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Old 06-28-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
tonyolympia
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I am on day 9 of fermenting a 1055 OG APA with Wyeast 1272, American Ale II. I pitched a 1 liter starter at 66F. The temp rose to 70F in 24 hours where it has held since.* My yeast fermented vigorously for a few days and then flocculated, by about day 5, I'd say.

(*There was an episode yesterday--day 8 of fermentation--where the carboy rose to 74F for about 6 hours because the room got too hot. I moved it to another room, and it returned to 70.)

Back to my story. This morning I took a gravity reading, expecting to be at FG, but I was about .005 high. I'm trying to understand why.

Here's what the Wyeast web site says about 1272:

With many of the best qualities that brewers look for when brewing American styles of beer, this strain’s performance is consistent and it makes great beer. This versatile strain is a very good choice for a “House” strain. Expect a soft, clean profile with hints of nut, and a slightly tart finish. Ferment at warmer temperatures to accentuate hop character with an increased fruitiness. Or, ferment cool for a clean, light citrus character. It attenuates well and is reliably flocculent, producing bright beer without filtration.

Origin:
Flocculation: Medium-High
Attenuation: 72-76%
Temperature Range: 60-72F, 15-22C
Alcohol Tolerance: 10% ABV


And in their brochure:

Expect good attenuation, but this will vary with grist makeup, mashing protocol, or other wort characteristics.


With an 1055 OG, 72-76% attenuation would be 1013 - 1015. This morning I'm at ~1020. My first thought was this could be fixed by a little yeast rousing, a little heat, and a whole lot of patience. I can do all that.

My second thought was that I might have already fully attenuated, based on my grist makeup and mashing protocol. My APA was mashed at 154 for one hour, and the grain bill contains .25 lbs CaraPils/Dextrin Malt, which is 5% for a 2.5 gallon batch. I purposefully chose this mash temp and grain addition to provide body and head retention. The problem is that since this is my first all grain batch, I don't understand whether, how, or the extent to which these choices might have limited the fermentability of my wort.

My specific question is this: is it possible that full attenuation in this instance could be 1020? Is it possible to get full attenuation outside of the 72-76% range cited by Wyeast?

Incidentally, the hydro sample was delicious. I don't know if I'm tasting the Munich malt (see below for my recipe) or the slight nutty flavor that Wyeast promised, but right now this APA has a wonderful hazelnut flavor. It's beguiling, really. I've been thinking about it all day.

If this beer doesn't hit 1015 after another two weeks I won't mind a bit. I just don't want to bottle when the yeast might have more work to do--I'm afraid of bottle bombs. I also see this as an opportunity to get to know the yeast better.

Any thoughts from yeast experts and experienced brewers would be welcome.


Here's the beer:

American Pale Ale

2.5 Gallon batch (3.8 gallon pre-boil, 3 gallon post-boil)
OG 1.055
~27 IBU
~8 SRM

4lb 2-Row Malt
0.75lb Munich Malt (10 L)
0.25lb CaraPils
(All crushed for BIAB)

Mash at 154 F

.25 oz loose Simcoe - FWH
.25 Simcoe - 10 minutes
.25 Simcoe - 1 minute

Boil 60 minutes

Ferment at ~68 F with Wyeast 1272, American Ale II

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyolympia View Post
how much exactly do grain bill and mashing protocol influence the final fermentability of wort?
Probably more than you think. Mash & fermentation conditions are key. If I were in your shoes I'd rouse & maybe raise ferment temp. a tad.

How well the yeast was handled and it's viability also matters.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soperbrew

How well the yeast was handled and it's viability also matters.
The yeast was a pretty recent vintage. Not sure of the date, but something like 10-14 days prior to purchase.

I think that I handled the yeast carefully. I was certainly careful in making my starter. However, I did have a Three Stooges moment right before pitching where I stupidly shook the starter (rather than swirling) and some of it sprayed on my face. (I don't think I lost too much of it.)
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:14 AM   #4
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I stupidly shook the starter (rather than swirling) and some of it sprayed on my face.
I think that's called a yeastkake. Looks like you're ok.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:05 AM   #5
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My pale with 5% crystal, 154 mash temp went from 1.046 to 1.012 for about 72% so the yeast isn't a super strong worker but it's not a slouch either. Try warming it and rousing, if it doesn't do anything bottle it on up.

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Old 06-29-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
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I used 1272 once in a pale. 148 mash temp, 80% Golden Promise, 17% combined caramel malts and 3% carapils. 1.053 - 1.0105, ~80% ADF. I pitched around .8 million cells/mL/ºP and O2'd to about 12ppm (3 Lpm for 27 seconds in 5.5 gallons of wort).
Pitched at 65F and held for 2 days then let warm to 70F until finished.
After 4 days it was at 1.017 and it took another 11 days to hit 1.0105. There was very little CO2 being produced from day 5 to day 15 but there was still krausen.

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Old 06-29-2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampassJ
Try warming it and rousing, if it doesn't do anything bottle it on up.
I warmed and roused last night, so we'll see.

Is it really OK to bottle a beer that you expected to reach 1015, but is stuck at 1020? I won't have to worry about gushers or bombs?

I'm getting the hang of brewing pretty well, mastering the techniques and concepts, but for some reason I have a block with this one.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t
I used 1272 once in a pale. 148 mash temp, 80% Golden Promise, 17% combined caramel malts and 3% carapils. 1.053 - 1.0105, ~80% ADF. I pitched around .8 million cells/mL/ºP and O2'd to about 12ppm (3 Lpm for 27 seconds in 5.5 gallons of wort).
Pitched at 65F and held for 2 days then let warm to 70F until finished.
After 4 days it was at 1.017 and it took another 11 days to hit 1.0105. There was very little CO2 being produced from day 5 to day 15 but there was still krausen.
Thanks, dstar. I pitched more yeast than you and fermented warmer, but my mash temp was 6 degrees higher. I had slightly more CaraPils than you. I don't know how Munich compares to crystal malts in terms of fermentability. In any case I'll wait it out for another week to see if gravity drops at all.

I almost wish I hadn't roused and warmed the yeast last night. It looked so pathetic all swirled up and greenish-gray, when it had been so tight and prettily stratified at the bottom of the carboy.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:03 PM   #9
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Wait one more week then test. If it's done at 1.020 it's done, not too high like 1.030 or 1.040 where you wouldn't have a drinkable beer.

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Old 05-27-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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