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I've got a honey wheat ale in the fermentor, 8 days on it. Wyeast 1010, 1.5L starter. OG 1.054. Temp controlled chest freezer at 65F.

Fermentation appeared to start well, the blowoff hose was gurgling like crazy. I went away for a few days, when I came back the hose was still active but much quieter. On day 7 I took a gravity reading of 1.022.

Given the conditions I would have expected to be closer to FG (1.012-14) after a week. I haven't had such a slow fermentation before, though I haven't used 1010 before, nor do I often brew with honey. I roused the yeast and am now another 2 points down so I know it's not stuck. I'm disappointed because I was hoping to have this beer in the keg by this weekend.

Are there any clues here as to why this fermentation is so slow? I couldn't find any evidence of 1010 being slow, and it seemed so happy the first couple of days. I can only think the problem is in my recipe or process. Maybe after chewing through the honey, the bulk the yeast didn't switch over well to the maltose?

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Any chance that your mash was warmer than the 152 listed in the recipe? Did you use a yeast starter? –  awithrow Aug 13 '12 at 12:01
    
Yes, as noted I used a 1.5L yeast starter. Mash temp was pretty spot-on at 152. I assume that you're suggesting that the mash was too warm and I ended up with too many dextrins. I don't believe that's the case, and for the sake of the problem let's assume I conducted the mash reasonably well. –  Galapagos Jim Aug 13 '12 at 16:48

1 Answer 1

If its been in the primary 8 days at 65, why not increase the temperature and gently shake? A lot of styles recommend increasing fermentation temp when the beer is beginning to near the projected final gravity. Though i don't have experience with that strain the yeast will likely get moving and take you down another few points.

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I did rouse the yeast; it's been dropping about 2 points per day. Today I tested, it's 1.015 now, and the airlock continues to bubble slowly. About raising temp, I'm familiar with that technique but I don't understand the reasoning well. The recipe didn't call for it, I'm not experienced with the style enough to make that call on my own, and I prefer drier beers anyway, so I don't plan to do it. –  Galapagos Jim Aug 15 '12 at 23:23
    
Its more the temperment of the yeast that dictates raising fermentation temperature than anything. Some styles call for it, as the style NEEDS to be dry. For instance, most saisons are too sweet. To get them to finish bone-dry, brewers need to start fermentation in the mid-high 60's (to minimize fusels), then raise the temp. Further, the finicky 'dupont' yeast (WL 565) often slows down if kept @ a constant temp. I don't understand the biology of why this works other than you are keeping the yeast comfortable and fostering growth and sugar consumption. –  Pietro Sep 28 '12 at 13:51

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