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Old 10-27-2006, 03:25 PM   #1
picker77
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Default Low OG, High FG. Stuck or am I just impatient?

I'm new at this, have only brewed 6-8 batches so far using extract kits and good old beginner's corn sugar with mixed results, some fairly decent, some pretty cidery. Now I'm trying to move one step up the food chain by doing my first all-malt kit (Brewer's Best American Amber). The OG seemed low @ 1.038 (recipe says 1.042-1.045), although I thought I mixed the wort well after combining the boil and makeup water in the fermenter. In any case, I moved on. The wort started perking just fine after about 16 hours and I had a smile on my face. Unfortunately, it perked pretty good (every 5-8 seconds) for 8-10 hours, then suddenly stopped dead. No action since. Stirred the wort, no change. Current gravity is 1.016 (recipe calls for FG of 1.010-1.014). It has currently been 48 hours since sealing up the fermenter, and almost 24 hours since fermentation seemed to stop.

1. My other hopped syrup/corn sugar kits have fermented great for 3-5 days and I usually bottled at about 7 days. What could cause the sudden stop after only about 8-10 hours on this one? Is this related to using all malt instead of corn sugar? The kit is 4 lb of syrup + 2 lb of Amber DME, plus some bittering and finishing hops.

2. Current 1.016 gravity is still significantly higher than the FG called for, but since no more fermentation seems to be taking place, I'm not sure what to do, other than I'm darned sure not going to bottle this stuff at this point. Do I just need to wait it out, or do I need to add a new shot of yeast?

FWIW, the kit was brewed exactly according to the recipe, and wort temp has been kept at 70 F +/- 2 degrees throughout.

Thanks in advance, I'd appreciate any help!



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Old 10-27-2006, 03:39 PM   #2
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  • What yeast did you use?
  • What was the listed attenuation for that yeast?
  • What temp range did you ferment at?
  • What temp range did the yeast packet say?
  • Do you oxygenate/aerate your wort prior to pitching?
  • How long has it been since pitching?

I wouldn't bottle the stuff as it stands, since your ABV stands around 2.89% right now. I wouldn't waste the carb intake in it, personally. You can try making a starter and repitching, though, just to see what happens.


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Old 10-27-2006, 06:57 PM   #3
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* What yeast did you use?
I used the default standard "Brewer's Best" dry yeast that was packaged with the kit.

* What was the listed attenuation for that yeast?
I did not see an attenuation percentage listed in either the instructions or on the yeast package. The brewing parameter ranges listed on the recipe were:
SG 1.042-1.045
FG 1.010-1.014
ABV 4% - 5%
Hop IBU's 20-25

* What temp range did you ferment at?
70F

* What temp range did the yeast packet say?
Kit instructions said 68-72F.

* Do you oxygenate/aerate your wort prior to pitching?
Yes.

* How long has it been since pitching?
Approx 50 hours.

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Old 10-27-2006, 07:48 PM   #4
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Picker,
I have a couple of suggestions. first, would be to wait a few days and see if there is any airlock activity at all . One way to check other than sitting there stairing at it is to push down on the lid to make the airlock bubble, then let go of the lid and the water levek willl be higher on the side of the airlock that goes into the fermenter (this only works on the u-bend style airlocks, not the round ones) then come back in a couple of hours. if the water level is now higher on the exhaust side of the airlock then you still have a little fermentation going in there, and it might be best to just wait another week or so, it may just be a slow ferment. if you have no airlock activity, I would go to the LHBS and pick up a packet of nottingham or salfale us-56 yeast and sprinkle it on top of the wort. I've had a lot of luck with both these yeasts and I think most of us would consider them far superior to the mystery yeast that comes with some kits.

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Old 10-27-2006, 07:54 PM   #5
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Picker77, The 1010-1014 FG they quote is only a rough guide and you're there really with only being 2 points out, no need to pitch more yeast.
A hydrometer is a great tool but don't think you have to be a slave to it with beer. Just give it the usual 7 days in primary and then rack it to secondary. No worries!

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Old 10-27-2006, 09:52 PM   #6
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Thanks, Gentlemen, I feel a little better now. Ha. I called the expert at the local HB store this afternoon and got a similar answer, namely don't sweat it. I'll let it go a week or so and then rack it off and see what happens. I tasted the throwaway from the hydrometer tube today and believe it or not it wasn't bad, so maybe this will turn out ok.

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Old 10-27-2006, 11:54 PM   #7
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My Whole Harvest ale (OG 1.038) is doing something similar. I pitched Sunday around noon and the krausen had fallen by Monday morning, no bubbles. I had left the OG sample on the counter and it was at 1.020. So, I just left it alone and by Thursday morning the sample was down to 1.007. I drew a new sample and 1.016! Weird. Around noon, the airlock started bubbling, not much, but some. Tiny bubbles were sliding up the sides of the sample tube.

So, the sample sits on the counter next to the fermenter and right now (Friday eve) is down to 1.011. I won't be surprised if it is 1.007-8 in the morning, but I'll wait until Sunday or Monday to take a third sample.

The initial flavor was on the bitter side for a Mild. The first sample was oddly sweet at 1.007. The second sample tastes the way a Mild should.

Homebrew is alive and holds surprises for us all.



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