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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > What do I do? - (stuck fermentation)
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
duskb
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Default What do I do? - (stuck fermentation)

I posted last week about an IPA that got stuck at 1.026. After following the advice of several in here I shook up the fermenter and got the ale down to 1.022 after 6 days. The beer has not moved after multiple readings.

At this point I need to get the ale transferred because it's been on the cake for almost 3 weeks. The store I got the recipe from said 1.016/8 isn't uncommon for this beer but 1.022 is too high.

Any thoughts?


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Old 10-10-2009, 08:25 PM   #2
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Did you get the temperature up to 72 or higher? That might restart the yeast if its gone to sleep, metaphorically speaking.

Also, what kind of recipe is this, an extract or all-grain? That matters, because if its an all-grain, its possible that the mash was too high and there's a lot of unfermentables in your beer.

Or, did you use a lot of crystal malts, that might also add unfermentables.

If you've shaken it up, and the temperature is 72 or above and the fermentation is truly stopped, then I suppose you could re-pitch some more yeast. But if it were me, I'd probably rack it to secondary and let it sit for a good three more weeks, just to see what happens. Then if fermentation was done, I'd bottle it, 1.022 or not. But I'm not a big stickler for beer styles - I like to try different things.


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Old 10-10-2009, 08:27 PM   #3
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If there isn't any sugar already in the recipe, you might boil up a little sugar, maybe 1 pound or so in a cup or two of water, and add it to the fermenter. That should help dry it out a little bit although it may not necessarily lower the gravity.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:25 PM   #4
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I was thinking the same thing as far as the high mash temp, what pappers said. If it's extract, some extracts have a lot of unfermentables, hence the high finishing gravity.

Rack it to the secondary for awhile and then keg/bottle. It's probably about done as far as fermentation. Unless you pitch a heartier yeast.

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Old 10-10-2009, 09:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappers View Post
Did you get the temperature up to 72 or higher? That might restart the yeast if its gone to sleep, metaphorically speaking.

Also, what kind of recipe is this, an extract or all-grain? That matters, because if its an all-grain, its possible that the mash was too high and there's a lot of unfermentables in your beer.

Or, did you use a lot of crystal malts, that might also add unfermentables.

If you've shaken it up, and the temperature is 72 or above and the fermentation is truly stopped, then I suppose you could re-pitch some more yeast. But if it were me, I'd probably rack it to secondary and let it sit for a good three more weeks, just to see what happens. Then if fermentation was done, I'd bottle it, 1.022 or not. But I'm not a big stickler for beer styles - I like to try different things.
It's an extract. Recipe below

Pale 9 lbs.
Crystal 10L 8 oz
Crystal 60L 4 oz
Victory malt 4 oz
#1 Columbus (13.4%) 1.6 oz 60 min
#2 Cascade (7.4%) 1.0 oz 15 min
#3 Cascade 1.0 oz 0 min
Starting Gravity:1.067
White Labs WLP001

I pretty much did what folks suggested in my OP. I put it in a warmer room shook it up and waited. As you can see the yeast did go back to work but not by much.

Since I don't know what the heck I'm doing and I need to get the beer off the cake I'll transfer it to a keg tonight and let it sit for several weeks. I'm not in a rush for it but I also don't want to make it worse by leaving it on a stagnant cake either.
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:37 PM   #6
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My bet is that the extract you use, had a high amount of unfermentables .. I ran into that once in awhile when I did extracts. I'd just rack it, let it sit for awhile then drink it and enjoy it for what it is and move on to the next batch.

Make notes on your recipe about what happened and modify the recipe next time, either try a different yeast, alter your procedure or use different brands of extracts. They all have different amounts of fermentables and the fermentable ratio even varies by batch.

This is what often times leads people to want to start all grain brewing because they have more control over their finished product.

With that said, unless something else is wrong with your beer, it should be fine to drink.

cheers

~r~
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:54 AM   #7
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3 weeks on the cake is not a big deal. If it were me, i'd make a starter with some new yeast and pitch it while it is actively fermenting, just to make sure it's a fermentables issue. 1.022 is on the higher end, but not undrinkable. It might be a little sweet, but I've had 1.019 IPAs that have been very good.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:07 AM   #8
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+1 on 3 weeks not being too much. I always let my beer sit 3 weeks in the primary unless I'm going to dry hop or flavor it. Letting it sit on the cake longer supposedly clears it out a bit more too, and I do know that my beers have cleared quite nicely by sitting in the primary 3 weeks.

If it were me (and that by no means qualifies as any sort of seasoned advice, since I've only been brewing 2 months) I would taste it. If you like how it tastes, then keg it. You're not trying to win any competitions or show off to us folks here, you're trying to make beer that YOU like to drink.
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C4PNJ4ZZ View Post
3 weeks on the cake is not a big deal. If it were me, i'd make a starter with some new yeast and pitch it while it is actively fermenting, just to make sure it's a fermentables issue. 1.022 is on the higher end, but not undrinkable. It might be a little sweet, but I've had 1.019 IPAs that have been very good.
I'm AT 3 weeks as of today and typically I NEVER go beyond it. I know that 3 weeks is a guideline but guidelines were established for good reason, folks have been burned when not adhering to it.

It would be easy for me to brew up a quick starter and pitch it in there in a day or two but we are talking at LEAST 6 more days before anything could happen. At that point we are pushing 4 weeks in the fermenter and the beer has already changed in flavor between tuesday and today (I'm getting a meaty yeastlike flavor in the aftertaste that wasn't there last week).

As I said my original plan was to just keg this stuff and be done with it...my secondary is being used now so I'm either relegated to finishing this in a keg or tempting fate.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:48 PM   #10
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4 weeks is no problem. Do an autolysis search on here, it's been discussed at length. Basic Brewing did a podcast where they tested primary lengths up to and beyond 4 weeks and actually found benefits in some cases and no difference in others. Most will agree with me that another week really won't have a negative effect on the quality of the brew. I do a 3 week primary on all my beers and have never had a problem with any off flavors.

But, if it tastes good, keg it.


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