Reactivating/boosting fermentation after stopping at 1.020??

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by clarets, Dec 7, 2014.

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  1. Dec 7, 2014 #1

    clarets

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    Hello,

    Been making a Bitter from kit (first try). Started 12 days ago, pitched at 25C, moved to storage cupboard upstairs where the FV has been at a steady 18C. I spoke to my homebrew guy at the time and he advised me its better to have a lower, constant temperature than a fluctuating higher one.

    Fermentation occured between days 2-6, lots of foam and activity, which has subsided down. Day 10 (and according to the instructions FG should be 1.008-10) fermentation has stopped at 1.020. I sterlised paddle and 2-3 mins or aeration for 3 goes, left for another 2 days.

    Today is Day 12, reading still reads 1.020 or very similar (hard to read the hydro). Calculator suggests that with this level, my brew is only 2.63% as opposed to 3.8%ish it should be.

    Now I'm not brewing for ABV but for the taste, but I'm wondering whether I need to reactivate that yeast somehow to lower the reading further? Will it be sweeter at the yeast hasnt converted all of the sugars? Or whether I should just bottle it and set to one side for drinking around the Christmas/New Year time?

    Answers on a postcard please.... :D
     
  2. Dec 7, 2014 #2

    rodwha

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    I've had this problem once, and I added a little sugar water and gently stirred the trub. It didn't bring it down quite as far as assumed, but did lower it further.

    The only other thing might be to add a little more yeast.
     
  3. Dec 7, 2014 #3

    clarets

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the hydrometer measures the sugar levels of the brew. As fermentation converts the sugars to alcohol, how does more sugar convert sugar and reduce the SG?
     
  4. Dec 7, 2014 #4

    rodwha

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    It may kickstart the yeast into activity. I've seen it mentioned elsewhere. I tried it in conjunction with stirring the trub. I cannot claim it was one or the other that helped mine.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2014 #5

    clarets

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    OK thanks for that....would doing that plus another thorough areation and moving it to a warmer aering cupboard be better.

    The way I'm thinking is that the brew has more or less fermented quite well, just needs that little tiny push to bring it down further.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2014 #6

    Hopping_Mad

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    As well as stirring (make sure you sanitise your spoon thoroughly and try not to splash), try get the temperature up to the top of the suggested range for the yeast. It may have 'gone to sleep' through being at a low temperature.

    One other trick that has worked for me is adding yeast enzyme. If you have a local Wilkos they sell it there. Be sparing though - don't throw the whole packet in as it can go mental!
     
  7. Dec 7, 2014 #7

    rodwha

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    Do not aerate at this time. It wouldn't be good.
     
  8. Dec 7, 2014 #8

    clarets

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    OK the plan, mix some sugar (15g) with some boiling water 300ml to get a syrup. Add to the FV, stir slowly and gently for 2-3 mins, move to a warmer cupboard for another 3 days and take a reading then.....

    This sound good?

    If this doesn't do much, I'll add some enzyme.

    Cheers all the help
     
  9. Dec 8, 2014 #9

    rodwha

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    Certainly worth a try. Good luck!
     
  10. Dec 8, 2014 #10

    ian808

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    A stir and a boost in temp should be enough to get it going again and don't worry about the amount of days in FV mine are sometimes 20+
     
  11. Dec 8, 2014 #11

    rodwha

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    Mine sit for 21 or 28 days typically +/- a day or 3. I've only recently fermented for just 14 days in a few attempts with test batches to see if I can have bottled beer ready to serve within 31 days for those times in which you find out there's a get-together next month.
     
  12. Dec 8, 2014 #12

    Spapro

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    A good pinch of yeast nutrient, raising the temp to 20C and a gentle stir should do the trick and get things moving again.

    Wilkos sell yeast nutrient in a small tub.

    You don't want to aerate the wort - you only aerate at the initial mixing stage. Beyond the initial mixing stage aerating the wort will oxidise your beer whih is not good. A gentle stir only at the stage you are at.

    Make sure you sterilise your stirrer before touching the beer.
     
  13. Dec 8, 2014 #13

    clarets

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    Lovely I will check that out spapro. Thanks for all the advice guys.

    Just out of curiosity, how many days would you be satisfied with to say it has finished fermenting? If the hydro showed the same level for 3 or 4 days consistently?
     
  14. Dec 8, 2014 #14

    rodwha

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    10-14 days ought to be enough, with many lower gravity beers done within 5-7 days. But additional time allows the yeast to go back and eat the byproducts they created initially thereby cleaning up the taste.

    On this side of the pond it's usually said to give a normal ABV (4.5-6.5% ABV) about 3 weeks in the fermentor.
     
  15. Dec 8, 2014 #15

    Spapro

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    Agree with rodwha,

    I am finding single can kits (like coopers kits) ferment out in around 7-14 days.

    Two can ale kits are taking 3 weeks plus for me when fermenting at a constant 18-20C.

    If the SG has got to 1010-1014 and has been stable for 2-3 days then its done.
     
  16. Dec 8, 2014 #16

    Geithals

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    A sidebar question,
    with a 2 can ale kit would you use both packs of yeast?
    And just stir it into FV?
     
  17. Dec 9, 2014 #17

    Spapro

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    All kits, 2 can or 1 can, only come with 1 packet of yeast (for 2 can kits look at a woodefordes, festival, milestone, bulldog kits amongst many others).

    A 2 can kit gives you 2 cans (around 3kg) of malt extract so you don't need to add any extra fermentables (sugar) to the brew (although some people do add to increase the ABV strength).

    A 1 can kit at round half the price only gives you 1 can (around 1..5kg - 1.7kg) of malt extract and you need to add another kilo (or more) of additional fermentables to the brew when mixing. Additional fermentables usually consist of Dried Malt Extract (DME) and Brewing Sugar but you can also add honey, chocolate etc to create different tastes.

    Hope this makes sense ?
     
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  18. Dec 10, 2014 #18

    Geithals

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    That makes good sense. I'm not familiar with the 2 can kits, they are not available locally. I was just focussed on the idea of using 2 x single can in a brew and in that scenario you'd have 2 yeast sachets at your disposal.
     
  19. Dec 10, 2014 #19

    Cwrw666

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    You can't use 2 single can kits in a single brew as they both contain the hop extract needed, so your finished beer would be twice as hoppy as it should be. Probably way too much.
     
  20. Dec 10, 2014 #20

    darrellm

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    I don't want to lower expectations but, in my experience, once a brew's stuck it's stuck, I've never managed to get one going again. Yeast nutrient helps prevent a stuck brew but only if added at the start, not after it's stuck.

    I didn't see what kit it was? My bet is it's made by Muntons (so either Muntons badged or re-branded such as Wherry): these are known for their poorish yeasts which, when combined with mid-winter low household temperatures, often result in brews stuck around 1020.

    Next time add 1 or 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient at the start, and wrap some insulation such as a sleeping bag around it, will greatly reduce the chances of it sticking this time of year. I just did this with a Muntons kit and it fermented straight down to 1010.
     
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