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Old 07-02-2008, 02:09 AM   #1
freeflyer87
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Default Cant get S.G. to drop low enough?

I've checked the sticky threads and the archives but haven't been able to find an answer to this question.

I've just started homebrewing and so far have made 3 different kinds of Brewer's Best Kits (an AMber ale, an IPA, and a Dortmunder).

The Amber Ale was first and i took the specific gravity reading after the bubbling stopped in the fermenter. It was within the acceptable range for that kit so we bottled. Tasted great a few weeks later - no problems.

But now we just finished bottling an IPA. It spent a week in the primary fermenter and we checked the S.G. 3 times but it was not in the recommended range. Talked to a guy at our brew shop and he recommended/explained secondary fermentation. Did that. Checked the S.G. over the next 4 days and it FINALLY dropped down 0.001 into the acceptable range for bottling. Seemed like it took a long time, but anyhow it's bottled now.

Also in the middle of brewing a Dortmunder. 1 week in primary fermenter. Today we transferred to secondary fermenter, but it's NOT really even close to being a low enough specific gravity.

The kits say the fermentation process should only take a total of 3-10 days before it's ready to bottle. My question is WHY ARE THESE LAST 2 taking so long for the S.G. to drop?

Is there anything i could have done in the process that would have caused the S.G. to drop so much slower than when i did my first Amber Ale kit?

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Old 07-02-2008, 02:37 AM   #2
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What is the SG right now? You won't always be exactly in the range due to various factors.

I just had a 2 week fermentation. Best advice is to relax and wait and see.

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Old 07-02-2008, 02:41 AM   #3
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First off, disregard any instructions that give you a specific time that the beer is ready to bottle. It ain't ready until the yeast are done! Lots of things can impact that: quantity, variety and health of the yeast, aeration level, fermentation temperature, the quantity and nature of the fermentable sugars, etc. Personally, I don't bother to take a hydrometer reading until at least a few weeks after pitching. Your beer has no set schedule, and "longer" is almost always better than "sooner."

"Secondary fermenter" is really a misnomer, nearly all fermentation takes place in the primary. You shouldn't take your beer off of the yeast cake until you've reached your final gravity...the secondary is for settling and clearing, not for fermenting. Professional brewers refer to them as "bright tanks."

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Old 07-02-2008, 03:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindLemonLars View Post
"Secondary fermenter" is really a misnomer, nearly all fermentation takes place in the primary. You shouldn't take your beer off of the yeast cake until you've reached your final gravity...the secondary is for settling and clearing, not for fermenting. Professional brewers refer to them as "bright tanks."
That said, I wouldn't use a secondary at all unless the beer requires bulk cold aging, like Koelsch. Letting it sit on the yeast for three weeks or so is going to produce an equally clear beer, plus it gives the yeast more time to clean up after itself.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:14 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=neilb;736151]What is the SG right now? You won't always be exactly in the range due to various factors.

the SG was supposed to be 1.014 it was 1.020 it had stayed at that point for a couple of days.

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Old 07-02-2008, 11:29 AM   #6
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Okay, your current SG is 1.020. What was the OG? What yeast did you pitch? What was the primary fermentation temperature? What sort of fermenter is the beer in? All of these things have an impact on what sort of answer to give. So 'fess up!

+1 to Lars: Ignore the instructions. A sheet of paper can't hope to know everything about your brewery. All it says is how the guy who wrote the instructions brewed the beer (presumably successfully). Every brewery is different, and yeast respond to that. Don't listen to a sheet of paper; listen to your yeast!

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Old 07-02-2008, 02:08 PM   #7
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Here's my two cents, ignore the SG listed on the instructions, you have to compare your SG to your OG to determine attenuation when trying to figure out if it's ready to bottle. Also, a small difference, like the .001 you mention in your original post is not a significant amount, if you think you need to bottle at 1.014 and your beer is at 1.015, you're probably okay to bottle. Finally +1 on everyone who said to ignore any set timeframes for fermentation, yeast is a living thing and each batch will be different.

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Old 07-02-2008, 09:43 PM   #8
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"Okay, your current SG is 1.020. What was the OG? What yeast did you pitch? What was the primary fermentation temperature? What sort of fermenter is the beer in? All of these things have an impact on what sort of answer to give. So 'fess up! "


the OG was 1.040 the primary fermentation temp was a pretty steady 68 occasionally hitting 70 the beer was fermented in a standard 6 1/2 gallon plastic bucket I'm looking at the ingredient list and all it says is beer yeast so i don't have an exact answer to that question.

Thanks for all your help everyone

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Old 07-02-2008, 09:51 PM   #9
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If it was Brewers Best, I bet it was a Llallemande yeast (orange packet). Nottingham or Windsor.

Nottingham should have worked okay, but slow at 68*F but I think Windsor likes to be warm.

I don;t have the data here on these yeast and the website cites "Traditional Ale temperatures" for both. WTF?

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Old 07-03-2008, 12:41 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=freeflyer87;736439]

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilb View Post
What is the SG right now? You won't always be exactly in the range due to various factors.

the SG was supposed to be 1.014 it was 1.020 it had stayed at that point for a couple of days.
Mine is stuck at 1.020 right now. Same kit. I used pacman yeast though. It smells a little fruity still. I plan to let it sit for at least another week or maybe 2 now that I saw you had problems.
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