Quantcast

Yet another stuck fermentation question

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Dragonfly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
116
Reaction score
0
Location
Bloomington, Indiana
ite, so either my beer has finished fermenting in 3 days, or I have a stuck fermentation on my hands. Lemme describe what it looks like - there is little to no krausen on top, and it bubbles approximately once every 20 seconds. It looks just like finished beer to me, and the fermentation was rigorous - it kept blowing the cap off my fermentation lock! I guess I need to measure the S.G? O.G. was 1.110 - what might I expect if the fermentation is done? I'm gonna go buy a thief and an autosiphon.
 

brewhead

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
832
Reaction score
7
once every 20 sconds!!! c'mon man that's not stuck. that's like 3 a minute - it's not stuck it's in the trailing edge of fermentation - imo

three days is good too everything sounds on track to me what are you brewing? an ale ??
 

2nd Street Brewery

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
1,192
Reaction score
3
Location
Castleton NY
This sounds like the ale I have going. After 3-4 days in primary I stopped seeing any action at all. Racked to my secondary last Wends and have seen no action in the airlock at all. No foam in carboy at all. I got a thief and took a hydrometer reading on Sat. it was at 1.016 which is close to my target gravity. I'm taking another reading tonight when I get out of work and if it hasn't changed I'm going to sanitize my bottles and go to town :p My only question would be, since the recipe called for leaving it in the secondary for 2 wks and I will be bottling after 1 wk what improvement would I see by leaving for another week? It would probably settle out a little more but other than that? :confused:
 

Rhoobarb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
3,553
Reaction score
20
Location
Gainesville
Not stuck at all! I'd let it go another day until you get to something like one bloop every 45 -60 sec.

O.G. was 1.110! Holy crap, that's a healthy beer! FG would depend on what you have. I just bottled a huge chocolate imperial stout that had an OG of something in the range of 1.090 and had an FG of 1.020 at bottling. It'll bottle condition until December.
 

El Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
16
Location
Houston
2nd Street Brewery said:
I got a thief and took a hydrometer reading on Sat. it was at 1.016 which is close to my target gravity. I'm taking another reading tonight when I get out of work and if it hasn't changed I'm going to sanitize my bottles and go to town :p
Everything I've read says don't bottle over 1.015
 

patrck17

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2005
Messages
411
Reaction score
8
Location
Dallas
I am not even sure how you are able to tell the difference between 1.016 and 1.015. Clearly reading to that decimal point is tough on my triple scale hydrometer. it is always a rough estimate.
 

cygnus128

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
El Pistolero said:
Everything I've read says don't bottle over 1.015
I don't think it is that simple. You don't want to bottle when there are fermentables left in your beer. That having been said, some beers should be high in unfermentables (an imperial stout being a good example) lending more body to the beer and resulting in a higher FG.

It really completely depends on what you are making.
 

El Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
16
Location
Houston
patrck17 said:
I am not even sure how you are able to tell the difference between 1.016 and 1.015. Clearly reading to that decimal point is tough on my triple scale hydrometer. it is always a rough estimate.
I'm not sure how you could tell the difference either...certainly these old eyes can't. I just know that the instructions from my LHBS say IF THE GRAVITY IS GREATER THAN 1.015, CALL US BEFORE YOU BOTTLE! (his shouting, not mine ;) ), so I'm shooting for well below 1.015 just to be safe.
 

El Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
16
Location
Houston
cygnus128 said:
I don't think it is that simple. You don't want to bottle when there are fermentables left in your beer. That having been said, some beers should be high in unfermentables (an imperial stout being a good example) lending more body to the beer and resulting in a higher FG.

It really completely depends on what you are making.
Geez, I'm beginning to wonder if I understand anything at all :(

Guess I better go have a brew and stare at the secondary for awhile :D
 

ian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
480
Reaction score
5
Location
Pendleton, SC USA
cygnus128 said:
I don't think it is that simple. You don't want to bottle when there are fermentables left in your beer. That having been said, some beers should be high in unfermentables (an imperial stout being a good example) lending more body to the beer and resulting in a higher FG.

It really completely depends on what you are making.
I'm a little confused by this too. Isn't the reason for priming to encourage a little more fermentation to carbonate? I thought the CO2 was a by-product of fermentation.
 

2nd Street Brewery

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
1,192
Reaction score
3
Location
Castleton NY
T1, if your question is directed to me(I kind a hijacked the thread sorry Dragonfly) I was under 80deg F. I had very heavy action for the first few days then it dropped off to where I am now.
 

2nd Street Brewery

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
1,192
Reaction score
3
Location
Castleton NY
ian, you are correct to a point. The problem is if you have too much fermentable sugars left and then prime you get more CO2 than needed to get carbonization (where the hell is the spell check on this baby). This leads to glass hand grenades :eek: A friend of mine had that happen with his first batch. He poured the sugar into the bottles to prime instead of the bottling bucket and BAM
 
OP
D

Dragonfly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
116
Reaction score
0
Location
Bloomington, Indiana
exploding bottles of beer?! Sounds cool! lol it's not hijacking 2nd street, it's just hoppin' on the bandwagon. I pitched at 79 or 80 degrees - a lil' high, but I need a cheap little immersion chiller so freakin bad cuz waiting until 5 in the morning to pitch is gettin' to me - at my age, I can't do that stuff as often as I used to :rolleyes:
 

cygnus128

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
El Pistolero said:
Geez, I'm beginning to wonder if I understand anything at all :(

Guess I better go have a brew and stare at the secondary for awhile :D
I will try to explain a little better :). When you take a starting gravity reading you are measuring the density of the wort relative to the density of pure water. The majority of the reason that your wort is more dense than water (a gravity reading over 1.0000) is the various types of sugar in the wort.

Now, some of the sugars that contribute to the increased density are fermentable...that is they can be consumed by yeast. Others are unfermentable...that is yeast cannot "eat" them.

When your fermentation is taking place your yeast are "eating" any fermentable sugar in your beer and producing alcohol and co2 (and a few other things) but the key is that everything they are producing is less dense than the sugar they are consuming. As a result the gravity of your brew is declining as it ferments. Of course, once all of the fermentable sugar is consumed you have reached the minimum gravity you will ever have. It is the unfermentable sugar that causes this final gravity from being closer to 1.0000. Thus, if you have a large proportion of unfermentable sugar in your wort you will end up with a high final gravity.

The only reason you are told not to bottle with a high final gravity is that fermentation may not have stopped. If you bottle with fermentation still active the CO2 produced by the yeast will not be able to escape the bottle and pressure will build. If it builds high enough it will find a way to escape meaning either it will pop your caps off (and spray beer everywhere) or it will crack your bottles (and spray beer everywhere). Either way, something you want to avoid.

If you are making a type of brew (imperial stout for example) that has a lot of body and lots of unfermentable sugar you will frequently end up with a high final gravity. The important thing is making sure that the gravity is not changing. As long as fermentation is no longer active it should be safe to bottle.
 

El Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
16
Location
Houston
I was being just a little tongue-in-cheek with my comment, but thanks for the detailed explanation...it's always good to go back to the basics. :cool:

Still tho, the original poster mentioned that his OG was 1.110 :eek: but 2nd, who I was replying to, said that his gravity was currently 1.016, but didn't mention his OG. Am I correct in assuming that if you've gone from 1.110 to 1.016 you're probably ready to bottle, but if you started at 1.045 and have just gotten to 1.016 then you've still got some fermenting to do? Or is it always better to take SG readings over a few days to ensure the fermentation has stopped?
 

cygnus128

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
El Pistolero said:
I was being just a little tongue-in-cheek with my comment, but thanks for the detailed explanation...it's always good to go back to the basics. :cool:

Still tho, the original poster mentioned that his OG was 1.110 :eek: but 2nd, who I was replying to, said that his gravity was currently 1.016, but didn't mention his OG. Am I correct in assuming that if you've gone from 1.110 to 1.016 you're probably ready to bottle, but if you started at 1.045 and have just gotten to 1.016 then you've still got some fermenting to do? Or is it always better to take SG readings over a few days to ensure the fermentation has stopped?
Hmm, that will depend on a lot of things. In general that is probably correct. In theory you could make a very low alcohol stout or something that would have a SG around 1.045 and a FG of 1.020 or something (that would be like 3.3% ABV or so).
 

andre the giant

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
539
Reaction score
5
Location
Southeast Missouri, USA
I'm still having trouble with the OG being around 1.110. Dragonfly, are you refering to the Palalia IPA you have listed in your sig? If the OG was 1.110, you might want to consider changing the name to Barelywine-ia IPA. If the OG is that high, you're gonna probably need several weeks to let the yeast do it's thing. A bubble every 20 seconds is pretty healthy. I would let it be for at least a week. Then check the gravity. You may end up having problems with a stuck fermentation down the road, but right now, things sound OK.

1.110... damn! :eek:
 

cygnus128

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
andre the giant said:
I'm still having trouble with the OG being around 1.110. Dragonfly, are you refering to the Palalia IPA you have listed in your sig? If the OG was 1.110, you might want to consider changing the name to Barelywine-ia IPA. If the OG is that high, you're gonna probably need several weeks to let the yeast do it's thing. A bubble every 20 seconds is pretty healthy. I would let it be for at least a week. Then check the gravity. You may end up having problems with a stuck fermentation down the road, but right now, things sound OK.

1.110... damn! :eek:
I know, that is really really high. Craziness.
 

Toilet Rocker

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
846
Reaction score
14
Location
near Asbury Park
What sort of FG are you anticipating/aiming for with this batch? I would be curious to hear how far down it can go and whether or not the yeast can handle a potentially high alcohol brew. Otherwise, you may have one chewy beer (certainly not a bad thing). Enjoy.
 

sudsmonkey

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2005
Messages
1,238
Reaction score
8
Location
Deepest, darkest Eastern NC
Man! I Just take S.G. readings when the airlock slws down. When it stays the same over two days, I bottle. Is there a formula for calculating final gravity? Original gravity - S.G. on third day x Pi squared = final gravity? How do I know? Do we just go by whatever is in the recipe, if it's included?
 

cygnus128

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
sudsmonkey said:
Man! I Just take S.G. readings when the airlock slws down. When it stays the same over two days, I bottle. Is there a formula for calculating final gravity? Original gravity - S.G. on third day x Pi squared = final gravity? How do I know? Do we just go by whatever is in the recipe, if it's included?
I think the way you are doing it is good (as long as the FG number you get makes sense). If you are making a pale ale and fermentation is stopped at 1.025 or something you may want to repitch or do something to unstick your fermentation. First, your beer is going to be nowhere near the correct consistency and second if fermentation unsticks itself you will have yourself a sticky mess...
 

SwAMi75

Banned
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
10
Location
Midwest City, OK
As was noted, you're still getting bubbles....it ain't stuck. I'd give it a few more days, then rack to secondary and let it set there for no less than a month....that's a big beer! There's also a chance that the alcohol content will kill the yeast. What type of yeast did you use?

Not knowing the anticipated attenuation level of you yeast, nor the amount of unfermentables in your wort, it's hard to guage where it should finish out, and and what point it actually becomes "stuck".
 

2nd Street Brewery

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
1,192
Reaction score
3
Location
Castleton NY
Well I took to SG again last night and it had dropped to 1.014 so I'll let it keep going. My IG was supposed to be 1.054 but I admit I almost never take one at the start because of the hassles involved with temp and converting and all. It just goes to show that no visible action doesn't mean nothing is going on. I guess I was getting impatient because I want to do another brew and I need that carboy!!! :D
 
OP
D

Dragonfly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
116
Reaction score
0
Location
Bloomington, Indiana
Y'know, I think I might know why the O.G. was 1.110. First lemme explain that right now it's sittin @ 1.016. Thank you very much to Fermtech for makin the Thief. But what I did was make a concentrated boil, then dilute it in the carboy. And when I took the O.G. I guess there's a pretty decent chance that the wort might not have been mixed up all the way? So, if I had taken a sample of the concentrated wort then it would explain a super-high gravity... I guess there's no way to tell, but I couldn't see it droppin' down so fast if it was really that high. :confused:
 
OP
D

Dragonfly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
116
Reaction score
0
Location
Bloomington, Indiana
Well, I bottled this stuff today . Final gravity was 1.016. Meaning, if the original reading was correct, this is gonna be 12.5% alcohol/volume. But, if the reading was off, then it's anyone's guess. I'm gonna sit down here in a couple weeks & see how many it takes me to get smashed, then 2 days later I'll do the same with some kind o' commercial beer & compare the results :cool:

oh, and I used munton's gold dry ale yeast
 

andre the giant

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
539
Reaction score
5
Location
Southeast Missouri, USA
Dragonfly said:
Well, I bottled this stuff today . Final gravity was 1.016. Meaning, if the original reading was correct, this is gonna be 12.5% alcohol/volume. But, if the reading was off, then it's anyone's guess. I'm gonna sit down here in a couple weeks & see how many it takes me to get smashed, then 2 days later I'll do the same with some kind o' commercial beer & compare the results :cool:

oh, and I used munton's gold dry ale yeast
I would imagine your theory about the wort not being mixed well is probably the case. Most of the time, higher gravity beers will take take a while to complete and sometimes they require additional yeast pitchings.

I think your method of measuring alcohol sounds like fun, although I doubt it's very scientific. ;)
 
Top