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Old 10-28-2011, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default What to do with stalled secondary fermentation?

3 weeks ago, I brewed a Milk Stout (LME recipe from Northern Brewer). The target O.G. was 1.051, and I nailed it perfectly.

For yeast, I used two packets of Safale S-04. I had a short but vigorous primary (1 bubble/second14 hours after brewing). It slowed down at 2.5 days, and was barely moving at 3.5 days. Temperature held at 68 degrees except for one day when it climbed to around 72 degrees.

After one week in primary, I transferred to secondary and took a gravity reading. 1.033, which is much higher than I expected.

Today, after two weeks in secondary, I took another gravity reading. 1.030

No foul smells or signs of infection. Tastes like it wants to be a stout.

What can I do? Add more yeast?

Thanks.


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Old 10-28-2011, 01:37 AM   #2
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We need a lot more info. First, can you post your recipe? We could tell a lot more if we knew the recipe. Second, why did you rack to a secondary before primary fermentation was complete. Actually, I probably know why...the directions said to.
Without extra info, my stab at it would be that a lot of extract recipes seem to bottom out at 1.020. That, coupled with the lactose(assuming since its a milk stout) would add approx 9 gravity points to a 5 gallon batch if you added 1 lb of it. Lactose is not fermentable, so those 9 pts hang around thru FG. That puts you at 1.029. I'd say it might be done. Swirl it around a bit to resuspend some yeast, wait a week, then take gravity readings 3 days in a row. If they all match each other, then it's done.


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Old 10-28-2011, 01:39 AM   #3
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Oh, and welcome to the forum BTW. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
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Things are going great too. I think I've only punched her in the face 3 times!
FERMENTING: Heady Topper Clone?
CONDITIONING: 40 gallons KBS clone in a Jim Beam Barrel (since 11/24/12)
DRINKING: Smoked Robust Porter, Orange Coriander Pale Ale #5
THINKING: first foray into lagers?
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:24 AM   #4
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This won't help the current situation but I would say in the future you should take the gravity reading before you rack to secondary. Wait until the FG is where you want it and then rack.

I've never re-pitched in secondary and have no idea what the implications might be but I guess in theory it should work. If there's still fermentable sugars in the wort, I would think the yeast would still be able to do something with it.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:34 AM   #5
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You transferred too early. You need to wait until primary fermentation before transferring to secondary. Take several readings over a few days and if they are near expected final range and stable, then transfer.

I would warm the temperature a bit and swirl the beer to try to restart fermentation. Then be prepared to wait a couple of weeks longer that originally planned. If fermentation does not start I guess you could pitch some more yeast
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:56 AM   #6
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Just curious, but did you rehydrate the dry yeast before pitching? I've personally had much better results by doing this. But yea it would be helpful to see the recipe.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annasdadhockey View Post
We need a lot more info. First, can you post your recipe? We could tell a lot more if we knew the recipe.
The recipe is as shown here., except I used two S-04 packs instead of only 1.
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Second, why did you rack to a secondary before primary fermentation was complete. Actually, I probably know why...the directions said to.
Ouch.

I measured the gravity on 3 consecutive days in primary, and saw only .002 movement. Even though I wanted the gravity lower, I read (in this forum) that stouts finish slowly, sometimes taking a month or more to ferment out, so I decided it would be best to get the beer off the trub.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:34 AM   #8
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You don't ever really need to secondary unless you're adding fruit or doing a true secondary fermentation with brett, lacto, etc.

It will clear just fine in the primary and even 3+ months won't cause yeast autolysis with modern healthy yeasts in a carboy. Using 10th generation washed yeast or fermenting in a 25+ gallon conical, then ok, you may need to.

In terms of clearing, the yeast don't look down and say "dude it's way too crowded down there, I'm going to wait to flocculate until we get somewhere less crowded on the bottom"
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
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...so I decided it would be best to get the beer off the trub.
By trub, do you mean the healthy yeast cells that would have actually fermented it down further??

You racked too early. Never, ever rack a beer from the primary until you have the final gravity you want. Racking a beer at 1.033 is just going to stall it for good.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:35 PM   #10
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Noone seems to have mention that there should be no fermentation happening in secondary, that secondary is for clearing, fermentation should be complete before you rack over.


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