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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > S04 stops in the 1020's
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
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Default S04 stops in the 1020's

I did an IPA awhile back and used a washed s04 starter. It only fermented down to 1020 and is way too sweet. I usually use us05 but was out so I tried the washed s04 I had.

I just made an ESB that called for s04 so I used another washed starter. This beer is stuck at 1022 after 17 days. It's supposed to hit 1014. I tried stirring up the yeast and nothing happened, after 3 days its still at 1022. Should I try adding a little us05 to try to get it to ferment a little lower? Whats the deal with s04, I'm thinking that I won't ever use it again.

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Old 06-03-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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That's odd. Normally when I use S-04 it rocks hardcore.

Extract or all-grain? If the latter, what's the grain bill, mash temp and OG?

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Old 06-03-2012, 04:57 PM   #3
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Sounds more like a wort fermentability issue than a yeast issue. How much slurry did you pitch, and how old was it? Viability in the slurry could be an issue as well.

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Old 06-03-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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There are a ton of threads helping folks out with unexpectedly high FG readings. A quick search will provide hours of reading material on this very topic...probably with this very yeast, although I've not seen any attenuation issues personally with S-04.

Generally, the big hitters in my experience have been (in no particular order):
- aeration (did you provide enough?)
- yeast (did you pitch enough?)
- mash temp (is your mash temp commensurate with yeast type and beer style?)
- thermometer (is it accurate?)
- hydrometer (is it accurate?)

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Old 06-03-2012, 05:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyer View Post
I did an IPA awhile back and used a washed s04 starter. It only fermented down to 1020 and is way too sweet. I usually use us05 but was out so I tried the washed s04 I had.

I just made an ESB that called for s04 so I used another washed starter. This beer is stuck at 1022 after 17 days. It's supposed to hit 1014. I tried stirring up the yeast and nothing happened, after 3 days its still at 1022. Should I try adding a little us05 to try to get it to ferment a little lower? Whats the deal with s04, I'm thinking that I won't ever use it again.
These wouldn't happen to be extract batches we're talking about here, would they. I wouldn't say 04 is a great attenuator, but it's doubtfully the cause of these high FGs.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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All-Grain - Common Room ESB
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Safale S-04
Yeast Starter: no
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.054
Final Gravity: 1.014
IBU: 35.3
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 10.4
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 21
Tasting Notes: Complex and malty with distinct hop flavor. A deep copper well-balanced quaffer.

Ingredients

Amount Item Type % or IBU
10.00 lb UK Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (1.4 SRM) Grain 90.91 %
0.75 lb UK Medium Crystal 50-65L (56.5 SRM) Grain 6.82 %
0.25 lb UK Dark Crystal 135-165L (150.0 SRM) Grain 2.27 %
1.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.50 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 30.4 IBU
0.25 oz Fuggles [4.00 %] (20 min) Hops 2.0 IBU
0.25 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.50 %] (20 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
0.25 oz Fuggles [4.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
0.25 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.50 %] (0 min) Hops -
1 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale



Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.054 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.054 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.17 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.21 %
Bitterness: 35.3 IBU Calories: 241 cal/pint
Est Color: 10.4 SRM Color: Color


Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 13.75 qt of water at 173.3 F 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 8.00 qt of water at 198.3 F 168.0 F
Sparge with enough water to achieve desired boil volume.


This is the recipe for the ESB. I aerate well and use a growler about half full for my starter. I had a very active fermentation by day 2 and almost had to add a blowoff tube, then it slowed significantly. The temp range has always been between 65-68. Will adding a little more dry yeast do anything? I don't want to leave it at 1022, I'm afraid it will be sweet like the IPA was.

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Old 06-03-2012, 05:41 PM   #7
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Have you calibrated your mash thermometer recently? How do you aerate?

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Old 06-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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154 is a pretty warm mash. If your thermometer is off, you could easily be mashing in the high 150's, low 160's giving you a pretty poor fermentability. I'd also calibrate your hydrometer.

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Old 06-03-2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
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154 is a pretty warm mash. If your thermometer is off, you could easily be mashing in the high 150's, low 160's giving you a pretty poor fermentability.
That's kinda what I was thinking. I had a similar issue but it was reading +3 degrees. Thought I was mashing @ 152, and was wondering why my beers were a bit thin. Turns out it was because I was mashing @ 149.

And yeah, check your hydro too.... that paper inside is famous for slipping. See what it reads in 60 degree water, it should be @ 1.000
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderbread23 View Post
154 is a pretty warm mash. If your thermometer is off, you could easily be mashing in the high 150's, low 160's giving you a pretty poor fermentability. I'd also calibrate your hydrometer.
This.

154 is actually perfect for an ESB (IMMHO) but you're right in that it makes for a smaller margin of error.
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