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Old 10-21-2010, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default My weird fermentation. Any thoughts?

I'm currently making a Cascadian Dark Ale from a recipe in Zymurgy (extract). OG came in on the button at 1.064. Fermentation from a 2-liter starter of Wyeast 1318 London III went normally. But after a week airlock activity had stopped and gravity was stuck at 1.02 (goal: 1.011). So I figure stuck fermentation and repitch. Nothing. So just for fun I throw in some American Ale II I had lying around. Nothing.

But the wort tasted fine and it's wrong to throw away a beer that's not rancid. So I moved it to secondary to see what would happen (and to make my primary available for a new beer. ). After a couple of days a moldy-looking scum appeared on top. A visit to these forums convinced me that a) it was indeed probably mold and b) it probably wouldn't kill the beer. So I left it.

After a week in secondary, airlock activity has resumed. It's not going nuts but I'm getting a bloop every six seconds or so. I after a few days of that I take another gravity reading. 1.020.

What's happening to my beer? What made it restart and why isn't the gravity going down now that it has? The scum is mostly gone, BTW, and may have been yeast in any event? The wort still tastes good.

Obviously I'm not going to bottle an active beer -- I like my bottles and my carpet they way they are. If it stops and gravity is still high, should I risk bottling a beer that far above the target?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

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Old 10-21-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
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By racking you more than likely restarted a stuck fermentation that happens all the time.

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Old 10-21-2010, 04:55 PM   #3
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i would say time is your friend here and you should just wait it out for as long as possible. good luck to you! post pics of your baby!

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Old 10-21-2010, 05:02 PM   #4
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You really think it's that simple? I considered it but a) I agitated the thing in primary so many times I probably infected it with that moldy stuff and b) my gravity still isn't moving down. But I guess it's still a possibility.

I hope you're right -- the wort tastes really good. I recommend the CDA recipe in Zymurgy from last month or a couple months ago.

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Old 10-21-2010, 05:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokitchen View Post
You really think it's that simple?
Yeah, it usually IS that simple...In my years of brewing, I've found that things really ARE that simple. 99.95% of the time, no matter what it may appear, or how abnormal it may seem....it is usually completely fine. Fementations are often ugly, stinky, don't behave how WE expect them to and turn out perfectly fine.

Why do you think so many of us experienced brewers tell new brewers to RDWHAHB all the time? Because we're yanking their chains and laughing behind their backs? Or MAYBE we realize that our beer turns out fine most of the time DESPITE what idiotic things we may do to it...

And have done.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Why do you think so many of us experienced brewers tell new brewers to RDWHAHB all the time? Because we're yanking their chains and laughing behind their backs? Or MAYBE we realize that our beer turns out fine most of the time DESPITE what idiotic things we may do to it...

And have done.
Oh, don't worry -- relaxing and homebrew-having will definitely be done! I was mostly curious for a three reasons. One, I don't want to blow up bottles -- that and non-blown-up but overcarbonated foam bombs are two of the bad things that happens most often to me and I'm trying to get better. Two, general intellectual curiosity. Three, what if this turns out to be the Best. Beer. Ever? I have to know how to replicate it!
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:57 PM   #7
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Your beer is rebelling against you for calling it a "Cascadian Dark Ale".
*shudder*

On a serious note, it's just off-gassing CO2. Does it happen to be warmer where your secondary fermenter is?

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Old 11-03-2010, 10:03 PM   #8
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Followup: The secondary is in the same place as the primary but it might be a touch warmer. In any event, it indeed seemed to be a stuck fermentation. My last worry, that the gravity wasn't decreasing, solved out in a day or so and now it's very late but down to the correct FG. Tomorrow it goes into bottles.

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Old 11-04-2010, 02:07 PM   #9
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if you take a sample when bottling, let us know how it comes out!

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Old 11-06-2010, 11:06 PM   #10
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Heh. Every gravity reading is also a taste test. This is going to be a good beer. It's going to be a fantastic beer if some of the dry-hopping moves up into the nose when it carbonates. The style, for me, isn't a session beer. But it'll be a good beer for me and a session beer for my partner in crime, who loves the hoppy stuff.

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