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Old 04-25-2008, 04:52 PM   #1
solbergg
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Default The 1.020 Curse

Hey all,

I have a strange problem which I am having trouble ascertaining the cause. I have brewed 6 batches of extract beer now, and the fermentation always seems to stop at 1.020. Of these six batches, I have made a variety of beers which had an OG as little as 1.034 to as high as 1.065. Every single one was brewed as a partial boil. Some used specialy grains, some did not. My first brew was only in the primary for 4 days, but all of the other ones were left in primary for 2-3 weeks. Anyone have an idea what could cause my bad attenuation? And why 1.020 specifically? I will be moving to All Grain for my next batch, but I will really like to get this figured out so I don't screw up another brew. Here are some thoughts I had:

-Every single one of these used one dry yeast packet. Maybe I need to use liquid yeast or perhaps I should use more than one packet?

-With the exception of the lager I have in primary right now, I never filtered out the hop pellets on my previous brews. Would this affect the FG? If so, why is my lager stuck at 1.020 even with the hops filtered out?

I'm open to all suggestions, as I am sick and tired of seeing the hydrometer stop at 1.020!!! Thanks!

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Old 04-25-2008, 04:56 PM   #2
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Specifically (brand name, strain etc), what kind of yeast are you using?

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Old 04-25-2008, 04:57 PM   #3
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--Were you getting your DME or LME all from the same place (possibly purchased all at the same time)?
--What yeasts and fermenting temps?
--What proportions of specialty grains did you use?
--Have you tried using a different hydrometer or checking the calibration of the one you're using?

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Old 04-25-2008, 05:45 PM   #4
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How did the brews turn out in the end? Would you have been able to tell when you drank them that the FG was high if you hadn't already known?

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Old 04-25-2008, 06:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
Specifically (brand name, strain etc), what kind of yeast are you using?
Muntons dry yeast for the first two, Safale S-04 for the next 3, then I think Safale S-23 for my lager.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maltMonkey
--Were you getting your DME or LME all from the same place (possibly purchased all at the same time)?
--What yeasts and fermenting temps?
--What proportions of specialty grains did you use?
--Have you tried using a different hydrometer or checking the calibration of the one you're using?
I got most of my DME & LME from my LHBS, and one from AHS. Also, I have a friend that brews and he hit 1.008 on his first pale ale brew (which made me really jealous).

Yeasts are listed above. Fermentation temps for the ales were 68 degrees, Lager is at 55 degrees (since safale recommended 51-59)

Specialty grains in proportion to what, amount of water steeped?

I haven't tried a different hydrometer, but this one did read 1.000 in water.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOOTER
How did the brews turn out in the end? Would you have been able to tell when you drank them that the FG was high if you hadn't already known?
First one tasted extremely watery. I ended up throwing it out (it was a brown ale, 1.050 OG). Second one was an IPA, 1.055 OG. It had a weird bite to it, sort of gave me a "cottonmouth" effect. I gave it a couple months to age to see if that would die down, but never did so I threw it out. Third one was BM's Blonde Ale, OG 1.034 (or 1.043, I can't remember). It ended up tasting really good, and I didn't notice it being too low alcohol. Fourth was AHS Amber Ale, I can't remember OG, but it tasted good. Fifth was Beer club Scotch Ale with 1.065 OG. It's currently aging in a cask, and I don't know how it tasted since our club taste test was double blind. Last batch is my dunkel lager with an OG of 1.050. It's been in the primary for almost two weeks and I have read off 1.020 for the last three days. I swished the carboy around yesterday and if it reads 1.020 again, I might add more yeast.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:54 PM   #8
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I'm watching this post diligently. I have had the same problem with the last 6 brews all being right at 1.020 FG. None have tasted bad, all quite good in fact. I'm stumped by it, but not freakin out.

Can't wait to see anyone else's ideas. I also have done partial boils on extract with specialty grains in much the same manner.

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Old 04-25-2008, 06:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnA111
I'm watching this post diligently. I have had the same problem with the last 6 brews all being right at 1.020 FG. None have tasted bad, all quite good in fact. I'm stumped by it, but not freakin out.

Can't wait to see anyone else's ideas. I also have done partial boils on extract with specialty grains in much the same manner.
In my extract days I had a very similiar problem. Do your beers have the extract twang? It was difficult to diagnose, but my feeling is that the D(or L)ME, when boiled, caramelized and created unfermentable sugars. Hence the extract twang and slightly higher FG.

My solution was to buy AG gear.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solbergg
Muntons dry yeast for the first two, Safale S-04 for the next 3, then I think Safale S-23 for my lager.
Did the yeasts have a date on them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbergg
I got most of my DME & LME from my LHBS, and one from AHS.
Do you know what brand the malt extracts were?

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbergg
Specialty grains in proportion to what, amount of water steeped?
In proportion to the total grain/extract bill (by weight). For example 1lb crystal malt in a 10 lb total bill would be 10%.
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