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Old 12-15-2009, 01:08 PM   #1
bonzombiekitty
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Default Curse of the 1.02?

I made a partial mash that contained:

4lb Light DME
8oz Honey malt
8oz dextrin
1lb crystal 20
1lb Marris Otter

1lb of the DME was added at the start of boil, the other 3lbs were late additions. Got an OG of ~1.053. Fermentation was vigorous within 24 hours and has been sitting in the fermenter for 8 days. Used Safale S-04.

I took a sample to test the SG and got just a hair under 1.02. Beer still tasted a little sweet and since I'm off the expected FG of 1.014 I swirled the fermenter and sealed it back up hoping to redistribute the yeast in case they went dormant on me. And hopefully it'll bring the SG down some more.

It's possible I messed up the mash (was having some trouble getting the temp right) and got too many unfermentables out of it. Whatever. I'm transferring over to secondary and doing some dry hopping no matter what on Friday. It's still beer.

But it got me thinking. I've seen the phrase "curse of the 1.02" said quite often around here recently, specifically in the case of people doing malt extracts. Is getting stuck at 1.02 a common issue, and what is the reason for it?

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Old 12-15-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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Well you've used a pretty good yeast. How old was the DME? After I went all grain I noticed I got better attenuation with all of my yeasts.

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Old 12-15-2009, 01:51 PM   #3
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The very last extract IPA I made finished at 1.02 with Pacman.

I haven't had that problem since I switched to all grain.

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devaspawn View Post
Well you've used a pretty good yeast. How old was the DME? After I went all grain I noticed I got better attenuation with all of my yeasts.
1lb of the DME was a few weeks old as a leftover from my previous batch, but was kept in an airtight bag. The other 3lbs were fresh. Anything to be lost/gained by swinging by the LHBS and picking up another packet of yeast to throw in (minus the couple dollars of course)?
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:11 PM   #5
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I encountered this curse on 2 of my first 3 batches. I ended up repitching yeast on both batches....I ended up hitting my target gravity on one, the other only came down a couple more points.

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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How is your fermentation temp control?

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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In my opinion, the 1.020 curse has to do mostly with malt extract and underpitching. First, extract usually contains unfermentables. For example, Briess malts already contain carapils. On top of this, you added dextrin malt AND crystal. As far as underpitching, one 11g packet is usually enough for a 5 gal 1.050 batch as long as you rehydrate it properly. Otherwise, use this pitching rate calculator.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
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How is your fermentation temp control?
It's in my living room, which this time of year stays between 61 and 64 ambient. I don't have the equipment to do any control beyond that.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:40 PM   #9
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That can significantly hinder your fermentation progress. If you decide to re-pitch, be sure to get about 10 grams of Go-Ferm and follow the instructions on that when rehydrating the yeast. You might drop a few more points. The worst case scenario is that it changes nothing and you are out a couple more bucks.

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Old 12-15-2009, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketman768 View Post
In my opinion, the 1.020 curse has to do mostly with malt extract and underpitching.
http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
+1 to this. I had many extract beers that finished around 1.020. I tried DME and LME and tried different maltsters but only some of my beers went below 1.020. In this case it looks like it may have been the fermentation temp. You can try this which I've read on this site before. Get a cheap aquarium heater and see if you can put you fermentation bucket into a larger bucket that you can fill with water. Try to adjust the temp on the heater so that the water around the fermentation bucket is about 70. Hopfully it can wake the yeast up. Good luck.
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