Repitched failure to launch

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Hebrewsgoyim

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So, I am making a chocolate porter. I brewed it Sunday. I had an initial gravity of 1.065. I added 2 lbs. of Pilsner to bump up my AVB to about 7-7.5%. I also added chocolate nibs treated with vodka to the boil as well as 1 lb of lactose. But, I forgot to make a starter. So I pitched the wyeast out of the pouch after breaking open the yeast energizer and waiting until it was fully expanded at room temp. I was concerned about underattenuation because the package said it could take up to 1.060 initial gravity and my porter has a lot going on. In fact I used a blow off tube because I thought it might be a bit much for an airlock. So I called my brew supply store and explained it. I went and bought another pouch of liquid Wyeast. I prepped it and dumped it in to my conical at 7 pm last night. A full 24 hours after it was put in to ferment originally. When I lifted the lid, I had a surprising layer of Kroisin(sp?). I pitched the new yeast anyway. This morning, 12 hours after I pitched, I opened the door to my beer room to a distinct sulphur smell with beer notes(haha). But all bubbling had stopped. Nothing. I checked a gravity and got 1.039, which is way to high. About half my abv target. Did the new yeast stop the establish yeast? Did I screw up this oh so expensive batch? Will it start back up after a pause like this? I would appreciate any advice and experiences that you may have had with something similar. Thanks in advance....
 

TexasDroughtBrewery

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I wouldn't be concerned with the sulfur smell thats just the yeast being yeast. I would give it a couple of more days and check the gravity again and see if it starts working. Its way to early to say the batch is a loss.
 

eadavis80

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Yup - let it sit at least a week from when you added the 2nd dose of yeast to check the gravity. Keep in mind with the lactose, you added unfermentable body/sweetness so your FG will probably end up around 1.021-1.025 - 10 points higher than it would be without the lactose.
 
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Hebrewsgoyim

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Thank you all...

I haven't done the FG yet, just the OG and and SG. Yes I used a refractometer. Why do you have to use a hydrometer for FG. That the first I have heard that.
 

jerbrew

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refractometers use the refractive index of the solution to determine the SG (Brix, plato, whatever) so your scale is calibrated to various amounts of sugar in water. Once alcohol is introduced (via fermentation) the scale is no longer accurate. You now have sugar, water, and a considerable amount of ethanol. The refractive index will change at a different rate. there are calculators out there that will correct your refractometer reading as long as you know the OG. As to the accuracy of those calculator... I have no idea. But a bottling hydrometer is what i'd recommend simply becasue it was designed to measure FG.
 
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Hebrewsgoyim

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Fascinating. I never knew! This is great news! I thought my California common had under attenuated because I had a OG of 1.045 with a hydrometer and then got a 1.019 for my FG on a refractometer. I thought I had a 3.3% beer...I am in Utah, so I thought maybe it's the water....kidding. But it did t taste like 3.3%. Now with the northern Brewers calculator, I figured out it actually came in at 6.2% abv. Much better. I spent a lot of time and effort on that brew. Changing ice packs every other day for 3 weeks. I was looking forward to it. So all is not lost!
 
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Hebrewsgoyim

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So an update, I brought the temperature on my chocolate porter to 80 degrees for about 12 hours. All is well. It is chugging along like crazy. I just needed to wake it up, now it is eating and multiplying.
 

sabotenfighter

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Fascinating. I never knew! This is great news! I thought my California common had under attenuated because I had a OG of 1.045 with a hydrometer and then got a 1.019 for my FG on a refractometer. I thought I had a 3.3% beer...I am in Utah, so I thought maybe it's the water....kidding. But it did t taste like 3.3%. Now with the northern Brewers calculator, I figured out it actually came in at 6.2% abv. Much better. I spent a lot of time and effort on that brew. Changing ice packs every other day for 3 weeks. I was looking forward to it. So all is not lost!

Try the Brewer's Friend calculator. Northern Brewer's online calculators suck and are wildly inaccurate. When I started brewing I had all sorts of trouble getting fully carbonated bottles using their crappy priming sugar calculator and their refractometer calculator errs to the far far low side when using it to calculate FG.
 

kh54s10

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So an update, I brought the temperature on my chocolate porter to 80 degrees for about 12 hours. All is well. It is chugging along like crazy. I just needed to wake it up, now it is eating and multiplying.

This was a really bad move. High fermentation temperatures lead to off flavors and possibly fusel alcohols that will give your beer a nasty "bite"

You have had no problems that I can see other than your impatience and opening the fermenter to check on it. LEAVE IT ALONE AND ALLOW THE YEAST TO DO THEIR WORK!!!

Pitch yeast at the middle of the optimum range and leave it alone for 10 - 14 days or up to a month or so.
 
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Hebrewsgoyim

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This was a really bad move. High fermentation temperatures lead to off flavors and possibly fusel alcohols that will give your beer a nasty "bite"

You have had no problems that I can see other than your impatience and opening the fermenter to check on it. LEAVE IT ALONE AND ALLOW THE YEAST TO DO THEIR WORK!!!

Pitch yeast at the middle of the optimum range and leave it alone for 10 - 14 days or up to a month or so.

First off, I only opened the fermentor to put the additional yeast in the day after the first pitch which was recommended by my local brew supply. Next bringing it up to 80, which for these extract kits is the pitching temperature, I doubt will cause an off tastes. It wasn't impatience, just realizing that without the starter, I didn't have enough yeast. The last thing I wanted was an under attenuated batch. Especially with this one. Did you read the original post? Most of that was in there. Anyway thank you.
 

kh54s10

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First off, I only opened the fermentor to put the additional yeast in the day after the first pitch which was recommended by my local brew supply. Next bringing it up to 80, which for these extract kits is the pitching temperature, I doubt will cause an off tastes. It wasn't impatience, just realizing that without the starter, I didn't have enough yeast. The last thing I wanted was an under attenuated batch. Especially with this one. Did you read the original post? Most of that was in there. Anyway thank you.

It read like you opened it to take a gravity reading, then again to pitch more yeast then again to determine that you did not have enough drop in gravity and then made the decision to raise the temperature to 80 degrees.

I am corrected.

Pitching temperature for any yeast except a saison yeast is not 80 degrees. Do not go by lousy kit directions, go by the yeast manufacturers directions. Almost all ale yeasts should be kept in the middle sixties.

I don't know what yeast you used but here is an example. Temperature noted in Red.

YEAST STRAIN: 1056 | American Ale™

Back to Yeast Strain List

Very clean, crisp flavor characteristics with low fruitiness and mild ester production. A very versatile yeast for styles that desire dominant malt and hop character. This strain makes a wonderful “House” strain. Mild citrus notes develop with cooler 60-66°F (15-19ºC) fermentations. Normally requires filtration for bright beers.

Origin:
Flocculation: Medium-Low
Attenuation: 73-77%
Temperature Range: 60-72F, 15-22C
Alcohol Tolerance: 11% ABV
 

chickypad

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Next bringing it up to 80, which for these extract kits is the pitching temperature, I doubt will cause an off tastes.

Pitching temps have nothing to do with extract vs. all grain or PM, rather it's specific to the yeast strain. Kit instructions that tell you to pitch at 80 degrees is just bad advice. Sure you can get away with it sometimes, but fermenting hot is one of the most common ways that off flavors are generated. It's really best to keep the yeast in it's ideal range, if anything pitch on the lower side and let it rise a bit.

I kind of agree with the poster above, it sounds like you were trying to fix a problem you didn't have. It may have been underpitched but if you had a nice krausen at 24 hrs the yeast was doing it's job anyway. Adding the second pack wouldn't hurt but you probably already had a lot more yeast multiplied in the fermenter by then. I wouldn't use bubbling as an accurate measure of fermentation, if you had an active krausen it was fermenting. A gravity 36 hrs in is way too soon to diagnose something as "stuck".
 
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Hebrewsgoyim

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I actually have a spigot on the side of my conical. It makes taking gravity readings a snap. So I only had to open it the one time. Thank you both for your help. I didn't know that pitching temperature was so much lower. I use the Wyeast pouches. I hadn't read the pitching temp on the packet, I just followed the instructions given to me by my local brew supply. The only thing about noticing the krausen was that it was for the split second that I opened the top to pour in the extra pouch. I tried to do it in one swift motion so I didn't have the top off for more than 10 seconds. By that time, it was too late, it was open, so I pitched the rest of the yeast.

It has a ton of trub(as expected) in the ball and up the conical. So that is a great sign that there was plenty of yeast and plenty of sugars for it to turn to alcohol. I will post an update after I bottle and it conditions. I plan to do a 4 week secondary in the FastFerment, then 3 weeks in the bottle. Just in time for Autumn!
 
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