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Old 12-21-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Slow fermenting beer, should I pitch more yeast?

Hi everyone,

I am in the process of brewing my first batch of beer (a Belgian white) and it seems like the batch is fermenting very slowly. It has been a week since I pitched the yeast and the gravity only fell ~19 points (OG 1.049, current gravity 1.0305) and it still tastes sweet. Should I pitch more yeast or is this normal?

Thanks in advance,

Todd

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Old 12-21-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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Need more info to help out please: What kind of yeast, what was the recipe, what temp are you fermenting at? Was this a kit? If so what was your OG-FG listed on the kit?

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Old 12-21-2009, 06:58 PM   #3
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Belgian yeast is notorious for pausing. A lot of times so much yeast gets stranded on the fermenter walls that there's not enough yeast left in the beer to finish the job.

Give your fermenter a good rocking back and forth to knock that yeast pudding off the walls and back into the beer. Don't pitch more yeast. Just get the yeast you already have back to work.

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Old 12-21-2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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The recipe was for a belgian white, the OG on the kit was 1.049 and the FG was 1.014. Here are the ingredients used in this recipe kit:

6.6 lbs Muntons Wheat Malt Extract 1 Can 60 min 1 Can 20 min
1 oz Hallertau Hop Pellets 60 min
3/4 oz crushed coriander 10 min
1/2 oz Bitter Curacao (orange peal) 10 min
Wyeast #3944 XL Belgian Witbier Yeast n/a

The beer is currently fermenting at 65 degrees (F)

Thanks for your help

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Old 12-21-2009, 10:33 PM   #5
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My currently fermenting brew is a honey wit. I left it in the primary for three weeks, then moved it to secondary, where it's been for two weeks. I went to bottle this past weekend, but the SG was 1.017 (expecting 1.012).

I didn't take a reading when I transferred to secondary because the hydrometer broke. (I've since learned not to transfer until the expected FG is reached in primary).

Also, this yeast (White Labs Belgian Wit II) likes 67-74*F, but the house never gets above 68* and has been in the 50s at night and when we're not home.

Anyway, Saturday night I added a tablespoon of yeast energizer (the package said it could be used to re-start stuck fermentations) to the carboy, and the airlock immediately started bubbling vigorously. By Sunday morning, it was still bubbling every 24 seconds. By this morning, once every 2 minutes. I'm taking an SG reading tonight to see if it has moved. (I've also put a heating pad next to the carboy to get the temperature up.)

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Old 12-21-2009, 10:51 PM   #6
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Those yeasts like things pretty consistent to be happy. if your temperatures are swinging from 60's to 50's I'm sure they are not adjusting as fast as your house. find a location that is consistent in temp and you should have better yeast activity without a need for boosters.

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Old 12-21-2009, 11:07 PM   #7
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Those yeasts like things pretty consistent to be happy. if your temperatures are swinging from 60's to 50's I'm sure they are not adjusting as fast as your house. find a location that is consistent in temp and you should have better yeast activity without a need for boosters.
I understand the point of this tip, but don't know how to implement it. What parts of houses have more consistent temperatures? The fermenter is kept in a bedroom closet now.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:23 AM   #8
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Well, I keep my beers in my closet as well, I took a refrigerator thermometer to check the consistency of this space as my temps in WI are plummeting and I won't keep my house at 70 . My bedroom closet has maintained at 65 degrees so that's where I'm conditioning my bottles (2weeks) until I move them to my basement where it's closer to 57* for a week, then to the fridge for another week for clarifying/CO2 carbonation. You're gonna need to run your thermostat in that room to keep it constant. I'm sure the SWMBO might have an issue taking care of beer more than the people that live in your house, but that's just how the fermentor bubbles.

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Old 12-22-2009, 03:38 AM   #9
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We have a relatively small house (1000 sq. ft.) with one thermostat for the forced air, so I can't run rooms at different temps. I could run a space heater in the bedroom, but unfortunately, like you were getting at, it's hard to justify running a heater just for beer. (No offense, folks.)

I just checked on the fermenter; 48 hours after using the yeast energizer. No more bubbles on the surface and I wasn't patient enough when to see if it would bubble. The SG did drop, but only two points to 1.015 (I want to get to 1.012). It seems like the heating pad has helped keep the temperature in range. I'm going to let it sit till the weekend and see if it drops any more.

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