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Old 06-06-2011, 12:28 PM   #1
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Default Help with stuck fermentation

I've got a stuck fermentation, and I'm looking at three different options.

This is an extract recipe for a Grand Cru. Yeast was Wyeast 3944, OG was 1.086. I significantly underpitched (just one smack pack, no starter, for 5 gallons) so I was expecting a stuck fermentation might be a possibility. It is fermenting in a basement with the temperatures in the immediate vicinity of the carboy around 60-62F.

After 2 weeks it was 1.048. After another week it was about the same (maybe a point or two lower), and sometime that week -- I stupidly forgot to note down when I did it -- I pitched a 0.5 gal starter made with Wyeast 3944. OG of the starter was ~1.040 (I didn't measure it, but that's what it should have been based on volumes) and I pitched the whole thing at high kraeusen.

Got significant new activity after I pitched the starter, which made me optimistic... but it only climbed down to 1.038 after a week.

So now it's been 5 weeks, and the sample I took yesterday was 1.036, so it appears to be stuck again. Here are the three options I am considering:

1) Easiest, but probably least likely to work: I have a couple packets of US-05 in the fridge, so I could just rehydrate those and throw them in and hope for the best. Since US-05 is higher attenuating, I think that stands a chance -- but pitching it into a high alcohol environment like that (it should be around 6.5% ABV by now) I figure won't work.

2) Middle of the road: Buy some champagne yeast and pitch that. Do I need to still make a starter if I am using champagne yeast?

3) Most work, probably most likely to work: Brew a similar but lower gravity beer using Wyeast 3944 (I wouldn't mind making a Blue Moon clone or similar anyway) and then rack this one onto the yeast cake.

I suppose I could also just bottle it -- the 1.036 sample yesterday was the first one where the sweetness was tolerable -- but I'd be worried about bottle bombs, and in any case other than the excessive sweetness the flavor is about where I want it, so I'd hate not to see it through.

Suggestions?

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:22 PM   #2
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Your best chance at this stage is to go with option 3. Although, I would be extra careful about introducing any oxygen during the transfer. Pitching any dry yeast on a brew that does not contain a lot of simple sugars (I'm guessing this applies here) is not likely to gain you many gravity points. Perhaps a 4th option, is to pitch an active lager yeast starter since this strain of yeast will consume some sugars that ale yeast won't touch. Just my 2 cents....

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Old 06-06-2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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Take it where is warmer 70 should get it to pick up

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Old 06-06-2011, 11:11 PM   #4
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If it's in a bucket you can try picking it up by the handle and gently but firmly twisting the bucket left and right (think washing machine motion). This will mix up the yeast cake at the bottom a bit and can possibly rouse your yeast to get back into action. It definitely helped with my brew. Do that and move it to a slightly warmer place.

Spin/twist the beer as much as you want. You just want to listen and try to avoid sounds of sloshing/splashing as you don't want to oxidize your brew.

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Old 06-06-2011, 11:36 PM   #5
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I'll second the "warm it up"

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Old 06-07-2011, 02:12 PM   #6
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Okay, I brought it upstairs and it's warming up. I also am getting ready to make the starter for that Blue Moon clone, so if bringing up the temp and rousing the yeast doesn't work, I still have a backup plan. Thanks for the advice!

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:15 PM   #7
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Well, that seems to have worked. Plenty of airlock activity, and even a new kraeusen! I'll know for sure when I take another hydrometer reading in a couple days... thanks!

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Old 06-10-2011, 01:48 PM   #8
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Bah! It stalled out again at 1.030. Of course, this is an extract brew, with an OG of 1.086, so it's possible that could be the FG, but it still tastes a bit sweet so I doubt it. My goal was to get it within spitting distance of 1.020.

Well, I brewed that Blue Moon clone last night (first partial mash!) so I guess I'll just let it sit for another couple weeks at least and see if it gets anywhere, and I can always rack it onto the new yeast cake then. Of course, at that point it will have been in the primary for like 8 weeks... oy...

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Old 06-10-2011, 08:26 PM   #9
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keep doing the twisting rousing of the yeastens!!1

it might still help.

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Old 06-11-2011, 05:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolishStout
keep doing the twisting rousing of the yeastens!!1

it might still help.
Thanks, I'll give it a shot.
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