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Old 06-05-2008, 07:48 PM   #1
doodeyfoodle
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Default Fermentation done after four days; super-high original gravity

Hello all,

I'm in the middle of my first brew and (of course) am worried about the fermentation. I used an open-air pail (with a lid, just not air-tight) for the primary fermentation and there was definitely activity going on after the first day - the krausen was four to five inches high. The book I have (Joy of Homebrewing) recommends not leaving open-air fermentation for longer than a week, and another recommends transferring after only a few days.

So yesterday (day 4) I transferred to the secondary, a carboy sealed with a fermentation lock. There's about three or four inches from the top of the beer to the top of the neck. I haven't seen any bubbling in the airlock, and I'm worried (again, of course) that nothing is happening with the fermentation.

Here's the weird thing: my original gravity rating was 1.098, which seems ridiculously high. As of yesterday it was 1.009 - which would suggest that fermentation is done and that's why there's no bubbling in the airlock. I also now know that my thermometer is off, because when I checked the temperature while transferring to the secondary, the thermometer said under 10 degrees Celsius while the brew was at room temperature (approx. 20 degrees Celsius). I don't think this had a detrimental effect when I pitched the yeast though, because it obviously survived and started working, as evidenced by the huge krausen that developed.

So: it is possible that all fermentation has ceased after only three to four days? If not, what should I do to remedy the situation? If so, how long should the non-fermenting brew sit in the secondary? Do I simply have a fast-fermented, super-high alcohol brew?

Sorry for the length of the post, I just want to be as clear as possible.

Edit: I forgot to mention, I used two 1.9 kg batches of malt extract to try and get a heavy, full flavour. This might explain the high alcohol, but I didn't think it would be that high.

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Old 06-05-2008, 07:54 PM   #2
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Are you sure your OG was actually 1.098? two 1.9kg cans (8.4lb) of liquid extract should, by my back-of-the-envelope calculations, yield about a 1.059 wort if you're making 5 gallons (35*8.4/5 = 59).

Regardless of the OG, if it's fermented to 1.009, it's almost certainly done, there's nothing to 'fix', just give it a few weeks to condition and then proceed. But again, given the possible mixup with the OG, I would make sure you've measured the FG properly also...

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Old 06-05-2008, 08:08 PM   #3
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I'd bet that the OG was taken with the wort not having been mixed as well as it could have been. Its the only thing that makes sense as to how you'd get a reading that high.

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Old 06-05-2008, 08:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, I can only imagine that my messed-up thermometer caused me to take a reading at the wrong temperature. That, combined with some other unknown factor, must have thrown my reading, 'cause I couldn't believe 1.098. Thanks a lot for the replies guys, you're a great resource.

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Old 06-05-2008, 10:19 PM   #5
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its not yer thermometer...its the gravity reading. you literally have to stir for 10 solid minutes to mix a partial boil into the top off water. otherwise you'll get erratic gravity readings.

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Old 06-06-2008, 02:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
its not yer thermometer...its the gravity reading. you literally have to stir for 10 solid minutes to mix a partial boil into the top off water. otherwise you'll get erratic gravity readings.
Didn't know that. Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quick off topic question, how do you calculate the OG like that?

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Old 06-08-2008, 12:17 AM   #8
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:25 AM   #9
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Regarding stirring up the wort: I know you're supposed to do it in order to aerate, but other than aeration and inaccurate OG reading, will the beer ferment properly?

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Old 05-21-2012, 03:45 AM   #10
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4 year old topic

Anyway you need to stir the wort when using top off water to obtain a proper OG reading-otherwise you won't have an even distribution of dissolved sugars and get a bad reading.

In regaurds to fermentation you stir to aerate your wort so your yeast have the oxygen they need to multiply so they can properly ferment your beer.

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