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Old 03-05-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default 3rd beer stuck at 1.020

a little background - the first was a nice ipa that started out at 1.065 and finished stuck at 1.020 (tastes good). Was a little too excited and brewed another before that one finished and it started at 1.055 and finished at 1.020 (a little sweet). I've been all over the boards and various sites and realized I underpitched my yeast significantly in the first two batches (i never made a starter).

So for my third beer I wasn't going to make that same mistake, but guess what, I'm stuck again. Here are the specifics:

WLP001 - made a liter starter according to beersmith instructions to get the proper amount of yeast.

Pitched the starter yeast at 70 degrees after aerating the crap out of by shaking the 6.5 gal carboy like madman for a couple minutes.

Fermented in a room that stays 63-69 degrees. On average its more around 67. First 4 days of fermentation it sounded like a machine gun the amount of bubbles blowing through the blow off tube. day 5 it stopped. Checked the gravity on day 7 and 8 both at 1.020. Day 8 i swirled and pitched a half starter I had in the fridge (same wlp001) and am raising the temp in the room to around 72. yes, i've read not to repitch, but I've got to do something. Twittling my thumbs hasn't worked

Like any new brewer I'm freaking out... again.

Thank you in advance, you guys have been a major help in learning how to brew. I appreciate it.


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Old 03-05-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Explain your gravity measurement process.


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Old 03-05-2013, 05:26 PM   #3
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Lesson 1: Don't use BeerSmith for calculating starters. It's a great program for most things, but making starters it is not good at.

You didn't tell us the OG or volume of the third beer.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
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hydrometer in glass flask. After my first I checked the calibration and it all checks out.

First measurements were before yeast pitching and aeration around 75 degrees. Now it's at 68, the current temp of the beer fermenting.

Third beer OG was 1.070 with 5 gallons. Made a starter that should have increased the cells to 250bill
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:41 PM   #5
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Are these extract batches? It's a fairly common problem to have a highish FG with extract since you don't have the control over the fermentability of the wort like you do in an all-grain brew. Search around for the "curse of 1.020" and you'll see it's pretty common with extract beers.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:47 PM   #6
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Mrmalty.com is saying for a 1.070 beer at 5 gallons with supremely fresh yeast you'd be looking at a 3 liter starter to get the yeast count up to 241 billion.

Now if you used a stir plate with your starter, then you'd only need 1.14 liters.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdh
Are these extract batches? It's a fairly common problem to have a highish FG with extract since you don't have the control over the fermentability of the wort like you do in an all-grain brew. Search around for the "curse of 1.020" and you'll see it's pretty common with extract beers.
This is not something I have ever experienced when making extract kits. If fresh ingredients are used, along with proper yeast amounts and sufficient fermentation control, I see no reason for fermentation to suddenly stop.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverUSMC View Post
This is not something I have ever experienced when making extract kits. If fresh ingredients are used, along with proper yeast amounts and sufficient fermentation control, I see no reason for fermentation to suddenly stop.
It's not that fermentation stops prematurely, just that extract can contain a fair amount of unfermentable sugars - leaving you with a fairly high FG. For beers that have OG's in the 1.065-1.070 range like the OP mentions having a FG of 1.020 is about what I'd expect.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:09 PM   #9
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THis batch was all grain. my previous 2 were partial. now, I will say towards the end of the all grain brew I was getting a little toasty, but the main work was done. That's a long time to sit around drinking beer.

Don't ask about the grain bill - i started with a list with conversions written one way, but my beer supply place had them another. Poor conversions in the head, ending up with a lb extra after winging it could be another reason.

my mistake I checked my notes and I did use a 48 ounce starter. Started it two days ahead in a old sanitized milk jug. It was frothing up good.

Again, I appreciate all the help. Is there anything I can do now to get this thing going again? or is this my beer and I'd better like it. Scared to brew another.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamslow View Post
THis batch was all grain. my previous 2 were partial. now, I will say towards the end of the all grain brew I was getting a little toasty, but the main work was done. That's a long time to sit around drinking beer.

Don't ask about the grain bill - i started with a list with conversions written one way, but my beer supply place had them another. Poor conversions in the head, ending up with a lb extra after winging it could be another reason.

my mistake I checked my notes and I did use a 48 ounce starter. Started it two days ahead in a old sanitized milk jug. It was frothing up good.

Again, I appreciate all the help. Is there anything I can do now to get this thing going again? or is this my beer and I'd better like it. Scared to brew another.
How long has it been sitting at 1.020? You could try raising the fermentation temperature a little bit and swirling the carboy/bucket to see if you can get anything else to ferment out, but a FG of 1.020 doesn't mean the fermentation is necessarily stalled.

What was your mash temp? You said it got a bit hot towards the end, so if you had a warm mash a 1.020 FG from a 1.070 OG wort might just mean it's done fermenting.


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