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Old 06-13-2008, 03:35 PM   #1
wk1h
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Default High FG or stuck ferm with first AG

I just tried my first all grain batch. I was going for an Irish Red, here's the recipe I used for the 5.5 gallon batch:

8.5 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
8 oz Carared
8 oz Melanoiden Malt
4 oz Roasted Barley
2 oz Special B Malt
0.5 oz EKG 5.0% AA (60 min)
1.0 oz Fuggles ~3.65% AA (60 min)
0.5 oz EKG 5.0% AA (5 min)
1 tsp Irish Moss
1 tbsp PH 5.2 Stablizer
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Mash profile I used was 153F for 60 minutes and batch sparge. As I was mashing, I realized that my hydrometer was destroyed in the last round of cleaning. So I wasn't able to make a SG reading at all. I was using a thermometer that I never used before, not sure if it is accurate or not.

Primary showed a little airlock activity (not very vigorous at all) for 3 - 4 days and then stopped. Racked to secondary at 7 days with a reading of 1.022, quite a bit higher than expected. After three weeks in secondary with no activity I still read at 1.022.

I'm afraid that I could have mashed at way too high temp and thus the high FG. I don't remember what the date on the yeast was, but I remember checking it and wasn't worried about it at the time. What else could cause this problem and is there anything I can do to further lower my FG? Really, I'd like it at about 1.014 before bottling.

Thanks.


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Old 06-13-2008, 03:39 PM   #2
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hold please.....

1.014 would certainly be a better target.

153 at 60 minutes should have been fine.

Could be insufficient aeration before you pitched the yeast. Did you happen to rack any yeast into the secondary?

Have you tasted? Does it have a residual sweetness to it?

I'll go ahead and say it now...don't go adding Beano if someone suggests it.

You may want to go ahead and rehydrate another packet of dry yeast ( I don't usually recommend this but sounds like your best option at this point) and pitch it and then give it another 2 weeks.


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Old 06-13-2008, 03:40 PM   #3
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Looks like about 13% specialty grains, which will usually raise the amount of residual (read: unfermentable) sugars in the finished beer. You may just be stuck at 1.020. I've had TONS of beers finish there, particularly if you're "not sure" if you mashed to high. That might be the culprit right there.

But before we make that determination, I need to know more:
  1. Did you aerate/oxygenate your wort? If so, how did you do it?
  2. What yeast did you use? If it was a liquid medium, did you make a yeast starter?
  3. What were your fermentation temps like?
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
  1. Did you aerate/oxygenate your wort? If so, how did you do it?
  2. What yeast did you use? If it was a liquid medium, did you make a yeast starter?
  3. What were your fermentation temps like?
As per my normal procedure, I didn't really aerate. My version of aeration is dumping it from the brew pot into the primary fermenter bucket at just the right height. "Just the right height" is defined as high enough to make it splash around real nice but low/slow enough so that it doesn't splash outside the bucket. This is not really aeration but I haven't had problems in the past with this technique. One of my last batches blew the top off the thing.

The yeast was Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale. I smacked the pack the night before and it puffed up real nice by pitching time. No other starter was used other than the smack pack itself.

Fermentation temp was a little high, probably about 74 or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
You may want to go ahead and rehydrate another packet of dry yeast ( I don't usually recommend this but sounds like your best option at this point) and pitch it and then give it another 2 weeks.
I was thinking of this myself, I have a packet of Munton's Ale in the fridge I could use for it. I might do that later this weekend if nobody else has an other ideas.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:00 PM   #5
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Check your thermometer - an ice bath should be 32F, boiling water at sea level 212F. If that is accurate then oxygenation is your likely culprit. You state this is your first all grain so is it your first full batch boil? With a partial boil you usually add cool, aerated water to top up to 5g which may be adequate with just "pour aeration" of your just boiled wort. With a full boil (especially if you cheat and only chill to the 70's) one "pour" may not provide enough oxygen.

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Old 06-15-2008, 04:41 AM   #6
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I'll try the temp thing to see if the thermometer is calibrated correctly, that should be my first step. I'll try this tomorrow and report back.

I have done a full boil on an extract brew once before, it was fine. For that matter, it was the one that blew the top off the bucket. That was with WLP001 California Ale which is known to be a great starter and pretty resilient. I don't know how Wyeast Irish Ale holds up in comparison in this area. I always thought that poor aeration will cause a slow start and/or ferment, but it wouldn't halt the ferment, is this a false assumption on my part? If it is an aeration problem, how do I correct it after the fact? I've read everywhere that once the yeast is pitched you do not want to aerate at all as further oxidation will cause a stale tasting beer.


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