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BeerTools Discussion Forum • View topic - Stuck Fermentation on High Gravity

Stuck Fermentation on High Gravity

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

Moderator: slothrob

Stuck Fermentation on High Gravity

Postby manplant » Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:33 pm

Im making a Belgian Crand Cru Reserve, with an OG=1.107 and a target FG=1.023. Yeast was pitched on sat 7/26 at 530pm EST. Primary was roiling aggressively until 9 PM 7/27. By 730 AM 7/28, primary has stopped.

Gravity check reveals 1.043-1.045. Pitch rate was 15 Mil Cells/ml. I suspect ran out of O2 for a beer this big. Should I aerate to introce a little more oxygen?

Any other ideas?
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Are you SURE it has stopped?

Postby billvelek » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:20 pm

I don't mean to insult your intelligence or your brewing knowledge, but are you _SURE_ it has stopped fermenting. It's not unusual to get a very vigorous fermentation during the first 24 hours or so, and then have it slow down dramatically. Are you using an air lock? Sometimes they will bubble only once every minute or two, but the fermentation is still active. Also, you don't mention how many gravity readings you took and over what interval. At the very least, I'd take a gravity reading and then another one maybe 12 hours later to see if there is any change, and then another again in 12 more hours just to be sure. While you did under-pitch your yeast slighty (Mr. Malty's Pitching Rate Calculator indicates 19 mil/ml for that O.G.), it is not all that different from the 15 mil/ml that you pitched, so I'd be surprised if the yeast were overwhelmed, expecially if you employed any aeration of your wort before pitching your yeast (I had actually completely stopped aerating my wort when pitching a sufficient yeast count, and never had any stuck fermentations, but was later advised that my beer would still be better if aerated first). By the way, here is a link to Mr. Malty's Calculator, for any who don't have it:

Now, if the fermentation has stopped, it is because your yeast is tired or can't handle the alcohol level, and not because there is not more oxygen in your wort at this point (there really shouldn't be anyway at this point), so aerating your wort is not going to change the condition of your yeast and is likely to cause oxidation problems with your brew, so I definitely would not recommend doing that. Note that some brewers recommend re-aeration in the fermenter, but I believe that this is intended to happen something like 12 hours after yeast is pitched and certainly not more than 48 hours later. I think the only solution to your problem is to pitch some additional yeast without aerating. You could even do that immediately, since it shouldn't hurt your beer even if you are mistaken about the stuck fermentation. I think some folks will sometimes stir the beer slightly to try to rouse flocculated yeast, but personally I can't see how that will do a whole lot of good because it doesn't address the reason the yeast flocculated in the first place; but I've never tried that so I can't say for certain.

EDIT: Just thought of something else I'd add; you didn't specify whether you used extract or grains, and if the later, what you grain bill was and mash schedule. Your current attenuation is only 59%, which is VERY low, but I have heard of some brewers getting attenuation that low with some extracts. Also, you now have an alcohol content of 8.4%, so if you practiced good sanitation, you should be safe in letting your beer sit for a couple of days and then checking the gravity again.

Just my two cents. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

Bill Velek
Last edited by billvelek on Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stuck Ferm

Postby manplant » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:39 pm

Robust fermentation resumed 3-4 hrs after aeration. The fermentation was near zero. No bubbles produced in several minutes.

I acutally called Wyeast and their Micro Bio recommended further agiatation. If that failed, then add yeast.

I failed to note that im crossing two strains on this one. One a fast starter, and the other is not. Its likely that the fast starter consumed a good chunk of the O2 and became exhausted. After aeration, the other yeast picked up.

I appreciate your help.
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Maybe one yeast strain killed the other

Postby billvelek » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:19 pm

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Postby manplant » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:08 pm

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Could you blend instead?

Postby billvelek » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:32 am

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Blending

Postby manplant » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:35 pm

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Postby Manic Igniter » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:13 am

I like to think of it as making bottles...
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Primary

Postby manplant » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:57 pm

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Postby Manic Igniter » Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:57 am

I like to think of it as making bottles...
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Postby tailleur » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:26 am

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