Another stalled high gravity beer

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Btaz

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Sadly I'm making another post about a stalled high gravity beer. I reused a 6 week old San Diego super yeast strain into a 1.108 OG beer. It took about 3 days for fermentation to begin and I was getting super worried and then it took off. Airlock s popped and a mess everywhere until I setup a blow off tube. Then things wound down and it appears to have stalled at 1.044 where I'm hoping to get to around 1.025. I should have had plenty of yeast using the slurry calculators with conservative estimates. I used 1min 02 transfers at 1L/min on day 0,day 1,and 24 hours into active fermentation. I've roused the yeast a few times now and have raised the temp to the top of the recommended range (68F),but it seems to be stalled.

So any suggestions on what to do next?

My first thought is to buy another vial and get a large starter built up with yeast nutrient. Repitch and give it another shot of O2.

Second idea is to just make a similar lower gravity beer and blend the two.
 

HoppyHills

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Well I'm no expert but I can give my own opinion.. I would think you have a stalled fermentation, so perhaps you could transfer to another fermenting vessel, then develop a starter from the yeast at the bottom of your primary.

This would save you some money and would allow the same yeast population to continue doing it's job.. maybe you could even take some of the beer as you're racking and toss it in your starter vessel.. then all you need is to throw your yeast in there with some nutrient..

As far as giving it more O2, wouldnt oxygenating your beer be a concern at this stage of fermentation? Maybe skip that part :p
 

Big Monk

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How was your wort production? Mashing schedule?
 
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Btaz

Btaz

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How was your wort production? Mashing schedule?
Mash temp was on target, 153.Ph was good 5.4. Effeciency was as expected. My only brew day snaffu was I ran too much water through due to a small calculation error and had to boil for 3 hours to get the OG and volume where I planned (1.108 actual vs 1.104 planned at 11G).
 
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Btaz

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Just checking, but your hydrometer reads 1.000 in plain water, right? And you're not using a refractometer?
Correct. I re checked the hydrometer after I got the high reading. I was really hoping the hydrometer was bad... It isn't.
 

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You could try pitching a starter of 3711 at high krausen. Your flavor profile is probably pretty set at this point. It's got a good tolerance for alcohol.

I few guys in my club have used champagne yeast with success. I haven't used champagne yeast so I can't speak from personal experience.
 

Cavpilot2000

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I would rack it to another vessel and make a new starter, but NOT with the lees from your primary, because those probably aren't the best/most healthy yeast, given that they were likely very stressed from the start with such a high gravity wort, and also that they gave up and quit on you.

Build a fresh yeast starter, cold crash, decant, and then add a pint or so of fresh wort (DME starter wort will do) to make a mini "vitality starter" about 4 hours before you pitch it all in the beer. This "wake-up" charge of wort will get the yeast active and eating before they are pitched, so they aren't just thrown in while dormant. It'll give them a better chance of having a healthy start. I do this with all my yeast starters, and I am usually pushing bubbles out of my fermenter airlocks within 2-4 hours of pitching on brewday.

Just my two cents.
 
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Btaz

Btaz

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I would rack it to another vessel and make a new starter.
What is your train of thought for doing a transfer as opposed to just repitching in the same one?


Build a fresh yeast starter, cold crash, decant, and then add a pint or so of fresh wort (DME starter wort will do) to make a mini "vitality starter"
Think the new starter should target a 1 million cells / ml / degree Plato (brewer's friend yeast calculator Pro Brewer 1.0 level) for a 1.044 (current gravity beer)? I tend to use that for anything over 1.06 OG.
 

Cavpilot2000

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What is your train of thought for doing a transfer as opposed to just repitching in the same one?



Think the new starter should target a 1 million cells / ml / degree Plato (brewer's friend yeast calculator Pro Brewer 1.0 level) for a 1.044 (current gravity beer)? I tend to use that for anything over 1.06 OG.
The rationale for fresh yeast is as I said in the earlier post. Those yeast were stressed from the start by a super-high sugar environment. So much so that they crapped out and quit on you. They're tired and stressed. Give them a break and bring in a fresh crew to finish the job.
 
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Btaz

Btaz

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The rationale for fresh yeast is as I said in the earlier post. Those yeast were stressed from the start by a super-high sugar environment. So much so that they crapped out and quit on you. They're tired and stressed. Give them a break and bring in a fresh crew to finish the job.
I get using fresh yeast, but think it would make a difference to pitch new yeast on top of the first round vs pitching new yeast into the second vessel with no existing yeast cake?
 

Cavpilot2000

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I get using fresh yeast, but think it would make a difference to pitch new yeast on top of the first round vs pitching new yeast into the second vessel with no existing yeast cake?
I don't know if it would make a difference. I guess it really depends how long you've been in the primary plus how long it's going to take to make a fresh starter. If it's only a week or two or three I wouldn't worry much, but if you've been sitting on the lees for a month now, I'd consider racking (but purge transfer lines and new fermenter with CO2 if you can to reduce O2 exposure).

And it probably couldn't hurt to throw in some yeast nutrient while you're at it.
 
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So here is what I think I'm going to do. It has been 3 weeks since the brew day and I made an 8G partygyle using the same yeast slurry. It hasn't fermented as much as I'd like to either. So I'm going to transfer that to New vessels and collect the yeast. Make a large starter with this yeast and with yeast nutrients. Then cold crash, do the vitality starter, and repitch into the main beer and partygyle. If that doesn't work then I'll try again using a new yeast vial and by this time I'll need to get the main beer off of the existing yeast cake. In hoping I don't have to go this far, but I've said that several times already with this beer.
 

Big Monk

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I would reconsider such high gravity beers if you are experiencing these types of problems.
 
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Btaz

Btaz

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I would reconsider such high gravity beers if you are experiencing these types of problems.
I've been successful at other high gravity beers. I didn't do anything to the slurry this time, such as a vitality starter, and think that set me down this path. This is my second time using this yeast, the first was making the beer that produced this slurry, but from I've been led to believe it's that the San Diego super yeast should work prefect for this high of a gravity beer. In fact my entire recipe (grain, mash, fermenting schedule, etc) fine from a brewery that has this beer as a production beer.
 
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Btaz

Btaz

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So here is what I think I'm going to do. It has been 3 weeks since the brew day and I made an 8G partygyle using the same yeast slurry. It hasn't fermented as much as I'd like to either. So I'm going to transfer that to New vessels and collect the yeast. Make a large starter with this yeast and with yeast nutrients. Then cold crash, do the vitality starter, and repitch into the main beer and partygyle. If that doesn't work then I'll try again using a new yeast vial and by this time I'll need to get the main beer off of the existing yeast cake. In hoping I don't have to go this far, but I've said that several times already with this beer.
Anyone have thoughts on O2? Should I give it a shot of O2 when I pitch or should I wait to see activity and then give it O2? I think the former might be the best chance at getting things going, but the second might be the safest way to not oxidize the beer of the yeast doesn't work out this try
 
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Rousing and raising the temp didn't do anything. Here is another attempt of pitching a massive starter collected from the partygyle beer. I did a 2.2Ln starter, chile crashed, and a 2.2L vitality starter (9 hours) and pitched. After about 24 hrs there is about a bubble every 90s. So maybe it is chewing on something. I was hoping for a bit faster fermentation before adding some O2. Since it appears to be doing something what are your thoughts on adding O2 now
 
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Btaz

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Just an update for anyone interested. I did another test and the FG hasn't changed. I suspected the bubbles were from the stater fermenting out. Next, I added 0.25lb of dextrose to it to see if the yeast just wasn't working. It's bubbling just fine. This lead me to think that my wort just has a lot of unfermentable sugars. With that thought I went back to my recipe in beerSmith. If I change the muscavado sugar to be not fermentable, it predicts my FG to be almost exactly where I am at now. So it seems I caramelized the sugar or something during the boil. Next plan is to add some more dextrose to add some alcohol to make the beer appear thinner and then blend in a dark dme extract brew to bring down the FG.
 

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I had a big beer get stuck not too long ago. Had success making a "sacrificial" beer and racking the stuck beer onto the yeast cake.

If you go this route, make a similarly flavored beer to avoid much flavor contribution from any leftover wort.

Keep us updated and good luck! :mug:
 
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Btaz

Btaz

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I had a big beer get stuck not too long ago. Had success making a "sacrificial" beer and racking the stuck beer onto the yeast cake.

If you go this route, make a similarly flavored beer to avoid much flavor contribution from any leftover wort.

Keep us updated and good luck! :mug:
I'm pretty sure my problem is that the sugars are not fermentable (similar to lactose). So a sacrificial beer won't help in this case. I'll just blender in another beer in to lower the FG so that it isn't so cloying.
 
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Btaz

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Little update. I made a blender beer an 8.6%ABV porter-ish beer with a FG of 1.013 (I added more sugar to drop the FG and raise the ABV). I blended that with the the high gravity beer (10.2 ABV at 1.039 ) to about a 4:10 ratio. This ended with a 9.7% baltic porter at 1.032 FG. It is a bit sweeter than I wanted and high for the style, but the flat sample was still pretty drinkable. I also put 5G of this into a whisky barrel and that flat sample tasted amazing. All the beer is now bottle conditioning under Thanksgiving. Overall though I think I saved this beer from being dumped....just took much more work than planned.
 
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