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Old 01-31-2012, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Tricks for Fermenting over 10% ???

Accidentally posted this in the Gluten Free section....

I have a brew for a big Doppelbock, shooting for 10.5% to 11%, and am looking for tips of getting beyond that 10% mark. I've made big beers in the past, but the only two really BIG beers I made stopped too early and were way too cloyingly sweet to drink (attempts to kickstart the fermentation failed).

I'll be pitching ontop of a cake from a 7.5% Traditional Bock, and will be mashing the Doppelbock at 155F for 75 min on a HERMS re-circulation system.

I don't use an air pump, but rather just shake the hell out of the fermenter until I get a good foam, and I'll be fermenting at 50F and bump up to 55F by the end of the ferment before racking for lagering.

I've had issues breaking that 10% barrier in the past, and am hoping that someone could perhaps offer some wisdom and tips on what they've done in the past to get up high with minimal fusel alcohols, and a not too sweet finish.

For those wondering, my grainbill looks like this:

15# Munich
5# German Pils
1# Caramunich
.25# Carafa III
2# Munich Extract Syrup (added at 30 min left in boil)

Anticipated OG: 1.111 (78% Eff)
Hopeful FG: 1.026

I'm asking about this particular recipe, but any tips to help any beer get over that hump would be awesome!

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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Maybe ferment at a little higher temperature. I've got a Belgian Dark Strong in secondary now that reached 9.5% in a hurry. I left it in a 67 degree room in a swamp cooler which I iced to keep fermentation temps in the high 70's at peak.

Don't know what lager yeast you are using, but Wyeast recommends 45-68 degrees for 2124 (Bohemian Lager), so fermenting in the low 60's might help your attenuation without much in the way of off flavors.

I wonder if pitching on a yeast cake that has already had a pretty big beer on it is a good idea. I've always heard that yeast subjected to alcohol levels that high will be too stressed to give good results a second time around. That's just what I've heard, though, no data to back that up.

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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Raising the temperature up a few degrees at the tail end of fermentation may be a good idea. Too soon and you will still produce a lot of those fusels. For things that big, I'd recommend investing in an oxygenation set up. You'll get your money's worth out of it before too long. With that gravity I suspect shaking will not get to optimal O2 levels. If you don't oxygenate, definitely shake the ever living crap out of it, wait some time, and repeat. pitch a boat load of yeast, and then repeat again.

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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Bring your mash temp down to 148-150 and extend it to 90 minutes.

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Old 01-31-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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If you are pitching on a full yeast cake, you'll be overpitching by quite a bit, so aeration is not as big of a deal because the yeast are not having to multiply much if at all.

I brewed a dopplebock last December and pitched the yeast cake from a helles, and the fermentation took off like a bat out of hell, even at 50 degrees. It actually overattenuated and my 9% dopple became a 10% and completed fermentation in a few days. I did hit it with O2 before hand, but I don't think it mattered since fermentation started within an hour (there was no lag/replication phase at all). I warmed it to 58 near the end to help the yeast finish and clean up.

I've since bottled it and am aging it for a while, but I had a sample bottle last week and it's tasting pretty good.

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Old 01-31-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
Bring your mash temp down to 148-150 and extend it to 90 minutes.
I don't want to sacrifice the maltiness, however, I'm guessing with all the Munich malt, that wont be too much of a concern?
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgardener View Post
I don't want to sacrifice the maltiness, however, I'm guessing with all the Munich malt, that wont be too much of a concern?
step mash
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgardener View Post
I don't want to sacrifice the maltiness, however, I'm guessing with all the Munich malt, that wont be too much of a concern?
All that munich is your "Ying". You need some "yang" to pull against all that huge malt profile.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
All that munich is your "Ying". You need some "yang" to pull against all that huge malt profile.
Beautifully put
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:57 PM   #10
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In order of easy to hard (or cheap to expensive):
Mash temp conforms to style
Pitch proper amount of yeast
Add yeast nutrient/aeration
Maintain proper ferment temps
Add oxygen to get above 8ppm ceiling from stirring

You could mash lower to get a more fermentable wort, but might result in a thinner beer. You could over pitch your yeast but might thin the beer or sap the bitterness of all your hops. You can raise the fermentation temps but try to keep them within the manufacturers spec for the first 72-96 hours to let the yeast impart the proper ester profiles.

Even mashing low, over pitching, and fermenting warm chances are you'll make a good beer, but with a little work that good beer will become great.

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