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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Stalled Fermentation (verified with hydrometer)
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:57 AM   #1
Olddog
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Default Stalled Fermentation (verified with hydrometer)

I brewed a chocolate stout on Sep 3 (OG 1.065) and for some reason it didn't start fermenting until the following Monday which I am thinking may be due to the fabled bad batch of Nottingham yeast. The following Tuesday (9/14) I take a reading and it was 1.031 which seemed reasonable for essentially a week of fermentation.

Yesterday I took another reading expecting it to be close to my FG of 1.013ish but instead it was exactly what it was last week at 1.031. There's currently no krausen and not much in the way of airlock activity either. I was going to let it go for another 2-3 weeks before I bottled it but if it hasn't changed in a week then it probably won't change much in the next couple of weeks.

My first question is, does the 12 oz. of lactose I added at flameout effect my current reading since lactose is non-fermentable? I've never used it before so I am not sure what to expect.

Second, should I repitch? If so, what is a good non-Nottingham yeast to use in this situation? I have nothing against using Nottingham again in the future but I'm a little wary of repitching with the same yeast in this batch.

By the way, the recipe I am using is BarleyWater's Dark Chocolate Stout that I ended up overshooting the OG because I overcompensated for the low efficiency of my all-grain set up. It tastes great right now if a bit sweet and I am really excited about this batch which makes me more concerned for every unusual thing with it.

Thanks!

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Old 09-22-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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What temp are you fermenting at?

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Old 09-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #3
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What temp are you fermenting at?
It's sitting in a water bath that varies from 66-68 F.
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Old 09-22-2010, 01:52 PM   #4
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Lactose will absolutely raise your FG, for exactly the reason you suggest. Why don't you run the numbers through beer calculus or some other brewing software, and you'll know for sure what numbers you should hit.

Regardless, 1.031 seems pretty high for a final gravity to me. If you're going to leave the beer in the fermenter for another couple of weeks, I would definitely consider adding another dose of yeast. My standard "backup" yeast for stalled fermentations or in case I want to add some bottling yeast is Safale-05, since it doesn't add much flavor, is very clean fermenting, and since it's dry, I can keep it on hand for a long time.

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Old 09-22-2010, 02:35 PM   #5
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Thanks pericles, I checked Beer Calculus and it says I should be able to get it down to the 1.015 range so it definitely isn't done.

I'm going to give the Safale-05 a try and see if I can get this thing fermenting again.

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Old 09-23-2010, 03:36 AM   #6
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Did you just pitch one package of yeast or use several/do a starter? And did you aerate the wort well? I had a totally awful time reaching my desired FG until I started making starters (based on the Mr. Malty pitching rate calculator, google for it) and aerating my wort with an aquarium pump, filter and stone.

You can get away with one package of yeast and shaking/stirring for aeration for a low gravity beer, but 1.055+ IMHO you want to start giving the yeast some help.

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Old 09-23-2010, 03:52 AM   #7
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I learned the hard way on checking the FG and had an entire batch of bottle bombs. Good catch olddog.

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:33 AM   #8
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So last week I repitched with Safale-05 and I just now checked the gravity and it's still at 1.031. Any suggestions? Is it safe to bottle at that gravity since it doesn't seem to want to go down any more? (I was planning on letting it sit another week or so either way.)

I just really don't want this batch to be a failure.

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