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Old 09-10-2007, 06:25 PM   #1
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Default When will my gravity drop

Hi all, this is my first post on my first attempt at brewing and I have some questions which hopefully someone can answer. I am using a True Brew porter kit from my LHBS. It was running fine for the first two days then the fermenting bucket stopped bubbling. The OG was about 1.045 and after three days it was 1.022, it has since remained that level. It was in my basement at about 68 degrees for the first week, then I had to move it as my landlord was around, so it was in a hotter area of the house. It was probably 75+ degrees for a couple days. Its back in the basement now.
During the hot spell I put in another package Muntons ale yeast (the same kind that came with the kit) and about a cup of corn sugar to see if I could jump start it, but it only bubbled for a day, and the gravity is still at 1.022 after 10 days. The kit suggested it should run from 1.045 to 1.011 in about a week. It looks pretty plain, a few little floaties on the surface, no krausen, and it tastes like weak beer.

The kit contained a big can of liquid extract and a couple pounds of DME. I didn't airate my wort, I just mixed in 3-4 gallons of Poland Spring water after the boil to bring it up to 5. My equipment looks to be in working order

So, my questions are: Is this normal? What other measures can one take to promote fermentation? Does the high gravity mean there are still fermentable sugars in the mix, if so could I use a different yeast strain to complete fermentation?
If the gravity still does not drop and I bottle am I putting myself at risk for explosions?

Sorry for so many questions and thanks for the help.

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Old 09-10-2007, 06:41 PM   #2
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Sounds like your fermentation stalled a little early, this is fairly common. Repitching additional yeast was a good idea, adding the additional sugar was not, as this will again raise the SG as you added more fermentable sugar. While this shouldn't be a huge problem, it may affect your finished product.

There are several reasons your brew may have stalled, among the most common are temperature and aeration. How did you aerate your wort and what temp did you keep it at for fermentation? You can often get fermentation restarted simply by warming your fermenter up to 68 degrees or so.

The high SG implies that there are additional fermentables, when did you last take a reading? Did the additional yeast result in a changed SG?

I would not try bottling yet. Wait and see if the additional yeast get the SG to drop a bit more (warm the fermenter if needed as well). Once it really seems finished (ie. gravity is closer to what you expect and has stopped dropping), you're safe to bottle. If you bottle now you are risking bottle bombs IMO.

Most importantly, RDWHAHB it will all work out and you will have beer.

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Old 09-10-2007, 06:48 PM   #3
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I've never used Muntons ale yeast, but I heard somewhere that it might not ferment as completely as, say, Nottingham. I don't know this for a fact, though, as it's just a guess. I wouldn't use the same yeast, though, since that's what seems to have pooped out on you. I would not bottle yet, either- but maybe pitch a dry Nottingham yeast into it.

Don't add more sugar or more extract- that won't help you ferment the "stuff" already in there and will just stress the yeast. Temperature is important, too- it's not so much that the exact temperature matters that much, but you don't want fluctuations. If you went from 68-75 degress and back several times, that's not the best. You'd be better off to put it somewhere (in a closet or box) where the temperature stays more stable.

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Old 09-10-2007, 06:58 PM   #4
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Well, here goes. I hope i don't pull down the wrath of the guys here,but according to Muntons, the standard ale yeast is not to good at fermenting complex malt sugars, but their ale yeast "gold" is supposed to do it (costs twice as much too) FWIW, if it were mine, i'd get a WY 1968, or 1028 and repitch. TheJadedDog covered about everything else above......
Good luck.......

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Old 09-10-2007, 07:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFarmer
Well, here goes. I hope i don't pull down the wrath of the guys here,but according to Muntons, the standard ale yeast is not to good at fermenting complex malt sugars, but their ale yeast "gold" is supposed to do it (costs twice as much too) FWIW, if it were mine, i'd get a WY 1968, or 1028 and repitch. TheJadedDog covered about everything else above......
Good luck.......
I will never again repitch liquid yeast unless I dedicate myself to making a starter. Otherwise, it's just pissing in the ocean...
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:14 PM   #6
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First off, welcome to HBT!

Those Muntons yeasts aren't that great in my experience. I started out with them because it's all my LHBS carried and I had similar problems with my early brews. I would suggest getting a packet of Nottingham dry yeast (or some other neutral yeast) and pitch that. If you don't have access to that, try giving your primary a swirl to rouse some of the yeast off the bottom back into suspension.

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Old 09-10-2007, 07:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn Squirrels
I will never again repitch liquid yeast unless I dedicate myself to making a starter. Otherwise, it's just pissing in the ocean...
What's wrong with pissing in the ocean?
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the quick responses. Its good to have some new ideas to work from. I tried stirring it a few times with little to no results. I think tomorrow I will go back to my favorite store, Beers of the World, and find some new and hopefully better yeast.

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Old 09-10-2007, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seefresh
What's wrong with pissing in the ocean?
When i was in the navy, i pissed in the ocean a lot........
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beertard
Thanks for the quick responses. Its good to have some new ideas to work from. I tried stirring it a few times with little to no results. I think tomorrow I will go back to my favorite store, Beers of the World, and find some new and hopefully better yeast.

Don't stir anymore! You don't want to stir your beer after fermentation starts. You'll oxidize it. You can gently slosh the primary if you feel that you must, to rouse the yeast, but don't open it and don't stir!

When you pitch fresh yeast, either make a starter (liquid yeast) or rehydrate (dry yeast) following package directions, then put it in and cover it back up.
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