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Old 08-01-2009, 04:20 PM   #1
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Default Beers are too sweet. Ideas? Yeasts?

I prefer beers on the less sweet side. Palate wise, I'm a west coast hop-head.

My 'big beer' ends up too sweet. It's about 7lbs light DME, and around 3lbs grains, crystal 10s - 40s. And I use White labs Cali Pale Ale yeast. Even if I hit 1.090 OG the yeast usually takes it down to 1.020 - 1.022, so that's the only yeast I add. I've heard about adding yeast later, to help bring it down more.

I'm thinking about adding a champagne yeast. Or how about this: mixing half a vial of champagne yeast with half a vial of ale yeast. (I may try this on my regular pale ale too.)

So two questions. Will the champagne yeast make it dryer, less sweet. And second, if my line of thought about yeast being the key here isn't the right track, any suggestions on how to make the end taste less sweet.

Thanks!

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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My 'big beer' ends up too sweet. It's about 7lbs light DME, and around 3lbs grains, crystal 10s - 40s.
There's your main problem. You are using far too much crystal malt. That combined with the fact that extract beers tend to ferment with less attenuation is very likely to be the cause. Fix your recipes and stay with the ale yeast.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:34 PM   #3
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I'm not completely sure about this but how about adding some sugar to dry it out? Just enough to drop the FG a few points but not to change the too much.

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:38 PM   #4
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So without a crunching #s my guess is about 9% alcohol is what you'd be getting and if memory serves right 10% ABV is the tolerance range for this yeast. With that much fermentables remaining I'm not surpised the beers are sweet. At what temperature are you fermenting. Finishing with a neutral, high alcohol tolerance yeast would certainly make it drier but making a starter and building healthy yeast with adequate oxygenation during the starter along with yeast nutrient or a couple of pinches of dead/killed bread yeast would be my first approach.

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:42 PM   #5
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I agree with BigEd, I would say the fact that you are doing extract plus adding way too much crystal malts is doing it.

Are you making a starter or are you simply pitching from the vial?

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:44 PM   #6
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Rather than messing with adding more yeast, or sugars...when formulating recipes use the IBU/GU chart...and create or tweak a recipe where the ibu's fall into the more hoppy range..



You take the OG of your recipe, then you decide where you want the bitterness to fall...

If you look at a 1.060 beer, you can make extra malty beer by hopping at 18 IBU's, and a hop bomb at 50 IBUs.....or can go off the charts like Biermuncher has been known to do with his recipes.

The grain bill stays the same, it is just the amount of hops that determines whether the beer is sweet, balanced, or bitter...

You can even take a snapshot of any premade recipe and see ahead of time where it is going to fall...and can hop it more or less to suit your needs...Most of those recipes would be pretty balanced...

But you can up it by adjusting the hop schedule, and upping the amount of hops..

Brewing software is a must though...if you dont have one you can use the free online Beer Calculus . homebrew recipe calculator program.

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:51 PM   #7
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I think that chart is great, except that the vertical axis should not be OG, but instead OG-FG, attenuation%, or something similar.

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:52 PM   #8
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Revy, I don't think the main problem here is balance (though it is one of the problems). It's that his beers are finishing at 1.020 - 1.022. If for some reason I had a bad streak of attenuation problems, I wouldn't just up my IBUs to balance the sweetness. I would focus on the fermentation on top of taking 3 lbs of crystal out of my recipes. If he's not pitching enough healthy yeast in a 1.090 beer, well ... then that's the problem.

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:56 PM   #9
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I think that chart is great, except that the vertical axis should not be OG, but instead OG-FG, attenuation%, or something similar.
Well...you may think so, but that is the way you figure the recipes, even brewing software uses something similar realising a standard yeast attenuation usually around 75% though in software you can change it.

Besides hop utilization is a factor of the gravity of the wort at the time of the boil....not how it finishes out.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:58 PM   #10
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This is all awesome information. I may have mis-led the conversation a bit though by not articulating my grain bill. THe last batch of the big beer and my pale ale i upped the bittering hops, thinking that's probably the issue.

Thanks for the tips thus far. I haven't gotten into brewing software yet, so thanks for the link, and the chart.


Here's my big beer recipe. I ferment at 74º for a day(trying to get a little fruity esthers in there), then at 69-71º :
Grains
7 lbs Light DME
2 lb American Pale malt grain
1 lb Carapils/dextrin
1 lb flaked wheat
1 lb flaked oats
.5 crystal 20L
.35 lb crystal 40L
.8 oz corn sugar

Hops
60 minute 1.5 oz Chinook
45 minute .5 oz Chinook
30minute .5 oz Columbus
15 min whirlfloc tablet
0 min 1 oz Simcoe
0 min 1 oz Columbus

Dry hops (pellets preferred)
Dry, 9 days into primary 3 oz Simcoe
Dry, 9 days into primary .5 oz Columbus
Dry, 9 days into primary 2 oz Cascade


Yeast
White labs Cali Ale WLP0001

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