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  1. #1

    My first all-grain brew got stuck at 1,018. I wonder why?

    I tried a few brew can brews back in 2014 before I became a dad. Then kids happened. Recently the lockdown brought me back into homebrewing. I brewed a ginger beer and then a pineapple beer before I found out that a few homebrew supply shops were open. The brew cans were all sold out so I ordered some all-grain kits. The supplier I stumbled upon first only had 4,5 liter kits so I ordered three American Amber Ale kits and combined their ingredients to make a more decent sized batch. I used a 27 liter aluminium stock pot and BIAB. The mash went well, but I couldn't get a rolling boil after that. Our kitchen gas stove only got the wort up to 100 degrees. I didn't get a good hot break like I've seen in YouTube videos, only a layer of foam of a few mm. I only finished brewing at 01:30 last Friday because I underestimated the amount of time it would take. My carboy's airlock started bubbling overnight and kept going for a few days. OG was 1,044. Then it got stuck on 1,02 on Monday and stayed there until Wednesday. I gave the carboy a gentle swirl and upped the temperature a bit. It never went below 18 degrees or above 24 degrees so I think I was in a safe range for the US-05 yeast. By yesterday it was barely at 1,018 and I'm getting really thirsty so last night I hydrated a small packet of yeast from another 4,5 liter kit I bought and gently stirred it in. I sterilized everything I used and used cooled down boiled water for the yeast. By this morning there was still no action so as a last resort I dissolved 35g of bottling sugar in 500ml boiling water, let it cool to fermenting temperature and gently stirred it in. I also gently stirred up some yeast from the bottom because there was nothing on the surface. A couple of hours later the airlock started bubbling again and got to a steady rate of once every 20 seconds. When I took the SG this evening it hadn't changed though, so my suspicion that the yeast had only been consuming the bottling sugar today was confirmed. It stopped bubbling after I drew a sample to take the SG. Is it safe to assume that the yeast won't/can't consume the remaining sugars in the wort? The beer smells and tastes good, no off flavours or sour taste. I want to brew a 20 liter batch of pale ale on Sunday and I'm only getting a second fermenting bucket on Monday so ideally I want to bottle the current batch. I'm a bit weary of bottling bombs and I don't want to prematurely bottle unnecessarily but it just doesn't seem like the fermentation is going any further. I'll bottle one plastic bottle and monitor the pressure buildup in it. If it gets too hard I'll put all the bottles in the fridge. I might end up with a relatively low-alcohol beer which isn't carbonated too well but from what I've tasted so far I'll at least be able to enjoy it. Could it be the lack of a hot break and rolling boil which caused my problem? I bought a three ring burner today and I think that will sort out that problem with the next brew.

  2. #2
    Looks like you were able to extract all the sugar but couldn't get them to the fermentable. Did you mash high? 70C
    If the sg is stable 3 days in a row at 18C and above. You'll be fine bottling

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jannieverjaar View Post
    Looks like you were able to extract all the sugar but couldn't get them to the fermentable. Did you mash high? 70C
    If the sg is stable 3 days in a row at 18C and above. You'll be fine bottling

    Sent from my SM-A750F using Tapatalk
    Water was at 70į when I added the malt then I kept it at 65į for the rest of the mash.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    Can you trust the thermometer you used ?... you should always have more than one
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Beachless View Post
    There is no best really, your equipment is different to mine, so is your recipe etc so we won't aim for the same mash temperature.
    Also if you use crystal malts for instance you will get a lot of unfermentable sugars from that. Generally speaking lower temps on the scale give you more fermentable sugars and higher will give you more unfermentable sugars. So play around and find what you like best and adjust according to the beer style and equipment etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by jannieverjaar View Post
    Now you've gone and started wats the best mash temp fight! Lol. Know the reasons and decide your own perfect mash temp. I BIAB. And mash in at 68 for a start of mash temp of 66-65 and end (based on your system) on 63. This gives me a wort that ferments to 1010 for a balanced beer that's got enough body and is crisp enough. In other words " just right" for me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toxxyc View Post
    I wouldn't worry about the mash temp now. It is done. Bottle and enjoy the beer. I'm sure it'll be great for a first brew in a long time!
    PS when I did one of my first all grain brews I forgot to turn off the urn when I hit the strike water temp and proceeded to boil the shit out of my grains. The beer was still good
    Quote Originally Posted by jannieverjaar View Post
    I do exactly what Jigsaw does. It's in suspension so you lose 2 to 3 l of beer if you discard it now and another 1l in the fermenter. If you dont dump it now and let it settle in the fermenter you lose 2 to 3l total and less if you do a good cold crush

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    Quote Originally Posted by JIGSAW View Post
    Thats the "cold-break" ... some brewers is afraid of it, but I dump it all into my fermenter ... it settles out, so no harm
    Thanks again for the patience and great feedback. Iíll salvage the lost wort next time.

  6. #6
    Hi! I'd just like to add some information that I learned recently.I was measuring my FG with my refractometer, because I thought I could save some beer volume by not using the hydrometer.My FG was measuring 1.023'ish. I was frustrated! But it turns out that refractometers are not accurate for measuring FG because the alcohol content in the beer (great for wort though!), or at the very least it's complicated to measure. There are some calculators that you can find online but they seem difficult to apply, as I then anticipated a reading of 1.006. I ended up using the hydrometer and got my FG of 1.010. Hope this can help someone
    Last edited by brewer4815162342; 1st June 2020 at 21:38.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer4815162342 View Post
    Hi! I'd just like to add some information that I learned recently.I was measuring my FG with my refractometer, because I thought I could save some beer volume by not using the hydrometer.My FG was measuring 1.023'ish. I was frustrated! But it turns out that refractometers are not accurate for measuring FG because the alcohol content in the beer (great for wort though!), or at the very least it's complicated to measure. There are some calculators that you can find online but they seem difficult to apply, as I then anticipated a reading of 1.006. I ended up using the hydrometer and got my FG of 1.010. Hope this can help someone

    That is correct yes. You need to Know the OG and the then use that together with the reading from the refractometer to get to the current SG for the fermenting wort. Beersmith have this calculator built into their software, so if your OG was 1.045 and the refrac is no showing 1.023, then its actually at about 1.010

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    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!


  8. #8
    I agree with the others that your mash temp was likely high. Where did you measure the temperature? With BIAB you need to stir quite a bit while slowly adding the grain otherwise the centre of the grain bed tends to be lower in temperature than the outer layers. I tend to measures at several locations to make sure the temperature is fairly even. The beer should be fine though just sweeter and more body than you were aiming for.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Beachless View Post
    I agree with the others that your mash temp was likely high. Where did you measure the temperature? With BIAB you need to stir quite a bit while slowly adding the grain otherwise the centre of the grain bed tends to be lower in temperature than the outer layers. I tend to measures at several locations to make sure the temperature is fairly even. The beer should be fine though just sweeter and more body than you were aiming for.
    I noticed the difference in temperature in different areas and used the average. I did stir in slowly and stirred often during the mash.
    So is a slightly too low mash temperature preferable to a slightly too high one if it canít be 100% on the mark?
    I bottled this morning and carbonated one with the Sodastream because I couldnít wait. It was beautiful (and the right way up in reality). Iím mashing a 20 liter batch of pale ale as Iím typing this.
    ABFBC863-EED4-4981-A946-8C3794A1B646.jpg

  10. #10
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    I wouldn't worry about the mash temp now. It is done. Bottle and enjoy the beer. I'm sure it'll be great for a first brew in a long time!
    PS when I did one of my first all grain brews I forgot to turn off the urn when I hit the strike water temp and proceeded to boil the shit out of my grains. The beer was still good

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