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Old 09-27-2007, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default Sometimes a stuck ferment is ...

just a stuck ferment!

Haven't brewed since April, due to the heat. Made a PM Brown Porter Saturday. I had a problem getting the mash temperature right as the grain had been in the freezer and I didn't allow time for it to warm up. Break was good, no boil problems. Hit the OG (1.052, TG 1.015) and got full conversion per iodine test (I don't normally test, but given the temperature problem). Pitched a packet of Windsor (AHS recommended Muntons), knowing it would leave me with a sweeter brew.

Hit 1.020 in 36 hours. Same-o at 72 hours. Roused the yeast, nada, no action at all. As a test, I put an enzyme tablet in the sample tube, added some Turbo yeast and warmed it to 80F. No change this morning, still 1.020.

So, I'll let it clear and keg it. Nothing wrong with a sweet porter.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:20 PM   #2
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I hear ya. I've learned to accept slightly higher FG's. My double IPA recently finished out around 1.040. I freaked out. I added dextrose and yeast in an attempt to kick-start it, but all it did was ferment out the dextrose and stop around 1.039. So I just let it sit for a good long time (88 days in secondary to be exact) while dryhopping and oaking it (not the whole time of course). I just bottled it yesterday, and my FG was 1.032 (OG was 1.094). Bad attenuation, but it could have been worse. See, you have the luxury of just saying "fu*k it" when you're kegging. But I've had more than a few batches finish high, sit there doing nothing for a month or more in carboy, then turning into gushers (or at least a little overcarb'd) once I get them into bottle. So I've become very anal retentive about FG.
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
As a test, I put an enzyme tablet in the sample tube, added some Turbo yeast and warmed it to 80F. No change this morning, still 1.020.
david_42, can you please explain this?
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:46 PM   #4
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This is a technique for forcing the breakdown and fermentation of any complex malts that might remain in a brew. The enzyme tablet contains alpha amylase and other enzymes to de-branch the malts and cut them into the simple sugars yeast can process. The Turbo yeast is a distiller's yeast, but I used it just because I have a lot. Also, it works best at higher temperatures. Warming the tube should have accelerated the enzyme activity.

I only do this in a hydrometer tube, because if it works properly, everything is broken down and processed, leaving a very thin, low malt beer. Since nothing changed, there has to be some problem other than starch/sugar conversion. Maybe the protein break wasn't as good as it looked.

If a drop in gravity had occurred, I would have known that the ferment would eventually get close to the target, but it could take months. If I bottled, I would leave the batch in the clearing tank for two months to avoid bottle bombs. Since kegs have relief valves, it doesn't matter.
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Old 09-27-2007, 05:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
This is a technique for forcing the breakdown and fermentation of any complex malts that might remain in a brew. The enzyme tablet contains alpha amylase and other enzymes to de-branch the malts and cut them into the simple sugars yeast can process. The Turbo yeast is a distiller's yeast, but I used it just because I have a lot. Also, it works best at higher temperatures. Warming the tube should have accelerated the enzyme activity.

I only do this in a hydrometer tube, because if it works properly, everything is broken down and processed, leaving a very thin, low malt beer. Since nothing changed, there has to be some problem other than starch/sugar conversion. Maybe the protein break wasn't as good as it looked.

If a drop in gravity had occurred, I would have known that the ferment would eventually get close to the target, but it could take months. If I bottled, I would leave the batch in the clearing tank for two months to avoid bottle bombs. Since kegs have relief valves, it doesn't matter.
Interesting. Thanks for the answer.
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Old 09-29-2007, 04:04 PM   #6
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In one of those events that makes homebrewing a true art; after five days of being stuck at 1.020 my Brown Porter dropped four points overnight. So, I'm at 1.016, which is good enough in my book.
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
In one of those events that makes homebrewing a true art; after five days of being stuck at 1.020 my Brown Porter dropped four points overnight. So, I'm at 1.016, which is good enough in my book.

What was the total time it was in the primary?
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Old 09-29-2007, 07:39 PM   #8
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It's been a week.
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