...well, it's not exactly about primary fermentation, but that's where I am in the process, so let's start there!
I'm in the process of brewing an extract Dead Guy Ale clone from AHBS. I made a really boneheaded sanitation error when fermentation blew the lid off my bucket (put the lid back on the bucket, with full krauesin layer reaching the top of the bucket, without sanitizing the lid). Despite that, I think I lucked out, because I tasted the brew today while taking a hydrometer reading, and it tastes really good. It's actually amazingly close to Dead Guy now, which really surprised me considering how young the beer is.
Anyway, onto my question. The original SG of the brew was supposed to be around 1.064, which I hit on the head. So, I decided to do primary in the basement, because I had a sneaking suspicion that fermentation may be a bit more explosive this time around (I finally made an accurate prediction with my homebrewing
) The only problem with this is that I live in Wisconsin, and this time of year temperature swings are pretty extreme from day to night. It's not uncommon at all to be in the mid 50's during the day, and mid 20's at night. Despite that, there's one room in my basement that seems to maintain a somewhat constant temp. of around 60 degrees.
I had read Rogue's brewmaster saying he brews with Pacman yeast at 60 degrees, but I went ahead and threw a brew belt on my primary anyway, because, I knew it would reduce lag time. So, during initial fermentation, up until the point the lid blew off the bucket, the wort was at a consistent 72 degrees. A day after the lid incident, the wort shot up to 77 degrees, which was more than I was willing to go, so I took the belt off, figuring fermentation would still take place, albeit a bit more slowly, at the cooler temperature.
Well fast forward two days to today, and I noticed that airlock activity is nonexistent. I decided to take a hydrometer reading ( I usually just rack to secondary when the airlock activity slows like this, but being a bigger beer, I wanted to see how far along I really was). I got a reading of 1.020, and the target final gravity is 1.014. Now, I'm not too far off, and maybe fermentation will complete to 1.014 in secondary, but I'm sort of thinking that fermentation has stopped. There's nothing going on by way of airlock bubbles at all. I wonder if yanking the brewbelt off midway through fermentation, and a rapid drop in beer temp somehow put the yeast to "sleep" (for lack of a better word)? Should I try swirling the bucket a bit? The other thing I was considering was just racking to secondary, and maybe bringing the temp up to the 70 degree range to see if things pick up again.
Then again, probably just racking it and leaving it in the 60 degree room is probably the most sensible thing. Even if the gravity won't go below 1.020, it still tastes pretty damned good, by my judgement. What do you all think?