Stuck fementation? HELP!

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Sorry for the wall of text, but here goes.

3.3 lb Briess Golden Light LME
3.3 lb Briess Traditional Dark LME
3.3 lb Briess Special Dark LME
1.0 lb Lactose
.5 lb Black Pattent
.25 lb Roasted Barley
.25 lb Crystal 90
.25 lb Chocolate Malt
1 oz UK Challenger @ 60
1 oz UK Kent Goldings @30
1 oz UK Fuggles @ 15
1 tsp Irish Moss
1 Whirlfloc Tab
WLP002 in a starter made with 16oz water and .5 lb Light DME.
Grains steeped in 1.25 Gallons @ 155 degrees and rinsed with 1 quart of 170 degree water.

Back on 3-15, I brewed this recipe. OG was 1.083, and yeast was pitched at 75 (which I have read is a no-no, so go easy on me there) and the bucket was kept in a room with a temp in the low to mid 60's. After the first few days, there was heavy activity in the airlock which peaked about 4 days in and steadily decreased over the following weeks. On 4-12 (28 days later), despite the airlock throwing off a bubble every minute to minute and a half, I decided to take a gravity reading. Q-Brew figured FG of 1.021 (which I thought was optimistic and later found out was due to a lactose glitch) while Beer Calculus figured 1.027. I was sitting at 1.039! I feared that it was stuck, but took the advice of the board and I RDWHAHB. Thinking that the temps may be too low, I roused the yeast by swirlling the bucket and moved it to a warmer room (68-72 degrees). Just checked the gravity again a few minutes ago and I am still sitting at 1.039.

The samples have an ever so slight smell of rubbing alcohol (which I understand is likely from the high pitch temp and initial fermenting temp) but it isn't noticable in the taste. As one would guess with 1.039, they are a tad on the sweet side...but the taste is very good.

What say you Homebrew Guru's? Is it done and I just have a REALLY sweet stout here? Do I pitch some Nottingham on this and let it go another week or so? Am I screwed?

I also plan on racking this over to a secondary to sit on some Oak Chips that have been soaking in 8 oz. of Maker's Mark since brew day...I just wanna hit a little closer to the FG.

Any help in the matter would be greatly appreciated! :mug:
 

GenIke

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Did you brew this a year ago? I'm confused on the dates.

It looks like your sitting at almost 6%. I'd say you're more done than stuck. Lactose isnt fermentable and the darker LME's have a reputation of leaving some non fermentables in there as well. You did the tricks I would have tried to get the gravity lower.

I have heard of people using different kinds of yeast (lagar, champagne) to try and break down some of the sugars, as well as that amylase enzyme, but I have never tried anything like that.
 
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Did you brew this a year ago? I'm confused on the dates.

It looks like your sitting at almost 6%. I'd say you're more done than stuck. Lactose isnt fermentable and the darker LME's have a reputation of leaving some non fermentables in there as well. You did the tricks I would have tried to get the gravity lower.

I have heard of people using different kinds of yeast (lagar, champagne) to try and break down some of the sugars, as well as that amylase enzyme, but I have never tried anything like that.
No...getting senile in my old age and fudged the dates. My ninja editing was going on while you were replying. ;)

I have heard the same thing about the dark LME's and the darker grains being less fermentable and I knew the lactose wasn't...hence why Q-Brew was off...it counts it as fermentable sugar. I am just worried that I am so far off of the 1.027 that Beer Calculus predicted.
 

aiptasia

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You used a ton of roasted malts. Remember, roasted malts aren't digestible by the yeasts and shouldn't be confused with base malts. Even the golden light LME has more unfermentable sugars than the usual "light" or "extra light" LME. That, combined with the heavy use of the traditional dark and extra dark LME cans and all of the roasted malts, and you're asking for a sweet malt bomb. I would switch to using a higher proportion of a true base malt like light, extra light or pilsen LME/DME and eliminate the traditional dark and extra dark. Roasted grains don't need to be mashed, so you can extract their converted sugars simply by soaking them in water. I've switched to a cold soak technique where I place all of my roasted grains in a grain bag and add one quart per pound of cold water to a pot, and just soak them overnight. I might swish and dunk the bag a few times like a tea bag, and that's essentially what you're making, a cold roasted malt tea. This has a few benefits for stouts:

1) No astringency problems common to stouts due to excessive tannins in the grains.
2) A mellow, rich smooth flavor.

Read up on the technique here.

Stouts can be tricky and this month's BYO magazine has a good article on tips and tricks with stouts. When people attempt to re-create the richness and full body of a nitro stout, but lack the nitrogen to push through their keg lines, they wind up with a thin tasting stout that lacks body. Simply let a guiness go flat, and then taste it. It will taste much thinner than a fresh nitro tapped version. To add a little more body to your pure CO2 carbonated stout, a good tip is to add about 10% flaked malt or rolled oats to your grain bill. This will give the stout that good chewy body that most people love in the beer.

When you get a little time, check out some of the stout recipes in the recipes section here at HBT. There's a link to the recipes section at the top of this page. Select a few of the recipes and check out the grain bills of what others are doing, and you'll get to a place where you can fine tune your recipe. I'm willing to bet your next batch will be much better. :)
 
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Yeah, I guess my recipe creating skills need to be put on hold until I get a few more under my belt as well as some more knowledge. :eek: The good thing about the whole deal is that it has certainly been a learning experience and I now know what NOT to do in the future. ;)

So you are thinking that it's done at 1.039 as well and I should go ahead with racking over for secondary on the bourbon/oak?
 

aiptasia

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If the gravity has been the same for 2-3 days. It actually wouldn"t hurt to let the beer sit on the yeast for another week. This is known as a diacetyl rest and can eliminate some off flavors in the beer. Let the beer warm up to room temp for this step. When I make a bourbon oaked beer, I use 1 oz. light american oak chips soaked for a week in 2 oz. of my favorite bourbon. A mason jar is just fine for this and it both imparts the bourbon flavor to the oak chips and sanitizes them at the same time. Then, I put the chips in a hops bag with a few sanitized marbles in it to weigh it down to the bottom of the fermenter. I do this all in the primary, no need to rack the beer to a secondary. Start taste testing after four days and test every day until the beer juuuust starts to taste overly oaked. At this point, pull out the bag of chips and bottle/keg. Oak flavor fades over time, and one month of conditioning in bottles or a keg will be just about perfect for the bourbon barrel flavor.
 
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One last question then (famous last words!). Since the beer has already been sitting for over 4 weeks, and with the extra week suggested for diacetyl rest, AND the time sitting with bourbon/oak...should I worry about extra yeast for bottle carbing, or do you think that it will be a non-issue? I wanna eliminate as many things as I can on this brew so that I can get out from under it. Seems like Murphy has been working with me from start to finish on this one.

Hmmm...maybe I just found the name of this brew. :D
 
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