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I'm brewing a bulldog chocolate stout 'Easter brew' as per the instructions. 4.2kg of malt extract alone, 23L, one packet of dried yeast. OG 1058, the generic bulldog instructions just say get it to 1014 or below.

Everything started fine just like my previous two brews, then after day 7, I can no longer hear bubbling (although I know fermentation can still continue and air can escape elsewhere). On day 10 I take a reading and it's at 1021. I wait until today (day 13), and take another reading, still 1021. Temp of the room has been consistently 20°c and I've even used a heat belt to warm the beer to 23°c to try and encourage it.

This morning I pitched a new packet of yeast meant for stouts, with half a tsp of yeast nutrient. I hear regular bubbling for an hour or so, which made me hopeful... it soon stopped. Just took a reading (9pm) and it's still 1021.

**edit. Just tested my hydrometer in water at 20°c and it reads 1006 (or just above). Could this be the reason it is reading high? Isn't it meant to be close to 1000?

I'm going away tomorrow night... I need to either bottle it or leave it a week. Any advice? I obviously don't want bottle bombs, but equally it hasn't moved for 4 days. Could it be the supposed 'unfermentables' in the malt extract/chocolate? Altho it is meant to be 6% ABV and it is currently only around 5%. Tastes delicious though.

I do have a 5g packet of champagne yeast which I've heard could help although I've no idea, I'm new to brewing.

Thanks.

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If your hydrometer is not reading correctly then yes this could be the issue. In tap water at 20 or 25 depending on calibration it should read 1000+/-0.5. If it is reading 1006 then it is a fair way off. Applying a correection factor of 1021 = 0006 => 1015 which is pretty close to your target of 1014. I

I strongly suggest you get a new hydrometer.

I would assume this has fermented out, but if you are unsure rouse the yeast with a good old swirl of the FV. Then let it stand for 3 or 4 days and if you get 3 days of no/very few bubbles form the air lock, then it is more than likely finished.

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    thanks for your answer that has reassured me. Yes once I posted it, I suddenly discovered how out my hydrometer is and how this is likely the cause of the perceived problem. – Magenta Sunrise Jul 16 at 11:04

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