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Old 07-20-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
sencindiver
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Default Stuck Fermentation Barley Wine

I have a nearly all grain Barley wine (added DME to get to a 1120 OG). Hit all my numbers. Hit it well with bottled oxygen and stone for 2 min. Pitched a 2 liter starter of 1056. Start well - pretty big blow off - settled down and I left it at 68/70 degrees for 6 weeks. At 6 weeks OG at 1055. Pitched a packet of dry champagne yeast - little activity - moved it to 1052 after 2 weeks. Left it alone for 4 weeks - still at 1052 - so made another 2 liter starter of 1056, racked off the yeast to another carboy, added 1 tbs of Amylase to the 5 gals - repitched and left for 12 weeks at +- 70 degrees. Again little activity - now down to 1049.

One suggestion from the brewers at a local brewpub - was to oxygenate again - and repitch another 2 liter starter. Others at my LHBS objected to this.

I would like to get the beer to around 1030 - 1035 - tastes very sweet now. I have never done such a big beer before and have so much time and % $s into this beer - that I don't want to totally screw it up and dump.

Any experience ? Thanks

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Old 07-20-2013, 06:04 PM   #2
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What was the mash type and temp(s)? I've used US-05 to take my 1111 barley wine all the way dow to 1012 with no real coaxing, so you should have been fine, yeast-wise.

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Old 07-20-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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I had same problem. I transferred to secondary after 4 weeks stuck at 1.052. I let it sit there for another month and no progress. I made a 1 liter of White Labs Super High Gravity yeast (WLP099) and pitched it onto beer and now it is fermenting away again. Will let you know how low it goes.

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Old 07-20-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
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I did an 60 min infusion - at 152 degrees. Batch sparged at 172 degrees. all seemed fine. Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old 08-06-2013, 05:29 AM   #5
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My barleywine got down to 1.025 after adding that high gravity super yeast.

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Old 08-06-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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A couple things are sticking out here:

1) Assuming this is a 5 gallon batch and you're using a stir plate, a 2L starter is at least half of what you should have pitched. If the yeast was packaged yesterday and you have a stir plate, Mr. Malty says you need a 4 liter starter.

2) With huge beers some people have luck hitting it with oxygen again somewhere around 6 hours after pitching

3) A "medium" mash temp of 152 is generally designed to leave a bit of residual body in the beer. For your 1.120 beer, you'll have plenty of body even if it attenuates very well. Most people doing huge beers like this prefer to do a 90 minute mash at 147, or something similar.

4) Fermenting a starter to completion and cold crashing before you add the yeast probably isn't going to give you too much at this point. Try making a starter of a strain known to kick some ass (say 099 or 3711) and pitching at high krausen while it's very active. Alternatively, you can also try racking onto the yeast cake from a previous batch. That's worked for many people.

Keep us updated!

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Old 08-06-2013, 10:28 PM   #7
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I've been having a similar adventure working up something humongous in the DFH120 realm. Goal was to break 22% ABV, standard, without ending up with a hot fusel mess. Full temp control throughout was needed to keep this thing from turning into something nasty.

Started with an over-pitch of hydrated US-05 into 5.25 gallons of 1.09 wort, let it get down to .015 after a few days, then put it on a feeding schedule of a pound of corn sugar every three days. The US-05 kept taking it under 10 points - and once under 4 points when I lost track and let it run an extra week. I was concerned this might lead to something overly thin, so I did something nutty (and likely a bit risky, infection-wise), and pulled two quarts of beer to a pot, warmed up three pounds of light DME to 130°F, and poured it all in the carboy. This final addition brought the "adjusted OG" up over 1.180.

But, predictably, I guess, this totally stuck. The yeast would have no part of this addition - they had clearly developed a taste for corn. I let it sit for a month and it was still sitting at the same 1.022 the last addition brought it up to. Which would be ok for some I reckon given the style, but I wanted to get back down in the teens.

Kudos to the US-05 for hanging in so long - the ABV had to be around 18% by that point, but it was time for the coup de grace: I plated up a vial of WLP099 to four angry liters, decanted off the spent wort and pitched the yeast. Gave it a month sitting quietly, then Sunday the hydro test showed it back down at 1.010! 22.31% ABV! And it's smooooooth. Even the wife liked it! I'm gonna dry hop the heck out of it, keg and carbonate it, then bottle it. It'll keep me warm this winter

Anyway...A big pitch of WLP099 could do the trick...

Cheers!

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