What's going on?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Lone Crow, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    Thirteen days ago I started an American pale ale. O.G was 1.056 Pitched rehydrated Nottingham at 70 degrees f. Fermentation was active within 18 hours of pitching. Vigorous bubbling for three days at 62-66 degrees f. then things slowed down. I checked the gravity yesterday (12 days) and itwas still 1.032. expecting more like 1.014. Slowly raised temp to 70 degrees f. and rocked and swirled the fermenter. It's fermenting in a Spidel
    plastic fermenter. Still not much activity only a bubble once every two minutes or so. Ale tastes OK except a little too malty. The gravity is still 1.032 today. How much longer can I keep it in the fermenter. I wasn't planning on doing a secondary. Do you think the gravity will go down any more? Would you bottle it if the gravity doesn't go down any more in the next two days? How much would you expect it to go down in 24 hours if it's only making a bubble once ever two minutes or so? I hope you can help me with this. t. c.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    10 days minimum in the primary is my system, fermentation can happen without airlock activity at all, look at the top and small bubbles rise periodically, its normal ...let it set
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    What I find: If I'm not getting bubbles there's a leak somewhere. Spray sanitizer solution around all seals - I'll bet you find bubbles somewhere there unless, it's really like my 90° Saison and it really stops. If it really stops, it'll likely start unless you've crashed all the yeast out somehow, unlikely without putting the fermentor in a fridge. Yeast will work without oxygen so as long as there's sugar so regardless of how little yeast you have in there, there will be fermentation.

    Yeast have been doing their jobs for over 12,000 years - they know what they're doing!
     
  4. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    I understand what you are saying, but why isn't the gravity going down? How many days more should I wait before taking another reading? t.c.
     
  5. steamyb

    steamyb New Member

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    IMHO the yeast has crapped out. It happens some times that yeast are just not up to the task at hand. I would go with a new and different yeast, pitch just like it was day one and then check gravity in a week. Just a thought- if you have some yeast saved from a previous batch (you know this yeast is good), pitch it. If the gravity is the same in a week- I would look at sanitation procedures since something is busting both yeast strains and that sounds like a microbial problem.
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if your using a bucket you can rouse the yeast with a spoon, try not to create foam or bubbles, the main thing is if there is still pressure when pushing down on the lid, if so they are not dormant and still working

    if you add too much oxygen the yeast can get lazy also and stop working
     
  7. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I recommend pitching 2 packs of dry yeast for 5 gallons of beer at 1.056 to arrive at a rate of ~0.75 million cells / ml / degree plato. That is using the middle of the road estimate of 10B cells per gram of yeast. Some internet sources out there claim 20B/g. However, the cell count for Nottingnam is 5B/g per the manufacturer...

    Depending on the age of the pack the yeast might have been a half dead, 80% dead, or 99% dead. Either way, not good for your beer. Always check the dates on the pack, and get the freshest you possibly can. Before your next brew I'd check out the yeast pitch calculator and shoot for the pro rates to avoid yeast stalling out: http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitc ... alculator/

    Aside from yeast pitch rates, the second issue that comes to mind is temperature fluctuations. Temperature swings can really throw off yeast, cause them to act funny, cause them to shut down. Was fermentation at a steady temp, or did it maybe get cold overnight a few times? I had a batch go south once because it got below 60F, became very cloudy and had off flavors. I ended up drinking it all myself, but it was nowhere near a medal contender. This was before I setup my fermentation chamber.

    Best of luck and happy brewing!
     
  8. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    Thanks all. I am going to try pitching a new culture of yeast. t.c.
     
  9. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    I pitched a fresh packet of Safale US 05 on Friday and no noticeable increase in activity. I'll take a hydrometer reading Monday and hope its going down. If not what should I do? It seems if I would bottle it the bottles might burst if the sugar content is still high. How long can I let it sit in the fermenter? It's been over two weeks now.
     
  10. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    You got time. I leave mine in the fermenter for at least three weeks before racking to the keg, and then It may be another couple weeks before fridge space opens up. One time it stayed in the fermenter for two months because I didn't have an empty vessel to move it to. If your process is clean you should be alright. Patience is a virtue.

    As far as re-pitching new yeast, remember at this stage your beer has no oxygen left for the yeast to consume, nor should you add any. The environment has minimal sugars (compared to the start) and high alcohol levels, so they may not thrive. One idea would be to make a well oxygenated starter and pitch at high krausen when the yeast is healthy and in a feeding frenzy. Keep the temperature warm and stable, and give it a couple more weeks. Then if there is no change, it may be that the remaining sugars are not fermentable.
     
  11. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Good point.
    @Brewer #19222: is this a partial-mash or all-grain brew?
     
  12. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Other things to consider would be the recipe and process of the brewing day.
    All grain, partial or an extract recipe?
    Mash temps, etc

    Fill us in and in the mean time, your beer is fine.

    Brian
     
  13. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    Extract, 3.3# LME, 3# DME, 1# crystal 15L, 60Min boil, Boil volume 3 gal at start of boil, after 60 min poured hot wort into fermenter containing 2 gal of cold water cooled in ice water bath to 70 degrees then agitated it to add oxygen and and pitched yeast. Steeped crystal for 30 min at 165 degrees, then removed grain bag and stirred in malts and turned heat back on and brought to a good boil and boiled for 6o min. I added hop pellets at 60 min , 5min, and at flame out. t.c.
     
  14. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Edit: *caveat*, I don't know much about steeping grains, just going by mash temps....
    That seems kinda hot...may well have produced some non-fermentable sugars.
    From Palmer's howtobrew.com:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    sbaclimber,


    I don't know what you mean by hot. I understand the idea of unfermentables, but thought this was a pretty
    generic recipe. I just checked the gravity again and its only gone down from 1.032 to 1. 031 since Friday.

    Do you think I should dump the batch and start over with a different recipe? It smells great and has nice bitterness, but obviously is quite malty(sweet). t.c.
     
  16. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    You are doing extract, so it it is the yeast. If you don't have activity after a week of pitching that new pack of yeast, you may be out of luck. Give it some more time.
     
  17. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I am pretty new to this, so I am for the most part just regurgitating what I have read regarding temperatures and all-grain brewing. In short, mashing at lower temps yields more fermentable sugars, higher temps, less fermentable. Based on what I have read, and what has worked for me so far, I try not to mash above 67°C and not to sparge above 74°C. Considering 165°F is pretty much my sparge temp, and way above my mash temp, I have to assume that it is a bit too "hot" for fermentable sugar conversion.
    That being said, I really have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to steeping grains...
    ...and honestly 1/7th of the grain-bill probably isn't making that much of a difference.

    Ah! No, don't dump it! That would be a waste of some drinkable beer. :shock: ;)
    I think Larry is right, just have patience and it will eventually turn out less sweet. The yeast will probably just need some more time to eat up the rest of the sugar.
     
  18. fauxpunker

    fauxpunker New Member

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    Not much to worry about with sugars when it comes to crystal malts :D . The malting process they go through crystallizes their sugar content (hence "crystal" malt), making it unfermentable. They're more there for flavor and color. 165 shouldn't be taking you into tannin land, but I usually steep a bit lower (around 158) just to play it safe.
     
  19. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Sugars in crystal malts are fermentable. The malting process has been taken to the next step and the starches are pretty much already converted. 165 is a little warm but in essence you are just rinsing the sugars out of the crystal for the flavor with steeping. This temp should not have affected the wort.
    I have had nottingham do the same thing to me with a seasonal ale. It sat in a carboy in front of my tv in living room for a couple of months with a bubble once in a while. It never did get below the low 30's FG. However after all airlock activity stopped I bottled it. It was sweet and not tasting finished after a couple weeks so... after a year I tasted and it was drinkable. I have read other posts that nottingham has stalled out but it can happen to any yeast. Even temps and proper pitching levels are best way to avoid this but it still does happen.
    If it tastes good leave it in fermentor as long as your patience will allow IMO.
     
  20. Lone Crow

    Lone Crow New Member

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    Thanks all for taking time to reply. I'm going to bottle it in plastic soda bottles and store it away from light and see what happens. I'm thinking the plastic bottles are less hazardous than glass if explosions do occur. I'm anxious to move on and try another batch. t.c.
     

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