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Old 01-22-2011, 01:30 AM   #1
tomwirsing
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Default High gravity behavior

I'm fermenting my first real high gravity brew, a belgian strong dark ale. I brewed on 1-1-11. OG was 1.115. Today, on 1-20-11, I'm at 1.070.

Both carboys were rocking less than 24 hours after pitching with WLP500. I'm just wondering what sort of behavior is typical for brews of this gravity. While I'm RDWHAHB (The mild I made from the 2nd runnings is the homebrew I'm enjoying), should I be rocking these carboys or doing anything else to address a possible stuck fermentation?



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Old 01-22-2011, 02:03 AM   #2
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What was your recipe/procedures?



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Old 01-22-2011, 02:05 AM   #3
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How much yeast did you pitch? My last imperial stout (og 1.095) fermented to 1.025 whithin 5 days with s-o4. I pitched 75 ml of slurry in a 3 gallon batch. With high gravity beers it's all about yeast count/viability and well oxygenated (sp?) wort.

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Old 01-22-2011, 04:36 AM   #4
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I would get some WY 1388 or 3787 on order. Direct pitching into 1.115 you have to have your shiat together, lots can go wrong yeast-wise.

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Old 01-22-2011, 04:40 AM   #5
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we need to know how much yeast you pitched...

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Old 01-22-2011, 11:59 AM   #6
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Each carboy has about 4-4 a little more than 4 gallons. I pitched about 6 fluid ounces of slurry in each.

The slurry was a combination of two harvests. Around 11/09 I harvested some WLP500 from a winter warmer(OG 1.078) I made. This harvest was in 2 mason jars. Half of this harvest was used to make a Belgian tripple (OG 1.085) earlier this year and harvested 12/10. The tripple started quickly and finished properly. bined the 11/09 and 12/10 harvests for the BDSA.

The BDSA I'm concerned with also got going within 24 hours.

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Old 01-22-2011, 01:11 PM   #7
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man, 1-2 months seems like an awful long time to go with harvested slurry without making a starter before pitching, much less OVER A YEAR!!!

My bet is that your viable cell count dropped enough during storage that you were only pitching maybe .5-1 oz of viable healthy yeast even though you had 6 oz of slurry.

Any time I'm re-pitching slurry without making a starter, 1 week is the maximum amount of storage time from harvest to re-pitch. I think this is a pretty common rule of thumb in commercial settings as well.

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Old 01-22-2011, 01:12 PM   #8
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Lone Oak Design provided the inspiration:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f71/belgian-dark-strong-ale-hbt-contest-winner-18e-141311/

Ingredient Name Amount
Belgian Pilsner 35 lbs, 8 oz
Amber Candi Sugar 2 lbs, 4 oz
Turbinado Sugar 2 lbs, 0 oz
Weyermann Cara Munich III ® 1 lbs, 5 oz
Aromatic 1 lbs, 0 oz
Special B 0 lbs, 11 oz
Weyermann Chocolate Rye 0 lbs, 6 oz
Magnum Pellets, GR 1.6 oz @ 90 mins
Hersbrucker, German Pellets 1.3 oz @ 15 mins
Hersbrucker, German Pellets 0.7 oz @ 2 mins
Brewer's Garden Paradise Seed 1 ea @ 2 mins

My mas was 32 ounces per pound and seemed to be around 154. I'm getting frustrated with my thermometer and may upgrade, but that doesn't help with this. My sparge water was hot, about 180. I fly sparge, sort of. I pitcher in hot water that pour over a spaghetti spoon to break the stream. I boiled for 2 hours and probably yielded about 9 gallons.

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Old 01-22-2011, 01:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strat_thru_marshall View Post
man, 1-2 months seems like an awful long time to go with harvested slurry without making a starter before pitching, much less OVER A YEAR!!!

My bet is that your viable cell count dropped enough during storage that you were only pitching maybe .5-1 oz of viable healthy yeast even though you had 6 oz of slurry.

Any time I'm re-pitching slurry without making a starter, 1 week is the maximum amount of storage time from harvest to re-pitch. I think this is a pretty common rule of thumb in commercial settings as well.
The yeast that sat 10 or 11 months chewed right through the tripple. The yeast from the tripple was half my slurry and pitched after 1 week. The yeast I pitched did not seem troubled at all as it started right up. Pointing out weaknesses in what I did has value for future batches, but doesn't help with the current batch.

The current batch is my concern. What would be typical change in gravity for a beer at 1.115? How slowly would the FG be reached in ideal conditions (I'm guesing a bit longer than normal, but not sure)? Does it sound like stuck fermentation? If 1.070 after 3 weeks is indicative of stuck fermentation, what steps can I take to re-start?
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:04 AM   #10
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I would re-pitch with a healthy starter of the same yeast.

A while back while making a big Belgian using my favorite WLP 575 I had thought it went from 1.098 to 1.012 in less than a week. Instead I was tired and using a new hydrometer and just read it wrong....it was really at 1.035. Found this out by tasting a sample after 4 weeks in the secondary and it was still very sweet (Great tasting though) and then re-testing it. Just made another huge starter of the same yeast and it finished down to 1.013 in a few more days. By accident, one of my best Belgians to date.

"What would be typical change in gravity for a beer at 1.115?"

Just depends on the yeast....and the temperature parameters affecting fermentation and attenuation of said yeast. I find that the temp of fermentation is more critical with Belgians than any other style. I like the WLP500 and it should reach 75-80%...or more if conditions are just right which would bring you to around 1.025.



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Last edited by norsk; 01-23-2011 at 05:18 AM.
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