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Can you bottle at SG 1.026?

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machbrit

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This is kind of a continuing saga, I posted earlier concerning this batch, about the extreme "hoppiness", which I wasn't expecting. It is a recipe kit from Midwest:
Here's the recipe and stats.
Superior Strong Ale
Recipe For 5 Gallons
SG: 1.063-1.067
FG: 1.014-1.018
IBUs ≈ 52.0

OG was 1.064, it spent 7 days in the primary, moved to secondary with a SG of 1.026. It is now almost 2 weeks later, and the SG is STILL at 1.026. That's a long was from the expected above. It doesn't seem to be getting any clearer at this point, still a bit hazy. Should I just bottle? Or let it sit in the carboy for a while? How can I avoid "stuck fermentation" in future batches? It seems to be an ongoing problem with me, this is the second batch to not reach it's target FG, I bottled a Coopers Amber at 1.020 last month that should have hit 1.0:confused:10. Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Mainebrew

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Funny, I too have had this happen on 2 of my last AG brews. You could try to warm it up a bit, maybe moving it upstairs to about 70-72. Or very gently swirl the fermenter to get the yeast moving again. What yeast did you use? And @ what temps are you fermenting.
 

springer

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I would not have moved it until I was positive it was done fermenting . 7 days is a little early for my taste to secondary actually I don't secondary at all any more just leave the beer on the cake for 3 weeks.Yeast need time to clean up after themselves and to get the proper attenuation .

What yeast are you using ? liquid with starters or dry?
 
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machbrit

machbrit

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I used a 7G packet of Coopers Ale (Gold Packet), rehydrated and pitched at 74 degrees (both the rehydrated yeast and the wort). I racked it to the secondary because there was no activity in the airlock after the 4th day, I just figured it was done. It didn't seem out of the ordinary for it to be done after 5 days, 7 seemed even more acceptable. I have had batches finish out after 48 hours, at least the initial visible signs of fermentation. My "brewery" is a temp controlled room at 72 degrees night and day.
 
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machbrit

machbrit

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Added note: The recipe kit from Midwest had the option for liquid yeast etc. But it came with the dry by default. I'm assuming that they would not give you the wrong type of yeast for the beer recipe they are packaging...at least I hope?
 

david_42

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Cooper's Gold should have done a much better job. I'd seriously consider re-pitching.
 

ArcaneXor

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OG was 1.064, it spent 7 days in the primary, moved to secondary with a SG of 1.026.
That's your explanation right there - you can't expect a beer to magically proceed fermenting when you take it off the yeast - the relatively small number of remaining, stressed yeast cells aren't up to finishing the job. It's like a company firing 95% of its workforce and expecting an increase in production.

Don't rack to a secondary unless you have a good reason for doing so. Especially, don't rack until the beer is done fermenting. Yeast doesn't operate according to a calendar.
 
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machbrit

machbrit

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Thanks for the reply, I have one of those strips that you stick to the side of the carboy like the ones you put on an aquaruium. I checked it on the first reading, and the strip agreed with my floating thermometer. I had one before that was wrong, and I pitched my yeast at 86 degrees, that one was a goner :) I used the Coopers Gold alot and it has never let me down before. David, How does one go about "re-pitching" I might try that...I didn't think you could add yeast at this stage, wouldn't the alcohol created up until now pretty much kill it?
 
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machbrit

machbrit

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Thanks ArcaneXor, sounds like good advice...I have always adhered to the 1-2-3 rule. What SG would have been right to rack to the secondary?
What options do I have at this point to save it?
 

McGarnigle

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7 gram packets are small compared with the usual 11 gram (though I think Cooper's sells in 7g or 15g), and this is a pretty decent size beer.

I don't think racking to secondary after seven days is wrong. You mention the 1-2-3 rule, but I've racked to secondary even sooner (4 or 5 days). Even if you left it in primary, it was probably done doing anything serious.
 

ArcaneXor

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Thanks ArcaneXor, sounds like good advice...I have always adhered to the 1-2-3 rule. What SG would have been right to rack to the secondary?
What options do I have at this point to save it?
My practices may differ from what is feasible for you, since I use Better Bottles, with which you have all sorts of indications of fermentation progress, including the airlock (assuming you have verified that you have a tight seal - many people can't achieve that, so the airlock is a useless indicator for activity for them), the presence of any bubbles or vertical movement of proteins and other particles, and clarity. Unless there are indications of anything unusual happening, I don't even take a SG measurement until I can pretty much see that the beer is done fermenting.

If you ferment in a bucket or other non-transparent vessel, I'd take SG measurements after about 10-14 days. I usually don't secondary at all, but when I do I generally don't transfer until I am in the range of the projected FG and the SG doesn't change for about 3-5 days or so, even when brought up to room temperature.

If the beer finishes high, I generally suspect that something went wrong. First step I do is take a taste sample and decide if I can tell the reason for the stalled fermentation. If the yeast crapped out, I will agitate the fermenter to get the yeast back into solution and warm the Better Bottle up, but that usually doesn't work very well. The next step would be a pitch the sediment of a large new, well-aerated yeast starter of a more attenuative yeast (usually California Ale yeast), sometimes in combination with some dextrose (which is easy for yeast to digest and can help dry a sweet beer out a bit).

I hope this helps you a little bit.
 
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machbrit

machbrit

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An update...I may have unwittingly taken your advice Arcane. I uswed The Thief to take my sample to check gravity, and in the process may have disturbed the yeast at the bottom, or perhaps swirled the carboy just enough, because this morning it actually has a head on it? There are lots of signs of fermentation, stuff floating up and down, bubbles rising, and activity in the airlock. It was also a hot day in Texas yesterday and the temp in my brewery went up 2 degrees during the day to 74. Who knows? Which do you think did it?
 

ArcaneXor

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Who knows - yeast is pretty mysterious. For instance, my IPA had stopped fermenting after 5 days and appeared to be done. When I added dry hops after 11 days, it picked up again and is still going 10 days later. Very slowly, but the yeast is definitely releasing CO2. I'll probably take a gravity reading and taste sample later today to see what's going on.
 
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