Dragon's silk refuses to finish fermentation aka stuck

This is the second dragons silk I have brewed (OG 1.094 this batch previous batch OG 1.096). I used a pint of left over yeast from previous brew as the yeast brewed in March. No starter, I got sloppy. It was dead.

When I saw no fermentation after 12 h, I pitched a starter from virgin wyeast 1056 just in case. Previous brew I had activity at 12 h. At 24 h I added a portion of the active starter about 1 dose. I would have had to use up all my inventor yeast to make it the preferred 2 doses of yeast. Fermentation started at day 2. Day 12 since initial pitch sg 1.026. Previous brew had sg 1.014 at day 12 and 1.012 at day 15. Previous brew used a double pitch of fresh yeast(will do starters and double pitch future dragons silk.

So at day 12 I added 1.5 dose of 1056. Its now day 17 and SG is 1.024…not much difference from 1.026.

I have yet another starter of 1056 which is winding down at day 3. Did 3 days because it was a 3 liter starter. Will harvest this tomorrow am after it cools in kegerator and hit it dragons silk with a double dose yet again tomorrow.

I also have forbidden fruit yeast that I just harvested yesterday from a starter. Its good to 12%. Should I try this or some other high ABV tolerant strain if the double dose does not work?

Sidebar-I am a yeast farmer. When I get in liquid yeasts, I let them settle in mason jars, measure the volume then pitch starters. That’s how I know what one dose is. I will do either a big enough starter or two successive starters to build an inventory before using it. This way I always have virgin yeast around. Frig is full of half pint and pint jars of yeast. After 7 cycles I get new virgin yeast.

Really not enough information it seems like you pitched plenty of yeast. Mash profile and fermentation temps?

I’m with brew cat. Also, when you do starters, are they active when you rack onto the new brew? I can’t recall if 1056 is good for high gravity brews… When I was a yeast rancher, I’d take a fresh yeast, do a low gravity starter… 1.025(?) and grow(double) the yeast. I’d split by eyeball. One to save for future and the other half I’d do a starter and pitch when it was very active… Duvel’s are my fav, which was a high gravity brew, and I didn’t have any issues.

thanks for help

mashed at 152 F for 60 min. SG 1.079 at 60 min. Extended it 10 additional minutes sg 1.081. Mash out at 170 F for 10 min. Did exactly same mash conditions for the first dragons silk.
grain bill
16.5 lbs American 2 - Row
· 2 lbs Weyermann® Barke® Munich Malt
· 1 lb Flaked Barley
· 0.5 lb Briess Caramel 120L
· 0.5 lb Briess Caramel 60L
· 0.5 lb Briess Chocolate Malt
· 0.5 lb Briess Black Mal
pound of rice hulls used

60 minute boil

Fermented at 66 F setpoint. It ran at this temp for most of fermentation. Room temp recently went up to 68 and that is what beer is at now. Same set point for first dragons silk. I generally swirl the fermenters daily after active fermentation is done.

to answer other questions
The initial yeast from previous brew was not active yeast it was dead. The yeast added next was active it was bubbling in starter. I swirled starter solution so uniform and drained off a fraction of the starter and put it into the wort/beer. It was active. The 1.5 yeast dose was from this starter after the yeast settled out. I settle out by overnight cooling in frig. I use 1.040 gravity for starter. At end of starter, gravity is around 1.01 to 1.012.

Mash gravity from refractometer. When alcohol is present I use a float hydrometer and use it for getting the OG.

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Just a guess but you may be at the upper limit of the yeast. I think when brewing a big beer its best to start with a fresh healthy yeast and big starter. Once fermentation slows or quits on a big beer its hard to get it going with so much alcohol. Its sitting at close to 9% now so probably just need to wait. That beer probably needs a month anyway. Kind of surprised really that the first batch finished as fast as it did


A big beer like that needs a lot of O2 upfront to help fermentation. How do you add O2? And at this point you’re likely best just leaving it sit and see if it drops any. More you mess with it the more likely you’ll have more issues.

I use a 6.5 gallon fermenter with lotsa headspace. I rock the fermenter vigorously for five minutes. My apple watch asks me at 3 minutes if I am doing an elliptical workout 3 minute into shaking so its pretty vigorous. Palmer did some dissolved oxygen measurements/ shake tests and found this to be more than sufficient to saturate the wort with oxygen. I also make sure when I pump my wort into the fermenter that it bubbles a lot. This is exactly what I did with first batch and it femermented nicely. Second batch was underpitched which was likely the root cause of the problem.

Thanks for input.

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Those high tech gizmos can be funny at times? (:

Shaking can saturate for a ‘normal’ OG wort (up to 1.060, I would say). After that you need to introduce O2 via strait O2 or an aquarium pump. Even aquarium pumps have their limits as it’s using air vs. pure O2. That high OG needs at least a pump. Likely under O2 along with underpitched. Leave it sit in a warm spot, it might drop a bit more.

I have an O2 medical tank but it became difficult to find a medical O2 company to fill it without a doctor prescribing it. Next I used a fire equipment supply but I think they just filled it with air. Now I use an aquarium pump and leave it in for a minute or two. Seems to work well but I usually make a starter and we know that also helps.

I’ve never attempted a beer higher than about 1.080. I use a wine whip/mixer/ Mixstir with a drill and get reasonable fermentations…. pitching healthy yeast in adequate numbers, of course.
As @loopie_beer said the gold standard is still an oxygen wand/stone but I have never invested in one since I don’t do the HUGE beers that truly necessitate one. All this discussed here:

Anything is better than nothing. One thing I LOVE about dry yeast is the lack of O2 needed to get them fermenting.

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That’s why I like dry yeast lagers and big beer just pitch 2 packs no oxygenating required


AND, no more yeast ranch in my fridge…

I do harvest yeast still and repitch them( just did it Saturday). Two packs of some dry yeast could set you back 15-20$. Not that I can’t afford it but it’s also a convenience factor of having the yeast “on deck”.

That is a great benefit. I have heard or saw recommendations also that you don’t even need to attempt oxygenation of the wort as long as you’re using dry yeast.
Also, as July 2nd was the hottest day EVER on Mother Earth, dry yeast is the way to go out here in the Florida homebrew store desert. Ice packs? Don’t care. dry yeast good up to 114°.

Well, um, ah….
That’s what we used to pay for wet yeast. I’ll need to check, but I think the dry yeast I bought was 4 bucks a packet…


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Not needing to ship yeast with an ice pack saves money as well as some shipping. I swear I have a thousand of those ice packs throughout my house! The prices have risen a bit on dry yeast. Often I’ll look for sales on them but some like 34/70 can now run $7+ per pack.