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Old 08-06-2009, 03:55 AM   #1
DRoyLenz
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Default English Spiced Ale with Low Attenuation/High FG

Hey All -

This is my first step outside of using a kit, and I went and took Jamil's recipe for a winter spiced ale (english ale style) and changed it around in an attempt to make a good Christmas beer. Here is my bill of materials:

6 Gallon Recipe
- 12.75 lbs Maris Otter LME (substituted from the recommended English Pale Ale LME)
- 1/2 lb Molasses
- 3/4 lb Crystal 80L
- 1/4 lb Black Patent Malt
- 1 oz. Horizon Hops (60 minute)
- Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast (2 packets with starter)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (add at last few minutes of boil)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (add at last few minutes of boil)
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground cloves (add at last few minutes of boil)
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (add at last few minutes of boil)

The issue is that I pitched my yeast on July 18th (so about 2 1/2 weeks ago). I had an OG of 1.071 (which was significantly lower than my calculated OG of 1.090, but I figured, "Hey! RDWDAHB!"). I made a starter with two packets of the Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast (with an attenuation of 73-77%) which would give me AT MOST an FG of 1.019. I took a gravity reading on July 24th, and it read 1.036. I figured I was less than a week in, so I'd give it some more time. I took another gravity reading tonight, and it was, again 1.036. I had VERY active, and long fermentation (about 4-5 days of active "bubbling" in my blow-off tube).

I know, given my ingredients (particularly molasses and cloves) that I am going to have to age it awhile, and to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised when I drank it tonight, because it was quite delightful, and the clove taste (from adding freshly ground cloves AND fermenting a bit hot) from before had mellowed out significantly. The taste was a bit sweet, but I am going for a "Gingerbread" quality to it.

My question is, should I just rack it to secondary for a few more weeks, then bottle it, and hope the beer takes care of itself? Or do you think with such a high FG that I should pitch a little bit more yeast and try and get a little more activity in there before calling it?

Any thoughts, opinions or notes of prior experience are welcome! Thanks guys!

edit -- sorry for the huge posting...

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Old 08-06-2009, 05:24 AM   #2
Vic_Sinclair
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Personally, I would rouse the existing yeast. There are still plenty of yeast in your fermenter, they are just dormant. Gently swirl the fermenter to get them back into suspension. You didn't tell us what temperature you are keeping it. If it's pretty low, raise it a few degrees.
Also, you have to consider the possibility that your OG reading was wrong due to uneven mixing of your fermentables. Have you plugged the ingredients into a brew calculator? If it says the wort should have 1.090, it WAS 1.090, barring any variances from the recipe you did while brewing. You should act as though it was.

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Old 08-06-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
DRoyLenz
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That was another one of my questions, why my OG was so off. I got the 1.090 from a brewing calculator (I believe, I'll plug it in again today to see). I had poured my wort back and forth between my brew kettle and fermenter a couple of times after adding the top-off water, would that not be enough to mix the fermentables evenly?

As for storing temp, the temperature has been constant at 71F ever since fermentation ceased, already a little warmer than I'd like it to be. So I don't think warming it up is a good idea.

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
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One of the things I would like to avoid if and when I rouse the yeast of the bottom is mixing in the krausen residue that is stuck to the side of my fermenter. I know it is not a big deal, but I would like to keep that out of my beer (avoid the morning-after headache).

Has anyone had any success with taking a sanitizer-soaked rag and just wiping down the interior of the fermenter? Is it worth the trouble? There is so much crap everywhere from the active fermentation, I feel almost obligated to clean it up a bit, especially since this brew will be aging for awhile.

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