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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > High-ish FG for a Tripel - Options?
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:07 PM   #1
7pleasant
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Default High-ish FG for a Tripel - Options?

I brewed a "Tripel IPA" (Tripel with extra hops) about 3 weeks ago and as of today the FG is a bit higher than I wanted. Here are gravity the numbers

August 4:
OG: 1.078

August 17:
G: 1.022

August 24:
G: 1.020

And here are the fermentables
5 1/2 lb Pilsner Malt (Belgian)
1/2 lb Wheat Malt
5 lb Briess Pilsen Dry Malt Extract (DME)
1 3/4 lb Candi Sugar

Mashed 70min @~148º

Pitched one vial of WLP550

About 4.5 gallons in the fermenter


So after 20 days, I've gone from from 1.078 to 1.020, which, according to the calculator, puts me at 7.6% abv. I'd like to get it down to about 1.008, or at least somewhere under 1.015.

I mashed at a lower temperature get the most out of my grains, but this was mostly extract and plain sugar. I also think I might have underpitched the yeast.

Based on the gravity ticking down .002 over the last week or so, I'm guessing there are still some active yeast in there, though they are not producing enough gas even to keep the air lock water level (slight negative pressure in the fermenter). I gave the beer a good swirl last week and some minor agitation a couple days later.

My plan today is to buy some more WLP550 and do a test to check overall fermentability and determine if the yeast has stalled, or if it's simply eaten up all the available sugar.

Since I don't know exactly what the problem is yet, I figure have a few options:

1) Let it sit in primary until...?
2) Pitch more WLP550
2a) Pitch more of some other yeast
3) Use amylase, pending results of the fermentability test

I am also curious about the usefulness of racking to secondary; even from the fermenter spigot the color and clarity look well within the guidelines.

I drank the gravity sample today and it tasted fine, but I'd love to get this thing a bit drier before I bottle it. I'm in no hurry, and assume it'll be at least a few more weeks no matter what. Any suggestions would be much appreciated, thanks!

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Old 08-24-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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Whats been your fermentation temp? Belgians benefit from a long warm fermentation. Belgian yeast can take their sweet time to finish.

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Old 08-24-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Mostly 75-85º, ambient temperature. It's been sitting in a warm window, wrapped in light-proof towels. I have no temperature control in my apartment.

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Old 08-24-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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I'd go ahead and rack to secondary. Your fermentation temps are fine. Some times racking will stir it up a bit and get things going again. Also, I probably would have made at least a 1L starter on a stir plate.

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Old 08-24-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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Well the store was out of both WLP550 and its Wyeast counterpart. I guess I'll let it sit for another week and check back at the store before racking. Thanks for the advice.

I did get some Belle Saison dry yeast for a ~2gal brew tonight*. Would half a pack of that be an acceptable re-pitch, if it turns out my yeast have stalled?

After doing a bunch of reading, I'll definitely be making starts for my big beers from here on.


*This recipe unrelated to my Tripel inquiry:

Code:
Belgian IPA

1 lb Amber DME
1 lb Pilsner
1/4 lb Wheat
2 lb cane sugar
.5 oz Sorachi @ 60
.25 @ 30
.25 @ 5-0

Mash 148-152
Belle Saison yeast
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:48 PM   #6
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Yeah looks like you underpitched by quite a bit, especially if your yeast was not super fresh. I don't think pitching a half pack of yeast now in a beer that's at 7.6% will be very helpful. If you're going to try re-pitching you probably want to pitch a big starter at krausen.

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Old 08-25-2013, 03:11 AM   #7
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Well, lesson learned, I suppose. The store said they should have more WLP550 or WYwhatever next week, so I'll check the gravity then and make a starter then if needed.

In the meantime, I'm pleased report my exmperimental small beer (second runs from an IPA kit) has produced alcohol and is now being secondaried with some lavender and sugar.

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Old 08-25-2013, 04:59 AM   #8
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Off the top of my head the equivalent is Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes.

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Old 08-25-2013, 06:46 AM   #9
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Seriously underpitching, using extract, and not oxygenating will leave you at a higher FG. If a beer isn't finished fermenting and has a high gravity putting it into an environment with less yeast (secondary) will prevent it from drying out. Give it more time, warm it up to 85, and see what happens, but there might not be much more it will drop.

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Old 08-25-2013, 02:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7pleasant View Post
Mostly 75-85º, ambient temperature. It's been sitting in a warm window, wrapped in light-proof towels. I have no temperature control in my apartment.
Has it been at that temp since you pitched? That's WAY too hot for any yeast (except a saison) during the initial vigorous part of fermentation. You should pitch Belgian yeast in the mid to high 60s and then let the temp rise slowly once fermentation starts to slow down. I might let it end up in the mid to high 70s after a week or a week and a half, but if it fermented the whole time at 75-85 then you might have some crazy esters and some harsh hangover producing fusel alcohols.
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