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Old 06-05-2007, 03:24 PM   #1
roofjump
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Default Very crappy Attenuation on Imperial Stout

As the subject says, brewed an Imperial Stout with the recipe below. Gravity started out at 1.083 which was right where I expected it to be. Problem is, after fermentation was done it only dropped to 1.030. The Irish Ale yeast was QUICK and very aggressive. It was also done with a starter, so I'm pretty sure I had enough yeasties for the job.

The beer was done fermenting in 4 days, but I left it a week just to be safe. After that week, it was dead. No bubbling whatsoever. Anywho, I'm kinda confused and disappointed that it didn't come out with the higher ABV. Any ideas? Should I pitch more yeast?

Extracts:
6.6 lbs Unhopped Dark Malt Extract
3.3 lbs Amber DME

Grains (Milled)
1 lb Chocolate Malt
1/2 lb Black Patent Malt
1/2 lb Munich Malt
1 lb Roasted Barley

Hops: Bittering -
(60) 2 oz Northern Brewer
1 oz Chinook Flavoring -
(30) 1oz Cascade Finishing -
(10) 1oz Fuggles

Yeast:
WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast



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Old 06-05-2007, 03:44 PM   #2
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Did you aerate your wort? I had similar problems until I got an oxygen system to aerate my wort. Since then I've come close to my target FG's.

Not sure if more yeast would help your current batch or not.



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Old 06-05-2007, 03:53 PM   #3
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Yes on the aeration.... I think.

I basically chill the wort to 70ish degrees, then pour it into the fermenter (6gal carboy) splashing it around. Then I pitch the yeast, put some plastic wrap on the top and shake the living crap out of it. I don't think the yeast had any lack of oxygen by the way it fermented, but I guess it's possible. This beer went nuts in the fermenter.

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:10 PM   #4
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I listened to podcast of basic brewing radio and they were talking to a guy (can't remember who or where from now). He said that their research showed that aggressively shaking your wort in the fermentation vessel for 4 minutes will yield about the same dissolved oxygen as an aeration stone for 30 minutes (don't quote me on the exact time). The point is that you really need to shake that baby up.

my strategy is to set a timer for 5 minutes (4 minutes plus breaks) and shake that fermenter as hard as I can, with respect to safety and not blowing off the lid of a plastic bucket. By the end, I am really sweating.

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:13 PM   #5
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I wouldn't be so disappointed in that. I tend to appreciate higher FG's in stouts. I know, the ABV (7%) isn't optimal for an Imperial, but if there's any beer out there that can handle that much residual sugars, it's a stout (or b-wine).

The other thing to note is that beers dry out with time...so even if it is too sweet for you when you bottle it, give it 6 months and it'll probably be sublime.

By the way, do you have any idea of the brand of the extract? If it was Laaglander, that might account for some of the residual sugar, as Laaglander tends to have more unfermentables than some other extracts. That's also alot of dark grains, and I'm not sure how fermentable those roasted grain sugars are. Seriously...um, that's another problem, now that I look at it. Your dark grains are way out of proportion. I did the SAME thing a few months ago---I made a stout where 22% of my grain bill was dark grain (patent, chocolate, roasted barley, etc.). To this day, the stuff is barely drinkable. It needs at LEAST 6 more months of bottle aging to mellow out. I mean, harsh as HELL. A big fat sack of tannins. Just be prepared for that. If you're a kegger, you may want to bottle this batch, as you don't want it hogging a keg for 6-12 months.

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egerrish
I listened to podcast of basic brewing radio and they were talking to a guy (can't remember who or where from now). He said that their research showed that aggressively shaking your wort in the fermentation vessel for 4 minutes will yield about the same dissolved oxygen as an aeration stone for 30 minutes (don't quote me on the exact time). The point is that you really need to shake that baby up.

my strategy is to set a timer for 5 minutes (4 minutes plus breaks) and shake that fermenter as hard as I can, with respect to safety and not blowing off the lid of a plastic bucket. By the end, I am really sweating.
Good to know. I love the basic brewing video casts. Do you happen to know which episode it was?
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:18 PM   #7
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Now here is a question, lets say that he did not get enough air into the wort and it has been 4 days. Can he put air in it now by shaking it up? Or is that a really bad idea?

I ask because I'm not getting the activity out of my brew that I thought I would. I did not shake the wort at all. I auto sypioned it from the pot to the bucket thru a strainer that was sitting on top of the bucket. When I was done there was a lot of foam on top of the wort that I scraped off with my spoon before taking a OG.
Then I pitched the dry yeast and stired it for a few minutes and capped it up.

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
I wouldn't be so disappointed in that. I tend to appreciate higher FG's in stouts. I know, the ABV (7%) isn't optimal for an Imperial, but if there's any beer out there that can handle that much residual sugars, it's a stout (or b-wine).

The other thing to note is that beers dry out with time...so even if it is too sweet for you when you bottle it, give it 6 months and it'll probably be sublime.

By the way, do you have any idea of the brand of the extract? If it was Laaglander, that might account for some of the residual sugar, as Laaglander tends to have more unfermentables than some other extracts. That's also alot of dark grains, and I'm not sure how fermentable those roasted grain sugars are. Seriously...um, that's another problem, now that I look at it. Your dark grains are way out of proportion. I did the SAME thing a few months ago---I made a stout where 22% of my grain bill was dark grain (patent, chocolate, roasted barley, etc.). To this day, the stuff is barely drinkable. It needs at LEAST 6 more months of bottle aging to mellow out. I mean, harsh as HELL. A big fat sack of tannins. Just be prepared for that. If you're a kegger, you may want to bottle this batch, as you don't want it hogging a keg for 6-12 months.
Yea, I'm a kegger, maybe I'll end up bottling this one *sigh*

The extract was the bulk stuff from my LHBS, maybe i'll ask the guy what brand it is.

I was afraid of all the dark grains, but figured that with all the extract I'd be alright. Oh well.
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:22 PM   #9
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By the way, did you just steep the grains? You'll have a fair amount of unfermentables from the dark grains and Munich needs to be mashed. You could have extra 15 points right there.

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Old 06-05-2007, 05:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
By the way, did you just steep the grains? You'll have a fair amount of unfermentables from the dark grains and Munich needs to be mashed. You could have extra 15 points right there.
Yes, I steeped the grain for 30min @ 150deg.

Sounds like I'll chalk this one up to not looking at the recipe more carefully.


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