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Old 01-22-2007, 02:34 PM   #1
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Default I'm tossing it down the drain!

Recipe is here.

I tried every damned thing I could think of with this batch. It just will NOT ferment correctly. It refuses to drop below 1.036 or so. I even re-pitched another vial of a different type of yeast, and STILL I have nothing. Temperature has been between 65 - 70 the entire time (see below for a possible exception). I've never had a beer behave so strangely! I do have several ideas that might account for this stuck-in-the-mud fermentation:

1) I picked the hops in September from my aunt-in-law's vines. She uses some sort of insecticide, but I made sure to rinse them before drying them and then sticking them in the freezer until late December. Not sure if that could account for anything or not. The lupulins were still bright yellow and the hops smelled great during the boil, though, so I can't tell.

2) The water I used this time was from my tap, but it was run through a Brita filter. The water in my town is pretty heavily chlorinated, and while my filter is supposed to remove that, it may have done so insufficiently. This one seems unlikely, though, because I've had good batches using my water in the past.

3) The temperature in my kitchen is always between 65 and 70 degrees, but I can't tell if it's a little cooler at the floor level. I put the carboy in a closet for a couple days and nothing happened. Still, though, other batches have always been fine, so why should this one be any different?

At any rate, it's going to be a dark, swirling whirlpool in my sink tonight. Die, you evil batch of unfermentable goop.

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Old 01-22-2007, 02:39 PM   #2
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A moment of silence.









How did you aerate this batch? Anything different?

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Old 01-22-2007, 02:41 PM   #3
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R.I.P., Evil Goop.

What was your OG? Have you actually tried some of it? I've had brews finish out high, but still taste damned good.

None of the factors you mention should inhibit fermentation. One thing, though: did you aerate your wort properly? And do you know how old the yeast was? Did your starter have any actual activity?

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Old 01-22-2007, 02:42 PM   #4
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After it cooled to 70 degrees with my chiller, I put the lid on and shook the begeezus out of it for a few minutes, as per usual. I suppose it's possible it wasn't enough for some reason. Clearly *something* went wrong, so I can't deny any ideas.

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Old 01-22-2007, 02:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
R.I.P., Evil Goop.

What was your OG? Have you actually tried some of it? I've had brews finish out high, but still taste damned good.

None of the factors you mention should inhibit fermentation. One thing, though: did you aerate your wort properly? And do you know how old the yeast was? Did your starter have any actual activity?
O.G. was 1.062. It does taste OK, but shoot...that's like 3% ABV. Not that I go for target gravity alone, but I do like my beers to have *some* alcohol.
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:44 PM   #6
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Yeast starter?

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Old 01-22-2007, 02:47 PM   #7
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The insecticide kind of scares me, I'm not sure if people who grow hops commonly use anything. I'd think making an aeration system - either the aquarium pump setup that Evan uses, or the oxygenation system that I just bought - the next upgrade to your setup.

How long has it been since you brewed the batch? Are you sure that the closet is warm? Last-gasp measure might be to leave it somewhere that you KNOW is warm, toss in a packet of dry yeast, wrap it in some blankets, and see if it restarts.

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Old 01-22-2007, 03:02 PM   #8
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This could be totally off-base and useless, but my understanding was that you're supposed to keep the wort above 70ºF until fermentation begins in earnest, then move it to a cooler location to get it to your desired fermentation temp, say 65ºF or whatever. I thought keeping it cooler than that early on could stunt the yeast significantly. That could also account for why pitching a second vial didn't help; your temps were too cool then as well. It might not actually make that much difference, but I thought I'd throw it out there as a possibility.

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Old 01-22-2007, 03:05 PM   #9
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Out of curiosity, was it Laaglander DME that you used or something different?

If it was Laaglander, there is a good chance that you're as good as you're going to get. It has a relatively low fermentation rate and leaves a lot of sugars behind.

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Old 01-22-2007, 03:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Yeast starter?
Yup. Active as heck before I pitched it, too.

Quote:
How long has it been since you brewed the batch? Are you sure that the closet is warm? Last-gasp measure might be to leave it somewhere that you KNOW is warm, toss in a packet of dry yeast, wrap it in some blankets, and see if it restarts.
I brewed it two weeks ago yesterday. I actually placed it flush against the heater in the kitchen for the last couple days, and nada. I've given this beer more chances than it deserves. I *hate* the thought of watching $40 and four hours' worth of work going down the tubes, but I think it's just that time.

Someone play taps for me.
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