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Old 03-11-2013, 05:46 PM   #1
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Default I screwed up my Dopplebock and am not sure how to fix it...

I'll try to keep this short...

I brewed a Dopplebock using White Labs 810 San Francisco Lager, as I have no lagering equipment.

My mash efficiency was terrible (You may see this thread for further explanation) and so I added some DME and some sugar(s) to recover my OG...

...but then I screwed up THAT calculation as well. As a result, my OG went from a target of 1.1 to 1.12 and my ABV (estimate) went from 9.3 to 12.8!

Here's the problem - the yeast has had a bit too much to drink. My FG right now is 1.035 when it should be down around 1.025. My ABV right now is 11.3%. The problem is two-fold - the beer is probably still too "sweet" - 1.035 is a Woodchuck Draft Cider. Secondly, if the yeast is already too drunk to perform (and who of us haven't been there?!) then it won't be able to bottle carb. I have been letting this beer sit for a few weeks and the gravity hasn't changed now in ~10 days. I think it is what it is at this point.

I see three potential solutions to my problem:

1) Dump it. Don't really want to do this, as even I'm curious how it'll taste...
2) Live with it at 1.035, and use some sort of carbonation tabs to bottle carb the beer, but I don't know if carbonation tabs are just sugar that still relies on the yeast... (Can someone tell me?)
Kegging is currently not an option for many reasons, unfortunately, as this would work quite well...
3) I can use a different yeast with a similar attenuation range and higher alcohol tolerance to "finish" the beer. Yes this will screw up my "style" and add some unintended flavors, but we ALL know that it's those crazy beers that win competitions anyways! My research shows that White Labs 037 "Yorkshire Square Ale Yeast" fits this criteria while still being "close" to the flavor profile I already intended (verses for example using a stout-type yeast). To make this work I would use a starter to get the yeast active before dunking them into an 11% alcohol wort...

So - all that being said, what do you guys recommend?

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:55 PM   #2
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I would go with a starter of a clean ale yeast that won't add any character to the beer. Be sure to add it at high krausen to make sure the yeast is working hard when you add it to the nasty environment. WLP090 would be my choice (don't use WLP099).

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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I have a doppelbock that ended at 024. If you can get there, I think you will be in much better shape.

Have you tried increasing the temp? Get those new yeasties really going strong before you dump them. Nutrient, step the starter, etc.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:39 PM   #4
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daksin - my only concern is that the 090 has a much higher attenuation than the 810, so I'd be afraid of dropping BELOW 1.025 and taking my ABV even higher... However, the higher alcohol might knock out that yeast as well, leaving only bottle-carbing as a concern.

adamc - 1.025 was the plan, and yes I agree if I can get there, I might have an OK tasting beer.

INcreasing the temp?? I was thinking of DEcreasing the temp since 810 is a lager strain (and plus, I have enough fruity esters in this thing already... I've been tasting the gravity sampler - wowzers...)

We're supposed to have some cold temps this week and I was going to stick the fermenter out in the garage or even out on the deck... Still don't know how I'll bottle-carb it though.

But if you think warmer will work, I'll gladly try it - it's much easier for me to warm the beer than it is for me to cool it...

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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If you started at 1.120 like you say, then you don't have a ton of fermentables left to go, and alcohol is limiting your yeast. The beer won't dry out completely like it might with 099. Remember, Apparent attenuation is only a guideline. A 1.120 beer attenuating 70% is much more impressive than a 1.030 beer attenuating 85%.

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:22 PM   #6
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I don't entirely understand, but I trust that you know what you're talking about. My understanding is that a higher attenuation yeast can grab sugars that a lower attenuation yeast can't. I figured using a new yeast with the same attenuation as the original would only grab what the previous yeast wasn't able to get because of passing out from the alcohol. A higher attenuation yeast than the original would grab not only the sugars that the original yeast couldn't get to but additional sugars that the original yeast wouldn't have grabbed to begin with.

I welcome you to correct my misunderstanding. I do agree that using a very neutral yeast would be preferred, and of course that it needs to have a higher alcohol tolerance and that I would need to use a starter.

Thanks.

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:26 PM   #7
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I vote for daksin's advice.

035/120 = 29. So you are at 71% already.
And just wonder whether is would be wiser to add the starter to maybe 1 or 2 gallons of your 71% attenuated Dopplebock first to acclimatize, followed by the rest once it takes off?

Even diluting that first gallon to 80% to make it more accessible to the WLP090 won't kill your beer either.

Flooding the FV's headspace with CO2 would help to prevent oxidation.

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:36 PM   #8
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Also, if your second yeast tank because of alcohol tolerance, you can bottle condition with champagne yeast. The carb tabs are just sugar--you still need yeast to eat the sugar.

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:37 PM   #9
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carb tabs contain nothing but sugar. no yeast in there. the beer needs to provide the yeast.

i would suggest going with a high-gravity yeast like the 099. it won't take you down to 1.001... you'll be adding it to an unhospitable environment. yeast like 099 can reach 15% or more when babied from the start (huge pitch, lots of oxygen, stepped sugar feedings, etc) - not when dumped into a toxic enviro. you'll be fine. i'd be surprised if you hit 1.025. more on 099: http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew_super.html. the 037 likely won't do a thing in an 11% enviro. i doubt they would munch more than a point before going into survival mode and hibernating.

i believe that 037 is a seasonal/special issue strain. doesn't appear to be available at the moment.

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Old 03-11-2013, 10:02 PM   #10
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I figured so on the carb tabs.

I should mention that this is only a 2.5 gallon batch. That 099 looks like serious homework. I like the 090 idea.

I still don't understand how the 035/120 math works. If this was a cider at 120, ANY yeast would get it down to 1.000, regardless of the attenuation, at least until the yeasties got drunk. And if it were comprised of lactose, it would barely ferment at all.

Am I misunderstanding something?

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate the advise. I just feel more confused now...

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