115th Dream Extract Kit Help

So here’s where I am…

I took a gravity reading prior to pitching and got 1.090 (right where I should have been). Pitched my Wyeast 1450 in a 1L starter. Waited two weeks. Took a gravity reading - 1.035. Shooting for an FG of 1.020 or lower. In the following two days I took two more gravity readings and got 1.035 - gravity wasn’t dropping. So I’m thinking, stuck fermentation. So two days ago, I pitched another smack pack of Wyeast 1450. The concerning thing is, I haven’t seen any bubbling. After two days, I should be seeing some bubbling. I know airlock bubbling doesn’t mean fermentation isn’t happening. But you should see some bubbling when pitching new yeast. I mean, they have to go through the respiration phase.

Need some guidance.

Pitching another pack of yeast probably didn’t do anything for you. There really isn’t a good way to jumpstart a stuck fermentation. If you’ve done some reading about final gravities of extract beers, they do tend to finish with higher gravities.

The good news is that with the amount of hops in the beer, it still might taste good even with the high FG. If you ever decide to brew this again, I would recommend making 5-gallons of an under 1.040 beer in lieu of a starter. Then, use the entire yeast cake for the 115th Dream(and don’t forget to use a blowoff tube).

J

[quote=“Barliman”]Pitching another pack of yeast probably didn’t do anything for you. There really isn’t a good way to jumpstart a stuck fermentation. If you’ve done some reading about final gravities of extract beers, they do tend to finish with higher gravities.

The good news is that with the amount of hops in the beer, it still might taste good even with the high FG. If you ever decide to brew this again, I would recommend making 5-gallons of an under 1.040 beer in lieu of a starter. Then, use the entire yeast cake for the 115th Dream(and don’t forget to use a blowoff tube).

J[/quote]

Ugh, the NB description said this was a 9.2% ABV kit. If the fermentation is done, I’m only at ~7.2%, that’s a big delta. Worried it will be too sweet.

[quote=“Chris-P”][quote=“Barliman”]Pitching another pack of yeast probably didn’t do anything for you. There really isn’t a good way to jumpstart a stuck fermentation. If you’ve done some reading about final gravities of extract beers, they do tend to finish with higher gravities.

The good news is that with the amount of hops in the beer, it still might taste good even with the high FG. If you ever decide to brew this again, I would recommend making 5-gallons of an under 1.040 beer in lieu of a starter. Then, use the entire yeast cake for the 115th Dream(and don’t forget to use a blowoff tube).

J[/quote]

Ugh, the NB description said this was a 9.2% ABV kit. If the fermentation is done, I’m only at ~7.2%, that’s a big delta. Worried it will be too sweet.[/quote]
Hydrometer or refractometer?
A refracto will read higher when alcohol is in the solution.

[quote=“Chris-P”]So here’s where I am…

I took a gravity reading prior to pitching and got 1.090 (right where I should have been). Pitched my Wyeast 1450 in a 1L starter. [/quote]
BTW you underpitched by about half.

[quote=“mvsawyer”][quote=“Chris-P”]So here’s where I am…

I took a gravity reading prior to pitching and got 1.090 (right where I should have been). Pitched my Wyeast 1450 in a 1L starter. [/quote]
BTW you underpitched by about half.[/quote]

I used a hydrometer, not a refractometer.

I did a 1L yeast starter with the 1450 and then pitched ANOTHER 1450 smack pack. I still underpitched?? How do you figure?

The pitching rate really refers to the amount pitched at the beginning meaning you pitched a 1L starter. You really need a lot (emphasis on a lot) of yeast for a 1.090 brew. Check mr. malty or yeast calc for your starter size from now on when making big beers.

At this point you are in a bit of a bind. First off I would try and up the temp and wait a while before cracking it open again. It might be working. That said, it can be really tough to get yeast working again in a high alcohol environment and your 7.5% might make it difficult to get it moving again. I’ve read that pitching a new starter at high krausen is a good way to go. Also, you don’t need to stick to 1450 at this point. If you do want to pitch another pack of something you could pick somethign with a higher attenuation.

I have never tried this but I noticed this from Wyeast’s website last summer when making a saison:

YEAST STRAIN: 3711 | French Saison

Back to Yeast Strain List

A very versatile strain that produces Saison or farmhouse style biers as well as other Belgian style beers that are highly aromatic (estery), peppery, spicy and citrusy. This strain enhances the use of spices and aroma hops, and is extremely attenuative but leaves an unexpected silky and rich mouthfeel. This strain can also be used to re-start stuck fermentations or in high gravity beers.

Origin:
Flocculation: Low
Attenuation: 77-83%
Temperature Range: 65-77F 18-25C
Alcohol Tolerance: ABV 12%

Again, never tried it but imagine it could help with that high attenuation, low flocculation and high temp range. If I did do it I would make a one liter starter and pitch all of it after 24 hours and try and ramp up the temp a bit.

[quote=“inhousebrew”]The pitching rate really refers to the amount pitched at the beginning meaning you pitched a 1L starter. You really need a lot (emphasis on a lot) of yeast for a 1.090 brew. Check mr. malty or yeast calc for your starter size from now on when making big beers.

At this point you are in a bit of a bind. First off I would try and up the temp and wait a while before cracking it open again. It might be working. That said, it can be really tough to get yeast working again in a high alcohol environment and your 7.5% might make it difficult to get it moving again. I’ve read that pitching a new starter at high krausen is a good way to go. Also, you don’t need to stick to 1450 at this point. If you do want to pitch another pack of something you could pick somethign with a higher attenuation.

I have never tried this but I noticed this from Wyeast’s website last summer when making a saison:

YEAST STRAIN: 3711 | French Saison

Back to Yeast Strain List

A very versatile strain that produces Saison or farmhouse style biers as well as other Belgian style beers that are highly aromatic (estery), peppery, spicy and citrusy. This strain enhances the use of spices and aroma hops, and is extremely attenuative but leaves an unexpected silky and rich mouthfeel. This strain can also be used to re-start stuck fermentations or in high gravity beers.

Origin:
Flocculation: Low
Attenuation: 77-83%
Temperature Range: 65-77F 18-25C
Alcohol Tolerance: ABV 12%

Again, never tried it but imagine it could help with that high attenuation, low flocculation and high temp range. If I did do it I would make a one liter starter and pitch all of it after 24 hours and try and ramp up the temp a bit.[/quote]

Thanks, this is really helpful. I had no clue about Mr.Malty. Will definitely consult next time. At this point, is there any risk to pitching another starter? IE - Am I going to start getting off flavors from too much yeast and a lack of fermentation?

Assuming your yeast is about 5 weeks old when pitched, you’d need to use a 9L starter with one smack pack. It seems crazy, but there you go. I’ve made this kit, and getting good attenuation was my problem too. I have about two gallons of it left in bottles that are over 2 years old now. I can tell you that if it’s too sweet when you bottle it, it won’t get better with time. I’d make as big a starter as you can with 001 or 1056 or some other workhorse (maybe the french one mentioned above) and pitch it when it’s at high kraeusen.

I agree with whats been stated above. When brewing beers this big, I always find it helpful to either use dry yeast or pitch the wort in a previously used yeast cake. Brewing is learning. I’m sure the end product will taste great. Keep us posted.

Many thanks to all who responded. I will keep you all posted.

For comparison, I just checked my 115th extract batch last night… I harvested and pitched a cake of 1056 and have been fermenting at an ambient 63 degrees for three weeks and I’m sitting at 1.016. I massively lucked out… I wish the instructions would be a little more insistent than “We suggest a starter.”

Pitching on a yeast cake is the way to go for big beers. I recently put a 1.098 barley wine on a yeast cake and it was at 1.020 when I checked it at 3 weeks.

Not to highjack, but for my own edification…how would you rack onto a yeast cake? Was looking hard at this beer to brew this fall for next summer.

+1 to this ^^^

For a beer that big, I’d always plan to brew a smaller beer first than either rack the new bigger beer right on top of the first beer’s yeast cake or rinse the yeast and pitch all of it into the new beer. No point in making a giant starter and dumping most of it down the drain just to make some yeast. You may as well just brew a smaller beer and drink it!

I also would NOT pitch a Saison yeast into a beer that I didn’t want to be a Saison. Just read the description. Not what I want in an IPA. Now if you want a big hoppy Saison… go for it!

I’m no expert, so others may give you a better technique, but here’s what I did…

  1. Rack regular beer into bottling bucket and bottle…
  2. Pour yeast cake from now empty fermenter into a big glass container (I used a 1 gallon jug)
  3. Add clean water (boiled/cooled) to the jug, and swirl to suspend everything.
  4. Put an airlock on the jug and wait for it to settle out
  5. Pour off liquid from top part of jug, add more clean water, and swirl again
  6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until you see three layers… liquid, white stuff, and gunk
  7. Pour off liquid down drain
  8. Pour white stuff into new super high gravity wort, leaving behind the bottom layer of gunk.

Seemed to work for me… FYI, I rinsed twice because the regular beer was pretty dark and I wanted to limit how much residual porter ended up in my IPA.

Seems easy enough. Thanks!

Update on this batch…

I cracked the lid on my bucket and gave the trub a gentle stir, and put the bucket in a warm place. Within 24 hours my airlock was bubbling again. Hopefully this will get me a little closer to my target FG.

I’m no expert, so others may give you a better technique, but here’s what I did…

  1. Rack regular beer into bottling bucket and bottle…
  2. Pour yeast cake from now empty fermenter into a big glass container (I used a 1 gallon jug)
  3. Add clean water (boiled/cooled) to the jug, and swirl to suspend everything.
  4. Put an airlock on the jug and wait for it to settle out
  5. Pour off liquid from top part of jug, add more clean water, and swirl again
  6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until you see three layers… liquid, white stuff, and gunk
  7. Pour off liquid down drain
  8. Pour white stuff into new super high gravity wort, leaving behind the bottom layer of gunk.

Seemed to work for me… FYI, I rinsed twice because the regular beer was pretty dark and I wanted to limit how much residual porter ended up in my IPA.[/quote]I don’t even go to that much work. For my barley wine, I made a batch of APA 3 weeks before I planned to brew the BW, on brew day, while the BW was cooling I kegged the APA, sanitized the lid of the bucket and dumped the BW right into the same bucket with the yeast. If I’m not brewing a big beer and want to reuse the yeast cake I’ll either pull half of it out or split it for a 10 gallon batch.

Interested to see how it turns out now that it has been “kick-started” again.

Thanks for the info guys.