Dead Guy Stuck At 1.05

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Helms

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I brewed a Dead Guy clone two weeks ago. I made a big starter (over 3 liters) as recommended by Mr.Malty using Wyeast 1338. I nailed my OG of 1.066 pitched the yeast (after draining the liquid) and fermentation started within an hour. I kept it at 67 degrees for the first 7 days and then bumped it up to 70 for the last 6. I just took a gravity reading and it's stuck at 1.050. I have no idea why.

Soooo...pitch some Nottingham? I'm assuming it will make this beer more dry than it's supposed to be but It's pretty much the only yeast I can get locally. I don't feel like waiting another week or spending the money on more liquid yeast.

Also, when pitching, should I shake the heck out of it again to aerate the wort and mix in the yeast, or did the .016 gravity drop turn this into enough of a beer that oxygenation is bad? Thanks.
 
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Helms

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I pitched some Nottingham on Monday, and the airlock has been bubbling steadily ever since. I just took a gravity reading and guess what? 1.050

This beer has about 7.5# of DME and it was pretty well aerated, why the heck won't it ferment? It's now 20 days since brewing.
 

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Have you checked your hydrometer? With all that activity, there should have been a drop in gravity. Check the gravity with another hydrometer maybe, other than that, this sounds very odd.
 

samc

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Post ingredients
Did you take a taste?
Is your Hydrometer working properly - check it in some water.
 

gabeweisz

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Do you have a backup hydrometer? I wonder if something's wrong with the one you're using.
 
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Helms

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The ingredients were
7.5# pale DME
13oz. cara-munich
13oz. munich
7oz. crystal 55L
1oz Perle @ 60
1/4oz Perle @ 30
1/4oz Perle @ 15
1/4oz Saaz @ 15

Hydrometer reads 1.00 in distilled water. The sample was sweet and watery.
 

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I don't know why it's stuck! You said it's been showing some activity, though?

I guess I'd try one more time at rehydrating some nottingham, and adding it again. (I wouldn't aerate any more, though). I'm just scratching my head at this. It just doesn't seem to make any sense at all. Since the SG came down some, that means it got started. Why it stopped, and stayed there, I can't say.
 

samc

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My first and only thought is crap DME that has a lot of unfermentables in it. What brand and is it possible someone diluted it with something? Or it is incredibly old, but then you might not have started with a good OG number. Have you used this DME from the same batch on other successful brews?
 

Jonnio

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I know this may sound stupid, but are you sure your not reading 1.005?
 
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Helms

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Thanks for all the advice so far. I'm certain that I'm not misreading the hydrometer. I can tell from the taste as well that it's nowhere near it's projected FG. I pitched some more Nottingham, and I'm getting airlock bubbles about every 1-2 seconds. I'll wait a few days before taking another reading.

I sincerely hope that this isn't a case of bad DME. I have actually never used this source before and I have no idea what brand it its. It's repackaged bulk stuff, but that seems to be the norm around here. Every home brew shop around here is also a brew on premises, so just about everything is sold like that. Even the Nottingham I bought is repackaged bulk.

I should also add that the fermenter is in a water bath with an aquarium heater, so there have been virtually no temperature fluctuations.
 

jason.mundy

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Here is an idea. Pull enough wort/beer for a hydrometer sample. Measure it.

Pour this off to a growler with a foil cap. Just like a starter. Keep it at room temperature.

Add a pack of dry yeast to this. Aerate all you want, because you will not be drinking/bottling it. Put it on a stir plate if you have it. Stir it up every time you walk by.

After three days, take another hydrometer reading of the sample. If it did not drop, then I doubt you get your batch in the fermenter to drop.
 

CaptYesterday

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Are you putting enough beer in the hydrometer?

If you are only filling the tube 2/3s of the way the hydrometer could be resting on the bottom of the sampling container and giving you a false reading.
 
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Helms

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Well, I couldn't take the suspense any longer and just did another hydrometer reading. It's at exactly 1.048. Again, I'm certain that I'm not misreading the hydrometer. It's not touching the bottom, and I just double checked one more time to confirm that it's reading 1.000 in distilled water.

Do I have any options, or is this going down the sink? Should I chalk it up to bad DME and find another source?

I only have one primary, and was really excited about this one. I can tell from the samples, that if it ever does ferment it will be awesome.
 

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I'm just stumped here. I guess I'd try one more time with some fresh yeast. Maybe rehydrate some dry yeast and pitch it one more time. Keep it at a good temperature (70 F if you can) until it starts going. Even if the DME isn't great, it still should ferment.
 

Jonnio

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Helms - the suggestion of a stir plate or at least extra container repeatedly aerated is a good one. Stone brewery does this on all their batches in order to determine what the true terminal gravity will be.

I would try that and if it doesn't drop then you might as well dump the batch. I would also take a sample to where I bought the extract and ask for a refund.
 
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Helms

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Ok......I bought two things of Nottingham after work tonight. I properly rehydrated one of them and pitched them into the fermenter. I also upped the temperature to 70 degrees. The other one I used to make a small (maybe 300-400ml) starter, which I shook the crap out of and will continue to do so whenever possible. I'll crack them both open on Saturday and see what the result is.
 
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Helms

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I think it's time for the sink for this one. I just took a reading and it's only down to 1.045. There isn't even a hint of krausen on the surface. It looks like it's done. 3+ liter starter and 40 grams of Nottingham only got me a .021 drop in gravity. I'm off to the shop to pick up some ingredients for an ESB and no, I'm not buying extract at the same place.

Right now my starter sample has way too much yeast in suspension to take a reading. I think I overdid it. It looks like slurry. I put it in the fridge to see if enough of it will drop out to take a sample, and will probably check it in the morning just out of curiosity.
 

RCCOLA

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I think it's time for the sink for this one. I just took a reading and it's only down to 1.045. There isn't even a hint of krausen on the surface. It looks like it's done. 3+ liter starter and 40 grams of Nottingham only got me a .021 drop in gravity. I'm off to the shop to pick up some ingredients for an ESB and no, I'm not buying extract at the same place.

Right now my starter sample has way too much yeast in suspension to take a reading. I think I overdid it. It looks like slurry. I put it in the fridge to see if enough of it will drop out to take a sample, and will probably check it in the morning just out of curiosity.
When you re-hydrated your yeast--what was the temp of the water you re-hydrated it in?Could you have overheated and killed your yeast?(over 100F)
 

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You mention raising the temp to 70; why not go to 75 at least? It's not ideal, but you're desperate. Also, open 'er up and stir with a sanitized spoon. Knock the krausen off the sides.

BTW, i don't know if you can blame the extract for this. Asking for a refund is silly.
 
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Helms

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The yeast was rehydrated at 90 degrees and pitched at 70.

I bought all the ingredients for my next batch today, but I still couldn't quite bring myself to dump it yet. I used a sanitized spoon and stirred up the yeast (careful not to oxygenate) and upped the temperature to 75. If it hasn't dropped any more by morning, I'll just have to bite the bullet and pour it out.
 

ChshreCat

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Are you needing the fermenter for something else right now? If I were in your situation and I at all could, I'd just set this one aside and see what it's at after another month or two.
 

Jonnio

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You mention raising the temp to 70; why not go to 75 at least? It's not ideal, but you're desperate. Also, open 'er up and stir with a sanitized spoon. Knock the krausen off the sides.

BTW, i don't know if you can blame the extract for this. Asking for a refund is silly.
What else could it be? Its not like this was an all grain batch that his mash temp could have been way off, extract has an exact SG and attenuation should be solely determined by the yeast.
 

McGarnigle

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What else could it be? Its not like this was an all grain batch that his mash temp could have been way off, extract has an exact SG and attenuation should be solely determined by the yeast.
Operator error. I know he said he made a starter and aerated, but maybe they weren't done as well as they could have. Maybe something else went wrong.

Not pointing the finger at the guy, but I can't see him getting a refund for the extract just because his beer didn't attenuate.
 
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Helms

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The beer got dumped today. My starter didn't ferment down at all. It's still at 1.045.

Leaving it in the primary for another month or two isn't an option, as my water bath only holds one fermenter and my house is only about 60 degrees (old house bad insulation).

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I have the day off work tomorrow, so I'm brewing up an English bitter.
 

jkpq45

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You said a number of posts back that your yeast is repackaged bulk. Any chance the yeast is no good?

You said the starter you made had a bunch of yeast in suspension, which suggests it was replicating, but no fermentation?
 
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Helms

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I was actually wondering about that yeast myself, as I'd never actually used it before, so I brewed up a new batch Monday afternoon with that same repackaged Nottingham. It took off pretty quick, and when I got up for work this morning, was spewing gunk out of the blowoff tube. It's still gurgling like a madman, so I'd say the dried yeast is definitely viable.

The Nottingham is the only yeast at this place that is sold in this manner and I think it's because they use it in most of their beer. They brew all the time there, so all ingredients are measured from bulk quantities (their LME is in giant 300kg drums). It's unlikely that anything there is very old. I should add that this is not where I purchased the ingredients used in my failed batch.

I think I really overdid the starter in regards to the ratio of yeast vs. wort. It ended up being like yeast soup. I'm not sure if it was even possible for all of the yeast to settle out of suspension, but admittedly, I really don't know enough about it to say.
 

RCCOLA

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I was actually wondering about that yeast myself, as I'd never actually used it before, so I brewed up a new batch Monday afternoon with that same repackaged Nottingham. It took off pretty quick, and when I got up for work this morning, was spewing gunk out of the blowoff tube. It's still gurgling like a madman, so I'd say the dried yeast is definitely viable.

The Nottingham is the only yeast at this place that is sold in this manner and I think it's because they use it in most of their beer. They brew all the time there, so all ingredients are measured from bulk quantities (their LME is in giant 300kg drums). It's unlikely that anything there is very old. I should add that this is not where I purchased the ingredients used in my failed batch.

I think I really overdid the starter in regards to the ratio of yeast vs. wort. It ended up being like yeast soup. I'm not sure if it was even possible for all of the yeast to settle out of suspension, but admittedly, I really don't know enough about it to say.
Thank God & congrats on an active fermentation.I think all of us following this thread were scared to death for you.I don't like to see any homebrewer fail a batch.Guess I've been lucky never to have had a stuck or non-active fermentation.Once again--congrats!:mug:
 
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Helms

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Just a quick update in case anyone's interested. I couldn't stand the suspense any longer and took a gravity reading today. 1.012............phew!

It seems like this was a one-time problem (hopefully). I only wish I knew what went wrong so I could ensure that I won't have a repeat.
 

capn

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its the dead guy curse. it happened to me with my first batch, stuck at 1.03 if I remember correctly. I'm brewing a batch right now and i'm nervous to check the sg...
glad yours worked out enjoy it.
 
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