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Old 05-17-2013, 04:02 AM   #1
rrayriver
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Default Quad stuck at 1.046-help!

Im usually loyal to White Labs, but this time I tried the Wyeast 3787 Trappist for my quad. pitched a starter and I got good action right away but only for two days. I check gravity and I've been stuck at 1.046 and need to be at 1.023. I racked to secondary after 5 days as Jeremy at Ommagang suggests. Any ideas? Will it continue to drop down with no visible action?

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:21 AM   #2
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Why would you transfer to a secondary if it wasn't close to being done? That was foolish.

This strain can take 2 weeks to hit FG if left alone to ferment in primary. It also needs pure O2 and a HUGE starter for a high gravity beer like a quad. If you didn't take these steps and then pulled it off the yeast after only 5 days, a stuck ferment is what you'll end up with.

If it doesn't move anymore, your only hope is to build up another HUGE starter of 3787 on a stir plate and pitch it at high krausen into your stuck beer, get the temp up into the 70's and hope it takes. If that doesn't work feel free to dump it down the drain and take it as an expensive lesson.

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:29 AM   #3
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A few things would help. What was the recipe, starter size, when did you take gravity readings and what were they, has there been any change since racking? It might continue on at a super slow pace, but you might need to add more yeast. Give us some more info.

Also, a quad that ends at 1.023? Where did you get that number from? Sounds high.

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:32 AM   #4
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There are folks here who primary small beers for a month, no need to rush an absolutely huge beer along. Consider your airlock a vent and nothing more. A stable gravity over 3day will tell you when the yeasts have actually stopped working. They can be showing very littly "activity" while working their buts off. Not sure they have butts but....

Big beers take a while. I would try a re-pitch and patience. I have an Edmund Fitzgerald clone going on three weeks in primary, the recipe called for one, life gets away from you. I garauntee It'll be great and still be beer.

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Old 05-17-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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IMHO the best thing to do here is re-pitch with new yeast. You can continue with a high-gravity Belgian strain, but if you're worried about a stuck fermentation, you could also use Wyeast 3711 (saison). It will impart a slight saison character, but most of the "yeast" taste comes from initial fermentation, which you've already gotten here. And it's a beast--it is capable of fermenting even high-gravity worts into the 1.00x range.

Since you'd be adding the new yeast to a harsh environment, though, you should probably:

*make a starter, and include yeast nutrient (in boiled water) when you add the yeast;
*consider re-aerating the wort/beer, at least a little.

I also agree with the stuff above about not going to a secondary (at all), or at least not too soon. There is no danger of autolysis in a several-week timeframe. The beer is done when it's done. You can always secondary it later if you want to cold crash/bulk age etc.

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Old 05-17-2013, 06:51 PM   #6
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Oh yeah, but one last thing. You should definitely not dump the semi-finished beer. For example, you can split it in two, blend it with a lower-gravity wort, and pitch new yeast, giving you two batches of dubbel. Hell, blend it with seltzer and drink it now! But don't dump it.

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Old 05-18-2013, 04:41 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the thoughts. Brewing is like religion, so many opinions and most assume they are right. That's what I like about it...the mystery. And everyone's advice has a life philosophy embedded in it (forgive me, I'm a shrink.) From "Throw it out, you fool" (pessimist) to "Hell, add selzer and enjoy!" (optimistic reframe). I got the recipe and instructions strait from Brew Like a Monk- the quad behind the Three Philosophers (that I will add Cherry lambic to in the bottling bucket). I racked to secondary, because that's what it said to do-I thought it was silly too. I always leave my beers on the yeast cake for a minimum of 10 days, but this recipe calls for a secondary and a tertiary, so I follow. After hours of researching and talking to professional brewers, I decided on the following actions: add yeast hulls, make a starter with high gravity yeast with nutrient, pitch and let it ride. I WONT throw it out, I dont give up that easily, and I probably wont add selzer, but I like the optimism behind it. Love the process!!! I will report the results.

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Old 05-18-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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Some quads are finished with champagne yeast. I would pitch some of that and wait. It could be several months before it gets down to a low FG, such as 1.01. Make sure that the FG is stable before bottling.

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Old 05-21-2013, 05:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrayriver View Post
I got the recipe and instructions strait from Brew Like a Monk- the quad behind the Three Philosophers (that I will add Cherry lambic to in the bottling bucket).
If you follow through on this, make sure you're either using one of those Lindemann's faux lambics that's been pasteurized, or you use bottles that can handle heavy pressure. If you add a live lambic beer to this, and expect to age it (as you should for a quad), you're going to have a bunch of bottle bombs on your hands. You probably already know this, but one can't be too careful.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrayriver View Post
Thanks for all the thoughts. Brewing is like religion, so many opinions and most assume they are right. That's what I like about it...the mystery. And everyone's advice has a life philosophy embedded in it (forgive me, I'm a shrink.) From "Throw it out, you fool" (pessimist) to "Hell, add selzer and enjoy!" (optimistic reframe). I got the recipe and instructions strait from Brew Like a Monk- the quad behind the Three Philosophers (that I will add Cherry lambic to in the bottling bucket). I racked to secondary, because that's what it said to do-I thought it was silly too. I always leave my beers on the yeast cake for a minimum of 10 days, but this recipe calls for a secondary and a tertiary, so I follow. After hours of researching and talking to professional brewers, I decided on the following actions: add yeast hulls, make a starter with high gravity yeast with nutrient, pitch and let it ride. I WONT throw it out, I dont give up that easily, and I probably wont add selzer, but I like the optimism behind it. Love the process!!! I will report the results.
rrayriver,
I like your attitude. It is interesting the wide variety of perspectives you get here.

One thing you didn't mention is how long it's been "stuck". When you move to secondary early, as you've done, you have to expect it to slow down substantially since you've removed a lot of the yeast. If you've been at the same gravity for 3 days you may not have to do anything except raise the temp a few degrees. If it's been 5-7 days then you're probably stuck.

I recently had one stick for 2 weeks and nothing I did seemed to help. Long story short what finally got me unstuck was adding a half cup of table sugar (to give the yeast an easy snack) and yeast energizer http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/yeast-energizer.html (to excite them). The next day it started bubbling and it's been bubbling solidly for a week and the gravity is still dropping. The yeast energizer only costs about $2 for a bottle and I only used 2.5tsp. I'll be interesting to hear how this comes out.
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