From the HBD Archive
Subject: fermentation: fast start, slow finish.
Date: 1989-09-23 18:20:43 GMT

There is a problem on my kitchen table right now. I brewed it two weeks ago,
recipe: 1x4#can Alexander pale extract
1x3.3# can M&F light extract
1# rice syrup
.5# crystal
1.5 oz Goldings & 1 oz Cascades Boiling hops
.5 oz Goldings finishing hops
1 tsp gypsum
1 tsp irish moss
The intention of this batch (5 gal) was a light flavored strong beer. I'd
never used rice syrup before, the rest is standard. I pitched with 2 paks
of Edme dried yeast, generally pretty trustworthy. Temperatures were high,
but not beyond my normal range (i.e. about 75F at pitching). OG was 1.050.

I took pains to get it fairly clear - e.g. the irish moss and good hot and
cold breaks. I racked it off the throob about 20 min after sparging, and
right before pitching the yeast. It fermented as normal (vigorously) for
about the first two days, then started to settle down. I figured I could
bottle within 4-5 days after cooking, perhaps rack for a week if it looked

Well, after a week, it was still fermenting slowly (10-20 sec bubbles), the
gravity was only down to 1.020, and it was very muddy looking. I racked it
since I was starting to worry about autolysing with all the yeast on the
bottom. The racking seemed to shock it, and it started to settle. The
"clear region" at the top only got about 5-6 inches down before the settling
stopped, and the whole mixture became muddy again. It is now a week later,
and it is still fermenting slowly, there is another layer of yeast on the
bottom, and it is still very muddy (too much to bottle in my opinion).
I'll rack again, but I'm a little worried. Is it infected? Is the recipe
too strong (i.e. too much alcohol for the yeast to finish off the sugar)?
Should I keep racking every week until it settles? Toss in some champagne
yeast? Bottle anyhow and hope for the best? I've never had a batch go
this long before. Any opinions will be gladly received. Thanks.
Jeff Casey

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