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Final gravity is high - help

shawnjacobs

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So I brew all grain and extract. I live in FL, so cooling is always an issue during half the year even with my Therminator (which I'm not to pleased with).  My final gravity never seems to fall below 1.020.  It doesn't seem to matter what yeast I use or how long I let it ferment before kegging.  I typically do 2 weeks in a primary and 2 weeks in a secondary.  I use the agitation method to introduce O2 before pitching.  My beers generally taste great but I'm concerned they are not reaching their potential.
 

DaveinPa

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High gravity problems with all grain brews could be either mash or fermentation issues but the same problem with extracts sounds like fermentation is more likely.  If you are not getting butterscotch or popcorn flavors it seems more likely your issue is with yeast health. 

A couple of thoughts - if you are using dry yeasts, do you hydrate them?  I use a product called Goferm which made a big difference in the yeast health in my fermentations.  Also, you might try bubbling oxygen for 20-30 seconds or air for 5 minutes through your wort before pitching your yeast.  It might be your agitation isn't vigorous enough. 
 

jomebrew

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Are you sure you are measuring the gravity correctly?  The beer would likely be noticeably sweet and likely cloying.  Of course if you brew with high amounts of crystal malts, you will have high final gravity.

Fermentation temp and pitching rates are vital to producing quality beer.  Yeast need the right conditions for to live and thrive in.  If the temps are too high they will burn out too soon.  If there are not enough yeast for gravity, they will poop out before fully attenuating the wort. 

For your climate, you need to be creative in keeping the wort at the right fermentation temp.  bathtubs, tubs of water with ice, fans, wet towels, temp controlled fermentation fridge.  Something!  Getting the right amount of healthy yeast is easier.  Things like hydrating dry yeast, starters, adequate oxygen, nutritional aids. 

As for the terminator, I found that with ll plate chillers, you need to be pushing a good volume of water though the chiller.  All plates should be touchable without pain to the fingertips.  Crank up the water pressure.  I prechill the water going into the therminator to achieve a 50 or 55F in temp. 
 

Maine Homebrewer

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I know that if I mashed round 155 (as opposed to my usual 148-150), used a pound of crystal (instead of 4 - 8 oz) and an English ale yeast (instead of 1056/S-05), I would expect a final gravity in that range.

Without seeing a recipe it's difficult to say.
 

dogma46an2

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one issue you may have :
Taking the brew off the yeast to the 2ndary . Hold the brew in the primary longer try that .
Also starters are key you may be hurting yourself before you even start. viability of the yeast whats the dates on what your using. whats the temps your fermenting at?
also you may not have an issue considering the brew your making . it may only go to 20 and thats all you have as fermentables . as well your hydrometer could be off i have had this problem before plus if it is correct then are you doing a recalculation ?
But I would say try borrowing a hydrometer from a buddy or buying a new and see if that is it .
 

eod6971

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dogma46an2 I love your statement at the bottom of your signature. It is so damn true.. LOL
 

shawnjacobs

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Thanks for the help.  I do make 1000ml starters for all my beers.  I did use white labs but went back do dry yeast, I really like the results I get with Nottingham. I really don't want to get into buying and using O2 so I will try shaking for a longer period.  I recently read that using the air pumps really doesn't introduce more oxygen than shaking.  I also think that checking my equipment is valid.

The problem I have with my therminator is that I feel that the stainless steel is of low quality
 

jomebrew

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shawnjacobs said:
Thanks for the help.  I do make 1000ml starters for all my beers.  I did use white labs but went back do dry yeast, I really like the results I get with Nottingham. I really don't want to get into buying and using O2 so I will try shaking for a longer period.  I recently read that using the air pumps really doesn't introduce more oxygen than shaking.  I also think that checking my equipment is valid.

The problem I have with my therminator is that I feel that the stainless steel is of low quality

If you get a chance, listed to the Beersmith podcast with John Palmer.  He talks about the amount of O2 saturation you can achieve with agitation vs aquarium pumps vs pure oxygen.  Pure O2 will always be better than either other option.  Agitation and pumps will not achieve optimum O2 levels.

I think just about everyone will disagree that Blichmann uses a low quality stainless steel (which does not matter for cooling as much as it does for corrosion).  You need to push a lot of cool water through plate chillers to be effective.  Yesterday, I recirculated 210f word for 13 minutes through the Therminator with hose water at 74F and knocked the wort in the kettle to 86f.  I then pre-chilled my inlet water and filled the carboy at 66F in a couple minutes.

 
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