I've got a stuck ferm, help!

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

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I've got a stuck ferm, help!

Postby Chadly » Sat Dec 15, 2001 4:32 pm

Hi, I'm Chadly. I've been brewing beer for 4 years and lurking at beertoos.com for a few weeks now. I have brewed quite a few batches but have never ran into the troubles I'm having now.
On 12/6 I brewed a batch of rasberey imperial stout. It's a high gravity beer (12.6Lbs. of malt syrup, 1lb. dme, and 11Lbs. of rasberries) with a batch size of 6 1/2 gal. This is a beer I have brewed 7 times before without a hitch. I have always used two packages of Edme dried yeat with it. Edme ferms quick and hard, knocking down the high sugars with ease in the past. This is a very strong flavored brew that, to my tastes, has not benefited much from cleaner strains of wet yeast.
The beer fermented hard for two days and stopped. I mean stopped hard. After rousing the yeast failed to help I introduced two pkgs of champagne yeast to try and restart the activity. This resulted in nothing. I picked up a Large vial of White Labs WLP099 high gravity yeast (supposed to support 20% abv under some conditions) and stepped it up to a pint and then qt. starter. Including the huge amount that came in the vial this resulted in ALOT of yeast. This was pitched into the non active beer along with as much shaking to introduce air that my arms would allow. Three days later I have no ferm. at all. This beer started at over 1.080 (before the fruit) and has been stuck at 1.039 since two days after the yeast was pitched. Two days ago I drew off a pint of the ale and added few tbsp of prime sugar to see if it would ferm. It would not. This has me stumped!
The beer is not too high in alch now to ferment. It does not have the smell or flavor of a high alch beer, a trait this brew always has. By the way, the raspberries do not add the amount of sugars one would think. Sure, they add fermentables, but not great amounts like many other fruits would. There are ALOT of fermentable sugars left in there, I just cannot understand why they will not ferm. At this rate I will not even be able to bottle condition. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated greatly.
Oh yes, the ale has been at a steady 70-72 degrees F since the yeast was pitched.
Chadly
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2001 6:27 am

?????

Postby Monkey Man » Sat Dec 15, 2001 6:36 pm

Assuming that there is no apparent change in ingredients or processes in this batch, the answer would then lie in the consistencies that we take for granted. Is your temp constant as was before? If so, my main concern would then be the use of dry yeast. Dry yeast is notorious for being inconsistent. I to brew big batches, some as high as 1.130. Starting fermentation again by the introduction of yeast, champagne or otherwise can be pretty tricky, even in well oxidized wort. I have found yeast to be extremely sensitive to alcohol. When I do big batches I use liquid yeast with at least a quart starter. I pitch both champagne and beer yeast. I have been tempted to use high gravity yeasts, but when the percentages get really high the procedure becomes to high maintenance. My system has always worked for me, perhaps too well, I'm sorry but I don't have much to say about getting out of this predicament.
Monkey Man
Light Lager
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2001 1:46 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE, US

Hmmmmm

Postby Chadly » Sun Dec 16, 2001 7:27 am

The presence of alcohol must be what is preventing the new yeast, despite a very large amount of it is pitched, from restarting the ferm. I don't want to believe it becuse it's worked for me so many times, but my dry yeast is most likely where my trouble started. The yeast I used, despite all the times it has worked previously, was not up to the job this time around. I have a better far better understanding of brewing theory and far more brewing experience than to use dry yeast in such a beer. It would seem the method I have been using has simply finaly caught up with me.
BTW the small amount I removed and added prime sugar to to see if it would ferm for bottling did begin to ferm. That at least is good. Even so I'll be afraid to bottle this one for a loooooonnnnnggggg time. With that much gravity left in it I can just see a purple tinted stout all the place. Kapow!
Chadly
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2001 6:27 am

Throwing the baby out with the bath water

Postby Monkey Man » Sun Dec 16, 2001 8:26 am

Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. A year ago I started a 1.130 batch. It finished around 1.060. I watered it down to around 1.020. I'm still drinking it and it is very tasty. I have only two bottles left from a 5 gallon batch. Just water it down. You might have to swallow a little pride, but you'll have good beer. Besides, ultimatelt that'w what we're all after right?
Monkey Man
Light Lager
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Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2001 1:46 pm
Location: Lincoln, NE, US


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