Fermentation is done but FG is high?

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Rainyn

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Hi all!
Hoping some experts could help me with my oatmeal stout. I used a "Brewer's Best" Oatmeal Stout kit. This is the first time I've ever used grains. (partial extract and partial grains kit).
The instructions that came with the kit here: http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1042 Oatmeal Stout.pdf

The kit had me steep my grains and said not go go above 162F but I'm a bit new at this so I know I went above that a few times, like maybe 165 or a little higher.

When I measured my OG, it came out much higher than the kit said it would. (kit said to expect an OG of 1.048-1.056) I got an OG of 1.095.

I pitched the dry yeast that came with the kit. Yes I just threw it in there dry (and yes I did aerate as best I could). 8 hours later, it was bubbling like crazy with nice krausen.
24 hours, all signs of fermentation seemed to stop. I thought it would go longer. I let it sit two days but no visible activity. Hydrometer said I was at 1.040 and I had TONS of sediment. I racked to a new container, hoping the yeast would liven up a bit.


That was about 3 days ago. Since then, I see a bubble come out maybe once every 5 minutes in my fermentation lock. I am still at 1.040.
I tried to "test" my yeast by throwing a teaspoon of sugar into my stalled brew and the yeast immediately started foaming all over it so I don't think they're dead.

Is this done?
Did my too high steeping temp put too many unfermentables in my wort?
Is oatmeal fermentable anyways?
Did my yeast work really fast?
Should I rack again and let it sit longer?


I just don't have enough experience yet to tell for myself what's going on.

I was hoping to make this for my husband. I'm not much of a beer drinker but I love to create and brew. Mead and ciders are usually my thing but I wanted to try my hand at some beer.

:mug: Thanks!
 

BendBrewer

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What does your hydrometer read in plain water at 60 degrees.

Something is wrong.
 

mojotele

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I'm assuming you boiled 2.5 gallons per instructions. When you were done boiling and had cooled the wort, did you top off with plain water to 5 gallons? If not, that's why your OG was so high.
 

echotraveler

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i can only suggest, let it sit for a couple of weeks...you racked this too early, the lock is not a good guide...keep checking gravity every 4 days or so...
 

Revvy

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First, after only four days it's unlikely that fermentation is totally complete. Airlock bubbling should not be used to judge. the best thing to do is to take 2 consegutive readings three days apart, I recommend not even doing the first one til it's been at least 10 days since yeast pitch.

If you're at 10.40 you are not near fermentation completion yet.

You will find most of us don't move the beer to a secondary, rather they leave it in the fermentor for a month, which improves brew clarity and clean taste immensely.

Now as to your original gravity issue, the gravity wasn't really 1.090. It's a pretty common issue for ANYONE topping off with water in the fermenter (and that includes partial mashes, extract or all grain revcipes) to have an error in reading the OG...In fact, it is actually nearly impossible to mix the wort and the top off water in a way to get an accurate OG reading...

Brewers get a low reading if they get more of the top off water than the wort, conversely they get a higher number if they grabbed more of the extract than the top off water in their sample.

When I am doing an extract with grain recipe I make sure to stir for a minimum of 5 minutes (whipping up a froth to aerate as well) before I draw a grav sample and pitch my yeast....It really is an effort to integrate the wort with the top off water...This is a fairly common new brewer issue we get on here...unless you under or over topped off or the final volume for the kit was 5 gallons and you topped off to 5.5, then the issue, sorry to say, is "operator error"

it doesn't matter what your reading was.....the "real reading" in an extract batch is what it said it would be in the recipe or beersmith....Whether or not you mixed it up enough before you took the reading it mixed itself up fine during fermentation.

So unless you had a final volume a gallon or so higher than 5 gallons....you recipe will be fine and at the OG it was supposed to be,

I bet your OG is EXACTLY what it is supposed to be.

And during fermentation the wort and water will mix up just fine on it's own.

Your beer is really fine, just relax and leave it alone for at least another week. The beer will finish fermenting and the yeast will clean up all the things that it produced that could led to off flavors.

:mug:
 

JJL

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Gotta go with Revvy on this. It probably isn't finished yet. Your krausen has fallen, but that doesn't mean fermentation is complete. Also, Bendbrewer is correct in that you should calibrate your hydrometer just in case. I'm also assuming that the temp in your brewery is relatively consistent. If your hydrometer reading doesn't change, you could GENTLY rock your carboy back and forth to rouse the yeast. Some people don't care for this because they are concerned about aerating the beer, but as long as you don't pick it up and shake it violently, you should be fine. Then, just keep taking readings evry couple of days until you hit the target FG.
 

mojotele

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I really doubt the problem is that it isn't finished yet. She says it was 1.040 then was still 1.040 three days later. Sure, it's possible, but highly unlikely.

I'm still wondering if she didn't top off at all. That would make a lot of sense. She mentions there was a lot of sediment. If the OG was 1.095 and the volume was only 2 gallons there would be a lot of yeast for the volume.
 
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Rainyn

Rainyn

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I'm assuming you boiled 2.5 gallons per instructions. When you were done boiling and had cooled the wort, did you top off with plain water to 5 gallons? If not, that's why your OG was so high.
I did measure out and steep my grains with 2.5 gallons, tried to keep my temp at around 162F for the exact amount of time my instructions called for (sorry I lost my "steep to convert" instruction paper after I did this so I don't recall the exact amount of time. I think it was 45 minutes?). I added my LME, DME, and maltodextrin. I followed my hops cycle.
After that was completed, I did fill to the 5 gallon mark on my fermentation pail.
 
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Rainyn

Rainyn

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What does your hydrometer read in plain water at 60 degrees.

Something is wrong.
I just checked it again. My hydrometer is a combo thermometer/hydrometer. It measured right at 1.000 at the top of the meniscus and the temperature of my tap water today was 59F degrees.
I wanted to believe the hydrometer was bad.
Thanks though!
 
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Rainyn

Rainyn

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Revvy, thanks for your response. You make a lot of sense :D
I took my OG reading after I aerated with a large wire whisk for a few minutes. I just threw my hydrometer into my fermentation bucket and let it sit for a minute so I could take it's temp at the same time as my hydrometer reading. So it probably would be considered a "top" sample...if a sample at all.
I suppose it's probably wrong to just throw the hydrometer in but I honestly have no tube to measure samples in. Do you still think my OG was wrong?

I have no problem letting it sit for a while. That's probably what I'll end up doing anyways. I just want to make sure there isn't some important action I should be taking at this point.

My kit said it would bubble 4-6 days and mine didn't. It said to bottle after it stopped bubbling for 48 hours. I've been non-bubbling for longer than that. I know the kit was mostly just some general guidelines. Just wanted to be sure I shouldn't be bottling/racking or anything yet.
Much thanks! :ban:
 

Revvy

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My kit said it would bubble 4-6 days and mine didn't. It said to bottle after it stopped bubbling for 48 hours. I've been non-bubbling for longer than that. I know the kit was mostly just some general guidelines. Just wanted to be sure I shouldn't be bottling/racking or anything yet.
Much thanks! :ban:
Yeah that's typical bad beerkit instructions. :rolleyes:

The reason is pretty simple, generally speaking kit manufacturers, especially kit an kilo manufacturers, are concerned with selling more and more kits NOT with the brewer making the best beer possible. They know that if they say in the instructions to wait, they may loose some people to hobbies that have more instant gratification.

They also know that the time that a homebrewer will remain buying kits is relatively short...they know that after a few kits, the brewer will either give up, start brewing extract batches from recipes in books and places like this, formulate their own recipes, or go all grain...so they want to sell as many kits as possible to the new brewer before he moves on to bigger and better things.

SO they know that even their beer will taste better if you leave it longer...but they know that in the time you wait you will be reading and learning and be less likely to buy another kit...They can sell three or four kits to you if you follow their directions in the same time frame that listening to us and waiting a month and bottle conditioning for another 3-4 weeks.


Read this about why airlocks are not a good gauge of fermentation. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/help-146480/#post1671759
 

mojotele

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Something I just noticed that I don't think anyone else has either: your kit is technically a partial mash kit. I assumed (quite wrongly) that you were just using steeping grains.

Specialty grains are:

1 lb. Oats
6 oz. Dark Chocolate
12 oz. 2-row Pale
2 oz. Crystal 120L
4 oz. Victory

Now, I know the 2-row Pale and Victory must be mashed. I've heard oats must be mashed as well. I'm guessing the "dark chocolate" is literally dark chocolate and not a malt, so I'm not sure of its fermentability. But, the whole point of the 2-row is to convert the starches in the other specialty grains.

Given your temperatures, almost everything extracted from the "must be mashed" grains I listed above would be unfermentable. That plus the 1 pound of maltodextrin makes for a lot of unfermentable stuff. You may be pretty much done.
 
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Rainyn

Rainyn

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Something I just noticed that I don't think anyone else has either: your kit is technically a partial mash kit. I assumed (quite wrongly) that you were just using steeping grains.

Specialty grains are:

1 lb. Oats
6 oz. Dark Chocolate
12 oz. 2-row Pale
2 oz. Crystal 120L
4 oz. Victory

Now, I know the 2-row Pale and Victory must be mashed. I've heard oats must be mashed as well. I'm guessing the "dark chocolate" is literally dark chocolate and not a malt, so I'm not sure of its fermentability. But, the whole point of the 2-row is to convert the starches in the other specialty grains.

Given your temperatures, almost everything extracted from the "must be mashed" grains I listed above would be unfermentable. That plus the 1 pound of maltodextrin makes for a lot of unfermentable stuff. You may be pretty much done.
Thanks you! I was definitely wondering about the fermentability of the mash ingredients, and their effect on my gravity readings, especially the oatmeal. I had no clue the maltodextrin was unfermentable.
Oh, the "dark chocolate" was a burned-looking malt. It colored my beer almost black.
Much thanks. That was the answer to my main question.
In future attempts, I'll have to be more careful with my mashing temps, and I think I should do more reading and info gathering before I wildly jump into any more kits.
:mug: Cheers!
 

jonbomb

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Yeah that's typical bad beerkit instructions. :rolleyes:

The reason is pretty simple, generally speaking kit manufacturers, especially kit an kilo manufacturers, are concerned with selling more and more kits NOT with the brewer making the best beer possible. They know that if they say in the instructions to wait, they may loose some people to hobbies that have more instant gratification.

They also know that the time that a homebrewer will remain buying kits is relatively short...they know that after a few kits, the brewer will either give up, start brewing extract batches from recipes in books and places like this, formulate their own recipes, or go all grain...so they want to sell as many kits as possible to the new brewer before he moves on to bigger and better things.

SO they know that even their beer will taste better if you leave it longer...but they know that in the time you wait you will be reading and learning and be less likely to buy another kit...They can sell three or four kits to you if you follow their directions in the same time frame that listening to us and waiting a month and bottle conditioning for another 3-4 weeks.


Read this about why airlocks are not a good gauge of fermentation. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/help-146480/#post1671759
Just cleared alot up for me im buying a brewers best hefe kit this week and im gonna let it stay in primary for a while... then im gonna compare my first beer which is a brewers best english pale ale to the hefe i buy and see what tastes better...
 

Justibone

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You said you threw a tablespoon of sugar in to "test the yeast", and when it foamed up you assumed the yeast were okay. That's not a good test of yeast. The reason it "bubbled up" was most likely the dissolved carbon dioxide in the beer.

A good way to "test" the yeast is to take out a very small sample (less than a teaspoon) and put that in about a cup of water with 2 or 3 raisins and a tablespoon of sugar. Cover it. If you have sediment the next day, the small number of yeast you transplanted from your beer multiplied and ate the sugar/raisins for ya.

(Rehydrated raisins = good, easy, natural yeast food.) :ban:
 
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