Stalled fermentation, next steps?

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randerso

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Hello! For the first time, my yeast appears to have gone dormant during fermentation. Trying to find out if I handled the situation correctly and figure out next steps.

I tried out a new spot to keep my wort cooler during fermentation and I think it too cold. The bucket temperature read 57 degrees most times I checked. It's an irish stout with the Munton's dry yeast. Brewed on a Sunday, lots of fermentation activity on Monday, the airlock was dead by Tuesday. Today, Saturday, I opened up the bucket and took a hydrometer reading; it appears to be about halfway done (aiming for 1.012 or so, it was at 1.03).

I took the bucket inside and swished it around. Immediately I started seeing activity in the airlock again. Now it's sitting inside my condo at 70 degrees. My main questions are:

1) Did I handle this correctly? Is it salvageable at this point? I try not to oxygenate my wort while it's fermenting ... not sure if the agitation will cause issues.

2) Do I need to keep it at 70 degrees now that the fermentation has started again? I made some adjustments to the fermentation spot and think I can keep it at around 60. I don't particularly want a warm fermentation, I've had way too many esther-y home brews.

3) I figure I lost about 5 days of fermentation from the yeast going dormant. Would you recommend 5-7 extra days of time in the fermenter to make up for it? I'd rather not be doing hydrometer readings on a regular basis and instead just wait two weeks to bottle every brew -- opening it up all the time seems like an unnecessary risk for contamination.

Thanks in advance for any tips and advice!
 

flars

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Hello! For the first time, my yeast appears to have gone dormant during fermentation. Trying to find out if I handled the situation correctly and figure out next steps.

I tried out a new spot to keep my wort cooler during fermentation and I think it too cold. The bucket temperature read 57 degrees most times I checked. It's an irish stout with the Munton's dry yeast. Brewed on a Sunday, lots of fermentation activity on Monday, the airlock was dead by Tuesday. Today, Saturday, I opened up the bucket and took a hydrometer reading; it appears to be about halfway done (aiming for 1.012 or so, it was at 1.03).

I took the bucket inside and swished it around. Immediately I started seeing activity in the airlock again. Now it's sitting inside my condo at 70 degrees. My main questions are:

1) Did I handle this correctly? Is it salvageable at this point? I try not to oxygenate my wort while it's fermenting ... not sure if the agitation will cause issues.
A gentle stir with a long handled spoon would safely rouse the yeast. Rousing the yeast may not be necessary, just warming the wort can bring the yeast out of dormancy. No damage though, unless there was a lot of splashing.
2) Do I need to keep it at 70 degrees now that the fermentation has started again? I made some adjustments to the fermentation spot and think I can keep it at around 60. I don't particularly want a warm fermentation, I've had way too many esther-y home brews.
70°F ambient temperature may be close to being to warm. The yeast will raise the temperature of the fermenting wort 3° to 5° above the ambient. Ambient of 60° may work for the Muntons yeast.
3) I figure I lost about 5 days of fermentation from the yeast going dormant. Would you recommend 5-7 extra days of time in the fermenter to make up for it? I'd rather not be doing hydrometer readings on a regular basis and instead just wait two weeks to bottle every brew -- opening it up all the time seems like an unnecessary risk for contamination.
Your fermentation will take longer to finish because of the stall. Take a SG reading after two full weeks of active fermentation. In this case, for safety take another SG three to four days later. Make sure it is at final gravity before bottling.
Thanks in advance for any tips and advice!
My personal preference is to take a SG reading around day 14, and another day 18. The SG on day 14 is usually the FG, but the extra time gives the yeast time to clear up natural off flavors of fermentation. Three weeks in the primary also gives me a clear beer to put in the bottles.
 
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The airlock activity you saw might just be co2 that you released from the liquid from stirring or from warming the liquid. It could be fermentation too though. It just isn't a guarantee if anything other than air escaping.

I had a beer stall at 1.025 for about 2 weeks earlier thus year and nothing I did seemed to help, then after two seeks it dropped to 1.012 over the next week.

It seems what you did is a good idea. I'd keep it at 65-70f and just wait a couple of weeks and take another hydrometer reading then.
 

Bobbybob

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Yes give it time and and a tempture increase are great ideas. This combo has worked for me every time except on crazy barley wine that I had to get champagne yeast to finish. The thing wouldn't read on my refractometer.
 

aimlessbum

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I say follow everyone else's advice about raising temps, waiting it out for a bit, rousing it, and taking some hydrometer readings to see what's going on.

Would anyone else be opposed to tossing in some more yeast? I had a stall once a few months back and tossed a slug of liquid yeast. SG came down within hours.
 
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