Hi all, I have been brewing for about 3 years. I’ve never had a problem until now. I brewed all grain Scottish Wee Heavy Kit. Everything was spot on, though I didn’t quite hit my O.G. O.G. Was about 1.074. I added the yeast in the primary. Fermentation started vigorously. The air lock was chugging away after 24 hours. I put it under my house where I always put it, and forgot about it. Two weeks later, I transfer to the secondary.
Here is my problem. Gravity reading upon transfer to secondary was 1.050. I’m a bit baffled. I didn’t make a yeast starter. Never have. Was that my problem? I hydrated the yeast before adding, and it was doing its thing vigorously at 24 hours. Two weeks later, it is nowhere near the ending gravity that I need.
After brewing, we had a cold snap in the weather, so perhaps it got a bit on the cool side under the house. However, I do not believe it dropped below 50 or 55 degrees F. Perhaps the yeast went dormant during the cold snap? Or did the yeast just poop out?
So my question. What do I do now? I’ll take another gravity reading this Saturday, a week after my last one, to see if it continues to drop, or if it is truly stuck. If it is stuck, do I make a starter and pour it in? Is this batch ruined? Please give me your thoughts and advice.
Get it somewhere warmer…and see if the yeast picks back up…but since you already transferred you may need to repitch.
Did you measure your gravity with a refractometer?
Yeah, I agree with @uncdeo. Warm her back up, and repitch some yeast. This would be a good time to use dry yeast, as they don’t require oxygenation and you probably don’t want to introduce oxygen at this point.
Very very quietly stir up yer yeast along with warming it up, sanitize yer spoon and yer hands too! Sneezles61
It sounds like you used a dry yeast and rehydrated it, so you did good there. If you checked a pitch calculator it probably would have had you use 1.5-2 packets instead of one, so you did underpitch by a bit. But your biggest problem was the lack of temp control and letting her drop somewhere in the 50’s. And the HUGE, major mistake was transferring before checking a SG.
So, if I were in the same situation, I would pitch 2 packets of the same yeast you used, and warm her up to the mid 60’s- 70, depending on what strain you are using.
Temp control can be as simple as keeping the fermenter in a swamp bucket filled with water. Or an insulated box, or covering it up with a sleeping bag. But here’s the key- measure the actual temperature of the beer at least twice daily and adjust accordingly. If you use a swamp cooler you can check the temp of the water bath. It will be within 1 or 2 degrees of the beer. Otherwise, sanitize a thermometer with starsan and stick it down the airlock hole. Temp control gives you peace of mind that the fermentation is going as you want it too. Good Luck, I think you can still save this batch.
Thanks! This is great advice. I have always fermented in the crawlspace of my house, which stays at a relatively constant temperature. However, we had a very unusual swing in temperature so I suspect that is the problem. It has warmed back up, and is a reasonable temperature down there now. I plan on pitching yeast again Saturday if the gravity has not dropped by then. This time I will make a starter and pitch. Hopefully I don’t have to dump this batch!
The yeast won’t be snuffed out by cool temps, but certainly die at high temps, so a very quiet gentle stir whilst warming will git your yeast back into the wort fermenting… Sneezles61