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Old 01-03-2013, 07:06 PM   #1
freisste
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Hi all,
I'm still pretty new, but I think I'm starting to get used to the whole process. For my fourth brew, I decided to do the obligatory "New Brewer Goes All Out" brew. It is an Imperial Stout to which I am going to add bourbon, vanilla and oak chips.
I brewed a couple weeks ago and put it in my root cellar. Plenty of airlock activity. It ended up getting pretty cold (like low 40s), which obviously slowed fermentation. I brought it upstairs so I could keep it in the low 60s Wyeast 1056, BTW), which is ideal. Out of curiousity, I took a gravity reading. From an OG of 1.108, it is down to 1.040. I used Hopville to create the recipe, and it suggested it would have a FG of 1.024.
So my questions:
1. Is it likely that I have a stuck fermentation from cooling the yeast too much? I already got it back up to the low 60's and gave it a bit of a swirl, so hopefully it will get going again if that is the case.
2. If not a stuck fermentation, is this possibly an extension of the 1.020 extract barrier? It was a partial mash with ~9lbs grain + 6lbs DME, so could I be getting 20 points from the extract and 20 points from the mash?

Further questions:
3. How much will this brew change from a mouthfeel/head perspective? I tasted the sample and it was pretty good (a little harsh, like I mixed a shot of coffee with a shot of cheap vodka, but I'm not worried about that), but what I loved was the head retention (I actually had to use a straw to suck off the foam so I could read my hydrometer) and body. Is it likely that these things will degrate during aging?

Sorry to be so long-winded. Thanks in advance for your input. This forum is great.

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by freisste View Post
Hi all,

1. Is it likely that I have a stuck fermentation from cooling the yeast too much? I already got it back up to the low 60's and gave it a bit of a swirl, so hopefully it will get going again if that is the case. It's possible it dropped out if it was in the 40s. I'd like to start around 60 and then ramp up to around 70 for the finishing just to make sure the yeast does the job on a giant beer.

2. If not a stuck fermentation, is this possibly an extension of the 1.020 extract barrier? It was a partial mash with ~9lbs grain + 6lbs DME, so could I be getting 20 points from the extract and 20 points from the mash?I don't know about that. 1.040 is pretty stinking high even for an extract imperial stout

Further questions:
3. How much will this brew change from a mouthfeel/head perspective? I tasted the sample and it was pretty good (a little harsh, like I mixed a shot of coffee with a shot of cheap vodka, but I'm not worried about that), but what I loved was the head retention (I actually had to use a straw to suck off the foam so I could read my hydrometer) and body. Is it likely that these things will degrate during aging? body doesn't really change much with age. If anything you might perceive it as more full bodied as the bitterness ages out but that would take a while. Some of the alcohol sharpness should fade.

Sorry to be so long-winded. Thanks in advance for your input. This forum is great.
Since this is you're fourth brew I'm just going to ask how much yeast you pitched because if it's one package there is your problem. You would need a lot (emphasis on a lot!) more to correctly ferment out a beast like that.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:55 PM   #3
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Since this is you're fourth brew I'm just going to ask how much yeast you pitched because if it's one package there is your problem. You would need a lot (emphasis on a lot!) more to correctly ferment out a beast like that.
I pitched onto the yeast cake of an IPA, assuming it would be enough. The IPA had an OG of ~1.065 (and I used a starter on it), so there was quite a bit of yeast when it was done. Both brews used Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast. I guess I figured I could consider the IPA to be a big starter, but that may not have been an appropriate assumption...
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:09 PM   #4
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I guess I figured I could consider the IPA to be a big starter, but that may not have been an appropriate assumption...
Yep, you had about a five gallon yeast starter working for you there so that isn't your problem. I'm guessing the cold really shocked the yeast. If possible I'd try and get it up to around 70* and lightly swirl the carboy in a circular motion about three times a day to try and get the yeast back into suspension. Make sure not to splash because you could risk oxidation. This may or may not work with that much alcohol in the beer already but it's the first step I would take.

If that doesn't work you could pitch a new starter. I personally think anything about 1.030 for even a giant stout might be too much so even shaving a few points down will help.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:14 PM   #5
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I have used 1056 a few times to ferment IPA's (O.G 1.062-1.070), and with mash temperature being on the low side the krauesen has lasted between 12-18 days. I wouldn't be surprised if the yeast is still pigging out, but you didn't mention whether or not there is still any amount of Krauesen left. If there is I'd definately say it's still working. Based on my experiences, and your O.G I'd say it could take another week or more. My experience as a brewer is limited, but I hope this gets you on the right track.

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the comments. I brewed about a week before Christmas and it bubbled away happily for the first few days. I was scared to leave it in the main part of my basement, so I put it in the root cellar (didn't realize how cold it got in there). My point is, I started it around 57-58* and let it warm up to 60-61. That is when it started bubbling (package lists 60 as the bottom of the happy fermentation range). It was there for at least a couple days, and obviously it did quite a bit of fermenting to get from 1.108 down to 1.040. When I checked today, the krausen had already fallen. Actually, there was almost no sign of krausen, so I'm not sure if it was ever there. (I'm not sure how much forms if you keep the temp right at the low end of the scale.) I used a sanitized paper towel to wipe the krausen from the last brew out of the bucket, so I may have missed a spot.

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