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Final Gravity Not Achieved, now what?

Beer Lover

Grandmaster Brewer
Nov 3, 2014
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I brewed a 5 gallon batch of a Foreign Extra Stout.  The beer was in the primary for 2 weeks and the secondary for 1 month.  BeerSmith states the est FG is 1.024.  I measured the FG and its at 1.40.  I used a 1.5 litre yeast starter.  Airlock activity was good and there was 1" krausening in the primary.  The beer is not done and I will let it sit in the secondary longer.  Do I add more yeast?  I expected the beer to be done at this time.  BeerSmith under fermentation stated primary for 4 days and secondary for 10 days. 

Pre-boil gravity was 1.074
Post-boil gravity was 1.103

First question:  What are you using to measure your FG -- hydrometer or refractometer?

Second question:  How much yeast did you initially pitch and what strain did you use (OK, two questions rolled into one)?

Comment:  BeerSmith fermentation profile is whatever YOU set it to be.  The program does not change the fermentation profile to fit your recipe.  It is 100% under your control.
Beer Lover said:
BeerSmith under fermentation stated primary for 4 days and secondary for 10 days. 

My initial question is: What was the SG reading when you decided to rack to the secondary? That is a critical piece of information the is used to help determine if fermentation is complete.  You more than likely racked it to early.  Or, as Oginme is alluding to, there wasn't enough yeast pitched to begin with.

Also, BeerSmith fermentation profiles are meant to be adjusted based on your needs and the brew you're making.  I've thought my fermentation was complete, measured the SG and found I needed to let it set longer....sometimes days longer.

Good luck!
Great answers and questions.  I have to say I learned a few thing with this post.
I learned to take a SG reading before racking into the secondary.  And I learned about the fermentation profiles. 

I used a hydrometer to check the FG.  I pitched a Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale with a 1.5 liter starter.

I learned the 2 items above.

I moved the beer from the basement where the temp was about 65 degrees into the kitchen where the temp is about 69 degrees.  I am seeing more action in the airlock.
If this beer does not get to the recommended FG could I add yeast to the secondary?

For future reference: I recommend keeping the beer in primary until two successive gravity readings - taken three days apart - are the same; that's your actual final gravity. The printed instructions are only an estimation of the real final gravity and fermentation times. Read "How to Brew" by John Palmer at: http://howtobrew.com/        Secondary only after you get those two identical readings. When you transfer the beer to secondary, you're removing it from most of the yeast, so fermentation can slow down if it hasn't had time to finish fermenting in primary. Many of us don't transfer to secondary because unless you are adding additional sugars, such as fruit, the secondary serves only as an opportunity for the beer to clear. Some of us trust the beer to clear on its own in the primary fermenter for an extended time. Works for me. Lots of brewers prefer to secondary.

For now, you can sprinkle some dry yeast - such as US-05 - in the secondary, close it up and let it sit for another week or two, by which time you can start the SG sampling.