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Old 10-04-2012, 10:57 PM   #1
losman26
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Default Stuck Fermentation- what to do? Pitch onto fresh yeast cake?

this topic has been covered many times, but not using oak chips in the secondary.

So I did an extract clone recipe, Firestone Walker, 'Lil Opal from BYO's, 250 classic clones edition. I did 3 weeks in the primary using Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison. I did a 1 L starter on a stir-plate and started out fermentation around 72 F, raising it as high as 80F. My original notes as far as gravity readings goes, got lost on my computer, but I'm pretty sure that the OG was around 1.052.

After three weeks I assumed that the SG would be good to transfer to the secondary. I took a brix reading using a refractometer and it read 11 brix, which seemed high at the moment. I also added 1 oz french oak wood chips (after SG reading) which were soaked in white wine for two weeks to the secondary. I drained the liquid from the wood chips before adding them.

1 day after adding the wood chips, I immediately started having an increase in co2 activity, and a small white-yellowish krausen developing. Two weeks later, nothing changed. Still 11 brix, and a 1..026 SG reading.
Considering that the yeast was fresh (about 2 weeks old), and I had a pretty vigorous fermentation, I'm absolutely stumped as to why there is such a high gravity reading after 5 weeks. The OG seems to low to not have a yeast attenuate properly for all the steps I did.

So what do I do next? By reading previous posts, it seems like I should transfer this batch onto a fresh yeast cake. I have another batch (lawnmower ale) using US-5 yeast that will be done in another week. Should I do it this way, or pitch some champagne yeast?

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Old 10-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #2
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Can you please post the recipe so we can see what you where working with?

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Old 10-05-2012, 09:34 AM   #3
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The oak chips shouldn't affect the performance of your yeast.

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Old 10-05-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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When you checked the gravity after 3 weeks in the primary, it sounds like you did so using a refractometer. If that's the case, a refractometer will give you an inaccurate reading after fermentation has started. You need to use a hydrometer to obtain a good gravity reading. This might be part or all of your issue.

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddogsleezy
When you checked the gravity after 3 weeks in the primary, it sounds like you did so using a refractometer. If that's the case, a refractometer will give you an inaccurate reading after fermentation has started. You need to use a hydrometer to obtain a good gravity reading. This might be part or all of your issue.
^ What he said! I had the same issue once where I thought fermentation stalled and I went crazy coming up with ways to push my FG. I then read the refractometer can be off once alcohol is present so I checked my gravity with a hydrometer. I ended up taking a barleywine from 1.115 down to 10.08. I was not happy.

So check with a hydrometer, I'm sure you're fine!
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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Well, I lost my readings from the initial refractometer. Either way, when I transferred to the secondary it read 11 brix. Two weeks after transferring to the secondary it still read 11 brix, and the hydrometer reading was at 1.028. From what I remember, the inital refractometer reading was around 1.052 converting from brix to SG.


Here's the exact recipe. Plugging in the numbers to BeerSmith, I'm stumped as to why I have such a high SG, after 5 weeks. If anyone sees anything as to why it's so high, let me know.


Briess Golden Light Liquid Extract
3 lbs, 0 oz

Briess Golden Light Dry Extract
1 lbs, 8 oz

Weyermann Pale Wheat
1 lbs, 0 oz
Weyermann Caramel Wheat
0 lbs, 3 oz
Weyermann Acidulated
0 lbs, 3 oz
Mt. Hood Pellets
.54 oz @ 60 mins
Mt. Hood Pellets
.36 oz @ 30 mins
French Oak Chips
1 ea
Wyeast Labs Belgian Saison
1 ea

So I'm considering transferring this to a us-5 yeast cake next week to bring down the FG. What do you guys think?

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Old 10-07-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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Just to be clear, you used a hydrometer? I know how the conversion works from brix. We are asking bc once fermentation has started a refractometer can be significantlyinaccurate.

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Old 10-07-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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It will not hurt the beer to transfer to the S-05 cake.

If the fermentation is truly stuck (and it seems it may be), transferring to a fresh cake is one of the best things you can do to help it.

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Old 10-07-2012, 05:54 PM   #9
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Not to beat a dead horse here but you have to physically use a hydrometer for FG readings. A refractomoter does not work in the presence of alcohol.

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Old 10-08-2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyes88 View Post
Just to be clear, you used a hydrometer? I know how the conversion works from brix. We are asking bc once fermentation has started a refractometer can be significantlyinaccurate.
YES, I did use a hyrdometer after I transferred, and because I couldn't find my notes that had the initial brix reading to plug in the numbers in the spreadsheet.

The Hydrometer sample was way too @ 1.026.
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