Author Topic: Please Help - Stuck fermentation...  (Read 6140 times)

Offline cousindave

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Please Help - Stuck fermentation...
« on: October 29, 2012, 05:53:43 PM »
I brewed a barley wine in anticipation of my 10th wedding anniversary back in July. Fermentation has stopped waaay too early and the result is a cloyingly sweet beer. (SG=1046) I need to get a few more gravity points out fo this beer in time to condition and bottle it before May. The specifics are below:

3 Hour Boil...
OG=1100
Pitched about 400ml of fresh slurry (1332)
3 week primary, transferred to secondary at 1050. (I needed the conical for another batch)
Current SG = 1046
ABV= 7.2%
Target ABV was 10% (for our Tenth Anniversary)

Sample was quite clear and golden brown in color. Aroma was all sherry and vanilla. Mild hop bitterness, though I'm hoping to trick my palate with carbonation (the sample was still). Alcohol warmth was apparent but a bit subdued, extremely sweet in the finish and coats the tongue.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. Do the great minds in this forum think a lager yeast would help? I'm leery of making a starter for that, never used a lager yeast before... (7 years home-brewing, only made ales. Never had a stuck fermentation) 

Or perhaps a champagne yeast? Will that dry it out too much... Am I just stuck with it as is and need to make  the best of the situation? Any thoughts friends?

Thanks in advance.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Please Help - Stuck fermentation...
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 11:47:35 PM »
Dave-

Rule number one:  don't transfer a fermenting beer to secondary.  You removed the beer from the mass of yeast that was doing the job.

You did not mention any oxygen. Did you oxygenate??

Your beer can be saved.  You need to make a new starter with a neutral ale yeast.  I would use California ale. 1-2 vials. You have a fair ways left to go, so I might lean towards 2 vials. Pitch the yeast into 1 liter of starter wort. Don't stir it. Wait for the starter to reach high kraussen.  Pitch the whole thing into your barley wine.  Wort and all.  You can't crash and decant, when restarting a stuck ferment. You want the yeast to be as active as possible when you pitch.

I just had to do this exact procedure on a 1075 beer that stuck around 1025. Mine finished at 1010.

Don't mess with new unorthodox yeasts for a celebration beer. Stick with tried and true methods. 

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

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Offline cousindave

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Re: Please Help - Stuck fermentation...
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 06:00:58 AM »
Tom -

Thanks for you insight. I really appreciate it.

You asked about oxygenating - I had the grandest of intentions only to discover on brew-day that my O2 stone was wrecked. I did splash going into the fermenter (I transfer into a conical via pump, and put a crimped bit of copper on the out-flow of the transfer line) but that's all it got.

Your starter method sounds good - I'll give that a try next. Thanks again.

Offline bentrider1957

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Re: Please Help - Stuck fermentation...
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 02:26:04 PM »
I brewed a barley wine in anticipation of my 10th wedding anniversary back in July. Fermentation has stopped waaay too early and the result is a cloyingly sweet beer. (SG=1046) I need to get a few more gravity points out fo this beer in time to condition and bottle it before May. The specifics are below:

Current SG = 1046
ABV= 7.2%
Target ABV was 10% (for our Tenth Anniversary)
Sample was quite clear and golden brown in color. Aroma was all sherry and vanilla. Mild hop bitterness, though I'm hoping to trick my palate with carbonation (the sample was still). Alcohol warmth was apparent but a bit subdued, extremely sweet in the finish and coats the tongue.


At 1.046, I recommend getting the beer to 70-72F (20-22C) and aereate the wort.  Pitch US-05 directly and see what happens.  I use US-05 because it has a neutral effect on beer flavor.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Please Help - Stuck fermentation...
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 08:06:53 PM »
[At 1.046, I recommend getting the beer to 70-72F (20-22C) and aereate the wort.  Pitch US-05 directly and see what happens.  I use US-05 because it has a neutral effect on beer flavor.

Sorry, I don't agree with aerating a already fermented wort.  You will create pre-cursor chemicals to cardboard oxidized flavors.  Oxygen should never be introduced into a beer after there are visible signs of fermentation....let alone when there is already 8%  alcohol.  For a beer that started at 1.100 and is at 1.046...its already 54% attenuated.  The O2 would combine with the alcohol to form aldehydes. 

Just not good in the long term for a beer that is going to be around for many, many years.  This is not the same as the micro-oxidation that will occur in the bottle to form the sherry notes over years.

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes