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Old 09-03-2011, 01:20 AM   #1
wncbrewer
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Default stalled fermentation on my IIPA

Hello all,

I recently brewed up an imperial ipa. OG was 1.090 and fermentation has slowed to a bubble about every 5 seconds a week in. I checked gravity today and it is down to 1.038. I would like for this beer to finish up in the 1.016-1.020 range. Do you more experienced guys think it will make it? I was thinking of adding a little corn sugar, but I don't know how much or if I even need to. I pitched a four quart starter of wlp001. Am I worrying prematurely? Should I just leave it the hell alone?

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Old 09-03-2011, 01:35 AM   #2
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What was your aeration method? 4qts should have been enough of a starter, also did you aerate your starter(ie shake it often)?

Clem

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Old 09-03-2011, 01:38 AM   #3
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First question, are you checking your gravity with a refractometer.
Second question, what were your fermentation temps. I can't imagine a 1 gallon starter stalling

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Old 09-03-2011, 02:03 AM   #4
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Relax. It is most likely not stalled. Most high gravity brews have a large grain bill...odds are your yeast is just burried in some residue that made it to your fermentor from your BK. Before you panic, sanitize a stirring pole and give it a quick stir...nothing crazy, just enough to move things around.

I once thought a fermentation was stuck and I did just as I described. I came home from work that day to beer on my ceiling...fermentation was vigorous! Well, and my carboy was over filled lol.

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Old 09-03-2011, 02:39 AM   #5
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One week is wayyy too early for a beer that big. I'd give it at least a month. Plus, only multiple gravity readings spaced a few days apart will tell you if you're stalled or not. It sounds like active fermentation is still going on but if you're still concerned take a reading every couple days and see if it's still dropping...

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Old 09-03-2011, 03:41 AM   #6
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Its not at all unreasonable to expect a 1.090 brew in reach FG after a week, especially with a mondo starter like the one he pitched. Most do, in my experience. I definitely wouldn't freak out about it, though.

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Old 09-03-2011, 01:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. I don't usually even bother checking gravity until I rack to secondary, but this beer is getting special attention because it's slated for entry into a big beer competition coming up, and it was also a bloody expensive batch. 18 lbs of grain, and 11 oz of hops by the time it is all said and done.

I have decided to just leave it be until I see no signs of fermentation, at which point I will take another gravity reading and then decide if I need to add sugar. I have never had trouble with 001 not attenuating, and I don't want to risk infection by screwing with it excessively

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Old 09-03-2011, 03:16 PM   #8
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I always love the theory of unsticking a fermentation by adding more sugar. You already have too much sugar in the beer, why compound the problem by adding more? Fermentations generally stick for a handful of reasons:

1. The ferment got too cool and the yeast floc'd out.
2. The yeast ran out of fermentable sugars.
3. The yeast hit the limit of their alcohol tolerance.

Adding sugar to any of the above isn't going to do anything...

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Old 09-03-2011, 04:12 PM   #9
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I see many posts in here from people expecting a low gravity
and getting a high one, I think many don't realize that their beer
should finish high. For example, Jamil's Bohemian pilsener recipe
at beerdujour.com uses 12 lbs of German pilsener malt and 12 oz
of cara-pils for 6 gal (equal to 10 lbs and 10oz respectively in
a 5 gal recipe) and finishes at 1.017, appropriate for that style.
If you got a fg of 1.020 from a 1.090 beer with no unfermentable
specialty grains, that would be 78% attenuation, not too easy
to attain in a high alcohol brew. 70% is more realistic, leaving it
at 1.027, and that's only with no specialty grains. With adjuncts
you could easily finish over 1.030.

Ray

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Old 09-03-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayg
I see many posts in here from people expecting a low gravity
and getting a high one, I think many don't realize that their beer
should finish high. For example, Jamil's Bohemian pilsener recipe
at beerdujour.com uses 12 lbs of German pilsener malt and 12 oz
of cara-pils for 6 gal (equal to 10 lbs and 10oz respectively in
a 5 gal recipe) and finishes at 1.017, appropriate for that style.
If you got a fg of 1.020 from a 1.090 beer with no unfermentable
specialty grains, that would be 78% attenuation, not too easy
to attain in a high alcohol brew. 70% is more realistic, leaving it
at 1.027, and that's only with no specialty grains. With adjuncts
you could easily finish over 1.030.

Ray
I disagree. Attenuation is a very general measure of a yeasts potential. I've heard some people reaching 90% attenuation. An IPA of 1.090 should ferment down to 1.025. I just had this exact situation. And I have another IPA of 1.092 that I mashed at 148 and it came down to 1.015
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