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Old 04-11-2014, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Golden Strong... Where from here?

Hello all, I'm cross posting this fromt he "Beginners" forum, This may be the better place for it.
----

First time posting, and I've got some questions about a beer I currently have in the Secondary.

Summer Scorcher Belgian Golden Strong Ale 5g Batch -
It is too dark for sure, SRM probably 10-12, but I can live with that.

1 lbs Aromatic Malt
1 lbs Biscuit Malt
7 lbs Briess Pilsen Light DME
2 lbs Candi Sugar, Golden
1.00 oz Mt. Rainier - Boil 60.0
1.00 oz Wakatu (Hallertau Aroma) Boil 10.0 min
1.00 oz Mt. Rainier [7.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min
1.00 oz Coriander Seed Boil 5.0 mins
1.00 oz Orange Peel, Bitter Boil 5.0 mins


1.0 pkg Belgian Strong Ale (Wyeast Labs #1388 ) 2L Starter

my OG was 1.069 and I left it in the Primary for 4 weeks. I originally hoped for a much higher OG, but didn't lose as much to evaporation as expected. Ended with almost 6g after adding the 2L starter.

I just racked it to the secondary (Gravity was 1.007), 5 days ago, and I don't think I've seen a single bubble since.. now I could very well be missing it, but I haven't seen any activity, which is a shame because I was still seeing bubbles when it was on the yeast cake.

So here are my questions...
1.) Did I rack it too soon? and could I still get it down to 1.004? (would make for a nice round 8.5ish% ABV.

2.) How long should this condition/carb? I was hoping to have this ready to serve by July 4th Weekend.

3.) It is quite cloudy... much more than expected... I assume I will have to cold crash it?

4.) When should I bottle, and will I need to add more yeast? I've never had to add yeast at bottling.

Thanks for any help.

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Old 04-15-2014, 04:40 AM   #2
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It may not bubble in secondary, or get down to 1.004, but 1.007 is close enough. You can cold crash, but you don't have to. Bottle it after it clears. I don't think you need add yeast, yours will be plenty strong. Condition it until the middle or end of June, then chill for at least a week. It may or may not be ready, I find that big beers take longer. Good luck and let me know how it works out.
I made a Belgian Strong Ale last November. It's good now.

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Old 04-15-2014, 04:54 AM   #3
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You could have been getting bubbles out of the primary because CO2 was coming out of solution, not because of fermentation. A bunch of CO2 would have come out of solution during racking.

I agree with JohnSand. Give it 2 - 4 weeks in secondary and bottle. Let it carb and condition a couple months before trying it.

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Old 04-15-2014, 05:16 AM   #4
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+1 to Beernik's comment about the carbonation. The fact that you were still seeing bubbles right before transferring to secondary does not mean that it was still active.

Also, 1.007 is plenty low for an extract beer. If you had done all-grain and mashed low, you could get the FG lower. But when you are using extract, you can't control the mash temp and you are left with the fermentability chosen by whoever made the extract. So, I wouldn't bet on it getting down to 1.004, unless you add some souring 'bugs' that can eat up otherwise unfermentable sugars.

As far as being ready by July 4th, I think you'll be fine. With that timeline, you could just let it sit in secondary for a few weeks and see if it clears up without cold-crashing. Then bottle, and you shouldn't need to add any yeast. I've let beers near that ABV sit in primary/secondary for months and not needed to add any yeast when bottling. If you bottle around the beginning of June, your bottles should be carbed and ready to go by July 4th.

Now, the beer might not be at its peak by then, but it should be pretty good. The time it needs to mature and have all the flavors come together probably depends somewhat on fermentation temps while it was in primary. If it started too warm, it might need more time for higher alcohols to mellow out and allow other flavors to come through. If it started relatively cool, it might be good to go a little sooner.

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Old 04-15-2014, 06:09 AM   #5
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Thanks all... looks like I'll bottle beginning of June.

I actually didn't let the temps get too high. I started about 68, over the course of a week, I let it get up to about 74/76, then brought it back down to 66/68 for the rest of the ferment.

Tasted it when I racked it. It was actually very very good. So good in fact than my wife drank about 4oz of it still, and she doesn't even like beer.

It was just slightly malty with pronounced but not overwhelming citrus, and just a enough hops in the nose to freshen the citrus aroma. I didn't pick up any of the hops bitterness though, and am hoping that it will be more pronounced once carbonated. Beersmith puts it at around 32IBU's.

I'm very excited about this one, and cannot wait to really get to experience it at it's peak, assuming it lasts long enough to peak.

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Old 04-15-2014, 07:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malty_Dog_Indy View Post
Thanks all... looks like I'll bottle beginning of June.

I actually didn't let the temps get too high. I started about 68, over the course of a week, I let it get up to about 74/76, then brought it back down to 66/68 for the rest of the ferment.

Tasted it when I racked it. It was actually very very good. So good in fact than my wife drank about 4oz of it still, and she doesn't even like beer.

It was just slightly malty with pronounced but not overwhelming citrus, and just a enough hops in the nose to freshen the citrus aroma. I didn't pick up any of the hops bitterness though, and am hoping that it will be more pronounced once carbonated. Beersmith puts it at around 32IBU's.

I'm very excited about this one, and cannot wait to really get to experience it at it's peak, assuming it lasts long enough to peak.
All that bitterness helps offset the alcohol in that beer. You shouldn't get an APA or IPA type bitterness in a Belgian Strong...sounds like your beer is ontrack to be very good.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:26 PM   #7
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I have a Belgian Golden that was bottled two weeks ago. I tried one Sunday and there is a banana flavor. Guess I'll wait two more weeks and try it again.

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Old 04-15-2014, 01:28 PM   #8
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This is my first time with this yeast, but I did a wheat beer in January with Wyeast 3638. It has a tendency to produce banana flavors when fermented at warmer temps. At first the banana flavor was very pronounced.. I have had many wheat's in the past with this flavor, and expected it.

I drank one of them 2 days ago, and the banana flavor has mellowed signifigantly. Hang in there, I'm sure you have a great beer.

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Old 04-16-2014, 05:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malty_Dog_Indy View Post
. and could I still get it down to 1.004? (would make for a nice round 8.5ish% ABV.
I just made an BGSA with 1388 also and I was amazed at how well the yeast preformed after reading how slow it can be to finish fermenting.

Mine went from 1.084 to 1.014 in a week. I am curious to see if the gravity on mine, and yours will get any lower.

Please update us when you do bottle.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:25 PM   #10
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Bubbles are nonsense, take a gravity reading, then another 2-3 days later, and make sure they match before you rack off primary. Then you know you're done. If you move off the yeast before you know, you're going to be guessing like you are now.

1.007 is plenty dry for extract, right on target given 2# sugar. I would not be scared to let it sit in secondary at this point, if it's going to drop any more it won't be more than a point or two and there should be enough yeast to accomplish that if needed. But I would not have racked before the three-days SG test, plenty of good beers get wrecked (or at least long delayed) that way. It's slightly less scary with an extract batch since fermentability is a (relatively) known quantity.

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