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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Help with under pitched Belgium brew
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:15 AM   #1
Fredderick
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Default Help with under pitched Belgium brew

I screwed up and didn't make a starter... Just a brain fart... This was 8 weeks ago... It's in a secondary and still appears to be actively fermenting... The temp is 52 and the original gravity was 1.091

I just measured the gravity and it is down to 1.021...I took the reading with a refractometer and did the conversion to get that number.

Should I rack it to a co2 filled or fermenter and pitch another package of yeast or a starter?

Or should I just dump it out and start over given the fact there is still 4 months of conditioning left?

If you have any other suggestions just let me know.

Thanks!

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:22 AM   #2
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Get that temp up! Any way to move it into the mid-70's?

But at this point, it needs to get off that yeast cake before the old yeasties start talking about how bad they have it and possibly turn the beer southward. I would either pitch a pack or two of Saison yeast, or 2 packs of K1V (wine yeast) to hopefully finish it off.

Rack it - Pitch it- Let it do it's thing

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by KeystoneHomebrew View Post
Get that temp up! Any way to move it into the mid-70's?

But at this point, it needs to get off that yeast cake before the old yeasties start talking about how bad they have it and possibly turn the beer southward. I would either pitch a pack or two of Saison yeast, or 2 packs of K1V (wine yeast) to hopefully finish it off.

Rack it - Pitch it- Let it do it's thing
Ok, thanks... I can move it to high 60's.

Should I use the same yeast I already used or is there a reason you recommended the yeasts you have
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:31 AM   #4
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Are you sure it's still fermenting and not just off-gassing? After 8 weeks, any saccharomyces-only brew should be done fermenting. If it really is still actively fermenting, raise the temp as suggested above. You could easily go to 80F without damaging the beer, since you're roughly 7.5 weeks past the actively reproducing phase. Adding more yeast won't help; by this time they've built the population up enough to ferment what's there. Moving it to secondary before it's done fermenting will probably just stress the yeast more, since you'd have far fewer yeast to deal with those 9%ABV conditions.

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:33 AM   #5
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You say it's in secondary? That means you are off the bulk of the yeast. You can leave it where it is for a good while yeat.

What yeast? 52 is way too low for just about all ale yeasts. Most Belgian yeasts like the 70s. I just used Duvel yeast, where I ran it up into the 80s after several days to get it to finish.

Warm it up into the 70s and see what happens before doing anything.

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:36 AM   #6
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I suggested those yeast because they are aggressive. You've created a hostile environment.

As kingwood-kid is eluding to, there are a few factors that are at play here. Get that temp up for at least a few days and check your gravity. If it drops, you've simply put your yeast to sleep and they woke up again.

If the gravity doesn't move, rack it, and get some strong yeast in there to finish it out.

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid View Post
Are you sure it's still fermenting and not just off-gassing? After 8 weeks, any saccharomyces-only brew should be done fermenting. If it really is still actively fermenting, raise the temp as suggested above. You could easily go to 80F without damaging the beer, since you're roughly 7.5 weeks past the actively reproducing phase. Adding more yeast won't help; by this time they've built the population up enough to ferment what's there. Moving it to secondary before it's done fermenting will probably just stress the yeast more, since you'd have far fewer yeast to deal with those 9%ABV conditions.
No, I am not sure it's actively fermenting... It very well could be just off gassing now that you mention it because I can see lots of little bubbles sliding up the side of the carboy that is adding to what I thought was krausen but it could be just the result of off gassing

What should I do to determine this and what are my next steps?
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeystoneHomebrew View Post
I suggested those yeast because they are aggressive. You've created a hostile environment.

As kingwood-kid is eluding to, there are a few factors that are at play here. Get that temp up for at least a few days and check your gravity. If it drops, you've simply put your yeast to sleep and they woke up again.

If the gravity doesn't move, rack it, and get some strong yeast in there to finish it out.
Ok, thank you!
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:56 AM   #9
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Most typical wyeast belgian strains have an apparent attenuation of 73-78%, and an optimum fermentation temperature range of 64-76F. Typically the lower attenuation percentages are associated to the lower temperatures while the higher attenuations are associated with higher temperatures; of course your mash temperature will have an influence on this as well, as will your fermentation temperature schedule. Based on your gravities, you're currently sitting at about 75.3% attenuation which is in the lower half of the proper AA rates for most typical wyeast strains. A 78% AA would yield a FG of ~1.018. The point is that you are in the correct range of attenuation for most typical wyeast belgian strains. Increasing your fermenter temperature might just help it finish up but you are letting a high alcohol brew sit on stressed yeast for quite a while already. If you don't like the current outcome of your brew then you can definitely use more/other yeast to _hopefully_ get it to attenuate a bit more.

Edit: I assume you're doing a golden strong or dark strong based on your starting gravity? The former would want to get a bit lower (1.016) while the latter is fine right where it's at (1.021-1.022).

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:04 AM   #10
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Before you even ponder dumping it or adding more yeast, how does it taste? As Stpug said, you're pretty close to what your final gravity should be, unless your recipe used a ton of sugar or your belgian yeast is a mixed culture.

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