. Also make a starter and step it up a few times. brett from white labs is a reduced cell count so I would do a 1l starter for 3-4 days then a 2l starter for 3-4 days and possibly another 2l starter just to get your counts up. also in that environment 12% abv you will need to give the brett some time to work as these are less than optimal conditions.

if you are going do option 2 i would add maybe 1/2 lb of dextrose to start off with and see if the gravity moves at all... if it ticks down a few points than you can add some more and try and get it where you want it. the reasoning is if lack of simple sugars is not your issue and the yeast doesn't kick back up you are just making the situation worse by adding more sugar (dextrose)

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:25 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.

It's a big beer....it really doesn't matter necessarily if the FG is high, but whether it is done or stuck

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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the more i think about it the more i would not add the dextrose.... if you wanted to get a couple points lower it might work but not worth the risk in my opinion. I would make a big brett starter, pitch and check it in a month.. that is assuming you want it drier.... How does it taste now? it may be fine as is

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:30 PM   #8
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Wondering if you aren't using a refractometer to check your FG? WLP099 can take big beers down way too dry, so I would expect some reduction in gravity after re-pitching.

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:53 PM   #9
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Revvy...I think it's stuck but I could be wrong. I say stuck because Beersmith shows my estimated fg to be 1.034...that's quite a bit off from 1.050. If Beersmith is wrong on their logic then I guess it could be done fermenting in which case I probably mashed too high. I just assumed from previous experience that the 099 would take a few points off after the 007 finished and it didn't at all.

My next step is to sample it, I know I should have done this a while ago but I have just enough beer to fill my 5g bourbon barrel and didn't want to loose any volume. I assumed it would be too sweet but maybe it won't be. I'll report on it tomorrow.

agm163...this is a imperial stout, not sure how the Brett would go with this style, probably not appropriate?

Daksin....not using a refractometer...traditional hydrometer

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Old 04-23-2013, 08:40 PM   #10
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I'd bet you're done. You got 65% attenuation, which is feasible. Beersmith simply assumes a certain % attenuation without knowing anything about your mash temps, amount of unfermentables, etc. You are well "outside the box" here, so you may not get the typical attenuation.

I recently made a 1.104 stout with 1056 that finished at 1.040, which is 62% attenuation. Fortunately I was heavy on the hops, so balance is fine.



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