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Old 01-24-2013, 01:16 AM   #1
CoreyT
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Default First beer, stuck fermentation?

Hi,
I've new to brewing beer, I've done several meads however so I have some basic knowledge of the process. I read a bit online, and ran across the White House Honey Ale recipe, http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/...se-beer-recipe. I made the wort and got everything going Sunday and by Monday the airlock was bubbling along nicely and I thought I was set. I thought I had the brew in a good spot to keep the temperature right for fermentation, but as of Tuesday morning the airlock has been stagnant. I picked up a beer belt from the local brew shop yesterday to get the temp back up and hopefully get things back on track. I even tried stirring the batch this evening to get the yeast back in action to no effect.

I'm wondering if I should try making a nice yeast starter and pitching that in, or if I've bitten off more than I can chew for my first batch and need to scrap it and start over, and simpler. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-24-2013, 01:35 AM   #2
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How do you know fermentation is stuck? What was you starting gravity? What is your final gravity. How long has it been in primary? Just because airlock activity has stopped doesn't mean it has stalled.

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Old 01-24-2013, 01:36 AM   #3
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Airlock activity is not an accurate gauge of fermentation. many primary fermentations will be over in 36 hours. the best way to know if you beer is still fermenting is with a hydrometer. most likely your beer went through primary and is now continuing to ferment just fine, just not producing a bunch of excess co2 (which is fine). give a couple of weeks, take a hydro reading if you have one, then start worrying (or not). until then, Relax don't worry and have a homebrew, or craft.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:17 AM   #4
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Well the stuff I read about beer didn't mention the hydrometer step, so I figured it was unnecessary. That was a mistake I realized after unfortunately. It's been in the primary only since Sunday.

I guess I'm more used to the mead. My meads are bubbling like crazy for a much longer time span really. I'll leave the brew I've got going alone for now. The brew belt should keep it warm enough at least and I'll see where the gravity is this weekend. The recipe said to rack to a secondary fermenter after 7 days roughly which would be this Sunday, so should I give it more time or stick to the schedule?

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:22 AM   #5
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Most here don't even rack into a secondary.. they let it ride until its ready to bottle on the yeast.

I have put both of mine in a secondary due to other mitigating circumstances.. (WAY Too much trub in one and new equipment for the second).

Long story short.. I would leave it on the primary for a while.. the yeast don't have a time table. If sanitation was good it can go way longer than the recipe calls for. Just be a smoother, and clearer beer in the end. Do a gravity reading, wait 3 days and do another if the two match and its within the FG reading expected, you can leave it for another few weeks till its time to bottle or rack if you want to.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
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Depending on the recipe and style. I would let it sit for at least minimum 3 wks before bottling or kegging. Good luck.

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Old 02-03-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
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Ok so I checked the gravity last week on 1/15 and then again last night, there has been no change, it was 1.020 both times. Unfortunately like I said I have no OG to work from, so I'm not sure if this is truly stuck or not. What should I do with this at this point? Pitch a nice strong yeast starter? Or toss and start over with an all extract recipe?

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Old 02-03-2013, 03:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoreyT View Post
Ok so I checked the gravity last week on 1/15 and then again last night, there has been no change, it was 1.020 both times. Unfortunately like I said I have no OG to work from, so I'm not sure if this is truly stuck or not. What should I do with this at this point? Pitch a nice strong yeast starter? Or toss and start over with an all extract recipe?
1.020 is a decent FG for an extract beer.

It's ready to bottle.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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If you followed the recipe perfectly, your OG would have been around 1.062.

Ending at 1.020 is about 68% attenuation. That's pretty good for Windsor yeast. You are probably done.

Personally I think 1.020 leaves a beer too sweet for my tastes. I think that recipe would be better with a higher attenuating yeast. Something like Nottingham would have taken it down to around 1.015 or lower.

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