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Old 10-10-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
arover
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Default First stuck fermentation (heavy beer), what to do?

I just took the gravity on my AHS Milk Chocolate Stout (started at 1.074), it's stuck at 1.034. I pitched a 1.5L starter with WLP013. I don't know if I should go out and get more yeast to pitch, or leave it be? I just shook it up a good amount to get the yeast back moving in there after putting the stopper back on. It's been 1.5 weeks, after the 3rd day of fermentation the house got pretty cold but most of my fermentations finish after 48-72 hours so I didn't take any measures to warm it up. I moved it to my room now where the heater's going. You guys think it has to do with the temp? I've never really done a brew this large before.

Note: The ambient temp was about 68, it dropped to 58 after about 3 days. Though the stick-on thermo reads 63 or so right now.

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Old 10-10-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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I would try warming it up a bit if you can

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Old 10-10-2009, 09:04 PM   #3
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I second that swirl up the yeast a bit and get that sucker closer to 68-70

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Old 10-11-2009, 08:19 PM   #4
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Update: I've had it at a steady 68-70 since posting this, and I'm seeing no airlock activity, with the gravity moving from 1.034 to about 1.032. I don't know if I should get another vial and make another starter around the same gravity, or what.

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Old 10-11-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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Give it a swirl every day or 2 and keep the temp right there.

Don't know how good of an idea this is but I have done it on 3 diff beers and it worked all 3. I dumped 1/2 cup of corn sugar in the carboy and gently swirled the yeast really reacted. They not only ate the new sugar but kicked up and finished the beers.
Two of them were in the 1.025 range and 1 was over 1.030 and all 3 finished at 1.016 or under.

Take this for what it is just something that worked for me. Good luck.

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Old 10-11-2009, 08:36 PM   #6
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Yeah, I've heard of that before. I was also considering making a new starter but I wouldn't know what the gravity should be at. Any ideas on either of these, anyone?

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Old 10-12-2009, 06:43 PM   #7
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I've got a similar problem with a Wee Heavy. The OG was 1.087 and it completely stopped at 1.032. I stirred it up real good and after a few hours I got slow bubbling through the air lock again. Hopefully it will finish out if I give it a gentle rousing every so often.

That said, this beer has caused me to do a lot of thinking. I'm not experienced (the Wee Heavy is only my 4th brew), and would like to run my thoughts by the group and see if they hold up to scrutiny:

1st) I'm under the impression that I don't need to worry too much about aeration in my primary by stirring up my yeast since I had about 2 days of heavy fermentation and now have a nice blanket of co2 covering my beer. Is this accurate?

2nd) I've already given a lot of thought to Snazzy's idea of adding priming sugar to kick start fermentation into a second round. If I did this, how would I accurately calculate the resulting alcohol percentage? My theory is as follows and assumes my fermentation was still stuck at 1.032 and I was able to get it to restart and finish at 1.016:
OG= 1.087
Stuck G= 1.032
ABV so far= 7.2%
Added a new sugar and retested gravity= 1.040
Fermentation continues and ends with a FG=1.016
ABV from 1.040 to 1.016= 3.1%
Final ABV = (7.2% + 3.1%) = 10.3%


Does the calculation above work as I've described? If not, what is the flaw in the logic and what other method would show an accurate final ABV after adding extra fermentables?

Thanks for the help!

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Old 10-12-2009, 06:49 PM   #8
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I am buying a pack of dry champagne yeast when I buy the supplies for my barleywine, and I plan to finish it off using the champagne yeast. For a wee heavy, that might not be the way to go, but it is an option.

As for figuring out the ABV if you add sugar, just figure out what the OG would have been if you had added the sugar in the boil. There is your new OG. Once you have that, you just use your FG as normal. Your method works the same way, this just might be less confusing.

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Old 10-12-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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Please do not finish a Wee Heavy with champagne yeast. You will not have a Wee Heavy when it is done. Frankly, Coastarine, I don't think you will have a barleywine, either, if you finish with champagne yeast.

Keep the beer warm, keep rousing it, and keep checking gravity. You probably need to get it above 70, at this point. I would not expect a beer that big to ferment out in 72 hours, so it needed to stay warm until it was done. Once that yeast flocculates and goes to sleep, it's hard to wake it up.


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Old 10-15-2009, 03:35 AM   #10
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Well, it's officially stuck. Hasn't changed in 5 days, with temps of up to 72F. Do I make a starter from the same strain of yeast, and, if so, what gravity should I make it? Or should I pitch some dry yeast?

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