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I am trying to brew a stronger wheat ale, and after 9 days in primary, I seem to be stuck at 1.025. My OG was 1.070 and I pitched a smack pack of Wyeast Bavarian Wheat at about 70F. I had a very vigorous early fermentation (first time i've every had to use a blowoff with a bucket), and fermented at a little higher than usual temps (averaged around 72 degrees). My question is, can I kick start the fermentation at this point to knock off a few more points? I would ideally like to end up around 1.010. I've tried swirling the bucket to stir up the yeast a little, but I don't want to go crazy and accidentally oxidize or taint it at this point. Here are some things I was considering:

  1. Boil a few ounces of water and mix in some yeast food and add that to the primary
  2. Buy another smack pack of the same yeast, and add it to the primary
  3. Both 1 and 2

Any thoughts? Is it even worth it at this point? I tasted my sample after I measured the gravity, and it was delicious, so I don't want to ruin the batch. I just wanted to try to make a non-traditional stronger wheat ale.

Thanks in advance, Ryan

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Well 1010 is likely not attainable as that would be around 80% attenuation. You are currently at ~66% attenuation. If you've roused the yeast I'd give it until at least 14 days, but a 1070 OG to me would warrant 21 days. I am a patient brewer however.

The bucket is full of CO2 so gently swirl away until you think the yeast is sufficiently roused. Give it another week before you check the gravity.

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Ok, I've swirled it already. I'll test it again at the 14 day mark to see if it has improved. Thanks! –  TheRyBerg Jul 26 '12 at 21:48
    
Good luck with it! –  brewchez Jul 27 '12 at 2:26
    
I bottled last night. We'll see how it tastes in a couple of weeks. –  TheRyBerg Aug 2 '12 at 0:38
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One smack pack, no starter = underpitched. 1.010 is also unrealistic, you're looking for about 85% attenuation from a yeast that does 70-76% per Wyeast (assuming Bavarian Wheat 3638). I figure you are under 65% now, so there is room for improvement. I'd give it a lot more time and consider bumping up the temperature to close to 75 degrees.

Continue to rouse, your beer should have enough CO2 to keep it safe. I've let primary go for months with no ill affect. I'm leery of adding more yeast as flavor may be affected, but if you're up to it, it may help.

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Agree that two smack packs or using a starter is better for 5 gallons, even though Wyeast says one smack pack is "designed to inoculate 5 gallons of wort with the same pitch rate recommended by professional brewers." But after 9 days, the yeast will have multiplied to the point where adding more yeast isn't going to do much. –  paul Aug 1 '12 at 4:14
    
Thanks for your feedback. I just bottled last night, and I ended up with an FG of ~1.020 after 15 days in primary. Overall my fermentation temperature (due to summer in SoCal and not using a tub to help control temps) was averaging around 75F, so I think that helped. –  TheRyBerg Aug 2 '12 at 0:37
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If you pitched only a smack pack into a 1.070 wort, you severely underpitched. You may have continued issues with it. See mrmalty.com for correct pitching rates and techniques for making a starter.

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Keep in mind that wheat beers tend to have more protein and other non-fermentable compounds in solution compared to pure barley grain bills (that's what makes it cloudy) -- resulting in higher FG. That said, I think you would need an unusually large amount of nonfermentables to finish at 1.020+.

I would consider pitching more yeast and seeing if you can't get it down to around 1.010 - 1.015 range.

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