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Old 12-17-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
cinderbike
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Default High-gravity belgians, under-pitching, and yeast strains.

I'm putting together a recipe for a high-gravity quad (quintuppel?) in the 14% ABV range. I know that, traditionally, with high gravity beers, you want a HUGE starter and aerate the heck out of it, but I usually underpitch if I'm doing a Belgian to entice the yeast to throw off more esters.

Anyone have experience with ultra high-gravity Belgians and yeast behavior? Or just additional tips & tricks? This will be my first beer to break the 1.100 barrier.

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Old 12-17-2012, 09:35 PM   #2
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i wouldn't underpitch that big a beer. the environment will be stressful enough with all that sugar in there. you're going to need a lot of soldiers to conquer that hill.

i would consider adding sugar in waves after primary has starter. that way you'll start off with a 1.080 (for example) beer, but through the addition of sugar on days 3, 5 and 7 you ramp it up to 1.100.

i don't have any experience brewing a belgian that big, but i'm not sure that there is any belgian ale yeast that can get you to 14%. you might want to start off with a belgian yeast and see where it gets you, and have some high-gravity yeast (wlp099 or a wine/champagne yeast) ready to take over once the belgian craps out. if you go with 099, be sure to get it going in a starter first and pitch at high krausen. you want those bugs active before going into a ~10% ABV environment.

there are several excellent threads on this forum that discuss high-gravity brewing - excellent resources.

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