Kveik sugar head stalling at 1.06 gravity

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shotgunllama

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Okay I'm at the end of my rope here and surrounded by all kinds of confusion and frustration. I am trying to ferment a wash with Hornindal kveik because it supposedly can ferment nicely from a high OG and quite quickly. My recipe was:
  • 5 gal water
  • 1 tsp miso paste (yes weird but should provide nutrients, and this 1 tsp couldn't possibly have so much salt it's ****ing with the entire 5 gal batch right?)
  • 2 tablespoons boiled dead instead baker's yeast
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 dissolved multivitamin tablet
  • 1 tsp DAP
  • 1 tsp of the settled yeast cake on the bottom of a jar from a packet of hornindal kveik (added once the mix was at/cooler than body temp. When I got the packet in the mail I emptied it into a sterile jar and let it settled in the fridge, then poured off the wort and replaced with filtered water)
  • Somewhere between 10 and 11 lbs white sugar to an OG of 1.078
All this has sat in a fermenter kept around 95 - 100F (hot for most yeasts, recommended for kveik). At first the airlock went off quite vigorously bubbling every few seconds for the first couple days. Now after 4 days of fermenting (which is already longer than a kveik yeast is supposed to take to finish), it's bubbling less than once per minute if at all and it's SG is only around 1.060. I have been occasionally swirling the fermenter around a couple times a day since it started.

A while after starting it, after seeing very little activity, I pitched about 1 more tsp of the yeast cake, still on the first day.

Today, out of desperation I boiled another tablespoon or so of baker's yeast in a little water and then added about 1.5 tsp DAP, and added all that to the mix and gave it a little shake. This was around 4 hours ago, and it seemed like maybe it was bubbling more for 30-60 minutes after I did that, but now it's back to its seemingly dead state and I just can't understand why.

Was there not enough DAP? Or even too much? Kveik is supposed to need a lot of nutrient, and the recommended rate was something like 1/2 - 1 tsp per 5 gal batch for a normal beer, so I figured this is a safe amount.

Is there some problem with the killed off baker's yeast I added? Does that not give enough nutrients to it? It has something like 3 tablespoons of the stuff in it now.

The temperature should be good right? A thermometer registers the side of the fermenter, as I said above, between around 95 and 100 F, which a yeast like hornindal kveik should be quite happy at.

I know the addition of miso is weird, but is it even possible that the approx 1 tsp I added could mess with the ferment this much?

I just can't wrap my mind around why this could have crawled to such a halt when it's hardly fermented any of the sugar I gave it. I used this yeast specifically because it's supposed to be able to ferment a lot of sugar quickly when it's held at a relatively high temperature, but now it seems like I've made some critical and unsalvageable mistake that's screwed my whole batch and I can't even hazard a guess as to what messed it up so badly.

A while ago I also posted about a different attempt at a ferment using the same yeast with a somewhat different recipe but given pretty much the same treatment regarding temperature and technique, and it seems to be stalling too (but at like 1.030, has been going for 11 days). For the record, I also tried adding more nutrient to jumpstart this other stalled ferment but haven't seen any results from doing so yet.

Is there anything I can do to get these big tubs of what are otherwise just wasted money and time to start fermenting again? Or even just any ideas as to why they stopped in the first place? I'm quite frustrated here. Also, I was unsure if this, being a modified sugar wash, should be under the beer category, wine, or somewhere else, but "beginner" definitely applies to me, so I'm hoping for help here.

Per advice I got elsewhere, I tried adding a little lemon juice and taking a sterile whisk to the ferment to see if that reinvigorates the yeast. So far I haven't noticed anything but it's only been about an hour.
 

marc1

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How are you measuring SG?

I've never tried a sugar wash, and I'm not sure about all the improvised nutrients/additions.

I know people have had some issues getting things like this to ferment to make hard seltzer; you could try searching for info on those ferments.

I think @bracconiere has done some unconventional "I need to make some alcohol" ferments - maybe he can lend some advice?
 

El Whedo

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You are calling it "sugarhead", so I assume yer trying to make wash to distill?

I'll also assume yer somewhere it's legal, so I'll pass on some info "for education purposes".

If yer not bothering to hand craft a fine whiskey or rum... yer just making some sugar shine or white dog, don't worry and fuss. And don't do such complicated washes.

Ferment it. Strip it fast and dirty. Then an nice slow, spirit run with attention to detail in the cuts.
 

hotbeer

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mashing for whisky or other things you distil aren't quite the same as mashing for beer. I'd think you'd get more distillers seeing your post if you went down to the Wine, Mead, Cider and Sake section of the forum and posted in the Distilling sub-forum.

However welcome to Homebrewtalk.
 
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shotgunllama

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How are you measuring SG?

I'm measuring SG with a hydrometer; should have mentioned that but it slipped my mind. It seems calibrated as it read pretty close to 1 even in tap water.

If yer not bothering to hand craft a fine whiskey or rum... yer just making some sugar shine or white dog, don't worry and fuss. And don't do such complicated washes.

Ferment it. Strip it fast and dirty. Then an nice slow, spirit run with attention to detail in the cuts.

"Ferment it" is what I'm trying to do, and what seems to not be finishing up
 

marc1

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I'm measuring SG with a hydrometer; should have mentioned that but it slipped my mind. It seems calibrated as it read pretty close to 1 even in tap water.

OK. A common error is using a refractometer once there's alcohol present, and not correcting for it. If you do this, it will seem to have stalled even though it fermented normally.

Just to clear the easy stuff, you are 100% sure that you are reading specific gravity? People sometimes get confused by the different scales that some hydrometers have. It should have a 1.000 at the top, maybe going to 0.990 at the very top?
We want to be sure that you're not reading brix, plato, balling, % alcohol, or potential alcohol by mistake.
The scale should look like this:
1642717638976.png
 
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IslandLizard

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1 tsp of the settled yeast cake on the bottom of a jar from a packet of hornindal kveik (added once the mix was at/cooler than body temp. When I got the packet in the mail I emptied it into a sterile jar and let it settled in the fridge, then poured off the wort and replaced with filtered water)
I'm not sure I quite follow what you did there, or how that yeast slurry was made. Did you make a yeast starter? If so, how much yeast (slurry) did it actually yield? Why not pitch the whole decanted slurry?

1 tsp of yeast slurry is likely a severe underpitch for a 5 gallon batch of 1.078 wash. Even for Kveik.

The (early) stalling could well be due to pitching unhealthy yeast and/or lack of the right type of nutrients and insufficient aeration/oxygenation.
 
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shotgunllama

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I'm not sure I quite follow what you did there, or how that yeast slurry was made. Did you make a yeast starter? If so, how much yeast (slurry) did it actually yield? Why not pitch the whole decanted slurry?

1 tsp of yeast slurry is likely a severe underpitch for a 5 gallon batch of 1.078 wash. Even for Kveik.

The (early) stalling could well be due to pitching unhealthy yeast and/or lack of the right type of nutrients and insufficient aeration/oxygenation.

I ordered a packet of hornindal kveik, and when it arrived I emptied it into a sterile jar and let the yeast settle out to the bottom. Then I decanted off the wort and topped it with filtered water and have been keeping it in the fridge. I'm about to stir up and pitch in all I have left, which would mean about half the total contents of the packet I initially got would end up pitched into this ferment.

Any guess what the right amount of the right type of nutrients for a recipe like this would be? It's now at a total of around 3 T dead yeast + 2 - 2.5 tsp DAP.

Just to clear the easy stuff, you are 100% sure that you are reading specific gravity? People sometimes get confused by the different scales that some hydrometers have. It should have a 1.000 at the top, maybe going to 0.990 at the very top?
We want to be sure that you're not reading brix, plato, balling, % alcohol, or potential alcohol by mistake.

Yeah lol it's SG, I'm sure.
 

palmtrees

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I ordered a packet of hornindal kveik, and when it arrived I emptied it into a sterile jar and let the yeast settle out to the bottom. Then I decanted off the wort and topped it with filtered water and have been keeping it in the fridge. I'm about to stir up and pitch in all I have left, which would mean about half the total contents of the packet I initially got would end up pitched into this ferment.

Any guess what the right amount of the right type of nutrients for a recipe like this would be? It's now at a total of around 3 T dead yeast + 2 - 2.5 tsp DAP.



Yeah lol it's SG, I'm sure.

How old was the pouch when you got it and how long did you keep it in the fridge before pitching? For the future, I'd highly recommend doing a yeast starter with a new pouch and then storing the resulting yeast cake under starter beer. Yeast do much better stored under beer rather than water.
 

El Whedo

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5 gallon water and 11 pounds of sugar is gonna ferment out to close to 14% abv.
That's way too high, and a difficult fermentation. Especially if yer new to it all.

The two most important things for you to learn first are: 1) how easy and natural fermenting actually is.
2) Making good cuts.

Try an easier wash. 5 gallon water, 5 pound of sugar, yeast nutrients (Fermaid O), and bakers yeast (from the supermarket) will make a five and a half gallon wash that will ferment out quickly to aprox 7%.

It will probably ferment in a third the time as the one yer trying, and will be cleaner.

Yeast nutrients (use them in everything): https://www.amazon.com/Scott-Labs-1...d=1642719818&sprefix=Fermaid+O,aps,194&sr=8-2

When yer comfortable with fermenting, and you start getting a nose for cuts, then is a good time to worry about all the less important, nit-pickey stuff.
 
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shotgunllama

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How old was the pouch when you got it and how long did you keep it in the fridge before pitching? For the future, I'd highly recommend doing a yeast starter with a new pouch and then storing the resulting yeast cake under starter beer. Yeast do much better stored under beer rather than water.
I poured it from the packet to the jar as soon as I got it. I don't know how long it was in transit. It was in the fridge for about a week before pitching this batch (I also tried another batch of a slightly different recipe the day after I got the yeast, which seems to have stalled around 1.03).

Try an easier wash. 5 gallon water, 5 pound of sugar, yeast nutrients (Fermaid O), and bakers yeast (from the supermarket) will make a five and a half gallon wash that will ferment out quickly to aprox 7%.
My goal was basically to ferment fast so I can start to get some idea of what the results are like and maybe tweak it from there, and my understanding was that kveik yeasts ferment very fast since they can ferment at high temperatures, compared to say bakers yeast. How much of a nutrient like Fermaid O for a 5 gallon wash?
 

palmtrees

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I poured it from the packet to the jar as soon as I got it. I don't know how long it was in transit. It was in the fridge for about a week before pitching this batch (I also tried another batch of a slightly different recipe the day after I got the yeast, which seems to have stalled around 1.03).


My goal was basically to ferment fast so I can start to get some idea of what the results are like and maybe tweak it from there, and my understanding was that kveik yeasts ferment very fast since they can ferment at high temperatures, compared to say bakers yeast. How much of a nutrient like Fermaid O for a 5 gallon wash?

With an SG that high, you should really be pitching the entire pouch of kveik, or better yet doing a yeast starter and pitching even more. People pitch just a teaspoon of kveik in order to induce more flavor expression, but that isn't your goal here. If you want a quick ferment, just pitch more yeast. The starter is the cheaper route, rather than buying two packs.
 

El Whedo

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My goal was basically to ferment fast so I can start to get some idea of what the results are like

Cool. Good idea. Start with something important, but not impossible.

Fast ferments tend to be lower ABV. You can always save up multiple stripping runs and mix them together for one big spirit run later.

Fast ferments are healthy. Use nutrients following the directions on the package. It's only a few grams per gallon.

Fast ferments tend to be at warmer temps, but this is balanced by warmer ferments not being as clean. I live in an area known for it's cold weather (ski resorts all around), and I keep my house alot colder than most Americans. I make up for slightly slower ferments by having multiple ferments going at once. And they are usually quite clean from the temps in the low, or mid 60's. I have rice beer, hard apple cider, and 2 one gallon batches of mead going right now.

Do a couple easier, faster ferments to get a feel for it. Start getting an idea for cuts.

It's not that hard. Ceramic stills have been discovered that are 7 thousand years old. Folks were making simple fermented beverages long before that.

I wish ya luck.
 

marc1

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Yeah lol it's SG, I'm sure.

Thanks, gotta be sure, some people show up to the forum very confused. :D

I ordered a packet of hornindal kveik, and when it arrived I emptied it into a sterile jar and let the yeast settle out to the bottom. Then I decanted off the wort and topped it with filtered water and have been keeping it in the fridge.

Why did you do this? That's an odd way to handle yeast.

Here's a recipe from Omega yeast (the maker of the Hornidal you used) for a sugar wash/seltzer:

You could probably use the Fermaid instead of their specialty nutrients, but as-is should work well.
 
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shotgunllama

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With an SG that high, you should really be pitching the entire pouch of kveik, or better yet doing a yeast starter and pitching even more. People pitch just a teaspoon of kveik in order to induce more flavor expression, but that isn't your goal here. If you want a quick ferment, just pitch more yeast. The starter is the cheaper route, rather than buying two packs.
Well too late now. I've already used up the entire pack between this problem batch and one other 4 gallon batch of a slightly different recipe (the one possibly stalling at 1.03), so about half the pack in each. As long as these ferments don't straight up die, I'll try to harvest their yeast to use next time.

Do a couple easier, faster ferments to get a feel for it. Start getting an idea for cuts.
As far as simply doing fast ferments, the kvass I make using baker's yeast usually takes about 4 days to stop tasting sweet, and that has so little sugar I think there's almost no alcohol in it (never bothered taking a reading, about 1 T sugar per cup kvass, never tasted like a hard drink), so I figured trying to do anything stronger with baker's yeast would take a pretty long time, even if it's on the light side. On another project altogether I have a sugar wash fermenting with baker's yeast that's been going for about a month. I started it before my hydrometer arrived so idk the OG but its current SG is also around 1.03 and I think it's still fairly active.

Why did you do this? That's an odd way to handle yeast.
Because of this guy mainly
 

marc1

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Because of this guy mainly

When these yeasts first became widely available, there was a lot of discussion about underpitching them to get good flavor expression from them.

I'm not sure if that is still the prevailing wisdom now that there is more experience with the isolated and cultured strains by yeast companies. That low pitching rate was also for beer fermentation, which has lots of nutrients in it from the grains. It may have worked fine for you if it was wort and not a sugar wash.

I would not save yeast from a problematic fermentation to use again.
 
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marc1

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David made a starter with that yeast..my guess is you severely under pitched that yeast which probably didn't have a high viability leading to your stalled fermentation.

The video specifically says no starter is needed @ 4:10
 

Sammy86

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The video specifically says no starter is needed @ 4:10

I know what he says but if you watch the video he definitely made a starter out of that yeast and was taking a tablespoon of a more viable yeast cake then just pouring our of the pouch and then putting water on the leftovers.
 

marc1

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I know what he says but if you watch the video he definitely made a starter out of that yeast and was taking a tablespoon of a more viable yeast cake then just pouring our of the pouch and then putting water on the leftovers.

I think we're watching different videos 😵

2:19 the pitch rate is 1 shallow teaspoon for 25-30L
3:24 empties yeast pouch into jar
3:42 put the jar into a fridge to drop the yeast to the bottom
3:52 "your first yeast pitch can be made directly from this jar by measuring it out in a clean and sanitary spoon, according to the pitching rate explained earlier"
4:12 pitching directly from the spoon into your wort
4:26 "after this you should still have enough yeast left for approximately 2-3 more 25-30L fermentations"
4:35 decanting supernatant and adding water for storage

Where are you seeing the starter? He is so detailed in everything in the video I don't think he would have left that part out.

It looks to me like OP followed these directions pretty well; it seems like they weren't good for a sugar wash, though.

:bigmug:
 
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shotgunllama

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I would not save yeast from a problematic fermentation to use again.
If I have the space to hold onto it I figure I may as well see if it would work in some kind of small test batch.

When I do end up needing to buy new yeast, any thoughts on if trying kveik again or something like EC1118 would better fit my goal of fermenting dry quickly with minimal grain in the wash?

Update: It's been 2 days and though there's still a little activity, the SG has only dropped to around 1.055 or so. I ordered some premier cuvee yeast to finish the fermentation. My plan being to make 1 pint of starter out of one 5g packet + 1/4 tsp DAP + 2 tsp sugar. Once the starter is set up, I'll pitch it into this stuck ferment and my other stalled one I mentioned. My thought process is that if 5g of the dry yeast is supposed to be enough for a 5 gallon ferment, then making this starter out of it should be able to jump start my total of 9 gallons of partially-done ferments

Actually scratch that. Seems a starter for dry yeast isn't usually preferred, so I'llprobably just rehydrate two packets.
 
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shotgunllama

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Okay I'm really at a loss now. Yesterday I rehydrated two packets (or 10 g) of red star premier cuvee yeast with a little white sugar to make sure it was alive, which it appeared to me, then pitched that liquid into my 5 gallon 1.06 stalled ferment, as well as a 4 gallon 1.03 stalled ferment, with a little left to put in a 2 gallon ferment that I previously pitched bread yeast into. Now as of today, the 1.03 shows no activity still, and the 1.06 is kinda sparkling with an occasional bubble in the airlock (like once or twice a minute). Their SGs have not changed any measurable amount
Forgot to mention this at first but I cooled them off a little from the high kveik temperatures before pitching the new yeast

I siphoned off the 1.03 ferment and just cut my losses on it. I'll try freeze-jacking what I got out of it, which should currently be around 7% ABV; still quite sweet though. The 1.06 I'll let keep going til the bubbling dies off.

In the 4 gallon bucket I just cleared up, what I plan to do is dissolve like 6-7 lbs sugar in 4 gallons water, add 1/2 tsp DAP and pitch 1 packet of rehydrated premier cuvee yeast and just let that simple sugar wash go. I'd imagine I'd have to really screw that up for it to not work, right?
 
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marc1

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In the 4 gallon bucket I just cleared up, what I plan to do is dissolve like 6-7 lbs sugar in 4 gallons water, add 1/2 tsp DAP and pitch 1 packet of rehydrated premier cuvee yeast and just let that simple sugar wash go. I'd imagine I'd have to really screw that up for it to not work, right?

I'd use Fermaid rather than DAP, it has a lot of other nutrients. Since this isn't beer, it might not matter whether it's the Fermaid O (with a chemically organic nitrogen source) rather than the the Fermaid K with its inorganic DAP nitrogen source.
 
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shotgunllama

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I'd use Fermaid rather than DAP, it has a lot of other nutrients. Since this isn't beer, it might not matter whether it's the Fermaid O (with a chemically organic nitrogen source) rather than the the Fermaid K with its inorganic DAP nitrogen source.
Noted for next time, but I'm gonna be starting this ferment sooner than anything I order could possibly arrive. I'm also planning to add about 1/2 cup tomato paste, after getting some advice elsewhere.
 

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Sounds like you had a little success in the past, and recent batches have caused issues?

I've never used kviek yeast, but DADY and bread yeast will eat through a 1.078 sugar wash easily. My bet is that you've had a ph crash, and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. Have you checked your PH w/ strips or a tester? Sugar washes are notorious for crashing. Check your PH, adjust up from 3 or lower to 5 with pickling lime, or baking soda in a pinch.

Have you looked at the tried and true recipes at homedistiller.org? Lots of great information there.

K
 
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shotgunllama

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Sounds like you had a little success in the past, and recent batches have caused issues?

I've never used kviek yeast, but DADY and bread yeast will eat through a 1.078 sugar wash easily. My bet is that you've had a ph crash, and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. Have you checked your PH w/ strips or a tester? Sugar washes are notorious for crashing. Check your PH, adjust up from 3 or lower to 5 with pickling lime, or baking soda in a pinch.

Have you looked at the tried and true recipes at homedistiller.org? Lots of great information there.

K
So far the only pH strips I have only go down to around 6, so I haven't been able to test. I've tried adding some baking soda, maybe about 1/2 - 3/4 tsp total by now. Very little has happened so I can try some more I suppose
 

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So far the only pH strips I have only go down to around 6, so I haven't been able to test. I've tried adding some baking soda, maybe about 1/2 - 3/4 tsp total by now. Very little has happened so I can try some more I suppose

Don't just arbitrarily add more stuff to your wash. Get some strips, and measure the PH. It may not be your issue.
 
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shotgunllama

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Don't just arbitrarily add more stuff to your wash. Get some strips, and measure the PH. It may not be your issue.
Yeah I'm on it. Few days til they get here, but at this point this particular bucket of wash may be beyond saving. I got another one started with Premier Cuvee yeast that I mentioned above, and it's a lot more active
 
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shotgunllama

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So I finally got the pH strips and honestly had a bit of trouble trying to distinguish between the quite similar colors for 4, 5, and 6, but I'm pretty sure the pH was a little below 5, so I added some washing soda and tested again until it appeared to be higher, and ended up adding a few tsp in total of the stuff. In the end it looked like the pH was at least 5, and it's been bubbling quite a bit more since then
 

bracconiere

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not enough nutes....go to the health food store and get some wheat germ, like a pound for a 5 gallon batch, boil it...strain, and add the juice, fermentation should take off.....

edit: i've tried multivitamins, DAP...all that, wheat germ is king!
 
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shotgunllama

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I've never used kviek yeast, but DADY and bread yeast will eat through a 1.078 sugar wash easily. My bet is that you've had a ph crash, and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. Have you checked your PH w/ strips or a tester? Sugar washes are notorious for crashing. Check your PH, adjust up from 3 or lower to 5 with pickling lime, or baking soda in a pinch.
So yeah upping the pH seems to be the best thing. SG is now down to around 1.02, and still occasionally bubbles. I'll give it some time and see how much lower it can get, but I can at least live with something that finishes close to that. Much better than the 1.05ish range it was stuck at before. Other advice I tried before like aerating it or pitching extra yeast did little to nothing, so I'm definitely thinking this was the main issue
 
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I make sugarhead all the time, aim for 8% to avoid nasty flavors and use bakers yeast, champagne yeast, or Red Star DADY. For nutrients I use 1/4 cup bakers yeast boiled to kill it and DAP. Never had one fail to ferment down to 1.000 or lower.

No reason to spend money on kveik, no reason to ferment so hot. Do you want fast liquor or good liquor? Can't have both. Save the miso for cooking.
 

bracconiere

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For nutrients I use 1/4 cup bakers yeast boiled to kill it and DAP.
Listen - Chicago Transit Authority(i have no idea how that copy & paste got there! but i got a laugh out of it! :mug:)
Never had one fail to ferment down to 1.000 or lower.


i might have to try that in the future....i've never met a yeast that liked anything but grains, and fruit juice......
 

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Here's my recipe, scaled down to 7 gallons:

Plain old sugar wash | Alternative Sugar Beer Extract Beer Recipe | Brewer's Friend

Edit: I throw in an ounce or two of oyster shells to keep the pH from dropping too low.


alas, i'm afraid i can't see it.....


but i'm so pointing anyone that asks how to shorten a brew day to this quote from what i did see!

Boil Time: 1 min


lol :mug:

(you could have been honest and included the whole boil time! plus you only lost 2 hundreths of a gallon?)

edit: after a refresh, i see it now. so you carb this to 2.4vols? if you use oysters for the gypsum, shouldn't there be tomato juice? j/k ;)
 
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