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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > keeping yeast happy for an upcomming brew....
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:54 PM   #1
MattTimBell
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Default keeping yeast happy for an upcomming brew....

Hey folks,

So, after having a really good experience brewing a Belgian Dark Strong last year, I'm approaching another, this time tweaking it in a couple ways that I'm anticipating could make for a stuck fermentation if I'm not careful. I was wondering if people would weigh in with techniques?

My plan is to mash the following at around 152 deg. F:

10 lbs pale
2 lbs special "B"
2 lbs toasted, flaked corn

Then, at some point, I intend to add 6 lbs honey, caramelized over the stovetop as if I were making a Bochet instead of using candi syrup. According to my brew program, the OG is anticipated around 1.101.

The last time I made a dark strong, I added the sugars later, just as the primary fermentation began to calm down. This time, I'm thinking of doing so again with the honey by boiling the grain-based wort down to 4 gal, then diluting the caramelized honey (which has to be re-dissolved in water anyway) with water to make 1 gal by volume, to bring the total up to 5 gal.

My questions:

1) I'm thinking of starting out primary fermentation by pitching a starter made from a vial of White Labs belgian yeast, probably Abbey Style Ale. How big a starter should I be looking at?

2) Is it a good idea to add the honey later, as I've suggested? Or, is it more trouble than it's worth? Worse, am I risking something by adding 1 gal of must to the wort at that stage? Would I be better of seperately fermenting the honey, say with a separate pitch of a neutral yeast like champaign yeast, then combine the beer and the de-facto mead in secondary?

3) Yeast nutrient? I've made minimal use of this in the past, and then only DAP, not Servomyces or anything like that. When is this called for, when do I add it, etcetera?

4) Any other techniques I should consider?

Thanks!

-- Matt

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
dcp27
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1) around 2L without a stirplate, about 1.2L with intermittent shaking, 1L with a stirplate

2) if you plan to add that much honey (I wouldn't), then I'd stagger it over a few days during high krausen.

3) should be fine without it, but I'd add some DAP to the bochet

4) its your beer so def make it how you want, but i'd consider changing the recipe. this does not sound like a good BDSA to me, more like a braggot. with that much sugar & corn (nearly half the fermentables combined!), its going to be a very thin body. i would ditch or significantly reduce the corn & half the honey. also, as much as it pains me cuz i love the stuff, thats just too much special B

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Old 09-21-2012, 06:20 PM   #3
MattTimBell
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Thanks! That's really helpful!

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Old 09-21-2012, 07:59 PM   #4
william_shakes_beer
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I have added small amounts of honey at flameout. I have never done a large hit of honey, but if I were I'd add it just after high krausen, to ensure the yeast attenuates the malt properly. Kinda like giving your kids dessert only after they finish their spinach. Scientifically, my understanding is if you give yeast simple sugars to ferment, they will not propogate to consume the more complex maltose that is present in malted grains.

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