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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > High Gravity Fermentation
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default High Gravity Fermentation

My current beer is northern brewer double ipa with 1.5# of orange blossom added, and two packages of wyeast 1056 american ale. It's been 12 days since brewing day and fermentation appears to be according to plan. The starting gravity was 1.120, and now here are my concerns:

The original recipe was suppose to be 1.086 and now should I have concerns about the yeast stalling due to the alcohol being to high?

I plan to rack this to a 5 gallon carboy for clearing after it's been in the primary fermenter for three weeks. I also plan to dry hop one week before bottling. How long should this clear in my 2nd carboy and at what temperature?

Last question is about priming solution. I usually use two thirds cup of sugar but have read with higher gravity batches I should decrease priming sugar to either one quarter or one half cup sugar to avoid increased sweetness. I do intend to add another package of yeast at bottling to insure carbonation.

Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 04-14-2010, 04:42 PM   #2
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1.120 OG IPA? Wow, that's pretty high. You mentioned 2 packages of the yeast, so I am assuming you didn't use a starter. In that case, the yeast was not enough and you may have issues with attenuation. If they stall out early (it's hard to say what your FG will be without a recipe) you can add a package of some champagne yeast which has a high alcohol tolerance. IIRC the 1056 has a decent alcohol tolerance but not 1.120.

As far as the bottling sugar, if you are confident that it is 100% done fermenting, add the normal amount. I think people would add less because they are worried it isn't done fermenting and they will get bottle bombs.

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Old 04-14-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. This was an extract recipe that called for 12# of pilsen and I added the 1.5# honey as an experiment. The original gravity was suppose to be 1.086, and now it's sitting at 1.120. It appears that I underestimated the effect the honey had on the gravity. The yeast was an Activator slap pack and the fermentation does not appear to be outside of the norm.

The main reason why I thought this would be alright is that northern brewers barley wine recipe had a slightly higher gravity but used the same yeast and suggested using another pack at bottling.

The reason why I used two packs was based of a suggestion from a friend. So any ideas on what to expect here?

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:05 PM   #4
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Is this a 5g recipe? Because if so the 1.120 still seems significantly higher for just 1.5# of honey.

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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Carnie,

Yes this is a five gallon batch. I just put the recipie through a gravity calculator and it said on the high end it should be 1.101 for starting gravity and final should be around 1.027. Maybe I made a mistake in my reading of the hydrometer, but I remember looking at the reading saying to myself well that's quite a bit higher than I anticipated and logged the measurement on my computer.

Thank you for the replies. What's done is done, and after doing some reading on yeast with high gravity I started worrying about the possibility of this batch having an incomplete ferment. So I would assume I hope for the final gravity to be in that 1.027 range and chalk it up as an error in my initial measurement.

Now lets assume the worst and the final gravity is no where near that number what are my options? The first reply suggested using a different kind of yeast.

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Old 04-14-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
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Well, if the yeast stalls I would say it is most likely due to the alcohol content. Because of that, warming it up or swirling the carboy wouldn't do anything. You will probably need to pitch a more alcohol tolerant yeast to finish it. But first let it finish up. If the gravity comes near what you expect, then you should be fine.

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Old 04-14-2010, 07:23 PM   #7
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wow, that is going to be like rocket fuel if you try and drink it with a normal IIPA timeline. I would let it be, maybe warm it up a bit and leave it. Check the gravity and get back but I wouldn't do anything until you know it has stopped and may be a while with that kind of gravity.

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Old 04-14-2010, 07:56 PM   #8
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Sounds like a plan to me. I'll check the gravity next Thursday and hope for it to be in that range. I'll post what I come up with in this thread. Thanks for the insight.

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Old 04-14-2010, 09:09 PM   #9
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I did some more reading on wyeastlab.com regarding high gravity batches. It mentions that one needs one million cells per millileter per degree plato. It goes on to state that for a 5 gallon wort that a single package of activator gives about 6 million cells per millileter. So technically I should have used 4 to 5 packages of activator for this batch?

I know I'm getting somewhat ahead of myself here, but it appears the only high gravity yeast that wyeast makes is the 3787 Trappist High Gravity which is tolerant up to 14%. So if I have an incomplete ferment could this be a viable option to finish it off? The issue I see with adding more yeast to this batch is not having enough oxygen for it to finish the job.

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Old 04-15-2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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Just a little update here in that I have increased the temp to 66° and the airlock bubbles about once every 40 seconds and I'm 12 days post brewing. To me it seems everything is going well without checking the gravity.

I'd like to ask a few questions about using a yeast starter as well as incorporate the understanding above taken from wyeast's web site suggesting that one package of activator would be a suitable amount for six degrees plato. This beer I'm brewing assuming my initial gravity was correct would have a plato of 28.

So per the web site I should have used 5 packages of activator. Now if I were to use a starter would I do that with just one package of activator or more. I guess I was under the assumption that if the activator was given time to swell that would be my starter.

Thanks in advance.

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