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Is my beer done fermenting

I just bottled a holiday ale. As with all of my beers I get a krausen about 1"to an 1 1/2" (seems small to me) and after three weeks yesterday with minimal if any bubbling in the airlock. but the krausen has never fallen back it stays the same level. I took a fg reading and got 1.033 it was supposed to be more like 1.012- .018. Should I have let it ferment longer? It just seems that three weeks is more than long enough. I fermented at a pretty constant 68, the high end for the yeast was 72 so I stayed in the middle to high end of that. I stay fairly consistent as this story goes with all of my brews, and they taste pretty good, but I want real good or great beer. Anyone help me out?

1.033 seems too high to me. what was your OG? mash temp? or extract used?

if it truly is not done, you might have a bunch of bottle bombs on your hands. be careful when handling. you could gently poor all the bottles back into a fermented and introduce some dry yeast to try to finish it out.

sometimes 3 weeks is not enough. sometimes its more than enough. but 1.033 is a fairly high FG

on second thought. have you calibrated your hydrometer? or do you use a refractometer? if you use a refractometer are you adjusting?

My OG was around 1.080 if I remember right(supposed to be 1.062-1.066), but I also took it before I topped my fermenter off, so it was roughly 2 or 2 1/2 gal shy, not much help I now realize. This was an extract recipe 6 lbs Dark LME and 3.3 lbs Amber LME. I used a hygrometer and the beer was at about 70 F. So anywho is this what I hear people call a “stuck fermentation”? If so what might I be doing wrong to get such a slow fermentation? I never use a starter but I do use the smack packs and the package is rock hard when I pitch.

Another question, If my beer is done fermenting should the krausen be gone or mostly gone?

a starter would help, 1 weast packet is not enough yeast for most beers- but that’s another topic. with that much dark malt extract it might have fermented all the way. dark malt extract has a lot of unfermentables in it. if you measured 1.080 at 3 gallons, topped off with 2 gallons of water your og would roughly be 1.048. assuming a 5 gallon batch. 1.048-1.033 is about 2%abv. how did it taste…?

i usually wait till the krausen drops out. its possible it was done fermenting and the krausen was still afloat but those numbers dont seem right; thats around 30% apparent attenuation. i think the yeast probably still had work to do. it was probably still fermenting, but with dark extract who knows…

sorry, not much help. id be careful from exploding bottles from the pressure…

a few things to look at when talking about slow fermentation: proper aeration, yeast cell count, temperature… go to http://www.mrmalty.com for their yeast calculator to determine how much yeast you need for a given Origional gravity.

i would also calibrate my hydrometer. see what it reads in water. to make sure its accurate

in the future before you ever move your beer off the yeast cake take gravity readings several days apart. if your gravity reading is the same after 3-5 days and seems in range, only then decide to bottle

Actually you have been a lot of help, this forum has been awesome for a guy who lives 3 hours from a homebrew shop, and the only club in the area meets on weekends (when I can’t do it).

What is the best way to calibrate a hydrometer? Or should I switch to a refractometer?

After reading the link I think I am sold on investing in a yeast starter kit and aeration stone , never done it before I guess now is the time.

As for the bottle bombs I’m gonna have to wait and see, I’ll be honest I don’t have the patience to referment. This is supposed to be a graduation present for my sister-in-law so I have a deadline (a couple days after christmas). I guess if I have a mass explosion or if the beer turns out tasting like ass I’m gonna be tearing the labels off two cases of Shafly for the party instead.

You just fill your test tube up with water, drop in your hydrometer, and see what it reads.
Should read 1.000, if it reads less than 1.000, add the difference when checking actual wort (and vise versa)
I’ve heard of banging them on the table to knock the paper around until they read right.
Mine reads .002 high.

if youre set on leaving them in the bottle. open one every week and when the carbonation is right refridgerate them all to slow down the yeast from making them all gushers

So its been a week today since bottling, and I got a mini Mentos bomb in the basement on the first one. I have put all bottle in the fridge. A couple of questions: 1. will the carbonation back off with refrigeration or am I stuck with these “fizz bombs” now. 2. After a week or so of refrigeration can these bottles at any point be brought back to room temp without fear of starting the carbonation process again, or is the yeast done now that it has been cooled.

BTW the inch or so of beer left in the bottom of the bottle is pretty good, one bit of good news anyway.

1.033 is pretty high and the yeast will eat as much sugars as they can. since it probably wasn’t done fermenting i would be worried about those gushing bottles getting more pressure and bursting. i don’t think refrigeration will help much, it will slow them down, but wont kill them. yeast are resilient. sorry for the bad news

Assuming this was an ale, you can probably force the remaining yeast to go dormant by storing them as cool as possible. Around 28-30°F would be ideal. Under no circumstances would I warm them back up. That should result it no additional carbonation, though you’ll be stuck with the level that’s in there now. Even then, I’d wear gloves and eye protection when handling them. People have been seriously injured by exploding glass bottles.

How does it taste? At 1.033 I imagine it’d be way too sweet. Did you calibrate the hydrometer?

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