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Old 09-25-2007, 04:47 AM   #1
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Default Alcohol tolerance of yeast

Curious question--

I have a mod-high gravity ale (winter welcome--A.G., 12 gallons) that isn't reaching its FG. I pitched an appropriate count of Safale S04, and it only dropped the gravity from 1.078 to 1.026. It was an otherwise brisk, healthy fermentation that actually needed a blow-off.

I have heard that S04 doesn't have that great of an alcohol tolerance, so I was thinking of pitching some Nottingham that I have available vs going out and getting some Champagne yeast to finish it off. I'm hoping to get this beer around 1.012 or so. I also don't want to screw up the flavor, but I'd like the beer reasonably dry-- so I need to pitch something with a good alcohol tolerance and a clean flavor profile.

I doubt this beer is going to be that dextrinous since the mash was at the lower end of the diastase rest, and was held about 90 minutes, so I'm thinking the poor attenuation is due to alcohol intolerance.

Thoughts, suggestions??

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Old 09-25-2007, 04:53 AM   #2
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From 1.078 to 1.012 is around 84% attenuation, that's Belgian style high. If you used the champagne yeast it would probably do that, might make it even drier. Have you tried gently swirling the carboy to suspend the yeast again? There might not have been enough oxygen to get the yeast trough, they could have just become tired and flocculated. I don't think the low attenuation is due to alcohol intolerance, there are so many other factors that could have influenced the FG that it can be hard to pin point.

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Old 09-25-2007, 04:57 AM   #3
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I did one other beer (a stout) with a slightly lower OG (1.072), and the same yeast, and it only got down to 1.020. I've done many other beers with the same gravity range with different yeasts, similar techniques, all with good attenuations.

That's the only reason I deduced it to be due to a low EtOH tolerance.

That said, I've never added Champagne yeast to any beer before, so naturally I'm a bit suspicious of using it.

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Old 09-25-2007, 04:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iordz
From 1.078 to 1.012 is around 84% attenuation, that's Belgian style high. If you used the champagne yeast it would probably do that, might make it even drier. Have you tried gently swirling the carboy to suspend the yeast again? There might not have been enough oxygen to get the yeast trough, they could have just become tired and flocculated. I don't think the low attenuation is due to alcohol intolerance, there are so many other factors that could have influenced the FG that it can be hard to pin point.
Of course, " Belgian style high" may not be so bad for this beer-- afterall, it is meant as a winter warmer. .

Oh, and I aerated with a stone for more than 15 minutes.
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:02 AM   #5
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Are you using pure oxygen, or an aeration pump? Pure O2 only requires 60-90sec, whereas aeration systems need 60-90min. Most winter beers I've had seemed to be full bodied and a little sweet, with a hint of alcohol.

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Old 09-25-2007, 05:06 AM   #6
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I used an air pump for this one. Didn't have my O2 tank handy.

I had to stop aerating it because of the huge snake of foam coming out the top.
I generally aerate most of my beers around 15-20 minutes (as I'm pumping the wort into the fermenter, and then some). It may actually be longer than that, but not 60-90 minutes.

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Old 09-25-2007, 05:14 AM   #7
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I do 60min of oxygenation, at times I have to stop and allow the foam to sink, then I continue. The problem is once the gravity is over 1.059 it becomes really hard for the oxygen from air to dissolve into the wort, that's why it's best to use pure oxygen for about 90sec, that way you get the proper amount of oxygen dissolved and the yeast can grow happily. That was probably your problem, there was too little oxygen available. If you want to go further down in gravity pitch some champagne yeast.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-9-2.html
I quote, John Palmer, "using a bronze or stainless steel airstone with an aquarium air pump and using it to bubble air into the fermenter for an hour."

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Old 09-25-2007, 05:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iordz
I do 60min of oxygenation, at times I have to stop and allow the foam to sink, then I continue. The problem is once the gravity is over 1.059 it becomes really hard for the oxygen from air to dissolve into the wort, that's why it's best to use pure oxygen for about 90sec, that way you get the proper amount of oxygen dissolved and the yeast can grow happily. That was probably your problem, there was too little oxygen available. If you want to go further down in gravity pitch some champagne yeast.
I'm going to give it yet awhile longer and bleed the yeast off. If the gravity is still up, I may pitch some Champagne yeast. I haven't thoroughly made up my mind yet.

I don't like having the gravity where its currently at, yet I don't want to introduce any weird flavors or get it TOOO dry.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:18 AM   #9
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No problem! I had a smoked porter finish at 1.020, and boy was it sweet and not in a good way.

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Old 09-25-2007, 12:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iordz
Are you using pure oxygen, or an aeration pump? Pure O2 only requires 60-90sec, whereas aeration systems need 60-90min.
I've never used pure oxygen, but these times just don't seem to sync up. The air we breathe is 21% oxygen. Hence, I can see an oxygenation with air lasting 5x as long (5-7min) or even 10x as long (10-15 min), but 60-90x as long?
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