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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Is it likely my ferment is done?
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:48 AM   #1
Rahahb
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Default Is it likely my ferment is done?

I should have taken a reading a week ago but I'm just now getting to it.

Anyway, brewed a wee heavy 3 weeks ago that had an OG of 1.12. Pitched wyeast 1728 starter I had ramped up over a day and a half. Fermented in low 60s. Allowed temp to rise about a week and a half ago. Gravity is 1.034 now. According to a calculator, apparent attenuation is 68.34 with an abv of 11.5. Alcohol tolerance up to 12% according to wyeast and attenuation from 69-73. So at the low end of attenuation and upper end of alcohol tolerance. I was going to rack to secondary but now I'm just going to leave it alone for a bit and see what you guys think.

This beer is potent!

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:03 AM   #2
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I'd probably leave for a week or so and check it again on a beer that big.

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #3
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Raise the temp to around 70 and see if you can get a few points off.

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Old 10-12-2012, 03:30 AM   #4
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Will leave it another week and see if anything happened.

It has been at 70 for at least a week now.

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Old 10-18-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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Checked gravity and it *may* be a 1.033. Hard to tell when you can't look at the hydro straight on. So it might still be a 1.034. Safe to transfer to secondary?

That brings me to my next question. Since this beer has plenty of sugar left, I'm assuming the yeast stopped working due to the alcohol level. Is that correct? And if so, will the beer have a problem priming?

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Old 10-18-2012, 04:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rahahb View Post
Checked gravity and it *may* be a 1.033. Hard to tell when you can't look at the hydro straight on. So it might still be a 1.034. Safe to transfer to secondary?

That brings me to my next question. Since this beer has plenty of sugar left, I'm assuming the yeast stopped working due to the alcohol level. Is that correct? And if so, will the beer have a problem priming?
I would not assume the yeast is kaput. It's tolerance is approximately 12%, which means (with proper treatment) it can go higher, or might not. I had emailed Wyeast (a while back) about pushing 1728 to 12%, or above. You need to do some work to get the yeast to go above 12%, and sometimes even TO 12%. Proper oxygenation of the wort early on is critical. As is giving it nutrients while brewing it. If you just did the shakey-shakey method, then chances are it's about done. Of course, without knowing the recipe for what you made it's hard to say. If you brewed this as an all grain batch, we would need to know the mash profile. If extract, then it could be done due to the extract used.

BTW, I have a wee heavy in aging vessel currently (target ABV is 12%). It was brewed in December of 2011 and has been sitting with oak for some months. Not sure what the FG is yet, since I've not taken the reading. I DID give it over 8 weeks in primary, on the yeast cake, though. IME with 1728 (and the other ale strains I use from Wyeast) more time on the cake does no harm. Chances are, once you remove it from primary, chances of the yeast doing anything more is pretty much nil.

I'll be kegging my wee heavy, so I don't give a fig about if the yeast is not going to do anything for carbonating the batch. IF you really want to be sure of carbonation happening, then give it more time in primary, then age it as needed (it will need time to age) before going to bottles. You could add a packet of dry (champagne) yeast like Lalvin EC-1118, which is very neutral, to help bottle carbonate. I would add that a day, or so, before you go to bottle it (before racking to the bottling bucket). You could, also, add it as you're racking into the bottling bucket, but be sure to fully rehydrate the yeast first. Also make sure the priming solution is cooled down in the bottom of the bucket so you don't kill off the yeast due to high heat.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:41 PM   #7
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I would not assume the yeast is kaput. It's tolerance is approximately 12%, which means (with proper treatment) it can go higher, or might not. I had emailed Wyeast (a while back) about pushing 1728 to 12%, or above. You need to do some work to get the yeast to go above 12%, and sometimes even TO 12%. Proper oxygenation of the wort early on is critical. As is giving it nutrients while brewing it. If you just did the shakey-shakey method, then chances are it's about done. Of course, without knowing the recipe for what you made it's hard to say. If you brewed this as an all grain batch, we would need to know the mash profile. If extract, then it could be done due to the extract used.

BTW, I have a wee heavy in aging vessel currently (target ABV is 12%). It was brewed in December of 2011 and has been sitting with oak for some months. Not sure what the FG is yet, since I've not taken the reading. I DID give it over 8 weeks in primary, on the yeast cake, though. IME with 1728 (and the other ale strains I use from Wyeast) more time on the cake does no harm. Chances are, once you remove it from primary, chances of the yeast doing anything more is pretty much nil.

I'll be kegging my wee heavy, so I don't give a fig about if the yeast is not going to do anything for carbonating the batch. IF you really want to be sure of carbonation happening, then give it more time in primary, then age it as needed (it will need time to age) before going to bottles. You could add a packet of dry (champagne) yeast like Lalvin EC-1118, which is very neutral, to help bottle carbonate. I would add that a day, or so, before you go to bottle it (before racking to the bottling bucket). You could, also, add it as you're racking into the bottling bucket, but be sure to fully rehydrate the yeast first. Also make sure the priming solution is cooled down in the bottom of the bucket so you don't kill off the yeast due to high heat.
There was no special aeration going on with this one. Just shook it several times before pitching.

All grain. Decoction mash. 40 minutes @ 146, and 40 minutes @ 156.

I'm pretty concerned about adding champagne yeast. I did that before to a beer and it went to a 1.008. I definitely don't want this one finishing even close to that. Would sticking a spoon in and lightly fluffing up the yeast cake be a bad idea?
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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Bump for additional input.

Cheers.

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Old 11-06-2012, 11:00 PM   #9
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I had a beer that gave up at 1.034, sent in wlp100 slurry to finish it and it got down to 1.017, carbonated like a treat.

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Old 11-06-2012, 11:04 PM   #10
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I have used that yeast before without aeration and I got about the same attenuation as you did. I did the shakey method to aerate originally and tried to suspend it when it seemed done. The yeast is done IMO, and especially at that %. It seemed to me like the yeast is a slow worker but is probably at its max capacity based on your conditions.

Heating up isn't a bad idea, did you try that?

You could try to throw some other stuff in there but a wee heavy that strong probably would do well with that much malt backbone. Do you like the taste?

You could try throwing some white labs 1 or WY1056 in there (make a starter) to get it down a bit more if you want. With that % it might be hard for any yeast to survive the initial shock of almost 12% alcohol. I would stay away from the champagne for the attenuation issue like you mentioned.

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