Stuck My First Ferment

Hi All,

Think I have screwed up my first ever ferment. No surprise I guess!

It was a TPW about 100l starting gravity of 1.068 but it’s been stuck on 1.020 for the last three days.

I guess it because I didn’t keep it warm enough. It, started at about 32c but slowly cooled down to about 20 during the week.

Would this be the cause? If I heat it up would it kick off again?

Comments

  • Need more info. How much sugar, yeast, tomatoe paste...

  • Hi Unsensibel, I used 16kg sugar, 700g tomato paste, 230ml lemon juice and 200g bakers yeast.

  • How are you measuring your gravity?

  • do you have a hydrometer? Only asking as refractometers won't give you accurate results when there's alcohol in the mix

  • edited October 16

    Having all kinds of refractometers when I started brewing I rapidly found out they lied quite seriously. I thought I was being clever and they would be great but they are not.

  • I have a hydrometer but would be hesitant to use it! It came free with a measuring cylinder and the graduations are marked on a piece of paper curled inside the stem....

    Been meaning to get a real one anyway, will sort tomorrow and report back. Thanks for your help everyone.

  • edited October 16

    @Dreamer said: I have a hydrometer but would be hesitant to use it! It came free with a measuring cylinder and the graduations are marked on a piece of paper curled inside the stem....

    That is standard.
    Even if your hydrometer's scale is not accurate, you can use it for trending. The decrease in flotation tells the tale of conversion from sugar to alcohol. Numbers assigned to graduations are arbitrary, alcohol content-wise. It is the difference between the numbers that matters.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @Dreamer based on the amount of sugar, you have a measurement error of .008 (theoretically). Potential issues from my viewpoint:

    • Nutrient additions (think about getting real yeast nutrients from eBay / Amazon & follow mead protocols)

    • Yeast strains (baker's yeast is just that and a more specialized strain might work better)

    • Temperature is not as big of an issue but again, each yeast strain has their happy temp (Rum likes higher, white wine likes it cooler, there's lager and ale beer yeasts...)

    • Agitation (I sometimes open up my ferments and bring the yeast back in suspension)

    For me, I not look at pennies when fermenting because as soon as I factor in the "cost" of my spare time, it will outweigh the cost of the ingredients. I rather try to make the best $hit possible & something that I can't buy off the shelf.

  • edited October 18

    Ok so I had fun in the home brew shop today, now I have a beer/wine hydrometer, spirit hydrometer and some other stuff i ‘needed’ :)

    Really appreciate the advice, I will use the new hydrometers from now on and keep the refractometer for the kids. It looks like the wash has finished at a good gravity after all, so it want stuck it was user error. Can’t blame the tools really just me not knowing how to use them. I’m enjoying learning a bit more every day.

    Photos of the four readings for reference. No idea how to turn them the right way up sorry.

    New hydrometer from home brew shop, this one I believe.

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    Free hydrometer with wonky paper insert

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    Home brew shop spirit hydrometer

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    The lying refractometer

    image

    @Unsensibel, thanks for your advice too, I’ve got a temp controller and heater band coming in the post but good to hear it’s not critical. On the ingredients i went for TPW as it’s my first ever attempt and I knew I’d screw it up somehow so staring low cost and simple seemed prudent. Looking forward to improving from whatever baseline I get from this.

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  • Spirit hydrometer (or alcometer) will not work with wash. It's calibrated for ethanol/water solutions.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • @punkin said: Spirit hydrometer (or alcometer) will not work with wash. It's calibrated for ethanol/water solutions.

    Yeah I thought that but it was shiny and new so tried it out.

  • Don't try it the other way around. A hydrometer will drop like a rock to the bottom of a spirits filled vessel, often breaking on impact.

    Don't ask me how I know that...

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Haha thanks I would definitely have tried that out!

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