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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Fermentation Stuck - My bad
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:40 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Stuck - My bad

Here is my process and where i think i made an error.

My first batch of beer, we hit the target og at 1.064 (1.055-1.065) was the target provided by the kit. For some reason my overly anal self siphoned the brew from the kettle to the fermentation bucket. The airlock activity started about 24 hours later and was quite vigorous for about 1.5 weeks then slowed. I transferred to my secondary and i had activity for about 4 days, then it slowed for 3 days, and i have had almost no airlock activity since.

I measured the gravity last night, and i have missed my final gravity. Measured OG is 1.020 Target (1.012-1.016). What i siphoned out went in a graduated cylinder and we drank it, it tasted great

Its measured at the same gravity twice, and if it hasn't changed i will be bottling on Saturday.

Am i right in thinking that siphoning the beer (no aeration) was the cause of my problems.

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Old 02-22-2013, 03:00 PM   #2
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Was this an extract beer? Extract beers often finish with an FG of ~1.020, I wouldn't sweat it. If it's stable at 1.020, meaning the same over a few days, it's probably just done.

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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:10 PM   #3
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So you didn't aerate it at all? Not even shaking it in the fermentor? If not, that would definitely work against the yeast. Boiling the wort drives off all of the dissolved oxygen, and the yeast need oxygen during the lag phase to create sterols which allow their cell walls to be flexible which allows them to reproduce more efficiently among other things.

But that is probably not the only reason it finished high. There are so many factors that can affect fermentation. I'm guessing this was an extract kit and malt extract tends to be high in unfermentable sugars and often leads to high FG's in higher OG beers. You can counteract this by replacing some of the extract with simple sugar. The higher your OG the more sugar you should use.

Also, what were your fermentation temps? That has a large impact as well. Too low and the yeast won't work as well but too high and they will produce tons of off flavors.

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Old 02-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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Yes it was an extract kit, its been in my garage (sorry) but it has been between 38-55 the entire time. It is a lager but is safe for ale temps. Fermentation chamber being built this weekend .

Its been measured twice, if it still a little high on Saturday, its getting bottled, that will be three measurements a total of 5 days apart with no movement.

Thanks for your imput

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Old 02-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #5
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What is the kit you're brewing? Knowing that would be a big help. Also, any notes you can share about your brew day process would also help.

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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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I will have to post tonight, i do not have the name of the kit, but its an oktoberfest, that the LHBS said would be safe at ale temps, the kit itself did confirm this. Kit brew schedule is as follows, 2 weeks in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, and then bottle.

Here is what i did from my notes:

Sanitized everything, fermentation bucket (oops), brew kettle (sigh), everything.

placed Grain in sack
brought 3 gals to 160
Drop grain sack
hold for 30 minutes,
removed grain
Brought to boil
Place extract in tub of warm water
Added both tubs of extract
add first batch of hops
Boil 30 minutes
Add second batch of hops
boil 30 minutes
Add water to reach 5 gallons of volume
cooled to 50 degrees (ice bath about 65 minutes)
siphon to 7.5 gal plastic fermentation tub
check Gravity (1.064) within target (adjusted to 1.063)
pitch yeast

24 hours later i had vigorous air lock activity that lasted about 11 days, and then slowed

Transferred to 5 Gallon Glass Carboy

4 days moderate activity, and then 3 days of decreased activity, and almost nonexistent activity since.

Tuesday - siphoned sample to graduated cylinder gravity read 1.020

Thursday - siphoned sample to graduated cylinder gravity read 1.020. Taste/appearance, very clear, tasted like a generic Oktoberfest. No real off flavor, can't wait to carbonate

The brew was at roughly 40 Degrees when it read 1.020, which adjusts to 1.019 Target is (1.012 - 1.016)

I think i am a bit OCD about this, i just want to hit the numbers perfectly, i mean why have a target, if you don't hit it? I have been writing down everything, and have about 1.5 pages of notes (yet do not have the kit name) on a kit.

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Old 02-22-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FearKnowBeer View Post
I will have to post tonight, i do not have the name of the kit, but its an oktoberfest, that the LHBS said would be safe at ale temps, the kit itself did confirm this. Kit brew schedule is as follows, 2 weeks in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, and then bottle.

Here is what i did from my notes:

Sanitized everything, fermentation bucket (oops), brew kettle (sigh), everything.

placed Grain in sack
brought 3 gals to 160
Drop grain sack
hold for 30 minutes,
removed grain
Brought to boil
Place extract in tub of warm water
Added both tubs of extract
add first batch of hops
Boil 30 minutes
Add second batch of hops
boil 30 minutes
Add water to reach 5 gallons of volume
cooled to 50 degrees (ice bath about 65 minutes)
siphon to 7.5 gal plastic fermentation tub
check Gravity (1.064) within target (adjusted to 1.063)
pitch yeast

24 hours later i had vigorous air lock activity that lasted about 11 days, and then slowed

Transferred to 5 Gallon Glass Carboy

4 days moderate activity, and then 3 days of decreased activity, and almost nonexistent activity since.

Tuesday - siphoned sample to graduated cylinder gravity read 1.020

Thursday - siphoned sample to graduated cylinder gravity read 1.020. Taste/appearance, very clear, tasted like a generic Oktoberfest. No real off flavor, can't wait to carbonate

The brew was at roughly 40 Degrees when it read 1.020, which adjusts to 1.019 Target is (1.012 - 1.016)

I think i am a bit OCD about this, i just want to hit the numbers perfectly, i mean why have a target, if you don't hit it? I have been writing down everything, and have about 1.5 pages of notes (yet do not have the kit name) on a kit.
If the kit and the LHBS said it's safe at ale temps, it could very well be one of the many Oct Fest kits that use ale yeast. Check on the yeast type, and if it's ale, warm that sucker up. Even if it's a lager yeast and you're worried about being stuck, since you're so close to the end of primary, warm it up. Also, if it was a lager, underpitching may lead to the higher FG. Lagers need a LOT of yeast. My guess is that it's an ale yeast, though.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help, i will bring it inside from the cold overnight and see if my gravity changes at all by saturday. That will give it a good 18-24 hours to work.

Thanks for all your help, i really appreciate it. Just so i know, is it common to miss the final gravity by a little bit here and there? I really do not have any experience.

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Old 02-22-2013, 06:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FearKnowBeer View Post
Thanks for the help, i will bring it inside from the cold overnight and see if my gravity changes at all by saturday. That will give it a good 18-24 hours to work.

Thanks for all your help, i really appreciate it. Just so i know, is it common to miss the final gravity by a little bit here and there? I really do not have any experience.
Anytime man, it's what these forums are for. And yes, it's very common to miss final gravity numbers by a few points, and also common for extract beers (especially those with LME) to finish right around 1.020. In general, you want to look for stability between two or three readings over several days to determine if the beer's done fermenting. If you have the same FG reading 3 days in a row, chances are it's down. Get this one warmer, give it some time, like 3 or 4 days and take a reading, if it's still 1.020, it's likely done and safe to bottle.
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Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:10 PM   #10
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Yeah, it sounds like it got awful cold at times, even for a lager yeast. Getting cold later in the process of fermentation can encourage yeast to flocc out and thus your fermentation stalls. Even if it's a true lager yeast, you're in secondary, warm it up to room temp for a few days then check gravity.

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