Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Stalled fermentation

I’m in need of some help… I’m relatively new to brewing, but I’d say I’m at the “early all-grain stage”. So far, any troubleshooting I’ve needed to do has been through some solid research and through local breweries. However, I’ve recently moved to the arctic (Nunavut in Canada), and I’ve finally received ingredients to start brewing.

So far, every brew I’ve done has stalled out with fermentation pretty early on. Like I said, I’ve swapped to all-grain, but I had some extract kits kicking around, so they’re fermenting right now. But even though I’d done extract quite often down south, the fermentation is stalling here, and I can’t figure out why.

I’ve done everything by the book, and even copied my notes from my brews from before, which have worked out. The 2 brews fermenting right now are a Pumpkin Pie Porter and a Wiezenbier. Each with OGs between 1.050 and 1.055. They both started out vigourously, however they stall out at around 1.030. I’ve tried swirling the wort to re-suspend the yeast to kickstart it again, with no go. Then as a last resort, I re-pitched new yeast, however it doesn’t catch! I’ve tried dry pitching and re-hydrating, with nothing happening.

I’m pretty stumped… They’re in a dark room with the temperature between 68-70 (I don’t have any sort of temperature control for fermentation). The only difference I can think of between brewing here and from my hometown is the tap water, which I really don’t know much about… I’m used to using Lake Superior water which is quite pure and has never needed anything added to it. Here, it’s pretty hard water. I’ve also read that water shouldn’t really affect fermentation, only taste.

Anyway, long story short, I’ve already dumped one batch already (all-grain, I might add), and I’d sure like to avoid dumping the 2 batches I have going right now… but really, I’m super stumped.

Any help would be awwweessome…! Home brewers are in short supply up here for advice!

All your batches, whether AG or extract are stalling? If just AG, is your thermometer calibrated?

Well my AG batch made it a little further along, stalling out at 1.020, just falling short of its target gravity, so I bottled it anyway… Tasted fine, just lower ABV. But these batches I have going right now are not even close.

So by thermometer, are you talking about for the boil or the fermentation?

I think Josh is referring to the mash. If you mashed too high(like in the 160’s), you’d end up with a wort that was not nearly as fermentable as it could be. If you’re fermenting at room temp, good attenuation should not be a problem. And a boil is a boil. Don’t really need a thermometer for the boil.

If this is happening with extract also, then my guess is yeast viability.

Are you using a hydrometer or refractometer for checking SG? A refractometer reading has to be corrected if there is alcohol present.

That’s all I got.

Cheers,

Ron

Well crap, Ron, this is embarassing… You’re absolutely right, I haven’t been correcting for alcohol. That’s completely bizarre, I’ve been using this refractometer for awhile now, and have been measuring in Brix for the calculations the entire time back home, but for some reason after I moved north, I completely forgot about it… And I mean completely, ha!

I guess that’s why these forums are here… As soon as I read your post, it all came rushing back.

Thanks!!

Time to bottle…

Not nearly as embarrassing as mashing a BIAB batch WITHOUT the bag!! HaHa! Don’t ask me how I know this.

Cheers and happy bottling,

Ron

Just a heads up, once you get going with the AG, hard water isn’t just about flavor - can affect the mash pH. Depending on your grain bill, that could help enzymatic conversion or really hurt it. If you can get a water test done, do so and read up on how to control water chemistry. Or at least get some pH strips and some brewing salts to adjust your mash pH.

Where in Nunavut are you? I’m guessing the LHBS is not even in the territory…

Arctic simple mistakes happen to us all. Glad you were able to work through it.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com