3 stuck fermentations in a row - Home Brew Forums
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:23 PM   #1
Madkins
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Nov 2008
Baltimore MD, Maryland
Posts: 16


I've been brewing all grain for about 4 years. I've used White Labs and Wye Yeast with great results. Recently I moved states and away from my brewing buddies and purchased my own equipment. I'm using the Boilermaker system with a bayou banjo burner. I've done 3 brews, each time I hit my OG targets, and each time the yeast has failed to ferment below 1.029. The first was an ESB, 100% Maris Otter with Wye Yeast London ESB yeast. Mashed at 151 for 60 min, boiled 60 min and hit OG at 1.048. 5 gallon batch aerated with pure o2 and pitched 2 smack packs at 70 degrees. Fermented at 68 for 7 days. Gravity reading was 1.030. I roused the yeast raised the temp and no change. 2 smack packs could not ferment 5 gallons below 1.030.

Next brew was a porter. British pale base malt same yeast mashed at 152 OG of 1.052. 10 gallons. 1 smack pack per 5 Gallon car boy. Fermented at 68 and gradually increased the temperature to 76 for 10 days. Couldn't get below 1.029 after adding nutrients and rousing the yeast.

3rd brew. Thought my water might be no good so i used bottled Deer park water to maybe eliminate that as a factor and brewed an ESB. British 2 row base malt about 19 lbs plus other grain totaling about 23 lbs. Mashed at 152. Boiled 60 min. 10 gallons and OG of 1.054 1 smack pack per bucket. Fermented at 70 degrees 10 days and stuck again at 1.029. I used a different thermometer for the mash temperature to make sure I wasnt mashing higher than I thought creating too much alpha amalayse and unfermentable sugar. Everything was on target pure oxygen before the yeast was pitched and the smack packs were nice and swollen and still nothing but under fermented overly sweet beer. Oh this batch used A different yeast the weye yeast English ale.

Not sure what the heck is going on. Any ideas or suggestions? I can post exact recipes if needed.



 
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
TimTrone
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Feb 2012
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I'd be willing to bet your mash temp was too high. Try mashing at 150, and make sure you aerate properly. When was the last time you tested the accuracy of your thermometer?



 
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:31 PM   #3
AmandaK
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Feb 2010
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I'll bet your thermometer isn't reading very accurately. Try calibrating it and report back.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
dbrewski
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Oct 2011
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Or calibrate your hydrometer. My old one was off by .006, I had to subtract .006 from every measurement. Use distilled water and a temp adjustment chart.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
Madkins
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Nov 2008
Baltimore MD, Maryland
Posts: 16

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimTrone View Post
I'd be willing to bet your mash temp was too high. Try mashing at 150, and make sure you aerate properly. When was the last time you tested the accuracy of your thermometer?
Thanks for the thought, but my mash temps have all been 150-152 max. I dont think the mash temp has been too high and I don't want to go much lower than that unless as part of an acid rest or something.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:20 PM   #6
Madkins
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Nov 2008
Baltimore MD, Maryland
Posts: 16

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaK View Post
I'll bet your thermometer isn't reading very accurately. Try calibrating it and report back.
Also a good thought. For my last brew I calibrated the thermometer and used a back up digital probe to ensure accuracy. The temp was reading accurately.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:22 PM   #7
Madkins
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Nov 2008
Baltimore MD, Maryland
Posts: 16

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrewski View Post
Or calibrate your hydrometer. My old one was off by .006, I had to subtract .006 from every measurement. Use distilled water and a temp adjustment chart.

I'm using a refractometer. I tested it with water but it wasn't distilled. I have some at the house and will give that a try tonight along with a hydrometer reading.

Thanks for the thought.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:30 PM   #8
broadbill
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Aug 2007
Southern Maine
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My guess is underpitching, and on a related note that your yeast viability isn't what you think it is. One smack pack for a beer for that OG range is an underpitch from the start, and would be made worse if yeast viability was a fraction of what is should be...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that when you moved and switched home-brew shops, and that you'll find they don't treat your yeast as well as your old place...just a guess...

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
Madkins
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Nov 2008
Baltimore MD, Maryland
Posts: 16

Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
My guess is underpitching, and on a related note that your yeast viability isn't what you think it is. One smack pack for a beer for that OG range is an underpitch from the start, and would be made worse if yeast viability was a fraction of what is should be...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that when you moved and switched home-brew shops, and that you'll find they don't treat your yeast as well as your old place...just a guess...
Underpitching may be an issue, but for one of the batches I pitched 2 packs in a five gallon bucket. That should be plenty of yeast at an OG around 1.050. But still no luck with that batch. All good thoughts but I think I've addressed them in my subsequent brews. The only thing I haven't done is to do a yeast starter with Wye Yeast. I've never had to do one in the past and 2 packs 3 hours after they've been smacked has always been enough active yeast in my experience to ferment 10 gallons in the 1.050-1.070 range. I'm really at a loss here and have eleminated a lot of the potential issues with no luck still. I currently have 10 gallons of ESB sitting at 1.030 after 10 days and lots of manipulation. I'm going to try to pitch some high gravity yeast to help it along so I don't have another watery sugar water beer.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:35 PM   #10
H22W
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Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madkins

I'm using a refractometer. I tested it with water but it wasn't distilled. I have some at the house and will give that a try tonight along with a hydrometer reading.

Thanks for the thought.
you know the alcohol throws off the refractometer reading, right???



 
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