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Old 05-03-2006, 02:49 PM   #1
rjm
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Default Yeast stalled?

I’ve only brewed two batches of beer, and this is the first time that I have transferred to a secondary. It was in the primary for about 8 days, and the fermentation had pretty much stopped – one bubble per min or less, and the krausen fell a few days back. It fermented vigorously for 6 days, then slowed. I took a sample and measured the gravity when I transferred, and it was a lot higher than I hoped for, at 1.032; the OG was 1.071 which was about right for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and I used Wyeast 1214 which should tolerate a high alcohol beer. I estimate that this batch will be about 5.17% alc by volume, which is very low for this style. Where did I go wrong, or what are the possibilities? I’m not upset as it tasted pretty good, and looks fine, but I may want to refine my technique in the future.

Cheers,

Rob



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Old 05-03-2006, 02:58 PM   #2
Ivan Lendl
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you should be lower then that, like high teens or lower (1.018-1.010) it might take a while to reach that though, check the gravity every couple of days to see if its getting lower.

a few questions: did you aerate REALLY well? Did you use a starter?

by your description it sounds like everything was good (6 days active ferm. graduall slow down, 8 days in primary)

it could be a false reading from the hydro.

if it tastes good, and is not too sweet tasting, id leave it for a few weeks then bottle...



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Old 05-04-2006, 04:57 PM   #3
rjm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn Borg

a few questions: did you aerate REALLY well? Did you use a starter?

if it tastes good, and is not too sweet tasting, id leave it for a few weeks then bottle...

No starter. Not quite sure how to do that yet, and equally newbe like, I aerate by shaking the hell out of it after I pitch. The aeration method will not likely change for the next few batches, but if someone could point me to the best way to do a starter that would be great. I plan on doing a batch on Saturday, but unfortunately I will also be picking up the ingredients the same day so not much time for a starter. I could possibly brew on Sunday.

It didn't taste too sweet, so I'm going to leave it in the secondary for a few weeks as recomended, and see what happens. There is a bit of yeast settling to the bottom of the secondary, so maybe it is still fermenting, but I assume that the fermentation in the secondary will not get me down to where I want to be?


Thanks for the advice,


Rob
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:37 PM   #4
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Hey Rob,
Two things you can do to make vast improvements in the flavor of your beer:

1) Make a good starter for your yeast (with a magnetic stirrer as soon as you can afford one)

2) Aerate your wort with an air pump or oxygen system

I kept getting strange flavors in some of my brews and I knew it wasn't sanitation because I Star San the crap out of everything

I started reading everything I could get my hands on about off flavors and improving my beers and found out that under-pitching and under-aeration can both lead to strange amounts of ester production and other off flavors, not to mention the increased chance of wild yeast and bacteria that can lend a lambic like flavor to your beer... (I ended up with a banana porter from pitching one vial of White Labs yeast and pouring the wort into my plastic fermenter from 3 feet above the bucket LOL... the banana flavor was so strong it buried the roasty bitter malt flavors!!!!)

Here's a great link about yeast starters and why you should use them... it made so much sense to me that I ended up purchasing a magnetic stirrer and flask:

http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/MB_Raines_Guide_to_Yeast_Culturing.php

and as for an aeration system I use the air pump from www.morebeer.com (site seems to be down at the moment or I'd link ya directly to the product)

The combination of yeast starters and aeration has dropped my lag time down to about 1 hour (and I've seen positive pressure in my airlock in as little as 20 minutes on more than one brew)...

YMMV, but I really think doing these things has made a major improvement in my beers

hope that helps,

mikey

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Old 05-05-2006, 12:30 AM   #5
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Making a starter a few days ahead of brew day:

Get a glass container - a growler, flask, gallon jug, large jar - and a rubber stopper and an air lock to fit it, or if all else fails a piece of foil and a rubber band. Clean and sanitize the jar. Boil some dry malt extract, about a cup, in a quart of water for 10 minutes to get it dissolved and sanitized. Cool the liquid and add to jar with yeast. Shake like crazy. Let sit a few days and ferment. Pitch starter into wort. This will 1. make sure your yeast is alive and 2. give you a higher cell count for pitching.

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