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Re-pitched, still slow...now what?

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1Re-pitched, still slow...now what? Empty Re-pitched, still slow...now what? on Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:06 pm

Hi all,

As part of my third-ever batch, I am brewing the Belgian Saison packaged sold at the store. As I was warned might happen, the initial fermentation stalled at around 1.034, so on the recommendation of the folks at the store, I pitched the American Ale US-05 dry yeast (after re-hydrating it) on Thursday. It's now Monday, and while the air lock is definitely more active, there's still a decent amount of yeast floating on the top. Reading yesterday (Sunday) was 1.031, so there's been a bit of movement, but not sure whether that's coming from the original yeast or this new batch.

SO - given that there is definitely no new krausen forming after 100+ hours, but the hydrometer readings are starting to look a bit better, do I just need to be patient at this point, or should the fact that I can see the yeast visibly floating be a sign that this batch may be lost?


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2Re-pitched, still slow...now what? Empty Re: Re-pitched, still slow...now what? on Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:01 am

Awww man. I wouldn't pitch dry yeast into that. What you should have done is moved the beer somewhere warmer. I take it you used the WYeast Belgian Saison yeast (Dupont) since that one is notorious for stalling there. If that was the only yeast you had in there, you'd have no problem with off-flavors keeping it even in mid 80's to help it finish. However if you do that now, they dry yeast will give you a ton of cardboard flavor so your best option would be just keeping it in the mid-high 60's for a few more weeks to let it finish.
Since it's your third batch, it is most likely an extract so don't expect it to finish dry. Once you get close to 1010-1014, you're probably done. If this was all grain, you'd end up with 1002-1004, dry and refreshing brew. Anyway, what you do is relax and have yourself some homebrews. When in doubt, wait it out!

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3Re-pitched, still slow...now what? Empty Re: Re-pitched, still slow...now what? on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:37 pm

Hi KevinM,
If I remember correctly, you where hoping to speed up the fermentation of this infamously slow yeast?
Dimik is right, that under normal circumstances with this yeast, the best thing to do is keep it warm and wait it out, but even at warm temps, it will often require 2-3 months to really reach terminal gravity.
The fact that you've seen some drop in gravity is a good sign, though I wouldn't expect to see a full krausen happen at this stage.
Dry yeast is often well suited for situations such as this (repitching into a slow or stuck beer) because the dried yeast has already gone through its "lag" phase during culturing (done by the yeast manufacturer), therefore it already possesses a sufficient supply of stored oxygen and nutrients at packaging time. That allows the yeast to jump right into the growth and fermentation stages.
If handled properly, including rehydrating the dry yeast with boiled, then cooled water, you shouldn't worry about off (or cardboard) flavors. Cardboard flavors are usually caused by infections to the beer or more often, oxdidation of the beer from splashing the beer around or aerating it by mistake when racking or bottling.
The quality of dry yeast has improved dramatically over the past few years. The yeast made by Fermentis are fantastic. You won't have a problem (if you handle the yeast properly, like I mentioned already). Your fermentation temp will be limited to about 75 degrees now that you have that US-05 in there, or you may get some dicetyl, but it should still finish eventually. Sadly, with the 3724, patience is required to get the best results. But you will be rewarded if you let the yeast do its thing in peace. Don't bully your yeast, and your yeast will reward you!
Good Luck!

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