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Old 02-28-2012, 06:53 AM   #1
dforge888
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Default Gravity readings and repitching yeast question

We just racked a belgian tripel that has been in the primary for 2 weeks into a secondary, and the gravity reading was 1.030. We racked into the secondary and took the reading because when we brewed 2 weeks earlier, the original reading we got before pitching the yeast was way off due to the wort not mixing fully with the top off water, which we learned was coming with extract brews. But we wanted to be sure everything was going ok, so we figured at the very least we would keep the tripel in a secondary a couple of days, if the reading was close to the FG in our recipe.


Anyways, the recipe said we should be ready to bottle after 10 days and that our FG should be 1.018. Obviously it's not ready and we were wondering whether or not we should add yeast to the secondary since very little if any carried over into the secondary?
Or should we just wait it out another week or 2 before taking another reading and see if we come closer to the 1.018?
Any ideas what we might have done wrong and or overlooked?

Despite the reading, the beer looks and smells great.

(Btw, we kept the primary in my home office which is temperature controlled, and monitored the temp of the carboy which was a consistent 69 degrees for the full 2 weeks.)

Thanks

Dan
--------------------------

Our Recipe:
Ingredients

Pre-boil tea
41/2 gallons (17 L) cool water
1 pound (455 g) crushed Cara-pils barley Grain bag
2 teaspoons (10 g) gypsum

Boil
9 pounds (4 kg) light dry malt extract (65 minutes)
1 ounce (28 g) Saaz hop pellets (bittering) (60 minutes)
1 pound (455 g) Chinese rock sugar (30 minutes)
1 teaspoon (5 g) Irish moss (20 minutes)
1 ounce (28 g) East Kent Golding hop pellets (flavor) (20 minutes)
½ ounce (15 g) Saaz hop pellets (aroma) (10 minutes)
1 pound (455 g) Chinese rock sugar (5 minutes)
11/2 (43 g) ounces dried chamomile (End of boil)

In carboy
Cool water to the 5 gallon mark

Fermentation
Yeast: Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey **
1 pound (455) light brown sugar (Day 2)

Bottling
5 ounces (125 g) priming sugar

Starting Gravity: 1.090
Finish Gravity: 1.018
Final target ABV: 9%

PROCESS

1. Fill a grain bag with the crushed Cara-pils barley. Tie off the top and place the bag in your brewpot filled with 41/2 gallons (17 L) of cool water. Add the gypsum. Heat the pot and stir the water and grain bag every 5 minutes.

2. When the water reaches 170ºF (77ºC), pull out the grain bag using a large stirring spoon. Hold the bag above the brewpot for a minute allowing most of the liquid to drain into the pot. Do not squeeze the grain bag.

3. As the water begins to boil, remove from heat. Add all the malt extract. Stir to prevent clumping and scorching on the bottom of the pot. Return the brewpot to the heat.

4. Allow the wort to come to a boil. After pre-boiling for 5 minutes add the Saaz hop pellets for bittering and stir. Start timing the 1-hour boil at the point that you make this hop addition.

5. 30 minutes before the end of the boil add 1 of the 2 pounds (455 g) of Chinese rock sugar and stir for a minute.

6. 20 minutes before the end of the boil add the East Kent Golding hop pellets and the Irish moss and stir for 1 minute.

7. 10 minutes before the end of the boil, add the aroma Saaz hop pellets and stir for 1 minute.

8. Five minutes before the end of the boil add the last pound (455 g) of Chinese rock sugar and stir for 1 minute.

9. At the 60-minute mark, add the dried chamomile. Stir for 1 minute and turn off heat source. Stir wort clockwise for 2 minutes as you build up a whirlpool effect. Stop stirring and allow wort to sit for 10 minutes.

10. Chill wort in cold-water bath to a temperature of 70°F–75°F (21°C–24°C).

11. Transfer wort with the chamomile into the carboy. Aerate for 1 minute.

12. Top up carboy with cool water to the 5 gallon mark.

13. Pitch yeast into carboy and aerate for another minute. See yeast starter info in yeast resource area.

14. After fermentation takes off (1 or 2 days) bring 2 cups (470 ml) of water to a boil and add the brown sugar. When dissolved, add to the fermenting beer in the carboy.

15. In about 10 days your beer should be ready to package.

16. Before bottling, clean and sanitize bottles and caps and create a priming solution of 1 cup (235 ml) boiling water and priming sugar. Siphon beer into a sterilized bottling bucket, add the water-diluted priming solution, and gently stir. Bottle and cap beer.

17. Allow the beer to bottle condition for another 2 weeks and it should then be ready to drink.

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Old 02-28-2012, 07:08 AM   #2
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My guess is for the size of the beer you probably underpitched yeast by quite a bit. Also one minute of aeration is not nearly enough either. This might lead to a very slow or stalled finish. First of all start by pitching at least close to your cell count. 2nd to aerate, I put the bung in and lay my carboy on its side, on a towel, on the counter. Then I rock it hard for 5 min. I let it sin a minute or two and do it again. That's when I pitch and rock it a few more times stir it in. Normally I can get the foam on the wort to touch the top of the carboy with this technique. You may want to swirl your batch a bit to risen the yeast on the bottom, you may want to repitch. I'll let someone else chime in! Good luck!

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Old 02-28-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Sorry I should have revised that part of the recipe, I copied and pasted the original. I hand wrote in a notebook all of the deviations from that process. Anyways, we definitely aerated a lot more than 1 min, and we had a solid 3-4 days of heavy activity, with the foam rising to nearly the top of the carboy. By the end of the fourth day activity slowed significantly and it was pretty dormant for the remainder of the 2 weeks.

I attached a picture and here is a link to a video file I took from Day 2 of fermentation before I added the brown sugar.

With that said...

When you say I "should pitch at least close to your cell count," what do you mean by that? (sorry we're still fairly new and learning)

How can we tell by looking at a recipe whether or not we need to use more yeast than they call for?

And should we repitch, or wait it out?

If we repitch should we use the same brand of yeast?
Thx
Dan

imag0196.jpg  
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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I think you should've left it in primary a lot longer. Big beers take longer to ferment out. My Burton ale was OG 1.065,& it took 5 weeks with 28g of re-hydrated ale yeast to finish & settle out well. & it'll def take more than 2 weeks to bottle carb & condition. Big beers are the greatest excersize in patience.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:05 AM   #5
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I would wait a week and take the gravity again to see if its dropped. Then make a decision.

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Old 03-01-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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check it in another week, sometimes racking gets the yeast going again. you definitely underpitched tho, i'd consider brewing another beer in the meantime with either the same or another belgian strain and rack onto that cake if it doesnt move.

out of curiousty, why did you add so much gypsum to something that should have lil hop presence?

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Old 03-09-2012, 06:42 AM   #7
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@Farmboy530 - attended a local brew club meeting this past Sunday and one of the members advised to just skip a reading and repitch with a pack of Fermentis SafAle US-05, but not get my hopes up. It's been 24 hours since repitching, and have yet to see any visible activity. Probably gonna wait a week, and just move on to bottling and chalk it up as a lesson learned. Feel as though we may have had a slightly better chance had we repitched into the primary, but might be too late now. Thoughts?

@dcp27 - would racking onto "that cake" do anything at this point, based on what I typed above? Is it possible to add too much yeast? If so what does that do.

As far as the gypsum question, we just followed the recipe. We had no idea 2 teaspoons of gypsum was a lot, just as we had no idea we weren't using enough yeast. Now, is it the recipe that was wrong in calling for only one of those suggested yeasts? Or is it because we didn't make a starter, or used the smack pack instead of a vile?
The recipe suggested several types of yeasts. Is it possible he used more than one of them or all of them at once? What would happen if we had used more than one of his suggestions?
We used 1 smack pack of the belgian abbey, as is... maybe he made a starter with one of those which produced more cells for him?

We now know that the next time we come along a recipe that has an OG above 1045, that we should definitely make a yeast starter.

Thanks!
Dan

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Old 03-09-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dforge888 View Post
It's been 24 hours since repitching, and have yet to see any visible activity. Feel as though we may have had a slightly better chance had we repitched into the primary, but might be too late now. Thoughts?
give it more time, just pitching dormant, unhydrated yeast into a harsh environment (low pH, no oxygen, no nutrients, alcoholic) can be slow. theres no too late for adding more yeast

Quote:
@dcp27 - would racking onto "that cake" do anything at this point, based on what I typed above? Is it possible to add too much yeast? If so what does that do.
it could, but i'd give the S-05 a lil more time first. you don't necessarily have to use a cake either, you could just pitch a starter while krausened if you don't want to wait as long. it is possible to pitch too much yeast, but it takes alot. check this out for some info about how under/over-pitching can effect a beer: http://www.wyeastlab.com/hb_pitchrates.cfm

Quote:
As far as the gypsum question, we just followed the recipe.
salt additions are largely dependant on your water, so I wouldn't recommend just using what a recipe lists in the future. even if its someone local, they aren't necessarily using your local water source. 2tsp gypsum is pretty big in 4.5gals (>300ppm SO4). thats even high for an IPA.

Quote:
Or is it because we didn't make a starter, or used the smack pack instead of a vile?
smack pack is equivalent to a vial. it wasn't clearly stated, but step 13 meant for you to make a starter

Quote:
The recipe suggested several types of yeasts. Is it possible he used more than one of them or all of them at once? What would happen if we had used more than one of his suggestions?
its possible he used more than one (I do sometimes), but unless he clearly stated it, it was probably just equivalent strains. pitching more than one of the yeasts would have given you a much higher cell count and may not have stalled as high. it'd also add some extra complexity to the beer if they were different strains
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dforge888 View Post
@Farmboy530 - attended a local brew club meeting this past Sunday and one of the members advised to just skip a reading and repitch with a pack of Fermentis SafAle US-05, but not get my hopes up.
You know that just might work, but how would you know if you didn't take a reading first? You should always take readings, its one of the hard facts of brewing. Never lies....
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:11 PM   #10
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Yup,if they skip the reading,how would they know to re-pitch? Sounds like that club has some more learning to do. But a re-pitch at this point seems to me to be tough,since the o2 was pretty much used by the first batch of yeast.
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