First of all, let me say I'm happy to have found this community! I've been reading various posts voraciously and have learned so much already.
Now on to my problem. First some background...
I'm brewing my second batch. The first batch, a Munton's Nut Brown Ale Extract kit, went so well I thought I'd get a little more complex with my next batch. I decided on a Belgian Pale Ale. I decided on a simple recipe. I kept it extract, but used specialty grains and hop pellets.
Here's the recipe:
Category: Belgian and French Ale
Subcategory: Belgian Pale Ale
Recipe Type: Extract
Batch Size: 5.5 gal
Volume Boiled: 2.5 gal
Mash Efficiency: 72 %
Ttl Grain/Extract: 8.60 lbs
Total Hops: 3.0 oz
1 lbs Belgian Caravienne info
.25 lbs Belgian Biscuit info
6.6 lbs CBW® Pilsen Light Liquid (Malt Extract); Briess info
.75 lbs Dry Light Extract info
2 oz Czech Saaz (Pellets, 2.6 %AA) boiled 70 min. info
1 oz Czech Saaz (Pellets, 2.6 %AA) boiled 5 min. info
Yeast : White Labs WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale info
Other: I did not check the temp when boiling the wort, but I kept it at a steady boil for the 70 mins. The wort tasted fantastic!
I did not create a starter, but the morning after adding the yeast to the wort, the blow-off tube was bubbling like crazy.
Then as soon as it started, it slowed down quickly. After a week, I took gravity readings on day 7 and 9 and had hit the dreaded 1.020! After no change, I went to the homebrew store and asked about yeast nutrients. The guy there convinced me to try another vial of yeast. They were out of the WLP570 so I took home the WLP 550.
Fermentation started up again, especially days 1-3, and the airlock has been bubbling slowly but steadily for the past week, with gravity readings now at 1.016. The wort has developed a smell and taste, in addition to the banana and fruity smells, of what I can only describe as wet cardboard. The brew looks very cloudy, and has developed what look like white/clear bubbles on top. See pic attached.
Here are my questions:
1. Is the off-smell and flavor because of an infection, something to do with the yeast, or a combination of both?
2. Would oxygenating the wort and making a starter have spared me the 1.020 curse and had me bottling already?
3. WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? Its approaching 3 weeks in the primary, but the yeast is still working, albeit slowly. How do I get rid of the extreme cloudiness? Will the bad cardboard/sulfer smells go away with aging or when the yeast flocculates?
4. How do I get the yeast to drop? I saw some suggestions in this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/wlp...estion-198131/
, but nothing definitive.
Again, thanks in advance for any insight!