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Old 04-06-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
atbrown
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Default Syrupy brew - anything I can do?

OK, I'm new to this site and relatively new to brewing. I've made a few extract and specialty grain brews with no problems at all. However I am not satisfied with the results of one of my brews and am wondering if it's too late to fix it. I brewed an imperial stout with an OG of 1.09 and an FG of 1.03 which tells me my efficiency was a little lower than I had anticipated. I continued to bottle it anyway and they have been conditioning at room temp in bottles for two months now. They taste very good, but they are pretty syrupy. And kind of flat, although they do make a slight hiss when opened. Or maybe since they're flat, they feel syrupy? I don't know, but I'm unsatisfied with them.

If it's due to being flat, then should I...

1) ...gently poor (or siphon) them back into a bucket and add more priming sugar, then re-bottle them?

2) ...add a small amount of sugar to each individual bottle and recap?

3) ...wait until I can afford a kegging system and carbonate them with that?

Or if it's due to the high FG (and maybe residual priming sugar) then should I pour them back into a carboy and repitch the yeast? Maybe a different (but similar) strand of yeast which maybe be able to convert some of the left over sugars the original yeast couldn't? The original yeast was Wyeast British Ale 1098.

Also, the original yeast packet contained roughly 100 billion cells, but I have read in John Palmer's 'How to Brew' that an OG of 1.09 might have required 2 or 3 of these packets instead of one. Could that have been a problem? I don't entirely understand that since I thought yeast multiplied anyways.

I have had plenty of imperial stouts that had a higher OG than mine, that were a lot less thicker. I'd hate to waste a perfectly tasting, syrupy brew. Any suggestions?



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Old 04-06-2011, 04:00 PM   #2
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Some reading for you, in the future:
http://beerdujour.com/Howtobrewabigbeer.htm

You didn't pitch enough yeast and your attenuation was poor, leaving too much residual sugar. You needed a starter. Yeast can and do multiply in the wort, but you need enough yeast initially to ferment properly.

I don't think you can really do anything about it now, except use it as a learning lesson.



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Old 04-06-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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One thing to keep in mind is that a beer of that magnitude isn't intended to be consumed within a few months anyway. Its high gravity will result in (among other things) a slow rate of carbonation, which is likely why you only get a slight hiss from them now. I would recommend just setting it aside for 6 months or so and test them again then. Improved carbonation will help out a bit with the consistency and the added aging will help the stout flavors blend a bit. Overall, I'd say you're just judging this one too young.

I made the same mistake on one of my earliest batches; FG ended up somewhere around 1.032, at which point I bottled, carbed for two weeks and tested, only to be highly disappointed. After sitting on them for about 6-8 months, I discovered that carbonation had magically returned and they tasted a lot smoother.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:23 AM   #4
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Cool, thank you both for the quick replies. I'll just wait for a few more months and see what happens. In the meantime, I'll check out that link on big beers.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:32 AM   #5
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Just wanted to clarify that your use of the word "efficiency" is incorrect. What you really meant to say was "attenuation".

Efficiency (in brewing terms) generally refers to the amount of sugars you extract from the malts. In your case since you're using extracts for the beer, you don't even have to worry about efficiency.


I would also say pitching more yeast with the higher OG beers should help you attenuate better, although the yeast strain used and fermentation temperature(s) also play a part in this.


From your description of the low carbonation it sounds like maybe you didn't use enough priming sugar, or another explanation is that perhaps you didn't mix it well with your beer when you were bottling, and some bottles will end up being more highly carbonated.

How exactly did you go about priming this batch? Do you use a priming bucket? How do you add the sugar? etc.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:33 AM   #6
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You definitely under pitched.

1 dry packet of yeast is designed to be pitched into a wort of under 1.050. So next time pitch some more yeast.

Check out Mr Malty's Pitching Rate Calculator. It's a great tool. According to the calculator you actually need a little over 3 packets for a beer that size. That or a good sized starter with liquid yeast.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post


From your description of the low carbonation it sounds like maybe you didn't use enough priming sugar, or another explanation is that perhaps you didn't mix it well with your beer when you were bottling, and some bottles will end up being more highly carbonated.
I wouldn't worry so much about that. With larger beers 3 months is a pretty standard amount of time for proper carbonation.


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