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Old 07-18-2012, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default stuck fermentation...what gives?

So I brewed a flying fish farmhouse summer ale clone on July 4 with a SG of 1.053, 5 gallon batch. I pitched at around 75 degrees wyeast british ale yeast 1098, and fermentation was going after only a few hours. Everything seemed to be chugging along, but a few days ago I checked the gravity and I was only at 1.031, and both yesterday and today I've been at 1.027. It fermented at 68 for 10 days and I brought it upstairs from my basement where it's been at around 70-72 for the past few days.

I'm taking readings with a refractometer. Should I just let it go a few more weeks, or is this done? FG should be around 1.013.

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Old 07-18-2012, 01:35 AM   #2
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Did you enter the refractometer readings into the spreadsheet (or other software) to offset for alcohol??

Entering the brix equal to what you posted, I get an OG of 13 brix, with an alcohol present 6.8 brix for the latest gravity. That actually translates into an SG of 1.012, which is pretty much your target.

I used "refractobeer" for this (from MoreBeer)... It's a handy one to have, but only works with brix readings.

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Old 07-18-2012, 01:36 AM   #3
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Refracts are not accurate when alcohol is present. Use a hydrometer after fermentation begins. Glad to see someone represent flying fish. You from new jersey?

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Old 07-18-2012, 01:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by eobie View Post
Refracts are not accurate when alcohol is present. Use a hydrometer after fermentation begins. Glad to see someone represent flying fish. You from new jersey?
Not true, you just cannot use the reading (once alcohol is present) directly from the refractometer. You need to adjust it via software (the easiest way) or do the math to make for the offset. As I already posted, it appears the batch is either at, or damned close to, the predicted FG. I would give it a few more days and either pull another sample, or give it another week (or weekend) and then bottle/keg it up and enjoy once carbonated.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:54 AM   #5
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Refracts are not accurate when alcohol is present. Use a hydrometer after fermentation begins. Glad to see someone represent flying fish. You from new jersey?
I'm from eastern PA...about an hour northwest of Philadelphia...this was my first sour mash recipe...hoping it turns out!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:57 AM   #6
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Did you enter the refractometer readings into the spreadsheet (or other software) to offset for alcohol??

Entering the brix equal to what you posted, I get an OG of 13 brix, with an alcohol present 6.8 brix for the latest gravity. That actually translates into an SG of 1.012, which is pretty much your target.

I used "refractobeer" for this (from MoreBeer)... It's a handy one to have, but only works with brix readings.
apparently i was not aware of this...feeling pretty stupid! haha. I guess I can cold crash this now and keg it up! Looking forward to giving this a try next to the actual flying fish farmhouse summer ale.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:00 AM   #7
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apparently i was not aware of this...feeling pretty stupid! haha. I guess I can cold crash this now and keg it up! Looking forward to giving this a try next to the actual flying fish farmhouse summer ale.
It's not an uncommon error... Now that you know, you'll be better prepared for the next batch.

Link to get the spreadsheet (in case you didn't locate it yet): morebeer.com/public/beer/refractbeer.xls
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:04 AM   #8
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Not true, you just cannot use the reading (once alcohol is present) directly from the refractometer. You need to adjust it via software (the easiest way) or do the math to make for the offset. As I already posted, it appears the batch is either at, or damned close to, the predicted FG. I would give it a few more days and either pull another sample, or give it another week (or weekend) and then bottle/keg it up and enjoy once carbonated.
Even with the calculations, I've never had an accurate reading with a refractometer post-fermentation. Never once. They haven't been too far off, but certainly not accurate. A hydrometer is the best tool for an accurate FG once fermentation ends.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:11 AM   #9
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Maybe with the cheap ones most home brewers use (under $50) but you CAN get ones that are accurate. I actually picked up a pair recently. One goes up to 20 brix in .1 increments, and the other goes to 32 brix in .2 increments. Both are dead-nuts accurate. Of course, they were almost $100 each. Probably far more than most home brewers would spend on such a tool, but I consider it a one time purchase.

The bodies on these are metal, not plastic, with a ring you turn to adjust for zero (with distilled water). Unlike the cheap ones where you have to use a screwdriver to adjust.

I find I'm getting more and more lab grade testing hardware as I continue to brew. I'm using a Fluke thermometer (52II) for my mash temps (and such). Fisher Scientific thermometers (sensors dropped down thermowells) for fermentation temperature readings (with min, max and current readings at a glance) to name just a few. Keep in mind, none of these items are cheap, and typically cost more than the majority seem willing to spend on here. I just don't have an issue paying good money for top quality hardware/items.

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Old 07-18-2012, 12:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Not true, you just cannot use the reading (once alcohol is present) directly from the refractometer. You need to adjust it via software (the easiest way) or do the math to make for the offset. As I already posted, it appears the batch is either at, or damned close to, the predicted FG. I would give it a few more days and either pull another sample, or give it another week (or weekend) and then bottle/keg it up and enjoy once carbonated.

Err.. I am correct. Refracts are not accurate with alcohol present. Yes you can calculate the correction, but that doesn't make what the refract displays accurate. Semantics... damn.
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