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Old 11-27-2011, 10:41 AM   #1
bryan567
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Default 20% abv beer, 100%fail.

Hi,

So I tried to brew a 20% abv beer and recently decided it is a failure. I'm not here to talk about what I did or why it failed (although Im prefectly willing to if anyone is interested). I have a good idea what went wrong and what to do differently next time. I'd like to get your opinions on what (if anything) I can do to make this failure drinkable.

It started at 1.179 and stopped at 1.078 which leaves it at 14% abv and is, of course, undrinkable. Thing is, underneath the unbearable sweetness, it actually smells and tastes really good!

Pitching an active starter of a high alcohol tolerant yeast would probably drop it a few points more, but I doubt adding more yeast will ever get it down to drinkable levels.

Im thinking pitching some bugs and let them have a go at the remaining sugar. I know lacto and pedio have a alcohol tolerance of around 9 and brett is at around 12, so Im thinking dilute with water untill the alcohol is down to bug tolerable levels and let them work out the rest.

What do you guys think?

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Old 11-27-2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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Lalvin EC-118 might push it up to 18% if you mashed cold enough

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Old 11-27-2011, 11:56 AM   #3
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If you're going to dilute with water, you could do the same thing with normal yeast anyways...

And you could always remove it afterwards by way of freeze distillation.

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Old 11-27-2011, 12:08 PM   #4
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Diluting 50:50 it would be a simple solution. Play around with beersmith - you might need to boil some hops on stovetop and add to get correct bitterness ratio. Then pitch new yeast. Good luck.

If you don't want to dilute, you could add amylase enzymes and hope for further fermentation. This only corrects poor fermentabiliity due to bad mash temps. If I was in your shoes I'd give this a try (and I'd add more yeast).

BTW, bugs (bacteria) won't help. They are not cool with high-alcohol. Popular wisdom says they are good to about 8%.

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Old 11-27-2011, 12:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn
If you don't want to dilute, you could add amylase enzymes and hope for further fermentation. This only corrects poor fermentabiliity due to bad mash temps. If I was in your shoes I'd give this a try (and I'd add more yeast).
It's a 14% beer. Adding amylase is just going to make it sweeter. It's a pretty safe assumption, especially so far from a reasonable FG, that it stalled due to the alcohol level.

There could very well be a fermentability issue, but it's almost certainly not the wall he's currently run into, and it will be impossible to tell if such an issue exists until he addresses the issue he's currently facing.

To add amylase now would be seriously jumping the gun, especially since there's nothing to suggest a lack of fermentable sugars. In fact, the fact that it tastes sickeningly sweet is a damn good indicator that there are plenty of fermentable sugars still remaining in the beer.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emjay View Post
It's a 14% beer. Adding amylase is just going to make it sweeter. It's a pretty safe assumption, especially so far from a reasonable FG, that it stalled due to the alcohol level.

There could very well be a fermentability issue, but it's almost certainly not the wall he's currently run into, and it will be impossible to tell if such an issue exists until he addresses the issue he's currently facing.

To add amylase now would be seriously jumping the gun, especially since there's nothing to suggest a lack of fermentable sugars. In fact, the fact that it tastes sickeningly sweet is a damn good indicator that there are plenty of fermentable sugars still remaining in the beer.
Yep, you are right.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:33 PM   #7
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Experiment with water dilution in taster cups. Maybe 1/3rd water will pull the sweetness down.

20% is pretty ambitious.

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Old 11-27-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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I'd brew something else with some champagne yeast and then rack onto the yeast cake before watering it down.

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Old 11-27-2011, 01:44 PM   #9
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I'd make a decent size starter with EC-1118, and try it out on a gallon as a test batch.

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Old 11-27-2011, 02:12 PM   #10
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WLP-099 and forget it.

Really - make a five gallon starter (something with a lot of hops - it throws unpleasant esters that take a while to age out IMO) of something low gravity, then pitch your monstrosity onto the cake and forget about it for a year. This stuff is a beast.

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