Using Amylase Enzyme (Beano?) to restart stuck fermentation

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homebrewjapan

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My fermentation was stuck (same hydrometer reading for several days) at 1.018-20 so I added amylase enzyme, which is supposed to aid in restarting stuck fermentation.

My question is: how long does it take? I can see there is activity (lid bulges up in fermenter) but after two days there's only a minor change in gravity (maybe 0.001 or 0.002?)

Tried tasting some of the beer after taking a hydrometer reading and it tastes like... beer with baking soda added! So I guess it's in the process of doing its thing.
 

HenryHill

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Did you give it a swirl to rouse the yeast first?

Is it possible that your mash temp was off and it isn't going to go much lower?
 

LooyvilleLarry

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I have done this with some success.
First, agitate the yeast (swirl the carboy). Try raising the temp to ~70.
Next, double check your hydrometer. Nothing like stressing cuz some jackass in China didn't get it right! ( Yeah, guess how I know this).
Then I boiled off about 4 oz of water and added the amalyze to that, then when cooled to the wort.

I had activity after 12-18 hours.
The beer came out awesome.

Also, it depends on the beer. What was your expected FG?
 

ericm

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one potential problem with adding amylase is that once you've added it, it can keep working past the point you want it to (it would take heat to denature the enzyme, and most people don't want to heat their nearly-finished beer) and result in a really dry beer and/or bottle bombs.
 

david_42

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Amylase enzyme will take a while, but it has basic limits in how much of the sugar chain it can breakdown, so it's relatively safe.

Now, Beano (alpha galactosidase) can break down just about everything and will result in something nasty unless you de-nature it by heating the beer to 58C for 15 minutes, once you reach the final gravity.
 

mkade

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STUCK fermentation has nothing at all to do with amylase. It is because the yeast have stopped fermenting sugars before they were all gone. While amylases will break down more sugars and can lower the FG, this is not a terribly good idea, especially in the carboy. What was your recipe, OG, etc?
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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STUCK fermentation has nothing at all to do with amylase.
Yes, stuck fermentation is not CAUSED by Amylase - ie Amylase has nothing to do with causing stuck fermentation - but Amylase can solve it.
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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Amylase enzyme will take a while, but it has basic limits in how much of the sugar chain it can breakdown, so it's relatively safe.

Now, Beano (alpha galactosidase) can break down just about everything and will result in something nasty unless you de-nature it by heating the beer to 58C for 15 minutes, once you reach the final gravity.
Ahhh... this is interesting to me. Beano and Amylase Enzyme are different? I've seen so many posts where the terms are used interchangeably that I thought they were the same - eg. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/amylase-enzyme-k-beano-32246/
 

mkade

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It may contain an amylase, but it is not just alpha and beta, as is found in the mash. There are debranching enzymes in Beano-O, which will break bonds that mash enzymes cannot.
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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Repeating my question from before: Are Beano and Amylase Enzyme different?

I've never used Beano but I've used Amylase Enzyme powder.
 

ericm

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Repeating my question from before: Are Beano and Amylase Enzyme different?

I've never used Beano but I've used Amylase Enzyme powder.
It looks like they are different (which I never knew! so thanks to this thread for educating me) beano is alpha galactosidase, which is a different enzyme.

Good point, if it wasn't, then adding Bean-O is even more ridiculous.
if the fermentation is stuck because of a very high amount of complex sugars, adding amylase could help to get the gravity lower regardless of whether it was an all-grain or extract batch. some extracts do have a rather high amount of unfermentables. That said, there are other reasons fermentations can get 'stuck' (poor yeast health mostly, lack of aeration, that kind of thing) even though there are still plenty of fermentable sugars left. if that's the case here, the amylase won't help.

you could try a fast ferment test to try to figure this out (basically take a sample of your 'stuck' wort, add some healthy yeast, ideally the same yeast used in the beer, and keep it warm and well aerated (since you're not drinking it, just trying to give it every advantage you can to get it to ferment, off flavors from higher fermentation temps/oxidation don't matter) and see if the gravity goes down at all
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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It looks like they are different (which I never knew! so thanks to this thread for educating me) beano is alpha galactosidase, which is a different enzyme.
Great. Then I'm ignoring everything I've read about beano and fermenting down to 1.000 and bottle bombs.

I'll let the AE work until FG is steady, meaning it has stopped, and then I can bottle. Might take a while but it will get there.. Thanks. This thread has been an education to me also.
 

mkade

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if the fermentation is stuck because of a very high amount of complex sugars, adding amylase could help to get the gravity lower regardless of whether it was an all-grain or extract batch. some extracts do have a rather high amount of unfermentables.
I 100% disagree with that. If fermentation stopped because there is a high level of dextrins and unfermentables, fermentation is NOT stuck; it is done. If an extract brewer wanted a lower level of unfermentable sugars, he/she should have chosen an extract with a higher average potential for attenuation. Adding any type of amylase to a fermenting beer is not only an attempt at a quick fix to a mistake that already been made, it is just asking for trouble. I can understand if an all-grain brewer making a barley wine gets stuck at 1.045 wanting to create a higher degree of fermentability, but I don't see that as reasonable for an extract brewer. If your beer finishes out at 1.020 instead of 1.014 because you got the wrong extract, you live and learn because at the end of the day, stuck fermentation is exactly what it sounds like. It implies nothing about dextrins and unfermentables, and is only related to yeast health, quantity, and other factors related to fermentation.
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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> If your beer finishes out at 1.020 instead of 1.014 because you got the wrong extract,

Who says it's because you used the "wrong" extract? What's a "wrong" extract?

If I use a kit which says with DME I should get down to 1.012, and I buy extra light DME after mailing the manufacturer to ask whether it is suitable to be used with that kit, whether I need different yeast from the kit yeast to get down to 1.012, and the manufacturer of the DME replies that it's no problem and THEN the fermentation stops at 1.020, is it because I've used the "wrong" extract?

Apparently some kits are famous for having an improper balance of sugars. What you get isn't always what it says on the tin.

Some links are on my blog post here:
There is hope! « Homebrew Japan
 

dontman

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> If your beer finishes out at 1.020 instead of 1.014 because you got the wrong extract,

Who says it's because you used the "wrong" extract? What's a "wrong" extract?


Apparently some kits are famous for having an improper balance of sugars. What you get isn't always what it says on the tin.
You answered your own question, if a kit is famous for having an improper balance of sugars then that would qualify strongly as the "wrong extract" to use.

If there is no reliability in the figures stated on the extract then find more reliable extract suppliers because there are probably more problems with the kit than just low attenuation.
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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You answered your own question, if a kit is famous for having an improper balance of sugars then that would qualify strongly as the "wrong extract" to use.
The kit I used wasn't one of the "famous" ones. It looks to me from reading around and my own experiences now that any kit can be susceptible, especially when mixed with malt extract. From your logic that would make every kit "wrong" and no-one should use them.

Since this is the BEGINNERS forum and many beginners get into HB via kits, to blanketly say they have made a "mistake" and "you got the wrong extract" I think is wrong. You're putting the blame 100% onto the beginner in your reply, and I don't think that's where the blame lies.

Certainly for me, one I finish my current kits, I'll no longer be using kits - not for fermentation reliability but for taste.

then find more reliable extract suppliers
Impossible in Japan. Very limited number of retailers, all selling the same products from the same batches. Best you can hope for is good storage.
 

Heyyyo

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I may have had one too many homebrews to coherently add to this discussion but, it seems to me that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what a "stuck fermentation" actually is.

It's my understanding that a ferment is considered "stuck" when there is considerable amount of fermentable sugars still left in the fermenter and the yeast poop out, or are overwhelmed in some manner, before said sugars are fermented. This in no way takes into consideration unfermentables. (To my knowledge.)

I'd like to think that this is one of those "nut behind the wheel" instances and one should reflect on their own brewing habits and make sure everything is in order before messing with an already fermented beer.

BTW, have we seen a recipe/kit description yet?
 

dontman

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The kit I used wasn't one of the "famous" ones. It looks to me from reading around and my own experiences now that any kit can be susceptible, especially when mixed with malt extract. From your logic that would make every kit "wrong" and no-one should use them.

Since this is the BEGINNERS forum and many beginners get into HB via kits, to blanketly say they have made a "mistake" and "you got the wrong extract" I think is wrong. You're putting the blame 100% onto the beginner in your reply, and I don't think that's where the blame lies.

Certainly for me, one I finish my current kits, I'll no longer be using kits - not for fermentation reliability but for taste.



Impossible in Japan. Very limited number of retailers, all selling the same products from the same batches. Best you can hope for is good storage.

You're the one who mentioned these so-called "famous" kits. You also mentioned "improper balance of sugars", I, personally, have never heard of a kit being famous for having unbalanced sugars. To be honest I don't even know wtf improper balance of sugars is supposed to mean. For that matter I don't know wtf "especially when mixed with malt extract" is supposed to mean either. I have never heard of a beer kit that did not contain malt extract.

OTOH, I have never once implied that kits are anything but the best way to start brewing. In fact, until you have lots of brewing experience kits are the best way to keep brewing too.

And you're thinking way too short term. The point is that if one buys a product that consistently is of poor quality, then the onus of blame is on that consumer for continuing to purchase that product.

In my experience I have purchased iffy quality extract from vendors and simply stopped buying it from them once I realized that the quality of their product could not be trusted.

All that said I think people put WAY too much emphasis on what the FG is. If I brew a beer and the FG turns out to be 020 then so be it. If it turns out 008 then so be it. There are 10 threads started here per week alarmingly stating that "my FG is 020" what should I do. The answer is "nothing". There is nothing wrong with a beer that finishes at 020 even if the expected fg was 014. If the beer is finished then bottle it and drink it when ready.
 

mkade

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All that said I think people put WAY too much emphasis on what the FG is. If I brew a beer and the FG turns out to be 020 then so be it. If it turns out 008 then so be it. There are 10 threads started here per week alarmingly stating that "my FG is 020" what should I do. The answer is "nothing". There is nothing wrong with a beer that finishes at 020 even if the expected fg was 014. If the beer is finished then bottle it and drink it when ready.
Complete agree. The moral of the story is that Beano is not the answer. Anyhow, apparently my earlier use of 'wrong' has been taken the wrong way. All I meant to say was that if you're brewing a style that warrants 80% attenuation, and you buy extract that can only attenuate 65% because of its high levels of unfermentables, then it wasn't the ideal extract for that style. At the same time, adding Bean-o or anything else is the wrong approach. As dontman says correctly, you're way better off drinking your 1020 beer, instead of messing it up trying to get it to finish at 1012.
 

david_42

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Ahhh... this is interesting to me. Beano and Amylase Enzyme are different? I've seen so many posts where the terms are used interchangeably that I thought they were the same - eg. amylase enzyme... A.k.a... beano
Very different. Alpha-amylase is like a pair of pruning scissors, Alpha galactosidase is like a paper shredder.
 

Garlic_Mash

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... but it's bound to happen.

I quote:
"The point is that if one buys a product that consistently is of poor quality, then the onus of blame is on that consumer for continuing to purchase that product.

In my experience I have purchased iffy quality extract from vendors and simply stopped buying it from them once I realized that the quality of their product could not be trusted."

Okay, but How is the beginner supposed to recognize the difference between: process errors (fermenting too hot/cold, or not enough aeration perhaps); an atypical ferment where the yeast just quit (does that really happen?); or malt extracts of poor quality (poor attention to detail when creating the extract, I'd presume, leaving you with unfermentable sugars)?
 

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