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Old 06-10-2011, 05:51 PM   #1
Bradmont
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Default Belgian dubbel fermentation, when to add candi sugar?

I brewed up a batch on Wednesday that's going to be a belgian dubbel(ish). The background is that this is a 2 gal batch that I'm using to step up a yeast I harvested from a bottle before doing the batch I was actually wanting to do (why not make beer instead of just wasting wort?). I'm pretty sure I hadn't grown my yeast quite enough for this batch (I don't have a stir plate, so I'd gradually stepped it up to 750ml, decanted, then gave it 2l of wort, let that ferment out, and pitched it). The fermentation is about 40 hours in and the SG has dropped from 1.058 to 1.024; visible signs of fermentation have stopped (the krausen was already on its way down at about 10 hours).

I am planning on adding a half pound of candi sugar, which should kick the SG up about 8 or 9 points, and I'm wondering if I should do it now or wait for the SG to drop a bit more. Which would be the most beneficial for this beer, given the gravity is still pretty high, but the yeast is likely underpitched?

Thanks!

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Old 06-10-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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I usually add sugars to a strong Belgian beers in the kettle (at knockout). if I add additional sugars I add them as the Krausen starts to fall. The yeast are at their best at that point and are able to take on the challenge of new sugar.

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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Hmm... I didn't want to do it at boil because I knew the gravity was already pretty high for the amount of yeast I had. So you're saying I should do it sooner rather than later? I roused the yeast just now, I doubt they're all that sleepy yet...

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Old 06-10-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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Unless the gravity of the wort is over 1.080 or so not counting the sugar, then I wouldn't bother adding it later, just throw it in the kettle. I did a Belgian Golden Strong ale that clocked in a little over that with a pound of sugar in the boil and it fermented bone dry.

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Old 06-10-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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ghpeel, would you do that even despite not having enough yeast to pitch? I've added the sugar now, and it's off and fermenting visibly again; but I was because I was using yeast I'd harvested from a bottle of a local craft beer and I hadn't stepped up the cell count to a level where it would be able to handle the load.

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Old 06-10-2011, 10:18 PM   #6
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Add it after a few days of fermentation. I usually go about day three, or when the krausen starts to recede. That way your brew almost acts like a big starter. Things then start up fairly quickly again.

I nave done this on a couple of Belgians and a Cuple of Saisons. Works great.

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Old 06-11-2011, 01:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradmont View Post
ghpeel, would you do that even despite not having enough yeast to pitch?
Fair point. Theoretically, if you underpitched, and the yeast happened to start eating the simple sugars first, they would loose their ability to eat the barley sugars.

However, I'm gonna go with "it will work out fine 99% of the time." If you really want to find out more, read Brew Like a Monk. I can't recall what Stan H. says about the timing of sugar additions in there, but he does talk about adding sugar in general. If the monks always add it with the boil, then you are surely fine to do the same.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:46 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input (to the others, too). I added the sugar this afternoon and it took off on a second strong fermentation. I'd like to pick up a copy of brew like a monk (unfortunately I haven't been able to find any brewing books at my local library. ) and a couple others, but my brewing budget is pretty limited right now, so it'll have to wait.

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Old 06-11-2011, 03:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradmont
Thanks for the input (to the others, too). I added the sugar this afternoon and it took off on a second strong fermentation. I'd like to pick up a copy of brew like a monk (unfortunately I haven't been able to find any brewing books at my local library. ) and a couple others, but my brewing budget is pretty limited right now, so it'll have to wait.
+1. Find it and read it when you can. Really really great book about anything belgian.
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Old 06-11-2011, 03:15 AM   #10
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Well, I have a birthday coming up... I'll put it on the list.

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