Slow fermenation after strong krausen, what gives?

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BackAlleyBrewingCo

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Hi all,

Brewed my second batch of beer, a Wit (AG, based on Brewing Classic Styles' "Wittebrew" recipe,) about 11 days ago and was expecting it to be a bit further along than it is. My mash wasn't very efficient, my OG was 1.043 where the recipe's target was 1.049, so I added 1 lb of boiled (and cooled) honey to the primary about an hour after I had pitched the yeast to bring it up to 1.049.

The brew had quite a bit of activity for a few days, with a strong krausen starting within 12 hours, and fair amount of blow-off. Things settled down on day 4, so I replaced the blow off tube with an airlock, which has been bubbling steadily ever since. Fermentation temp was kept steady at 66* for a week, and has been raised gradually to 71* over the past couple of days. There is about 1/2 inch of white foam on top of the beer that hasn't really diminished since it showed up. Also, the top (inside) of the carboy is caked with yeast.

Yesterday I took a gravity reading and pulled a 1.029, which struck me as extremely high considering the activity I have been seeing. The sample tasted about right, but (expectedly) sweet with a hint of sour apple, which tells me that the fermentation is on track and probably just moving along very slowly. I've stirred the beer to try to get the yeast more active, but I'm wondering if it's possible that I lost too much yeast to blowoff and caking inside the carboy, and if I should pitch more (Wyeast 3944,) or if I'm better off leaving things alone. To add to my impatience, I've got a shindig coming up in about 10 days and I'd like to have this beer ready by then.

More details for those who care:
The recipe I used (5 gal) had about 5.5 lbs of Pilsener malt, and 5 lbs of flaked wheat. I mashed at 122* for 20 minutes, upped the temp to 152* over 20 minutes, then mashed for another 40 before lautering. I did a single batch sparge to get my target pre-boil volume. I noticed when I dumped the spent grain that I had some clumping of wheat, which no doubt contributed to the poor OG.

Thanks for the help!

ToledoDave
 

android

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are you kegging it? otherwise (and even if you are kegging it and force carbing), there's little chance it will be ready in 10 days, especially if it isn't done fermenting yet. I'd do some consecutive gravity readings and if those tell you it isn't moving from the 1.029, then consider repitching. i doubt seriously if you 'lost' enough yeast for it to make any difference.
 

brewmasterpa

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i think you should let it go for a few more days especially now that you stirred. i did a belgian wit using that strain of yeast just a few weeks ago and let it go for 14 days. i went from an og of 1.046 to an fg of 1.009. your yeast should be fine. i wouldnt re-pitch. did you put all of your hop trub and orange peel and corriander in the bucket or did you strain it?
 
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BackAlleyBrewingCo

BackAlleyBrewingCo

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are you kegging it? otherwise (and even if you are kegging it and force carbing), there's little chance it will be ready in 10 days, especially if it isn't done fermenting yet. I'd do some consecutive gravity readings and if those tell you it isn't moving from the 1.029, then consider repitching. i doubt seriously if you 'lost' enough yeast for it to make any difference.

Yes, I'm planning to keg and force carb it. I had hoped to do that some time this week, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen until well into next week.

I can't hurt the beer if I screw up on the force carbonation, can I? Worst case is that it's too flat and I leave it home to carb up, or it's over-carbed and I leave it home do flatten out a bit.

Thanks for the advice, I'll keep an eye on the gravity for the next couple of days and repitch only if things completely stop. I figured the consensus would be that I hadn't lost too much yeast, it just seemed that there's A LOT of yeast that has ended up in places other than my beer.
 
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BackAlleyBrewingCo

BackAlleyBrewingCo

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i think you should let it go for a few more days especially now that you stirred. i did a belgian wit using that strain of yeast just a few weeks ago and let it go for 14 days. i went from an og of 1.046 to an fg of 1.009. your yeast should be fine. i wouldnt re-pitch. did you put all of your hop trub and orange peel and corriander in the bucket or did you strain it?
I got almost no trub, peel or spices in the fermenter; I've got a ball valve on the boil pot that did a pretty good job of keeping it separated from the wort when I filled the carboy.

Thanks for the advice, I'll keep an eye on it, and hope the yeast finishes its job.
 
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BackAlleyBrewingCo

BackAlleyBrewingCo

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Hi everyone,

Just wanted to follow up on this thread; on Tuesday I had gently stirred the beer with my beer thief and swirled it a bit, but as of yesterday evening I had only seen a drop of 2 points of gravity over the last two days. So this morning I used the handle of my brewing spoon to stir it up but good. This afternoon I got home from work to find yeast and beer in my airlock; obviously the combination of warming and vigorous stirring has got this brew back on track.

Thanks for the advice guys, I think I still have a chance to share this batch next weekend.

ToledoDave
 
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