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View Poll Results: What to do next for extract RIS @ 1.030, aiming for 1.020
Make a starter with new S-04 and add that 0 0%
Add champagne yeast 1 7.69%
Sprinkle in some amylase enzyme 0 0%
Leave it be and rack to secondary 5 38.46%
none of the above... something else 7 53.85%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-27-2012, 04:00 AM   #1
Jan 2012
Lakewood, Ohio
Posts: 21
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So this is my first homebrew, Brewers Best RIS, but I've done a ton of reading up, and being something of a chemistry nerd I approached it as a science and took good care following instructions.

I started @ OG of 1.080, pitched 2 packs of properly rehydrated Safale S04. Temp was on the low side in the 55-60F range in my basement. but a temp sticker on the bucket read low to mid 60's and it was bubbling away after 24hrs, for a good day or 2. But after about 4 days when the airlock was really dead I moved it upstairs to 65F+ ambient just to be safe.

After 16 days in the primary I was ready to check it and possibly go to secondary with oak cubes for a couple months, but it's at 1.030 and tastes too sweet (but great other than that!)... should get down to 1.017-1.020. I know I need to leave it at least another week and check to see if it's made any progress, but the combination of low starting temp, maybe a lacking aeration (just shook the bucket for a couple mins but maybe should have done more?), and a quick drop-off in airlock activity early on leads me to think the yeast might be done. I'll update with where it stands next weekend, but to plan ahead thinking it will still be at 1.030 what should I plan on doing if its still there? (want to minimize times opening this thing up for O2 exposure and possible contamination, so if I should have some extra yeast on hand I'll probably pick it up ahead of time)... added a poll of some options I found most common.

Worst case I'll let it sit up to a month to be sure it's done and then just roll with it as-is.

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Old 02-27-2012, 04:01 AM   #2
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:04 PM   #3
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I don't thin that temp is all that low. If you had low 60's, that means your fement temp was probably 66-70. S-04 flocculation is really high and sometimes needs to be gently stirred to get it back into suspension. I would stir it gently and let it sit. I wouldn't add any more yeast and see where it takes you.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:49 AM   #4
Jan 2012
Lakewood, Ohio
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Checked it today, still right at 1.030. Gave it some gentle stirring, definitely a compact cake at the bottom - not sure how much I could really rouse it (clumpy). Will check back in a couple days. Wondering if I should do a starter or something else and repitch to get the last 10pts if it doesn't move, or just move on as is...

Well room temp is 68F now and no signs of life. Also put a few plastic gallon jugs of hot water around it just to try to bring the temp up a bit more and jump start it, but not looking good so far.

Tasted a sample too, def too sweet, but maybe sitting on oak for a while will help dry it out.

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Old 03-02-2012, 05:35 AM   #5
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Dec 2008
Wilmington, DE, DE
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I would swirl it once or twice a day for a couple days to see if that helps. Definitely keep it in a warmer environment. I don't think champagne yeast would do much, but worth a try if the swirling doesn't work. Just whatever you do, do not add the amylase enzyme! I would throw on some brett and let it age before I would even try this enzyme.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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Apr 2011
Groningen, the Netherlands
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When I first started brewing (from kits) I ran into the same problem fairly often, particularly with SG's > 1.055. To prevent this problem from happening in the future I suggest two things; 1) aerate the cold world--shake it vigorously for at least ten minutes (I bounce it on my lap while watching TV) and/or transfer the cold wort slowly through a sieve into the fermenter and 2) always make a starter at least 36 hours in advance. If you pitch from an active starter (~1.050, 1/10th the volume of the wort) you will hit your target FG every single time (unless there is something wrong with the wort, of course).

These two steps are vital for high gravity beers. I've only had two ruined batches in six years of homebrewing; one was a 1.100 stout that didn't fully attenuate, and the other was from a nasty infection using recovered yeast. But in the early days I had plenty of beers that were "just a little on the sweet side." Since meticulously aerating and always preparing starters, I have had no troubles getting beers--even from 1.100--to attenuate completely within a week of pitching, regardless of the temperature (which usually stays between 16-20 °C).

If you want to take a scientific approach; transfer some wort to a small container, add priming sugar, and measure the gravity. Wait a few days. If the gravity returns to 1.030, then you're pretty much hosed because the yeast are viable, but the wort is just not fermentable. If nothing happens, then re-pitching active yeast may do the trick. Sometimes the priming sugar "wakes up" the yeast and they finish the attenuation, in which case you can toss some (not too much) sugar into the fermenter, or just bottle it with reduced priming sugar and wait a month.

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Old 03-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #7
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Nov 2009
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At this point adding more S04, or champagne won't do a damn thing for you.

I think you should get some wlp099 and that will help out. However if you use wlp099 make sure you give it LOTS of time to finish. It may seem to be finished but that yeast is insane and will continue to slowly ferment.

You can also throw some brett in but you might end up drier in the end that you'd like.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:30 PM   #8
Feb 2012
Houston, TX
Posts: 30
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Originally Posted by replacement View Post
but maybe sitting on oak for a while will help dry it out.
Adding more yeast of any kind is probably not going to dry this out. Just a function of extract brewing.

I like my RIS somewhere in the 20's. The last one I did I kegged with some oak cubes and it really gave it a percieved dryness. I think that is about your only hope now.

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Old 03-02-2012, 08:14 PM   #9
Jul 2011
Ramsey & Akeley, Mn
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Agree on more time and warming it up into the 70's if possible. It should be in primary for a month anyway, so I wouldn't get antsy to rack it. It should also sit in secondary for awhile, so again no rush.

I tasted my buddies RIS (starting OG was huge @ 1.105). His finished at around 1.030 and was delicious. But that was a lot of alcohol the yeast were sitting in. Adding champagne yeast to secondary did not budge it, but it did help in getting viable yeast for bottle carbonation.

I would try to have as much patience as possible with this one. Let it sit in secondary. Brew up a lower gravity beer for drinking after you rack to secondary. Cheers!
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:45 AM   #10
Jan 2012
Lakewood, Ohio
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Update: after rousing yeast twice and keeping close to 70F, still no action. So with it at 1.030 I just ended up transferring to 5gal glass secondary with 2oz oak cubes, I'll give it a couple months there... It is sweet, but drinkable, should be 6.5abv.

This frees me up to do a new batch of something else (that won't go to a secondary), haven't decided exactly what yet but won't be as big a beer as this started out. If anything I think the oxygen exposure might end up being a problem with all the rousing/swirling and now transferring, but was a good learning experience.

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