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Old 01-30-2014, 01:28 AM   #1
WIBrewer83
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Default Stuck Fermentation?

So I did my first BIAB batch 2 weeks back. The brew day went well for a Belgian Wit, except my efficiency was lower than expected...about 60% on an expected 70%. I placed the fermentor in my basement and within 24 hours there was airlock activity as expected. Then we got subzero temperatures and all activity stopped as the fermentor temp went into the mid 50s. At this time, there was a think foam layer on top. I moved it upstairs and brought the temp up to 64 and swirled a bit....nothing. Checked SG a few days apart, no change. But the foam layer is gone now. Measurements below...ABV is way lower than expected. Even with the lower efficiency, BeerSmith was estimating 4%+ Should I pitch more yeast? Or is this going to just be a low ABV batch?

OG 1.040
Current 1.022
ABV 2.4%

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Old 01-30-2014, 12:50 PM   #2
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What yeast are you using?

I suspect that your yeast went dormant when the temperature dropped and to get them to restart will take some swirling to bring more yeast up into the beer and warmer temperatures than 64, much warmer. Try to get that beer up into the mid 70's. You can set the fermenter in a tub of warm water, adding hot water as the water temperature in the tub falls.

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Old 01-30-2014, 12:53 PM   #3
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Using Wyeast Belgian Wit 3944. Should I use a sanitized spoon to stir up the bottom? Or just swirl the bucket?


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Old 01-30-2014, 01:10 PM   #4
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A sanitized spoon would be more efficient and you would know the yeast was moved.
Be sure to sanitize around the lid before you open the bucket.
Good luck.

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Old 01-30-2014, 01:35 PM   #5
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Ok, I will try this tonight and see what happens. Thanks for the tips!


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Old 01-30-2014, 02:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBrewer83 View Post
Using Wyeast Belgian Wit 3944. Should I use a sanitized spoon to stir up the bottom? Or just swirl the bucket?


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3944 may like the temperature to go clear up to 90 degrees. That's what I had to do to get mine to finish.

Mid 70's for a week would be good and then bring it up even higher, perhaps in smaller steps.
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:39 PM   #7
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That might be tough for me to do. How would I get it up to 80s during winter in WI? It is right by a heat vent on the main level of my house and it's sitting mid 60s as I mentioned.

I am planning on buying a chest freezer, fermentor heater and dual controller....this batch confirmed that I need that setup for more predictable fermentation temperatures.


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Old 01-30-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBrewer83 View Post
That might be tough for me to do. How would I get it up to 80s during winter in WI? It is right by a heat vent on the main level of my house and it's sitting mid 60s as I mentioned.

I am planning on buying a chest freezer, fermentor heater and dual controller....this batch confirmed that I need that setup for more predictable fermentation temperatures.


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I'm in northern Minnesota so I understand. I put mine right on top of the furnace to get that high temp but you can do it by putting it in the tub of water I mentioned earlier and adding hot water occasionally to bring the temp up slowly. Put something over it to keep the heat in, like a coat if you have one of those down there where it never gets cold.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:59 PM   #9
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consider buying a ferm-wrap or a brew belt (or using an electric blanket, or a heating mat)

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Old 01-30-2014, 04:08 PM   #10
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It may not start again, even with rousing the yeast and raising the temp.

Quote:
Chris White of White Labs yeast, says of Belgian yeasts.*

*"When you cool them, they stop. They go into survival mode. You can try rousing them, raising the temperature, but they won't start again. You just have to add new yeast."
So try starting it again, but if it does not you may have to pitch some more yeast. Make a starter and pitch at high krausen.
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