Sooooo, ye olde pale ale didn't exactly roar out of the gate. First of all, my original gravity was way too big at 1.070. This was supposed to be a pale ale, not an India pale ale. So something had to happen. But a week later the gravity was only down to 1.034. Days later it was down to 1.032 … cause for concern? I think so.
A friend of mine – OK, he's the head brewer at Vault Brewing Company in Yardley, PA – suggested I re-pitch some additional yeast in order to try to restart the fermentation and rein in this out of control brew. Having never re-pitched before, I have to say the concept, frankly, terrified me. The idea of opening the fermenter lid after fermentation (albeit a lame one) had begun felt all wrong. That's a sealed, sanitary environment after all. Why mess with it? Everything I'd ever learned about brewing said leave it alone. Just think of the potential contaminants hanging out in my kitchen!
But when I considered my options I realized I really didn't have anything to lose. Either my pale would never fully ferment and I'd throw out five gallons of quasi-beer, or I could experience the joy of re-pitching and, with any luck, salvage my brew.
So, thanks to the kindness of the above-mentioned brewer, I grabbed some dried malt extract (DME) from Vault along with a little US-05 yeast. I boiled up the DME to sanitize it, cooled it down (that is, I waited until it cooled on its own) threw the yeast in with the DME and then popped the lid off of my primary bucket and tossed the whole lot in. Finally, I sealed it up, lifted the bucket and gave it a gentle swirl to try to aerate the yeast a bit and integrate the new pitch....