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Old 01-22-2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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Default ABV too high for yeast?

I posted earlier about a big Brown Ale I am making and had a few questions. First off it was a full 5 gallon boil, when I poured the cooled wort into the primary I had forgotten to close the spout after cleaning it and I lost a quart or 2 before catching the mistake. (Luckily I was in the garage not the kitchen)

Anyway I rehydrated dry yeast while cooling the wort and pitched it at the correct temp. The fermentation started well and 2 days later once the SG had dropped to roughly 1035 I added 8 oz of maple syrup dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiled water.

At that time the fermentation seems to hang, it sat at 1030~ for several days. I've read enough to let it go and just twisted the bucket to stir up the yeast w/o splashing a couple times a day for several days and then I started getting activity in the airlock again. I didn't bother opening the fermenter b/c I knew it had a while to go.

Its been 19 days and I checked it 2 days ago and the SG was around 1025. I tasted the hydro sample and while it tasted like a great beer, the alcohol bite was pronounced. I wonder if the alcohol is too high and killed the yeast. I'll post as much of the recipe below as I remember.

Steep 1/2 lbs Crystal Malt
6.6 lbs of LME
1 lb of Belgium candied sugar
8oz molassess
8oz light brown sugar
1 pk US-5

I forgot to check the damn OG but recipe called for 1070

I don't remember the hop schedule.

After the SG dropped to 1040-1030 I was supposed to add 8-10oz maple syrup.

I don't know the math to calculate the late sugar addition so I'm not sure what to expect right now.

Help anyone?

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Last edited by johnnyc; 01-22-2009 at 12:33 PM. Reason: BTW I have yeast energizer and DAP if the yeast need a boost
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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With an OG of 1.070 and a FG of 1.025, the alcohol content is around 5.8% ABV. With the addition of the maple syrup, I'm guessing you may have bumped that up to about 6-6.2% ABV. I can't find the alcohol tolerance of us-05, but I'd be really surprised if 6% was high enough to kill the yeast.

Beersmith estimates your OG around 1.065 and FG around 1.017, without the Maple Syrup addition. What temp have you been fermenting at?

Personally, I would let it sit a while longer, especially with the late addition of the MS, but I'm a noob, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

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Old 01-22-2009, 02:54 PM   #3
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I've tried it keep it around 68-70 to hopefully keep it moving. I've had to move it around the house some to keep it at that temp, I left it in a basement closet overnight once and it dropped to 60-62 but I promptly moved it to a warmer area. I supposed the yeast could have gone dormant but wouldn't think a short dip would cause it.

In any case I don't plan to do anything but wait, but the recipe called for a final ABV of 9%. My thought is that since I lost the 1/2 gallon at the beginning and still added 8 oz of MS it may be even higher than that.

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:07 PM   #4
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60-62 should have been fine, it's within the range of us-05. 9% seems a bit high for a beer with an OG of 1.070. With most beers finishing in the mid teen range, you would have to have an OG of around 1.085 to reach that ABV, or ferment out to around 1.000, which is awfully dry for a beer.

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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You can use the Fermcalc to figure out what the gravity adjustment might be, since adding sugar later also adjusts volume and can throw your numbers off.

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Old 01-22-2009, 05:55 PM   #6
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You are well below the tolerance for any beer yeast. I think any yeast will get you to 10% ABV and most are good to 12+%.

I'm not sure how fermentable maple syrup is. It may be that that combined with your significant starting gravity that 1.025 is as low as it will go. Bring the temp up to about 70F and give it another swirl. 4 weeks in the primary would not be unreasonable for this beer. Give it some time.

Craig

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Old 01-22-2009, 06:09 PM   #7
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how long should you wait for the fermentation? i'm in a similar situation. I have a beer that started out at 14o P and stopped at 5o P. I was estimating it would be around 2 or 3 P. When i pitched the yeast it was rocking and fermenting in a few hours. went strong for a day and then stopped at the 5 P gravity. I am going to rack it to a secondary so i can see whats going on (its in an opaque fermenter right now). But it was still really hazy when i took the last sample on tuesday. what do you think?

-nick

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Old 01-22-2009, 06:29 PM   #8
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I think the reason it has that alcohol 'bite' is because its still really green. Trust me - let that beer condition in the bottles or keg and I can guarantee you that 'bite' will rather subside. I said the exact same things with my first brews - like Revvy says time makes beer better!
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr jones View Post
how long should you wait for the fermentation? i'm in a similar situation. I have a beer that started out at 14o P and stopped at 5o P. I was estimating it would be around 2 or 3 P. When i pitched the yeast it was rocking and fermenting in a few hours. went strong for a day and then stopped at the 5 P gravity. I am going to rack it to a secondary so i can see whats going on (its in an opaque fermenter right now). But it was still really hazy when i took the last sample on tuesday. what do you think?

-nick
How long has it been in the primary?

Airlock activity is NOT an indicator of fermentation being complete. Leave that sucker for another week or so THEN come back to it You arent hurting it by leaving it longer.
-Me
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeMama View Post
Airlock activity is NOT an indicator of fermentation being complete.
Ah, look! A Revvy disciple!!!
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