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-   -   Why has my fermentation been stopping at 1.020? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/why-has-my-fermentation-been-stopping-1-020-a-364939/)

chungking 11-02-2012 01:07 AM

I made an extract Big Ben pale ale kit from Midwest 3 weeks ago. Tried a few new things: rehydrated the dry yeast, incorporated a swamp cooler, and started using starsan.
Well, after almost 3 weeks in primary, just took a reading, and its at 1.020. Og was 1.050. This is the third batch in a row that stopped at that gravity. The swamp cooler has been in the mid to lower 60's the whole time. I can't think of anything I did wrong this time.

I had high hopes for this brew. Tried something basic, but its still messed up. My first batches hit the marks for both og and fg. Had no fermentation issues, and I was fermenting in ambient temps around 75, no swamp cooler...

kh54s10 11-02-2012 01:17 AM

From what I have read it is fairly common for extract brews to bottom out at or near 1.020. I don't know the reason and the couple that I did that were close to that turned out fine.

Generally I don't worry too much about FG unless it is a long way from predicted. I would worry about 1.020 if the predicted was near 1.005.

chungking 11-02-2012 01:24 AM

It's just really frustrating. You buy something expecting certain results, and you don't come close. Especially if you go the extra mile and make sure everything is perfect. I had better gravity readings my first time brewing with canned lme and letting it sit in 75+ temps.

This whole thing is nothing but stress and hasn't been that rewarding.

Sorry, just venting my frustrations.

HerbieHowells 11-02-2012 01:48 AM

Extract can cause yeast to poop out early, but not always. It could be an aeration problem. If you do not add enough oxygen to your wort when you pitch the yeast, it can have negative effects on your attenuation. Especially when you are working at the lower range for your yeast. Are you doing anything to aerate your beer? Even whisking the beer when it gets down to pitching temperature is better than nothing.

Hang in there. Sometimes you read these threads and walk away thinking that you are the only one making a bad batch here and there. I would bet that most of us have had our share of stinker batches. We all know the frustration. I'm far from all the way there after a year, but I am getting closer, and I sure know a lot more about commercial beers than I did a while ago. Its a craft, and takes some failures. Good luck figuring this one out.

chungking 11-02-2012 02:02 AM

I don't think it's an aeration problem. I poured about 2 gallons of distilled water in the fermenter, then poured in the wort, then stirred it up. Then filled it up to 5 gallons with more distilled water.

I just checked my hydrometer against some tap water in the mid 60's, it came out right around 1.002-1.003. So I think the hydrometer is ok.

I'm just waiting for that moment when I drink a homebrew and it tastes amazing, better then commercial beer. I have yet to hit that, with about 8 batches under my belt. It just seems like things are getting worse, not better...

mcm114 11-02-2012 09:47 AM

This happened to me recently as well. I do mostly partial mash brews and I got some LME from a different supplier that only fermented down to around 1.020, on two seperate occasions. I found out from that supplier that there was a bad batch of LME in the supply chain that was fermented at too high a temperature. It seems reasonable that different homebrew supply retailers could be getting their extracts from the same sources, but I don't know.

Bottom line, the company did the right thing and replaced my extracts when I brought this to their attention. (That's why I'm not saying who it was...) But you should definitely let midwest know about this, and see what they can do for you.

Right now I am experimenting with adding amylase enzyme to the primaries on those two batches, and it seems to be working, as I have a good krausen going now. I just hope it doesn't go too low...

Bradinator 11-02-2012 10:32 AM

A few years ago when I started and was still doing extract brewing I had this problem in the beginning. I switched from Coopers yeast to SafAle-05 and Nottingham and the issue went away.

chungking 11-02-2012 11:19 AM

I used the safale 05 premium dry yeast. I used muntons regular dry yeast on previous kits that came with the true blew kits.

Just a bummer. Hopefully it will taste good. I'm trying to get the temp up to 70 to see if that helps, but I will probably bottle this weekend.

whoaru99 11-02-2012 11:28 AM

My first batch stuck at 1.020 too. Best as I know I did everything right enough it should have finished properly. So, to me, the only thing that really makes sense is the stuff I've seen about the LME.

WoodlandBrew 11-02-2012 11:44 AM

Some extracts are only 55% fermentable according to a variety of studies including one detailed in "Designing Great Beers" so you actually did pretty good. Adjusting for the 3 gravity unit error you detected in your hyrometer an OG of 1.047 to the FG of 1.017 leaves you at 64% attenuation. If it tastes to cloying there are ways to fix it.

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