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Old 07-13-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
mttaylor1066
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Default High Gravity Brewers - How's my ale progressing?

I'm brewing up a high gravity Christmas ale (only my second) and I'm wondering how my fermentation is progressing. Any comments will be welcome.

I am using Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale yeast, pitching it in the primary and adding a new culture of 1388 in the secondary.

Here are my gravity readings:

OG = 1.110

at 9 days from first pitching = 1.050

at 33 days from first pitching = 1.040

At 33 days I pitched a new slurry of 1388 and am noticing renewed fermentation in the carboy and bubbling in the air lock... about one bubble every 30 seconds at about 75 degrees ambient temp.


My target gravity is 1.019 to 1.021

Am I on track?... I am planning to age this beer 5-6 months in bottle.

Thanks, guys. I don't know where my blood pressure would be if it wasn't for this forum.

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Old 07-13-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
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I'd be surprised if repitching the same yeast would actually lower the gravity after 33 days, but I guess it is possible. Th eairlock moving again is not really an indicator in that respect. It could be that repitching pulled some CO2 out of solution.

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Old 07-13-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
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Default If it is CO2 leaking out of solution..

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppymonkey View Post
I'd be surprised if repitching the same yeast would actually lower the gravity after 33 days, but I guess it is possible. Th eairlock moving again is not really an indicator in that respect. It could be that repitching pulled some CO2 out of solution.
,,, it sure is doing a good impression of an active fermentation. I see a changing "colony" of bubbles on the surface of the beer. Not exactly krausen, but a nice cloud of bubbles.

I guess only future hydrometer readings will tell the tale.

Monkey-man, what do you think? Am I on track to get to my FG? Does it take several months for an ale this "big" to reach FG?
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:58 PM   #4
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It does take quite a bit longer for a big beer to reach fg, depending upon how much yeast was pitched, how much the wort was aerated, etc. It doesn't sound like you pitched a big starter based upon your post; if not, that will make the fermentation take longer and the fg may not be reached. I would rouse the yeast by swirling the carboy for a few minutes. As for aging, a beer that big will still be plenty green after 5-6 months; I would suggest at least a year.

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Old 07-14-2011, 10:07 AM   #5
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Default Aerated wort, aerated the starters

Avid --

I aerated the original 2L starter for 40 hours and pitched it at full krausen. (It's a 5 gallon batch.)

After cooling the wort to 70 degrees, I aerated the wort for 40 minutes before pitching the yeast starter.

I also aerated the "finisher" starter for 40 hours before crashing it in the fridge, decanting the top 1.5 liters and pitching the remaining half liter.

I figured that, with all the alcohol that is going to be present, I need as healthy a yeast as I could possibly muster.

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Old 07-14-2011, 02:23 PM   #6
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generally when you add more yeast to a stuck ferment you want to pitch it while active since its going into a harsh environment. you'll lose a lot more cells pitching them dormant.

the original starter was pretty underpitched, so its not surprising, but it really should be moving along quicker than that.

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:14 PM   #7
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Default DCP, what size starter should have been pitched?

See next post...

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:16 PM   #8
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Default DCP, what size starter should have been pitched?

I thought 2 liters was a pretty good size starter.

I'm +2 days from pitching the "finisher" and, although I haven't taken a hydrometer reading, it seems to be fermenting at a pretty good rate. (Yes, yes, I know that airlock activity isn't a good measure!)

I'm going to wait until +10 days from the last yeast pitch to take another hydrometer reading. (I'm out of town for most of the coming week.)

I crashed the "finisher" and decanted the top layer of beer as to not upset the final flavor profile of the ale. A bad strategy?

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:27 PM   #9
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for some reason flash doesnt work on this computer, but i think mr malty puts the starter around 2x that: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

i guess combined it puts you there, but i wouldnt recommend that method going forward. in a beer of this size it puts you at some serious risk of creating fusel alcohols (harsh, solvent-like) by underpitching.

crashing and decanting the 'finisher' can work, but its not optimal.

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mttaylor1066 View Post
(Yes, yes, I know that airlock activity isn't a good measure!)
A lot of people don't buy into that rubbish. It's kind of obvious that when you pitched more yeast you started another round of fermentation vs. an off gassing. I can easily tell by my airlock when my beer is done. It's just suggested that newbies don't use it instead of a Hydrometer to gauge the finished beer.
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