Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > My Fermentation ALWAYS stops early. HELP!!
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-26-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
Smokingman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Sanford, Florida
Posts: 5
Default My Fermentation ALWAYS stops early. HELP!!

I must be doing something basically wrong because my fermentation ALWAYS stop early. Here's are examples from a few recent brews:

Barley wine:
OG (target/actual): 1.101 / 1.105
FG (target/actual): 1.022 / 1.050

Blonde Ale:
OG (target/actual): 1.046 / 1.046
FG (target/actual): 1.009 / 1.023

Every single beer I brew makes if about half way before stopping. I've been assuming it's something in my process but I can't figure out what it could be. Here's what I'm doing:

  • All grain brewing
  • I use BeerSmith 2 to figure out volumes and estimated gravitys. I've been hitting dead on target for the OG so I think I got that part right.
  • I use iodine to confirm the mash is complete
  • I've calibrated all my thermometers to a digital reference for accuracy.
  • I do a starter and pitch at the rate recommended by Beer Smith.
  • I use yeast nutrient and oxygen before I pitch.
  • I measure the gravity with a refractometer.
  • I ferment in a converted chest freezer with a thermostat I modified myself that maintains the temperature of the beer within 3 degrees F of the set point of 68F (for ales). I even track the temperature on a strip chart updated every minute to confirm. (http://beer.essercustom.com)
  • I consider the fermentation stopped when the reading doesn't change for 2 weeks. (measured weekly).

Any help would be great. I've been at this problem for months trying to nail down what I'm doing wrong.


Smokingman is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:03 PM   #2
Bensiff
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Bensiff's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: , Washington, the state
Posts: 4,806
Liked 368 Times on 288 Posts
Likes Given: 54

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokingman View Post
[*]I measure the gravity with a refractometer.
What is your FG with a hydrometer?


Bensiff is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:05 PM   #3
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

what are the starting and finishing mash temps? Could you be too hot to start with?
badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
kh54s10
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
kh54s10's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Tiverton, Rhode Island
Posts: 8,450
Liked 973 Times on 817 Posts
Likes Given: 248

Default

I have read recently, and apparently I have one, that there are refractometers out there that the brix scale and the SG scale do not match.

Check the scale by converting the brix to sg and visa versa. Also check it with a hydrometer.
kh54s10 is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:13 PM   #5
Smokingman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Sanford, Florida
Posts: 5
Default

Bensiff,
I haven't been using a hydrometer since I got a refractometer. However, when I first got it I would cross check the two for accuracy and found they always agreed.

Badbrew,
I thought that might be a problem so I've been keeping the temps low (150 F -154 F) to be safe and stirring contently until it gets to temp to reduce hot spots. I mash out at 173 F.
Smokingman is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
Brulosopher
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Brulosopher's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 2,869
Liked 296 Times on 226 Posts
Likes Given: 200

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokingman
Bensiff,
I haven't been using a hydrometer since I got a refractometer. However, when I first got it I would cross check the two for accuracy and found they always agreed.

Badbrew,
I thought that might be a problem so I've been keeping the temps low (150 F -154 F) to be safe and stirring contently until it gets to temp to reduce hot spots. I mash out at 173 F.
If you're using your refractometer for FG, there is no way your reading will be accurate without the use of a conversion algorithm-- I prefer this one: http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/re...er-calculator/
__________________
Brulosophy is a place to experiment with home brews. If you've had a crazy idea or wondered how something worked please visit us at Brulosophy.com!

List of exBEERiments

How To Easily Harvest Clean Yeast from Starters

Make Good Lager in Less Time!

Marshall "Brulosopher" Schott
Brulosopher is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:17 PM   #7
bobbrewedit
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: , California
Posts: 296
Liked 32 Times on 24 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

Are u converting ur refractometer reading for post fermentation?
bobbrewedit is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:18 PM   #8
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Your refracto is the issue. Go test with a hydrometer asap.
badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:19 PM   #9
badbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: l.a., ca
Posts: 1,372
Liked 12 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokingman View Post
Bensiff,
I haven't been using a hydrometer since I got a refractometer. However, when I first got it I would cross check the two for accuracy and found they always agreed.
refracto on brew day and never again.
badbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:34 PM   #10
Bensiff
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Bensiff's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: , Washington, the state
Posts: 4,806
Liked 368 Times on 288 Posts
Likes Given: 54

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokingman View Post
Bensiff,
I haven't been using a hydrometer since I got a refractometer. However, when I first got it I would cross check the two for accuracy and found they always agreed.
From what you said, you are doing everything correctly, there is really no reason for your fermentation to not go to completion so that is driving me to think first that you have a measurement error somewhere and refractometer is a good place to look as they are known to be pretty wonky in the presence of alcohol even with the conversion calculation. You are hitting your gravity so your grain scale is accurate and you said you calibrated your thermometers. However, if that is not it, some other thoughts are checking the age of the yeast and if not the age, the conditions they are being stored. What does your pH look like?


Bensiff is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can I Stop Fermentation Early??? ms8miranda Wine Making Forum 24 05-31-2014 02:40 PM
Transfer to secondary BEFORE fermentation stops? sensibull Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 10-30-2010 12:00 AM
What's happening after fermentation stops? lmacmil Fermentation & Yeast 2 05-28-2010 04:15 AM
Crashing starter before fermentation stops chode720 Fermentation & Yeast 3 03-07-2010 10:11 PM
fermentation stopped too early dzamba Extract Brewing 5 12-06-2008 02:30 AM


Forum Jump

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS