Stuck fermentation

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Pickles4057

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I am brewing a DIPA. I still had regular bubbling in my air lock when I racked it into the carboy as I usually do. It has now been several days and there has been absolutely no activity whatsoever since transferring to the carboy, and I'm not sure why. I have limited experience, but this has never happened before. So I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas what caused the yeast to suddenly stop fermenting, and also what I can do about it now.
 
OP
OP
P

Pickles4057

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I did check the gravity, it is far from done. I like the air leak idea, that is possible.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,144
Reaction score
798
Fermenters of various types may have air leaks. And once the very active part of fermenting is done, airlocks cease to show much if anything about what is truly going on inside.

I've many times seen lots of tiny bubbles in the beer coming to the surface and no airlock bubbles or bubbles in my bubbler bottles when using blow off tubes.

Patience is usually rewarded. But it doesn't hurt to take a sample to get an SG after the krausen is finished.

If you've checked the SG, then wait 3 or 4 days and check again. Airlocks that don't bubble mean nothing. Lots of good stuff can be going on in your beer.
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
1,002
Reaction score
633
Location
Tehachapi
Racking off a fermenting beer can leave a substantial amount of yeast behind, slowing or hindering fermentation. In the future, racking off of a fermenting beer is probably not the best practice. Especially if it’s a big beer, say a DIPA.

What was you OG and where are you when last measured?
 
OP
OP
P

Pickles4057

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Original Gravity was 1.130, when I racked it after two weeks it was 1.070. It sat for a week with no activity in the airlock. I just checked it again and it is at 1.070. So an air leak is definitely not the issue.

This is made from LME.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
35,386
Reaction score
15,099
Location
☀️ Clearwater, FL ☀️
Original Gravity was 1.130, when I racked it after two weeks it was 1.070. It sat for a week with no activity in the airlock. I just checked it again and it is at 1.070. So an air leak is definitely not the issue.

This is made from LME.
It's almost 8% ABV now. Your yeast might be choking on that - most ale yeasts tap out at 8 - 10% abv. You might need more/better yeast. You might want to consider adding a yeast that is meant for the job - Wyeast 3711 is a monster. Get you some of that. That's my first suggestion.

My second suggestion is add champagne yeast. It'll chew through it. Good luck though, that beer might not be drinkable no matter what (either syrupy ick, or jet fuel).

My last suggestion is water it down and make something drinkable. I'm guessing you won't do that because you already have a target .
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3,847
My second suggestion is add champagne yeast. It'll chew through it. Good luck though, that beer might not be drinkable no matter what (either syrupy ick, or jet fuel).

I wouldn't recommend champagne/wine yeast for a stuck beer fermentation, unless it was verified that the strain can use maltotriose. Some of them (maybe most) are also pretty bad at using maltose. And the simpler sugars are already gone at this point.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
35,386
Reaction score
15,099
Location
☀️ Clearwater, FL ☀️
I wouldn't recommend champagne/wine yeast for a stuck beer fermentation, unless it was verified that the strain can use maltotriose. Some of them (maybe most) are also pretty bad at using maltose. And the simpler sugars are already gone at this point.
You're right! That was a bad recommendation. Thanks for pointing that out.
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
1,002
Reaction score
633
Location
Tehachapi
I’d try to get the yeast back in suspension by gently swirling (don’t open the lid and introduce O2 to your IPA). I’d then raise the temp a little, assuming you’re fermenting in the mid to high 60’s.

Here is a very short list but some of the more commonly ignored factors that really challenge high gravity beers:

Older/out dated yeast
Not enough yeast cells
Lack of O2 initially for yeast
Lack of fermentable sugars
Low attenuating yeast
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,144
Reaction score
798
Fermentis talks about not relying on old tired yeast to carbonate beers higher ABV where the yeast might be at their limits for alcohol tolerance.


And of course they make a yeast they specifically aim toward naturally carbonating beers.


I've wondered if some of the beers I had issues carbonating might have been partially because of tired yeast and long time in the primary and some of my higher ABV beers. Though certainly my beers in question where not much over 8%ABV. So maybe not so much that it was near the yeasts alcohol tolerance.

It's noted by them that this yeast doesn't go after maltotriose. Which actually is the sugars beer makers want to keep isn't it? I thought it was what gave some of the sweetness character for many beers. Supposedly this yeast goes after glucose, fructose, saccharose and maltose.

I only did a cursory search, but I didn't come up with any suppliers here in the US that have the F-2 in a 10g sachet.
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3,847
It's noted by them that this yeast doesn't go after maltotriose. Which actually is the sugars beer makers want to keep isn't it? I thought it was what gave some of the sweetness character for many beers.

Almost all (like 99% +) of beer strains use maltotriose. But they use it to different degrees, which is what's responsible (mostly) for the differences in attenuation between strains. For most beer styles (and worts), leaving all the maltotriose would result in a beer that's too sweet for style.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,144
Reaction score
798
Almost all (like 99% +) of beer strains use maltotriose. But they use it to different degrees, which is what's responsible (mostly) for the differences in attenuation between strains. For most beer styles (and worts), leaving all the maltotriose would result in a beer that's too sweet for style.
Sometime between the start of reading this thread and by the time I got down too my reply, I confused this with a bottle carbonation issue.

Ooooops!

My bad....
 

ncbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2011
Messages
4,715
Reaction score
1,464
Location
New Bern
What yeast, how much, and how was it pitched (e.g. starter for liquid, rehydration for dry, etc.) ? (Unless it's already shown and I missed it)
 
OP
OP
P

Pickles4057

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I tried adjusting the temperature and got no results. I wound up adding a new batch of yeast ec-1118, and i did see activity in the airlock at first. I was hopeful. I checked again and the gravity has not changed since I racked it. I have adjusted the temperature between 60 F and 82 F, and still no change. At 1.070 there should be plenty of fermentables there, right? So what is happening? By my calculation it should be about 8% alcohol at this point, and the 1118 strain should be able to handle that and more. Even if I somehow murdered all the original yeast, why wouldn't the new strain take?
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3,847
I wound up adding a new batch of yeast ec-1118

EC-1118 is a champagne yeast. As far as I know, there is only one champagne/wine yeast strain, Lalvin K1V-1116, that can use maltotriose. And EC-1118 is bad at using maltose.

I wouldn't recommend champagne/wine yeast for a stuck beer fermentation, unless it was verified that the strain can use maltotriose. Some of them (maybe most) are also pretty bad at using maltose. And the simpler sugars are already gone at this point.

Also, regarding the original problem, were you measuring gravity with a hydrometer or with a refractometer?
 
OP
OP
P

Pickles4057

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
So would it be worth it to try adding 1116 at this point? Even if I'm just experimenting to figure out what went wrong?
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3,847
So would it be worth it to try adding 1116 at this point? Even if I'm just experimenting to figure out what went wrong?

Well, it might work. But it wouldn't really tell you what went wrong.

Also, regarding the original problem, were you measuring gravity with a hydrometer or with a refractometer?
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3,847
I used both. Why do you ask?

Because if you use a refractometer, you need to adjust the readings, both the original and final readings together, with a refractometer calculator. Note that I'm talking about a refractometer calculator, not a simple brix to SG converter, and not the "SG" scale that might be on the right side of your refractometer's display.

But if you used both, you must have done that. Otherwise your hydrometer answer and your refractometer answer would have been quite different from each other.
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
5,982
Reaction score
4,580
Location
Bremen
Your racked it off the yeast cake during middle of fermentation? You removed big part of the yeast that way, the remaining yeast get's stressed, slows down or stops. Now you have introduced a champagne yeast which is potentially a killer yeast (many wine yeasts are) and cannot utilize longer sugars. So it will not bring the gravity any lower but potentially attacks other yeasts that might otherwise be able to continue fermentation. I think you might have screwed up a little bit and I have no idea how to fix that.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,144
Reaction score
798
It might be as done fermenting as it is ever going to be. Maybe just bottle or keg it and accept it as what it is.

Maybe split the batch if you still have hope for getting it to ferment further to reduce the SG. That way you get some to drink sooner and some to hope is even better.
 

Control Freak

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2022
Messages
16
Reaction score
8
I’d try to get the yeast back in suspension by gently swirling (don’t open the lid and introduce O2 to your IPA). I’d then raise the temp a little, assuming you’re fermenting in the mid to high 60’s.

Here is a very short list but some of the more commonly ignored factors that really challenge high gravity beers:

Older/out dated yeast
Not enough yeast cells
Lack of O2 initially for yeast
Lack of fermentable sugars
Low attenuating yeast
These are all good suggestions. Add these to the list.
You need to add nutrients to the wort.
Regular agitation to drive out CO2 and keep the yeast in suspension.
Longer than usual fermentation and aging times.
You're also going to need a robust blow off to handle the initial fermentation.
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3,847
Regular agitation to drive out CO2 and keep the yeast in suspension.

CO2 will take care of itself. Once it reaches equilbrium for the temperature and pressure, it will exit the airlock/blowoff/spunding valve at the same rate it's being made. We're talking about roughly 0.8 volumes give or take of CO2 in the beer, regardless of the beer's OG or ABV. That level of CO2 is not a fermentation issue for any ale/lager yeast strain I'm aware of.

Keeping the yeast in suspension might be helpful. But I've made a lot of big beers and have never had yeast quit on me. I only use strains whose nominal ABV tolerance is reasonably close to or higher than the target ABV, use appropriate yeast nutrients, appropriate pitch rates, oxygenate with pure O2, etc., and have never had to "rouse" any batch of any gravity.

YMMV
 

MHBT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
1,602
Reaction score
1,085
I dont know how to help ya on this batch, but i highly recommend a tilt hydrometer/thermometer or another floating hydrometer, it allows you to track fermentation without opening the fermenter, its not perfect but really helped me know whats going on, i still use a classic hydrometer as well , checking gravity often is a good practice and tilt is a really easy closed way to do so
 

MHBT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
1,602
Reaction score
1,085
Maybe make a sns starter, some nutrients pitch when its really active and hope for the best and leave it at 70 and hopefully the gravity starts dropping
 
Top