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Argh, stuck fermentation on S-04!

I pitched about a cup of decanted starter S-04 slurry into a 1.061 OG American IPA 8 days ago at 65 degrees. The gravity has been stuck at about 1.028 since pitch day (sunday 9/16) + 48 hours, when the krausen dropped…

I have heard a few things since then, such as S-04 isn’t meant to have a starter (even though I was trying to split one satchet between two 5 gallon batches), and, according to “Yeast” by White/Zainasheff, you can try to pitch champagne yeast to drop it further, and from some, that the beer is just ‘done’.

The only other time I bottled a beer with this high of a finishing gravity I got bottle bombs. I obviously don’t want that, and would like to be able to drink this IPA, as other than this bunk yeast, it is a pretty good beer (80% MO, 10% munich, 10% vienna; 75-minute mash at 152) with some great hop additions.

Also, my hydrometer is about 2-3 points off, but I calibrated for this in my #'s above.

As it happens, I have another s-04 cake available, as this beers twin finished at about 1.017 (similar original gravity)

Questions- -can a beer finish this high and not have enough residual sugar to blow if bottled?
-should I pitch champagne yeast, rack to the other yeast cake, bottle as-is, keg (to hopefully avoid bottle bombs…I have a few serving issues doing it this way though), or let it sit another week? It doesn’t appear to be moving at all…

If it’s truly stuck, get the beer into a warmer area, and swirl to get the yeast kicked back up. If that doesn’t work, maybe use a bit of the brother beer’s yeast cake and do up a starter. Pitch it into the stuck beer when the starter is really roaring. That should get you unstuck. If your last resort is pitch more yeast, I’d try US-05 before champagne yeast. I think that stuff is good up into double digit ABV’s.

Good luck.

If the fermentation is truly stuck, you need a LOT of yeast. Like the entire slurry from the other batch. You could try racking it onto that. If that doesn’t do it, it’s done, not stuck.

the good thing about doing it that way is, since I have recently begun partial chilling, the slurry on the other batch should pretty much be ALL yeast.

Recently, I’ve been chilling post-boil to 120* or so, draining the entire kettle to a fermenter, chilling for hours down to pitching temp in my lagering fridge, THEN vigorously dumping everything except the settled trub into a new fermenter before pitching. This usually results in a pretty pure yeast cake on the bottom of my ‘2nd’ fermenter.

Thanks for the suggestions, will update (and never use s-04 again!..was just looking for something with the performance/attenuation of US-05 that contributed a little more to the malt character…lesson learned I guess)

@Denny this is probably covered ad nauseum elsewhere on the internet, but what is your preferred clean american ale yeast? I’ve had really solid results with US-05, and I should have just gone with it for these brews, but I wanted to venture out and use something that would enhane malt character a bit.

@Denny this is probably covered ad nauseum elsewhere on the internet, but what is your preferred clean american ale yeast? I’ve had really solid results with US-05, and I should have just gone with it for these brews, but I wanted to venture out and use something that would enhane malt character a bit.[/quote]

When I want a really clean yeast, I use WY1056 with WY1450 a close second. Although I use 05 sometimes, I find it has a slight fruitiness to it that the others don’t.

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