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What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Postby beerlover » Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:02 am

This question is elementary to most of you, I’m sure. I just made my first brew and according to the recipe, the OG is 1.050 and the FG is 1.006. It’s the coopers sparkling ale clone on BYO.com. I followed the recipe to a tee and after I finished the Wort the OG checks out. I’ve fermented it in the first fermentor for 5 days and just transferred it to the second fermentor (racked it) because, as I understand it, if you get down to a bubble per minute, its time to transfer. Well, I was down to a bubble ever two min. Before racking to a secondary fermentor, I checked the gravity and it was only 1.020 and the recipe says the final gravity should be 1.006. I realize this is the “final gravity” and it got another two weeks to ferment. However, I thought I read somewhere that after the primary fermentation, the gravity should be near the final gravity. Therefore, I’m wondering if I need to add more yeast? Or, am I just paranoid and just need to wait another two weeks for my 1.006?

Any help would be greatly appreciatiated.
Thanks, Newbie
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Help Again

Postby beerlover » Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:07 am

This is a repost of the above without apostrophes, its seems they don't post well.Guidance please
This question is elementary to most of you, I am sure. I just made my first brew and according to the recipe, the OG is 1.050 and the FG is 1.006. It is the coopers sparkling ale clone on BYO.com. I followed the recipe to a tee and after I finished the Wort the OG checks out. I have fermented it in the first fermentor for 5 days and just transferred it to the second fermentor (racked it) because, as I understand it, if you get down to a bubble per minute, its time to transfer. Well, I was down to a bubble ever two min. Before racking to a secondary fermentor, I checked the gravity and it was only 1.020 and the recipe says the final gravity should be 1.006. I realize this is the “final gravity” and it got another two weeks to ferment. However, I thought I read somewhere that after the primary fermentation; the gravity should be near the final gravity. Therefore, I am wondering if I need to add more yeast? Or, am I just paranoid and just need to wait another two weeks for my 1.006?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Newbie
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There are plenty of ??s

Postby fitz » Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:13 am

There are many different reasons you may be experiencing higher gravities. Did you allow for the temp conversions in you readings of the hydrometer? Did you alter the recipe in any way?
How long, and how hot was the boil? What temps did you ferment at? Did you oxegenate your wort prior to the addition of yeast. We need a little more info.
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info

Postby beerlover » Thu Jan 08, 2004 10:05 am

I did adjust the Hydrometer for the reading (by .0007) because the reading temp was 64-66F. The only alteration to the recipe was it called for 6lbs of coopers light extract and I used 6.4lbs. The boil, I followed exactly as the recipe called, 1 1/2 hours. Don't know the temp though but hot enough to be boiling and not boil over. It fermented at 68 for 3 days and with the recent cold snap in PA, it dropped to 64. The recipe states to ferment at 64-70F.
I did oxegenate the wort but not prior to the addition of the yeast, right after the addition of the yeast.
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Keep a check

Postby fitz » Thu Jan 08, 2004 3:57 pm

It sounds like you may just need to give it time. The recent cold snap doesn't sound severe enough to make a stalled ferment, but keep an eye on it. since you took the wort off the dregs, you can leave it in a secondary for a while.
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Thanks

Postby beerlover » Thu Jan 08, 2004 3:59 pm

Much thanks for your input
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Other Ideas

Postby BillyBock » Thu Jan 08, 2004 7:39 pm

I'm assuming the recipe called for Cooper's Dry yeast, which I've always known to be an aggressive fermenter. You might want to check the calibration on your hydrometer, or use another hydrometer to test your gravity. Sometimes are cheapy hydrometers can be off a good amount. Check it in tap water and then a solution of "known" gravity. Since we don't have labs at our disposal, you could use table sugar. Mix it up at the rate of 1 pound sugar per 1 gallon of water. You'll probably want to scale it down proportionately, ie. 1/4 pound per 1 quart. This should give you a gravity of 1.044, give or take a couple of points.

v/r
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Higher FGs

Postby Push Eject » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:32 am

I'll bet you have a decent beer, but that it won't ferment anymore than it has already...

And you know what... be OKAY with that.

We've had numerous discussions on this forum about why beers finish high, and I personally wrestled with that very thing until I stopped using malt extract.

Still -- I'll bet you've made a GOOD BEER. Drink it. It will be a little sweeter and be a little light on alcohol, but it's still a beer that you made. :)

So, why does it finish high? Some malt extracts just don't have the fermentables they should. They can also be stored improperly or perhaps are actually old.

Did you aerate your wort before you pitched? That always gets a few gravity points for me. Whether you blast pure oxygen into it for a minute, shake the fermentor until it foams to the top or just splash the heck out of it, yeast LOVE oxygen in their initial growth phase. It really does help promote a healthy colony.

Lastly, I wouldn't bother pitching more yeast. I've done that and have NEVER been happy with the results. Shake your fermentor up a bit to rouse whatever yeast is there. Warm it up a little (maybe 70f or so) to encourage activity. Let it age a while. That's about all you need to do...

If it doesn't drop any more, then bottle or keg. AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT.

Next batch you can aerate, add some yeast nutrients, switch extracts (or try an all-grain batch -- a simple infusion mash is not hard) and I'll bet you get closer to your target.

Stick to your sanitation and you'll be fine.

Cheers,
Charlie
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Push Eject

Postby fitz » Fri Jan 09, 2004 8:44 am

Hey Charlie,
Long time no hear.
Where have you been?
I kind of told "beer lover the same thing, but I thought a 20 was still kind of high. That's why I said give it time. He said there was a cold snap, so I thought maybe a stalled ferment. I have had some good and bad luck with extracts. I have been doing a lot of them lately, because of being short on time.
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Partially Off Topic: Hiya, Fitz!

Postby Push Eject » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:52 am

I firmly believe that great beer can be made with extracts and that most of the differences between new brewers and experienced all-grain brewers lie in their methods (of sanition habits and so on...) and equipment (i.e. we get lazy over time and buy things like pump, counterflow chillers, etc...) that make for more fool-proof brewing sessions.

As far as where the heck I've been; life has been an adventure. My wife opened a pilates business last summer that has taken off like crazy! I was hired on to mix a little show that became wildly popular (Nip/Tuck). We had a massive landscape remodel done and, lastly, we have been going through infertility treatments for about a year to counter my wife's Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome -- ready to have a little brewer in the house!

Whew!

Cheers all!
Charlie (brewing an Irish Red on Sunday)
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Been there done that Charlie

Postby fitz » Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:45 pm

I've been there, and done that twice. A boy 5 and a girl 2, both doing well. My sister in law is doing the same right now. That stuff must be hereditary. Nip/Tuck is pretty twisted, I have watched a couple of the shows.
Yeh, I believe with good quality extracts, you can make good beer. I don't have the time for an all day brew session, so the extracts are it for now. I don't think the all grain equip will corrode that bad in storage. I have three reds in kegs right now 1) Munic and Moravian Pils
2) Marris Otter
3) Munic,Moravian, and Amber extract.
All three had 80 L crystal steeped, and fuggles and Willamette hops. I think I'm partial to the Munic/Moravian.
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Conclusion

Postby beerlover » Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:06 pm

I thought I should give you guys some feed back. After making an IPA this weekend and 58 hours my second batch should have been going through rapid fermentation but I had nothing (not even a bubble per minute). I know what I've read saying that ale yeasts stay active down to 60F.

My conclusion, I moved both the original beer I wrote about (cooper sparkling ale recipe) and my new IPA out of the basement which is 64F (as read on two different thermometers) to a warmer portion of the house @ 68F. Both brew are now fermenting. The coopers ale resumed fermenting, although only slightly and the IPA finally started to ferment after like 58 hours. Crazy huh.

I know I've read most ale yeast won't go dormant till 60F but I can tell you from the experience of my first two brews with two different type of yeast that below 65F goes dormant. That one degrees seems to make a big difference.

Anyway, I wanted to post the good news In case this happens to anyone else.
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Not all ale yeasts

Postby fitz » Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:22 pm

Not all ale yeasts are created equal.
what kind were you using?
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Yeast Types

Postby beerlover » Tue Jan 13, 2004 1:09 pm

Cooper's dry ale yeast & Wyeast British Ale Yeast
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One more thing

Postby beerlover » Tue Jan 13, 2004 1:11 pm

The Wyeast British ale Yeast was "ready to pitch" liquid.
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