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Old 01-28-2013, 07:47 PM   #1
mjbiker2
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Default Stuck Fermentation?

I recently brewed my 2nd all-mash brew of the McMennamins Ruby Ale clone (the first batch didn't turn out at all). I placed it in the car boy last Thursday and added the dry yeast. By Friday afternoon, it was fermenting very actively and I probably lost about 1 gallon in the overflow bottle. Then by Saturday afternoon it has slowed down so I placed the airlock on it and now there is extremely little activity. I doubt if there is even a bubble per minute. Did I do something wrong or is this beer a very slow fermenter?

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Old 01-28-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

I don't think you have too much to worry about here. Once the initial active fermentation subsides, it is common to see little or no activity in the airlock. The only way you will know for sure is to take gravity readings with your hydrometer on successive days and compare the difference. If I were you I'd just let it go for the full fermentation duration on your instructions and then take a reading.

The only other suggestion I have based on what you said is you may have filled your fermenter too full (or used a fermenter that was too small for your batch). It is good that you used a blowoff tube, but you shouldn't be loosing that much volume to blowoff.

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #3
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Also, what temperature are you fermenting at and what Yeast are you usng? It's just a hunch, but based on what you've said it sounds as thought it might be on the high side.

For example, some recipes for this beer call for Safale S-04, which is going to give you best results when kept between 59-68ºF. Keeping your fermenting beer within your yeast's ideal temperature range will payoff bigtime in terms of quality of the final product.

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Old 01-28-2013, 09:53 PM   #4
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Thanks fall-line. I used Safala s-04 dry ale yeast and my fermenter thermometer is reading 72 degrees which is at the high end of but should be OK. You're probably right, I'm using a 5 gallon car boy, maybe I should invest in a 6 ;-). It's too cold here in Oregon right now to ferment in my shop so its sitting in our spare bathroom and my wife also said is was good I used a blowoff tube and bottle ;-)

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:41 PM   #5
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Ok sounds good. This batch is likely just fine, enjoy it!

If you are interested in better temperature control, do a quick search on this site for 'swamp cooler'. People are able to control their fermentation temps pretty well that way for very little money. I went a bit further early on in my brewing experiment, to a temperature controlled fermentation cabinet (fridge) (cost about $75, but I already had a fridge to dedicate to it). I can attest that this was probably the single biggest thing I have ever done to improve my beer. Steady temperatures within the range (a few degrees can make a difference) will do wonders for your beer.

Best of luck to you!

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