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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Achieving really high FGs for a Wee Heavy
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default Achieving really high FGs for a Wee Heavy

I can't seem to get the really high FG I'm shooting for in a Wee Heavy. I've only done two and the first used a bunch of Crystal malts while the second was essentially Pale Ale malt/Roast Barley with kettle caramelization (there was a lb of Honey malt in there too). Using Wyeast Scottish Ale yeast the FG of the FFT of this second batch was 1.026 (OG was 1.098), the actual batch is still fermenting. I was hoping for ~1.034 or more. I mashed at 157* F and had 3 boils going for ~2 hours then combined for another 45 minutes. Any ideas other than adding lactose to get my FG higher?

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Old 10-29-2010, 02:26 PM   #2
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The honey will lower your FG.

Mash higher like 162F. Add malto-dextrine. Switch to a less attenutive yeast, possibly an English strain.

But really 1.026 is kinda large. 1.034 would be way over the top in my opinion.

Another idea is to dial back your carbonation. Lower carbonation levels make beer taste sweeter and richer.

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Old 10-29-2010, 02:38 PM   #3
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Thanks maida. But I used Honey malt, not honey. The Scottish Ale yeast is supposed to be a low-ish attenuator plus it has the high alcohol tolerance so I thought it would be the right yeast. I'll try mashing even higher and using malto-dextrine.

I had some people (certified bjcp judges) try my first WH and it finished at 1.023 (lower OG) and it was suggested to get the FG much higher. I think the high end for the style is 1.056. They made it sound like "you virtually can't get a FG that's too high". My beers always seem to taste 'thinner' than the FG implies.

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Old 10-29-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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mash higher and possibly ferment cooler. Get that yeast to drop out.

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Old 10-29-2010, 02:53 PM   #5
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oops I missed that it was honey malt.

Perhaps you could also back down on the SG. Lower the alcohol. Sometimes alcohol can cut through sweetness and make a beer taste sweet. Harsh hot alcohols can have a bitter flavor.

Go back to the crystal malts, throw in some cara malts for dextrines. Go to an English yeast that is low attenuation. Also the English yeast will throw out some fruity esters. The fruity flavors really enhance the perception of malty sweetness. good luck!

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Old 10-29-2010, 03:29 PM   #6
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Dextrin malt aka American Carapils. You can use up to 20% in a bill.

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Old 10-29-2010, 05:23 PM   #7
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Thanks all.

Quote:
Go to an English yeast that is low attenuation.
Per the Wyeast site the Scottish Ale yeast attenuation numbers are 69%-73%, the only English strain they show with lower attenuation is the London ESB yeast at 67%-71%. Every other non-PC English yeast has higher numbers. Not really trying to argue but it just seems the Scottish Ale yeast is already a low attenuator. I like the ESB yeast though so I'll def try it.

Would using a yeast with less alcohol tolerance be advisable? Scottish Ale yeast is 12% and London ESB is 9%. I guess I just have this perception that getting a bunch of sweetness by not allowing the yeast to finish the job yields a more cloying sweetness and a less stable beer. But these Wee Heavies seem to test a brewers intuition, i.e. make it heavier and sweeter than your instincts allow.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:07 PM   #8
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I'm also interested in this, since a small test batch of Wee Heavy might be in the works this winter (to be ready next year). Maybe I'm wrong here, but one thing to take into consideration is your mash temp: are you really mashing high enough ? I would calibrate my thermometer real good and stir the mash evenly so I get the real temp, and no hot spots. I would also do a conversion test early and mash-out as soon as conversion is achived, so you don't let the enzymes continue to work on the mash at a lower temp and "dry-out" the beer more. Maybe you could try a bunch of 1 gallon test batches at different mash temperatures, ferment them for two/three weeks (long enough for the yeast to drop out) and check the results.

Using a low attenuation extract (GOSH!) might also be an option, unorthodox as it seems, along with fermenting very, very, very low. But then you risk the yeast pooping out and having to pitch new yeast to carb, wich will then chew the left over sugars... It seems like Wee Heavy is one of the hardest style to brew right: I searched for information about fg and didn't find all that much info, compared to Barleywines and Belgians.

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Old 10-30-2010, 05:19 PM   #9
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1056 as a FG? Are you certain? Where did you find this number as advisable/acceptable? I can't imagine anything much over 1030 tasting good, but everyone's different. What are your fermentation temps? Using the McEwan's strain, you can let this chug along at 55F or less and do just fine. You'll get a fairly clean fermentation and reasonably low attenuation. Don't rouse the yeast more than you need to, to move the carboy, or whatever.

Beers like this will also take time. At 3 week's age a beer might taste a bit hot and funky while at 6 months or more, that same beer will be smoother and sweeter. You can also lower the hopping rate, if it isn't low already.

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Old 10-30-2010, 06:34 PM   #10
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This site claims that early 19th century examples had a FG of around 1.055.
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