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Old 10-25-2013, 03:38 AM   #1
adamthiel
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Default Incomplete fermentation always

Seeking expertise... I can never get my beer to get to a legitimate FG. I feel like I'm making a fundamental mistake that causes my fermentation to stop early. This has been a problem for me since my first brew. I've continued to try new things to improve this through enhanced practices with no success and am out of ideas.
Currently in primary is an extract vanilla stout with OG 1.056 via refractometer. I used White Labs Irish Ale Yeast in 2L starter on stir plate which fermented just fine. I dumped the wort and pitched the yeast into an aerated glass primary at 68degs. Fermentation started quickly and like every time, fermented steady but not crazy; no where close to needing a blow off tube. Temp rose to 77 during then dropped to 74 a few days later at which point I put on my heating jacket, thermowell, and temp control unit set to 73.
After two weeks SG was 1.036, it's now been three weeks still at 1.036. Again, this is typical for me. Considering pitching more yeast.? Would my sanitized thief with small amount of remaining sanitizer liquid kill yeast in the primary?
If anyone can help I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

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Old 10-25-2013, 03:41 AM   #2
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Are you checking the FG with the refractometer as well?

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Old 10-25-2013, 03:50 AM   #3
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:50 AM   #4
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My first question is what method are you using to aerate your wort? Also are you using a lot of crystal malts or malt extract? As far as the sanitizer goes, I'm assuming your using a no-rinse sanitiser? Unless your using diesel fuel, or lysol you're probably good.

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Old 10-25-2013, 04:21 AM   #5
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I have been using a refractometer for FG readings

As for aerating I use bottled oxygen with infusion stone.

I am brewing with extracts for now using some grain mostly for kicks as I'm not set up for sparging, mash temp control etc. also I figure I should get this down first before stepping up to all grain.

Yes, i use no rinse sanitizer

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Old 10-25-2013, 04:26 AM   #6
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Refractometers are not accurate without correction once alcohol is present. I suggest taking a FG reading with a hydrometer to see where you actually finished.

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Old 10-25-2013, 05:00 AM   #7
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Refractometer.
Also, those temps are a little high for most ale yeasts- 65-maybe 68 would be better.
What did the alcohol correction for refractometer or hydrometer tell you for FG?

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Old 10-25-2013, 05:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamthiel View Post
I have been using a refractometer for FG readings

As for aerating I use bottled oxygen with infusion stone.

I am brewing with extracts for now using some grain mostly for kicks as I'm not set up for sparging, mash temp control etc. also I figure I should get this down first before stepping up to all grain.

Yes, i use no rinse sanitizer
Just out of curiosity, on a batch earlier this year that had fermented down to a steady 1.015 (hydrometer), I wanted to see what my refractometer would show vs. the hydrometer.

The refractometer reading was 1.035

Please let us know what your hydrometer reading is.


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Also, those temps are a little high for most ale yeasts- 65-maybe 68 would be better.
Agreed. I'd actually want to start an Irish Ale yeast ferment in the 63-64*F range and finish it up around 68-70*F.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:32 AM   #9
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These guys have already said it. Refractometer is no good for FG unless you correct, and a lot of folks say even with correction it's not 100% accurate, so your best bet is still a hydrometer. But an FG of 1.035 with an OG of 1.056 and you're looking at something in the the high teens depending on wort correction factor for an actual FG. For an extract batch, that's nothing to worry about.

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Old 10-26-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Wow does that help...cracked out the old hydrometer and she reads 1.022. Took a sample out of the hydrometer sample for refractometer and it was 1.036.
So in my case,
refractomerer - 1.036 is equal to
Hydrometer - 1.022

Thanks a bunch, really appreciate it!

That means I'm ready for secondary..Any suggestions on vanilla for my stout. Bean? Extract? Qty? Thanks again.

Do you think my high fermentation temp (74) will have adverse effects? Tasting the beer now it's a bit sharp...

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