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Irish Dry Stout - final gravity 1.022

Hi,

Long time brewer, first time poster. I bought the Dry Irish Stout all grain kit from Northern Brewer :

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/dry- ... n-kit.html

Brewed in a bag. Dry yeast US-04. 5.00 gallons. OG : 1.042 (exactly what the recipe predicted)

Today I transferred from the primary (bucket) to the secondary (carboy) and I was sad to see it only reached a final gravity of 1.022. This seemed off to me. After some calculations, i estimate my ABV would be less than 2.75. …abysmal.

I know this is a popular kit on the site. My question is : Has anyone recorded what their final gravity was for this beer so I can compare their records to mine? I’m thinking of leaving it in the secondary for a month to see if I can drop it down some more points. Ingredients :

6.00 pounds English Maris Otter
2.00 pounds Flaked Barley
1.00 pounds English Roasted Barley
1.50 oz Cluster hops
1.00 pack of US-04 yeast

Thanks!

Steve in NJ

I have only brewed the extract kit, with an FG of 1.011, WY 1084.
Could your mash temp have been to high, above 153°F? Could the crush of the grains have been to coarse? BIAB usually takes a fine crush, finer than if you would be using mash tun.

Oops, I see you did hit your OG. Part of high SG is the yeast. US-05 has slightly better attenuation than 04. How long was your primary time? I will keep my beers in the primary for three weeks to get that last point to drop. SG is usually at or one point from FG at day 10 or 12.

Are you using a hydrometer for SG or refractometer. If refractometer, that is the problem. Refractometers usually do not indicate a correct SG in the presence of alcohol.

I made a recipe very similar, OG was 1.043 and final gravity was 1.012 with WY1084. Agree with flars, did you use a refractometer?

What temperature are you fermenting it at? Can you move it to somewhere warmer? Did you dump the yeast in dry, did you rehydrate or make a starter?

Hi,

thanks for all the replies. :

Could your mash temp have been to high, above 153°F?

I kept it around 153 for an hour, then mashed out for 10 minutes. I have two different thermometers that I use while mashing, so I think I’m safe there.

Could the crush of the grains have been to coarse? BIAB usually takes a fine crush

Nope. NB crushed them slightly more than what I’m used to seeing, but not so much that I was concerned.

How long was your primary time?

My primary fermentation was exactly two weeks. I had aggressive bubbling the first 24 hours, then it stopped completely. Not totally out of the ordinary, but it was a bit faster than usual.

Are you using a hydrometer for SG or refractometer.

I always use a hydrometer. I can’t justify the expense of a refractometer. It costs the same as the ingredients for two or three batches. :open_mouth:

OG was 1.043 and final gravity was 1.012

I would have loved to have seen 1.012 on my end.

What temperature are you fermenting it at? Can you move it to somewhere warmer?

I tend to struggle to keep things COOL enough for proper fermentation. So moving it someplace warmer wouldn’t help in my particular case. I estimate that it’s around 70 degrees in the room I ferment in, but I have a setup where my fermentation bucket sits inside a larger bucket and I drop in ice packs into the larger bucket when the ambient temperature rises.

Did you dump the yeast in dry, did you rehydrate or make a starter?

When using dry yeast, I always rehydrate on brew day. I’ve never dropped it in dry and I’ve never made a starter. The rehydrated yeast looked healthy when I pitched it. Well, it looked the same foamy quality as all my previous rehydrated yeasts. So it looked alive.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my original post! Worst case scenerio is that I bottle only ONE gallon on bottling day (scaling down the priming sugar, of course), then hope that it doesn’t end up as bottle bombs or gushers. If that’s the case, then I need to consider pitching fresh yeast into the remaining 4 gallons and let it ferment out more.

Steve

I definitely wouldn’t bottle it. I would think that you would get bottle bombs. If you are going to repitch, I have read that a starter is necessary as the rehydrated yeast will struggle being dumped into the alcohol. Then again at that abv maybe they can do the job?.

It is odd that your yeast quit so early on you. It appears as though you did everything correctly. It is not like you were making a 10% beer, with the dry irish stout, there really isn’t much there to make the yeast struggle. hmm

Thanks, I tend to agree. I took another hydrometer reading today (2 weeks after racking to secondary, 4 weeks total in fermentation) and it dropped down from 1.022 to 1.020. So there is some activity in there. It’s just taking super long. I imagine it’s a case where there is just a very small number of active yeast cells in there and they are not reproducing enough to bring the population up to a healthy level.

I sipped the hydrometer sample. Tasted okay for a young, uncarbonated stout. Slightly musty, moderate coffee aftertaste, thick mouthfeel.

I’ll look into pitching more yeast, but I’m not looking forward to having to do that. It would require a trip to the (not so) local homebrew shop or having to have NB ship me one pack of yeast. Tis a shame, really, because today would normally have been bottling day.

Steve

for a beer this straightforward/moderate gravity, I wouldn’t bother racking off the yeast next time until you are ready to package. Sounds to me like fermentation was still going when you racked.

FWIW, you can also worry way less about keeping temp low after the first 3-5 days after pitching…in fact on just about all my ales, they start out at 64* (beer temp, not ambient), then progressively raise into the high 60’s and low 70’s after the first couple days, when the majority of esters/phenols would be produced. With your setup, just take your bucket out of the water and let it go at 70* to finish up fermentation after those first few days.

I would definitely let 'er go another week, but the lower population of remaining yeast may be having trouble finishing off the remaining sugars. One last-ditch option if your gravity still hasn’t dropped is krausening: taking an actively fermenting 1/2-1L of starter wort and pitching that into the beer. That should get it down.

Good luck-

Maybe your S-04 got too chilly and fell out of suspension early? I’ve stopped using S-04 lately because it floc’s so hard if the temperature drops too much, and takes forever to bottle condition. Last time I used it, it took nearly 6 weeks to get a decent carb on an average 1.05 OG beer.

If it were me, I’d try warming it up and giving it a bit of a swirl to get some of the yeast back in suspension. Not that I’ve ever heard of that working, but I’d try anyways.

I appreciate the spam bot bumping my post! :wink:

That was a good idea. In honor of Dancing with the Stars, I gave my carboy a little twist, dip and twirl. I kept the airlock in place in an attempt to prevent myself of overdoing it. I figured that if I could swirl it up without losing any fluid in the airlock, then I’d be safe. A few hours afterwards, I got a single healthy sounding BLOOP from my airlock. So something happened. But not much.

I forgot to mention that this is the first batch I ever made that had absolutely zero crust, lacing, or foam inside the carboy (this is the secondary). I usually have some kind of happy mess in there at this point. At the moment it looks like five gallons of flat cola in there. Pretty, but concerning.

Original Gravity : 1.042 (0 weeks)
Racking Gravity : 1.022 (2 weeks)
Current Gravity : 1.020 (4 weeks)

Steve

[quote=“porkchop”]Maybe your S-04 got too chilly and fell out of suspension early? I’ve stopped using S-04 lately because it floc’s so hard if the temperature drops too much, and takes forever to bottle condition. Last time I used it, it took nearly 6 weeks to get a decent carb on an average 1.05 OG beer.

If it were me, I’d try warming it up and giving it a bit of a swirl to get some of the yeast back in suspension. Not that I’ve ever heard of that working, but I’d try anyways.[/quote]
Porkchop, what temp are you talking about being too chilly for S-04. This yeast is my house yeast because I have always had great fermentations. I usually ferment low at around 64 degrees. As far as bottling is concerned, I can’t comment on that because I keg.

Are you saying that you usually get some crustiness going on in the secondary? You really should not. If you are, then i would think that you have been racking from your primary too soon. I don’t think that I have ever noticed crust in my secondaries.

[quote=“mppatriots”]
Porkchop, what temp are you talking about being too chilly for S-04. This yeast is my house yeast because I have always had great fermentations. I usually ferment low at around 64 degrees. As far as bottling is concerned, I can’t comment on that because I keg.[/quote]

I’ll admit that my experience is limited to using it three times… My anecdotal observations are that it seems to go dormant under 60 degrees. I made the mistake of moving a cider to my basement last winter, where the ambient was 55-58 degrees. It dropped brilliantly clear the next day.

I’m actually surprised that S-04 wouldn’t ferment past 1.020. It’s a beast and really seemed to ferment fully within a day or two the few times I’ve used it, and as soon as the temperature dropped it fell out of suspension really quickly. I wonder if there were some other reason why it would stop so high, like incomplete conversion?

Just an update on my stuck fermentation :

Still stuck at 1.020, so bought a pack of US-05 and created a healthy starter. Yeast was very active in the bowl, so I pitched it into the carboy after about 12 hours. One week later, no change in gravity. No bubbling. Hydrometer sample tasted rather astringent to me. Puckering. Kinda grapey. But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that off flavors at this stage do not indicate what the final product will taste like.

Original Gravity : 1.042 (10/20/14) Week zero (brew day)
Racking Gravity : 1.022 (11/03/14) Week two
Stuck Gravity : 1.020 (11/17/14) Week four
Re-Pitch yeast : 1.020 (12/01/14) Week six
Current Gravity : 1.020 (12/08/14) Week seven

I’m gonna bottle on Monday the 15th unless I see some movement in the gravity. I’ll hope for the best, but I figure I’ll either end up with gushers because the sugar content is too high, or a zero carbonated beer because for some reason the yeast instantly die when they touch this liquid. I need to get this stuff bottled, though, for better or worse, because I have a pale ale coming up that needs the carboy.

20 years of brewing, and this has been my first stuck fermentation. Very disappointed.

Have you checked your hydrometer in distilled water? Maybe the scale has slipped inside it.

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