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Old 01-27-2010, 04:15 AM   #1
pjewell
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Default Sigh...1.038 after 18 days of fermentation

So I read a couple of posts and I am not sure what I did wrong. It seems as the yeast flocculated. A fair amount of sediment in the secondary.

Here's what I am working with...

5.5 gallons
6 pounds of UME
1 pound DME
.5 pound specialty grain
2 ounces of hops

Fermented for 8 days. Vigorous fermentation. Blew the top. Settled down at 5 days. On the 8th racked off into the secondary. Fermintation started up for 2 days and died down by 3. Its been sitting in the secondary since 1/15. I figure this would be better to let it sit. I noticed that the beer is clearing to a beautiful copper brown color and no more bubbles are forming at the top. There is an inch of sediment on the bottom.

Using a refractometer I tested at 1.038 . I was quite shocked. I am not sure why it got stuck. My temps are very consistent. Its like the yeast just stopped doing their job. :L


What the beer tastes like:

Its drinkable. It tastes good, but not dry at all. Smooth on the tongue. Not harsh. Very clear in appearance. Little carbonation. Low in the IBU's, not bitter at all, which for me is not bad. Over all I am ok with it but wish it was drier.


Whats going on now:

Its still in the secondary. I am not sure what to do as of right now. I read up on putting enzymes into the beer to break down complex sugars but it seems really easy to mess up.



I dont have a clue.

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:25 AM   #2
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Uh, two things:

1. What was your starting gravity?

2. This is a big one...did you correct your refractometer reading for the alcohol?

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:28 AM   #3
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What was your yeast and what was your ferment temp?

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:35 AM   #4
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Are you sure about the 1.038? I ask because if I tasted a 1.038 it would be a "freakin way too sweet for it to be done", not a "but not dry at all".

If it is accurate you may have racked too early.

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:37 AM   #5
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I'm really thinking that, since this was a refractometer reading, that the OP didn't adjust the reading for the alcohol that is now in the beer. I could be wrong, but I've done the same thing several times myself and I've been using the refractometer for a while now...guess I'm a slow learner.

EDIT: Also, did you calibrate the refractometer with distilled water?

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
Uh, two things:

1. What was your starting gravity?

2. This is a big one...did you correct your refractometer reading for the alcohol?
1. I dont know. Didnt know I could test with a refractometer. I learn so many things from this first brew. Doing something is the best way to learn about it.

2. I had no idea that you would have to adjust for alcohol.

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What was your yeast and what was your ferment temp?
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Originally Posted by PT Ray View Post
Are you sure about the 1.038? I ask because if I tasted a 1.038 it would be a "freakin way too sweet for it to be done", not a "but not dry at all".

If it is accurate you may have racked too early.

Yes. I did rack to early now that I found most of you let them set for greater than two weeks on trub without any worries. I read its was good to do that but i guess not. I should wait until the SG is where it needs to be.


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Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
I'm really thinking that, since this was a refractometer reading, that the OP didn't adjust the reading for the alcohol that is now in the beer. I could be wrong, but I've done the same thing several times myself and I've been using the refractometer for a while now...guess I'm a slow learner.

EDIT: Also, did you calibrate the refractometer with distilled water?

Yes I do calibrate off of RO/DI so its good.
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:15 AM   #7
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You can safely leave your brew in primary for a month in most cases with zero worries. Assuming you check your equipment, re-measure, and it still comes out high, you have a few options. You can just let it continue to ferment, albeit at a slower rate than you'd like, or you can try adding another packet of yeast to help it out. Since you used a dry yeast it wouldn't be too expensive, and it won't hurt. I did that one time for a very high gravity beer than needed a little help in secondary to finish out. The hardest thing to learn is patience, but it gets easier once you have a stockpile of homebrew built up to keep you distracted from the latest batch.

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchiest View Post
You can safely leave your brew in primary for a month in most cases with zero worries. Assuming you check your equipment, re-measure, and it still comes out high, you have a few options. You can just let it continue to ferment, albeit at a slower rate than you'd like, or you can try adding another packet of yeast to help it out. Since you used a dry yeast it wouldn't be too expensive, and it won't hurt. I did that one time for a very high gravity beer than needed a little help in secondary to finish out. The hardest thing to learn is patience, but it gets easier once you have a stockpile of homebrew built up to keep you distracted from the latest batch.
I did save some trub which is mostly flocculated yeast could I make a starter from it and pitch it in? I thought about pitching more yeast in, but I figured something as common sense as this would be too good to be true.
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:31 PM   #9
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Okay, yes, you need to adjust for alcohol after fermentation has begun. You can take a starting gravity with a refractometer, but once fermentation kicks in the reading has to be adjusted for the alcohol. For example, my current beer had an SG of 1.040. I read the gravity last night with my refractometer and the reading was 1.022. I input the original SG and the new reading into Brew Alchemy and told it to adjust for alcohol. The corrected reading is 1.010. So, my beer appears to be fully attenuated and is sitting at 4% alcohol. I will still let it sit for a few weeks to clean up and will take another reading in a week or two to be sure it hasn't moved, but, in essence, it is done fermenting.

For your recipe Beer Alchemy predicts a SG of 1.048. So, your corrected gravity is more like 1.030 or 1.031. So, you are still high, but not as high as your initial reading.

I think the early racking off the yeast mass could have contributed to the issue. Maybe more experienced minds can jump in here, but it sounds like you took the beer off the yeast before it was done. Pitching more dry yeast might not hurt.

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Old 01-27-2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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If you saved some of the trub, building it back up with a starter would probably work just fine. Personally, I'd be too lazy to do that if I were using dry yeast, since it's cheap and easy to add more from a new packet. Couldn't hurt either way though. Just be sure to keep everything sanitized, of course, to avoid infection.

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