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Stalled Porter

I am brewing the Bourbon Barrel Porter and believe that I have stalled. I have been very careful about cleanliness and have had several successful brews prior to this.

The kit was initially brewed on 10/13/2013 with dry yeast (no starter) and went into the primary with a SG of 1.072 at 72 degrees. Fermentation began @ 24 hours later and appeared to progress well.

The beer was racked the first time on 10/20 (7 days later) and had a SG of 1.030 at 67 degrees.

I have just racked it a second time (11/2/2013) and it still has a SG of 1.030 at 71 degrees.

Did I stall and if so, what is the solution?

You will need to provide the recipe. What was your intended FG?

Without knowing the recipe I would say that you racked to soon, before the beer had a chance to finish. Despite what a recipe says don’t rack to secondary (if at all) until you have gravity reading has been stable for at least three days.

The kit included:

– 1.0 lbs English Chocolate Malt
– 0.5 lbs English Dark Crystal
– 0.5 lbs English Black Malt
– 2 lbs Wheat malt dried malt extract (60 min)
– 6.3 lbs Dark malt extract syrup late addition (15 min)
– 1 oz Chinook (60 min)
– 0.5 oz US Goldings (15 min)
– 0.5 oz US Goldings (5 min)
– 2 oz US Medium Plus Oak Cubes (add to secondary)
– 16 oz bourbon (not included) (add to secondary)
– Dry Yeast (default): Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast. Optimum
temp: 64°-70° F.

The fermentation appeared to have stopped @ 2 days prior to the first racking. I did not check the SG until I racked into the secondary. I assumed that I would see a FG of 1.013 - 1.016 as htat has been the range for the other beers that I have made - admittedly only 4 so far.

If I racked too soon, can I prepare a starter and re-start the fermentation?

You can try pitching a starter at high krausen and maybe add some sugar but I bet it’s done, that’s a lot of dark malt extract.

Target O.G. for this recipe is 1.065 i believe. If you brewed it exactly by the recipe you probably just had a faulty read on your OG due to the top off water not being thoroughly mixed in. I brewed this about a month ago and pitched 2 packs of Windsor and I finished at 1.026. The yeast isn’t highly attenuative so I’m assuming you are done fermenting.

Also, why are you racking your beer so many times? You are risking infection and oxidation every time you do that.

OP pretty much followed what was written in FAQs about using a secondary. This information is now 10 years old. I once thought I could direct persons with questions to the FAQs. Not any more.

Q: When should I transfer to secondary?

A: There are several different methods to decide when to transfer, some of them are:

  1. Time: also known as the 1-2-3 method. One week in primary, two weeks in secondary, three weeks in the bottle. This method works fine for lower gravity beers, but not as well for high gravity beers (Barley Wines for example) as they take longer to ferment completely.

  2. Airlock activity: when bubbling in the airlock has slowed to once per minute.

  3. Gravity: when you have reached 75% of your expected final gravity.

Wow…it really says to move to secondary without finishing fermentation?

I’m brewing the same Bourbon Porter with similar results.

10-27-13 Primary Fermentation started, OG 1.063 at 72 degress
11-05-13 Still in Primary Fermenter, OG 1.027 at 66 degrees
11-11-13 Racked to Secondary, OG 1.027 at 66 degrees

In two weeks, I’ll add 16-oz of bourbon, plus bourbon soaked Oak and let it ferment for another week or two prior to bottling.

What do you think - add a starter yeast with the bourbon to get things started again, or ??


There’s already a lot of yeast in there. If the yeast is done fermenting the sugars, it’s done. Adding more yeast won’t do anything.

I would just leave it alone if it were me. Take notes of all your measurements and if you want to bump the ABV or dry it out more, next time you brew it, you can plan accordingly.

Darn it. Anything I should look for to keep this from happening again?

Ya’ll need to quit racking your beer while it’s still fermenting. Racking is way overrated. I rarely rack anymore.

I’m not sure what you are trying to prevent happening. Do you mean such a high FG? This is just a product of the recipe that you used. It will turn out like that every time due to the amount of LME/DME and a lower attenuating yeast. Are you looking for a drier beer (same OG, lower FG), or a higher ABV (higher OG, same FG) or both?

In my opinion this recipe is fine as it is and with the bourbon addition it should put you around the 6% ABV range (based on some calculations I found for calulating the ABV of mixed drinks that I can’t seem to find anymore). The sweetness lends itself very well to the oak and bourbon flavors.

If you are asking about raising the ABV, what range were you looking to raise it to?

[quote=“Diego Brewer”] …a starter yeast with the bourbon to get things started again, or ??

No. Adding alcohol may inhibit fermentation. I suggest you get a pack of us-05 or w34-70 and dump it in immediately. Hopefully they will kickstart fermentation again.

And like Dave said, stop racking your beer. Leave it in the primary until you don’t see anymore activity, then leave it another week before taking gravity readings.

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