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Old 03-05-2013, 04:08 AM   #1
Blades13
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Default High gravity at secondary on stout

I've been brewing for a few months now and lately I've been experimenting with my own recipes, all partial mashes. In my latest experiment I was aiming for a coffee stout. It could be early to ask this question but I just switched it over into secondary ferment after 2 weeks in primary so I think it's valid.

I had an OG of about 1.058 before primary and after two weeks my gravity reads at 1.04. Aside from the fact that I still want it to drop about .03, but this seems very high after 2 weeks. I tried the beer and it isn't sweet. It tastes like it should to me. I'm not sure what has gone wrong so far. The only thing I can think of is that the fermentation temperature could be a little cold, we keep our house at 58F in the winter and I don't have a way to warm the brews during ferment as of yet, however I haven't had any problems with any of my previous beers although they haven't been perfect. I used Lallemand Windsor British-style beer yeast.

Any advice is much appreciated!

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Old 03-05-2013, 06:13 AM   #2
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You need to warm that yeast, even if you have a heating pad you can use around the fermenter. That beer should finish in the teens for FG. 1.015 would be 75% attenuation.

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Old 03-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #3
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Thanks. I have it wrapped in fermwrap now and it is warmed up. It has started to bubble but very slowly. Is there any reason to think I may have to add more yeast?

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Old 03-06-2013, 11:30 PM   #4
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OK so you started at 1.058, and now you're stuck at 1.040? That's a problem.

IIRC, those Windsor yeast packs are small, like 5 grams, right? If you used one, you seriously under-pitched. So it may have gotten off to a sluggish start.

Second, you took the beer off the yeast cake long before it was ready for such a move. You will have trouble getting much more attenuation. You should wait until you have reached FG before moving the beer to secondary.

Adding more yeast is a desperation move, since the presence of alcohol and the absence of oxygen will make it difficult for the new yeast to reproduce. I have heard of trying to make a big starter and pitching it at high kraeusen, but your overall chances of success are small.

Having said all that, I will confess that I also have had a very high finish - 1.034 - the cause of which I never really did diagnose. But after I started paying a lot of attention to conditions at pitching time, I started getting good attenuation. My guess is that this may end up being one of those batches, which happen to all of us from time to time, which just isn't that great. But you will learn from it, and do better in the future.


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Old 03-06-2013, 11:35 PM   #5
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Out of curiosity is this being read with a hydrometer or refractometer?

If the latter, use the former

Also, if you were concerned about the gravity, why'd you rack off the yeast? Makes things a little more difficult to try and correct

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:29 PM   #6
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Frazier, the yeast packets are 11.5g so it wasn't under-pitched. It certainly started fermenting immediately. I think it stalled due to temperature and it has started again, slowly, with the heat. Hopefully I can get a new reading this weekend and see where it's at. If it's still high I will probably try pitching another large yeast starter and hope for the best.

Dubo, A refractometer looks fancy, maybe later. I like my hydrometer and rough readings. I racked it because I was hoping it was going to be so high, I probably should take the reading first in the future...

It's all an experiment right?

Thanks

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:46 PM   #7
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No need to rack a stout at all in the future. The less you mess with them, the better they turn out. If it's bubbling again, even slowly since you warmed it up just give it a few more weeks and check the gravity again. Re-pitching seldom works well so that should be a last resort...

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Old 03-10-2013, 03:18 AM   #8
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No need to rack any beer unless you're adding something or ageing it. Hopefully you'll reach a good FG, Stouts can tolerate a fairly high FG, but you want as much yeast to finish the beer as possible

Since it's already been racked, you may need to leave it 3-4 weeks in secondary to achieve FG (same reading > 3 days).

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:20 AM   #9
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I'm going to try and check the gravity this week, I'll let you know how it goes. I guess it kind makes sense that a stout doesn't have to be racked, but as for other beers, they don't have to be racked sure, but if you want a clear beer without sediment it is much better. I didn't believe in it either at first. Thanks for all the help.

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Old 03-11-2013, 04:18 PM   #10
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From one new brewer to another, my first 5 gal batch was a stout, OG in the 1.055 range. It fermented like mad for 24 hours down to 1.023ish and stopped. I was hoping for 1.015ish.

Temps started warm, too warm, pitched in the upper mid 80s (I know..I know) and then into my basement it went where is dropped to low 60s.

After 2 weeks being stagnant at 1.023/1.022, I decided to move it into my dining room next to a heater vent and probably got it up 3-5 degrees. After 1 day, 1.020, day 3, 1.018, last couple of days 1.016, and that diacetly punch you in the face odor has dissapated nicely.

So its into bottles tonight for me. Glad I decided to 'let it finish' warmer, cause I'd have had a lot'o'foam in those bottles.

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