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Old 01-12-2011, 01:05 AM   #1
topherman
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Default Drying out my Tripel

Hey everyone,

I have a tripel a friend and I brewed a few weeks ago. Due to my crappy partial mash and probably some problem of mine as well, the efficiency was 39%, giving an OG of 1.064, even after the jaggery (used instead of boring table sugar or expensive candi sugar) was added. So, I added another 1.5 lbs of table sugar to get the gravity up, which bumped up the gravity an additional 13 points, which was more where I wanted to be.

The holidays meant I had to leave the house three days later, and return a week after that. When I returned, the tripel was no longer fermenting, and the gravity was at 1.030. The house was cold (room temp ~64 F), so I wrapped a heating pad around it and roused the yeast at the bottom of the bucket. This brought the gravity to 1.018. Adding 10 g rehydrated Red Star Premier Cuvee, and a week after that the gravity is only 1.016.

tl;dr -- Tripel is 1.016 despite 3.5 lb of sugar, and heat and champagne yeast haven't dropped it lower.

Is there something else I can do to get the gravity lower, or am I stuck with a sweet tripel?


Thanks,
T

Also, here's the recipe:

Code:
BeerSmith Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Kitchen Sink Tripel
Brewer: 
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Belgian Tripel
TYPE: Partial Mash
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal      
Boil Size: 6.39 gal
Estimated OG: 1.077 SG
Estimated Color: 6.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 39.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
3 lbs         Pilsner Dry Extract (3.0 SRM)             Dry Extract  22.22 %       
4 lbs 8.0 oz  Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)             Grain        33.33 %       
1 lbs 8.0 oz  Oats, Malted (1.0 SRM)                    Grain        11.11 %       
12.0 oz       Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)                   Grain        5.56 %        
4.0 oz        Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)                  Grain        1.85 %        
1.00 oz       Hallertauer [4.80 %]  (90 min)            Hops         19.9 IBU      
1.00 oz       Styrian Goldings [5.40 %]  (30 min)       Hops         16.1 IBU      
2 lbs         Jaggery (8.0 SRM)                         Sugar        14.81 %       
1 lbs 8.0 oz  Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM)          Sugar        11.11 %
I forgot to add this to the Beersmith file, but the yeast was a 2 liter starter of White Labs WLB575, the Belgian Ale Blend.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:20 AM   #2
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Have you tasted it? 1064 before the sugar would put you in the 1070 or higher starting gravity range. Down to 1016 might still taste pretty dry.

In the future, I'd suggest wrapping it with the heating pad after the second day. Keeping cool for a day or two will keep you from producing the higher alcohols, and the warmer temperatures will help you dry out.

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Old 01-12-2011, 01:21 AM   #3
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Have you tasted it? I'd be more concerned it tastes hot with that sugar to malt ratio. You may not want it any lower.

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Old 01-12-2011, 01:37 AM   #4
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Drummer Guy,
It does have a bit of a sweet taste, behind the current yeasty bite. Not nearly as much as when it was 1.030, but still noticably sweet. I know this means I'm totally a square, but I was looking at style guidelines. The effective OG, after adding the sugar, is around 1.077, the low end of the style OG. Therefore, I was shooting for a FG around the low end of the style FG, or around 1.010. The guidelines state that FG should be 1.008-1.014, so I figured I should expect a lower terminal gravity. I know BJCP is not an all-knowing god, but having no other good reference (besides BLAM saying dryness is critical) the discrepancy in expected FG and actual, plus a noticeable sweetness in the samples, got me worried. I'll definitely try your recommendation next time; I could see where that would work well.

Joety,
I have tasted it, and it isn't hot at all. I had thought about that before I added the additional sugar, but the jaggery and the table sugar puts me at ~25% sugars. BLAM says that up to 30% of the fermentable bill can be sugars (I think that was the number; I don't have it in front of me), so I'm pushing the limit, but the colder fermentation temperature prevented issues, I think. It is pretty strongly banana-y, and right now kind of yeasty, but no headache-inducing hotness noticed. Hopefully that's still true after I drink a bottle or two.

Thanks!

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Old 01-12-2011, 03:59 AM   #5
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I think you are way over 25% (even 30%) given your low conversion efficiency. Remember, the sugar (and extract) didn't need to be converted. In Beersmith, pull up your recipe, and adjust the efficiency until you hit your actual numbers on "Estimated O.G.". Then back off the 3.5 pounds of sugar and check the new "Estimated O.G." The original estimate, less the new estimate, divided by the original estimate, will tell you the percentage of fermentables from sugars. I'm not doubting your taste buds, just the math.

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Old 01-12-2011, 04:07 AM   #6
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Here's what I came up with in Beersmith. I used my volume calculations of 5.5 gallons post boil to allow for trub. I came up with 23% efficiency to produce a gravity of 1.064. After I remove the sugar, it's 1.035. That means 45.3% of your fermentables was derived from jaggery and table sugar.

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Old 01-12-2011, 12:06 PM   #7
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I'd give it some more time, with warmer temps to see if it comes down. If not, you could re-pitch some more yeast. With 45% sugar, there is no way you should come out too sweet.

As I mentioned, in future batches, don't let your temperature drop too much. After the first couple days, I get my Belgians into the 80's.

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Old 01-12-2011, 01:31 PM   #8
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Also in the future, invert your sugar, or use candi sugar, and add it later during the ferment. I have good luck drying out a Belgian if I go with whatever my "all malt" wort gravity is, and start that fermenting. I watch my airlock, and when the activity slows or stops, I add my invert sugar in at like a 15 gravity point amount. Almost instantly your fermentation will kick off again, and rock for a few more days. If I need more sugar to get my total gravity to a certain level, I'll add it again when activity slows/stops again. This method should get you into the single digits FG.

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Old 01-12-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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lalnx, do you have good luck inverting your own sugar? Given the price of Lyle's I have wanted to do that, but it sounds like you need some special chemical.

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Secondaries - Sunday Night Hoppy Pale Ale
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:46 PM   #10
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Joety,

I also used Beersmith, but I assumed that the % column was what I had to watch; it didn't occur to me that the number given was % by weight, rather than % by gravity contribution. As my computer science friends like to say, if you want software to work right, write the damn code yourself.

Sidenote: I used the same process to find the efficiency, and got 39%, with a gravity of 1.046 with all sugars removed, but that's just me quibbling to have a slightly less embarrassing efficiency .

Steve,
Yeah, I know, but the holidays were coming up, and if I didn't brew then, it wasn't happening for a while, so I had no choice but to brew it and then abandon it. Plus, it was my birthday, and what better way to celebrate than brew with my fiancee and best friend?

The problem is, my heating pad is one of those new-fangled ones with an auto-off feature that means I need to turn it on every few hours. At some point I'll probably have to buy one of those wraps they sell for brewing buckets and carboys. Also, I may stop by my LHBS next week and see if they have any Belgian yeast in stock, in case the Premier Cuvee keeps at its current sluggish rate.

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