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Stalled fermentation?

2nd batch ever. A made up recipe with leftover ingredients.
8 # Pilsen LME
1 # Carapils
1# Crystal 20
60 min Magnum 1oz
5 min Centennial .5oz
5 min Citra 1oz
Dry hop .5 Centennial and 1oz Citra
2 x 05 dry yeast

So I brewed this batch more than two weeks ago. I kinda over pitched the yeast by using 2 packs on a 1.060 beer. The fermentation took off like crazy within 12 hours but only seemed to last a couple days. 4 days after pitching the airlock went silent.

8 days of sitting in the primary and said wtf and threw my dry hops right into the primary. It’s been 7 or 8 days since I dry hopped and I took a reading last night. Sadly I didn’t take a reading before dry hopping but last nights reading (2+weeks after brew day) and it’s sitting at 1.020

I’m thinking about racking it to secondary to see if I can kickstart a little fermentation back up. Seems like when I racked to secondary with my first batch the airlock activity picked back up for another day or two.

My question is: Is it worth it to rack to secondary or should I let it sit on the cake longer? Is there something else I should do to get a little lower FG? A little honey in water perhaps? Could a poorly oxygenated wort have caused this? OR is it just hard to get low gravity beers with extract brewing?

Thanks in advance for any help.

overpitching is generally better than underpitching.

what was the temp of your wort when you pitched?
i have found that if pitched too warm, and fermented too warm, a beer may tend to start fast but not finish fully. along with other issues of being fermented too warm. give us more info on your temps.

this beer should not be finished at 1.020. although it is generally true that it is more difficult to get a lower FG on extract beers, that does not mean that it can’t be done. it certainly can. oxygenating or aerating your wort is definitely one way to help make better beer.

rousing your yeast during primary can help keep it in suspension also. this is nothing more than giving your primary bucket or carboy a gentle swirl. nothing too vigorous.

i would have taken a gravity reading to determine if it was time to dry hop. you want the majority of primary fermentation done before dry hopping. i am in the camp that you should rack to a secondary vessel for dry hopping, but i know there are many who do what you did and dry hop in the primary. i guess that works too. but agian, i think you would benefit by making sure the gravity was closer to completion. not a huge deal though.

you may want to rack to secondary now because you want to get the beer off the hops after about 7 days. this is a matter of opinion too. you could read threads for days on how long to dry hop. some say 3-4 days. some say 2 weeks. i have found that 7 days works great for my taste. and i think bottling right after dry hopping os the way to go. if your beer is done!

Two packs in 5 gal of 1.060 ale is standard pitching rate, actually. Under-pitching, even, unless they were very fresh.

With a large amount of crystal malt (plus whatever crystal is in the extract), it’s probably finished at 1.020. You could add some simple sugar - honey or whatever else you want - and get the FG lower, but after this long it might not be easy to get fermentation re-started.

Thanks for the answers. Here’s a side note… do you think the yeast was worth anything? I just transferred the above IPA into a Secondary to help clarify it (as I don’t use a chiller/or any clarifying agents) and decided to dump some of the yeast into a sanitized jar. Got about a half of a quart before deciding the rest wasn’t worth it.

Is it worth even saving? I have some 05 in the fridge ready for the Cream Ale kit I’m doing next weekend. Just thought it’d be a fun first time experiment to put this jar in the fridge and maybe make a starter with it a couple days before brew day.

Going into something as light as a cream ale, I’d worry about flavor carrying over from the hops. Two weeks in the fermenter is pretty late to harvest yeast too. Not that it can’t be done, but since you already have other yeast ready I wouldn’t bother.

Thanks for the info. I’ll probably just rehydrate some of the new stuff then.
I checked out your blog by the way Sean. Nice post about dry yeast viability!


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