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Old 10-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default Stuck Fermentation - 2 Batches - 2 Yeasts. Help!

Ok, so I went to bottle my porter this afternoon and found that it was stuck at 1.030 after 40+ days. What a disappointment. Never having this problem, I already had it in the bottling bucket ready to go and had to transfer it back into the fermenter to see if I can get anything to happen again! This beer started at 1.064 (9/16/12) and was pitched with WLP002 straight from the vile (never had a problem doing this before).

Thought I had better check on the 10 gallons of WIT I brewed after the Porter and found that it too is stuck! WTF. The WIT Started @ 1.050 (9/30/12) with WLP410 and is now stuck at 1.018 (10/21/12). It was pitched directly onto the cake of my previous batch and experienced EXPLOSIVE fermentation within a day.

We have had a couple of cold snaps around here, but my basement usually stays between 65-72 year round. Also, did the same techniques as my previous (many) batches on both.

I am completely at a loss here... Anyone have any suggestions?

Would pitching more yeast help? How about a different strain to finish it up? Ive got some WLP001 at my disposal immediately... Seriously considering it, but was wondering if anyone else has some ideas.


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Old 10-21-2012, 08:46 PM   #2
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Did you check your hydrometer to make sure it's at 1.000? You're not using a refractometer, right?


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Old 10-21-2012, 09:01 PM   #3
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We talking extract or AG? If your AG, you may be mashing way too high due to a faulty thermometer.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Did you check your hydrometer to make sure it's at 1.000? You're not using a refractometer, right?
Yes, put it in some water for a 1.000 right away.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
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We talking extract or AG? If your AG, you may be mashing way too high due to a faulty thermometer.
I always use multiple thermometers: One on my brew kettle for heating mash water, a digital food thermometer, and a candy/deep fry old school thermo. They all match on another within about 3-4 degrees consistently.

These are definitely not through, tasting them leaves little to no trace of alcohol and obvious sweetness still in the wort.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clblittle View Post
I always use multiple thermometers: One on my brew kettle for heating mash water, a digital food thermometer, and a candy/deep fry old school thermo. They all match on another within about 3-4 degrees consistently.

These are definitely not through, tasting them leaves little to no trace of alcohol and obvious sweetness still in the wort.
But a 4 degree difference is HUGE! If you think you're mashing at 156, and are actually at 160, the beer will be a totally different beer and finish sweet with a high FG.

If your mash temp varies by that much, that could be the cause of the problem.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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The variability between thermometers, even among the same model, is surprisingly bad. Unless you fork out big bucks for a lab grade meter, there can be as much as 3-4 degrees variance. Try to use one that at least can be calibrated at 32F in ice water.and check the spec for accuracy.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:18 AM   #8
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It's my understanding that extract batches might finish a couple thousandths higher gravity. The 1.018 might be complete.

The 1.030 - a lot of people will disagree with me - a lot - do a little research and consider aerating it and pitching a little more yeast.

I wouldn't bottle it like that.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:22 PM   #9
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Well, I "shook" up the porter and see a little bit of activity this morning in the airlock. Ive got my fingers crossed that it is going to get going again. Seriously hoping it isnt just out-gassing the air I shook into it.

On the WIT, if it doesn't move in a week or so I am just going to live with it. It tastes good, so it might be better as a low alcohol session beer. Ill just be sure to keg it rather then bottle.

As far as thermometers, I hear you. Without the funds for a high end thermo, what are you all using? I always figured that by keeping track on multiple thermos, I had my bases covered and was probably hitting within a reasonable range. Might be wrong on that one.

I usually mash in low and raise the temp to my target. Target on each of these was 150, which I hit on both. So even if the thermo is off by 4 deg., 154 isn't a deal breaker as far as fermentable sugar is it? Just changes the beers taste, right?

I appreciate your help as always! Learning something new here almost everyday!
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:40 PM   #10
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It official: Porter is back up.

Guess I need to get myself some aeration equipment. A problem solved and an excuse to get a new toy.


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