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jimpdx 08-24-2012 02:59 AM

Help/Advice - Big Beer and Low SG Secondary
So I am dusting off the home brewery after months away followed by months of work travel. I tried to rush a 5 week Imperial IPA for a small competition (EDIT: not a real competition just homebrew tasting) next month. I also decided to upgrade from plastic mash to a Keggle! This recipe is a modified version of the Three Floyds Dreadnaught Clone, with some Black Patent and Chocolate Malt to attempt an Imperial Black (bad idea).

I think a few things might have gone wrong. My first time mashing in the keggle, my strike temp was just right but within 5 minutes the temp had dropped to 152 from 159. In trying to heat up and recirc the mash, I blew into the low 170s! After panic subsided, I stirred and worked it down to target temp, added time to my mash then mashed out and sparged as normal. Idodine drops revealed no black and my pre-boil gravity was on target. In the end I had 5 gallons into primary at 1.093 which I diluted/cooled with a half gallon (net 5.5G at 1.085). I figured I am off to a good start with such a high OG.

Following the recipe and the advice from the LHBS, I did NOT create a started but rather pitched TWO slap packs of 1968 (London ESB) which was fermenting happily by the next morning. However by the afternoon of day 2, barely 48 hours into it, the krausen was gone, small spots on the surface and little to no activity from the blow off. I gave it a few more days.

Tonight I racked to secondary, added 2oz of Cascade Dry Hop and measured a gravity of 1.044. My target FG is 1.033 so this is meant to be a big, malty and hoppy brew. But it does not seem possible to drop another .01 over a two week secondary. While I would happily leave it for months in secondary, I need it bottled and ready to open by 9/20 (four weeks). Should I drop some US05 into secondary, even a half packet, to eat the extra sugars?

I am hoping the HB gods have some advice. I believe I made a few key mistakes such as complex high gravity beer on new equipment after a long hiatus AND not making a starter. I will devote some time to learning starters.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have!


Style: Imperial IPA
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 9.24 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.24 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 4.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.092 SG
Estimated Color: 28.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 90.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 88.6 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
16 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 88.0 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz Melanoiden Malt (20.0 SRM) Grain 2 6.7 %
8.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.7 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.7 %
0.75 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 22.7 IBUs
0.75 oz Warrior [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 26.2 IBUs
0.75 oz Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 45.0 min Hop 7 16.0 IBUs
0.75 oz Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 8 13.4 IBUs
1.10 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 9 -
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 10 12.7 IBUs
2.0 pkg London ESB Ale (Wyeast Labs #1968) [124. Yeast 11 -
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Dry Hop 14.0 Days Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Temperature Mash, 1 Step, Full Body
Total Grain Weight: 18 lbs 12.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Saccharification Add 25.44 qt of water at 173.9 F 159.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F 10 min

Sparge: Fly sparge with 5.63 gal water at 168.0 F

bottlebomber 08-24-2012 03:30 AM

So many obstacles here... 159 is what you would mash a sour or a RIS at, certainly not an IPA. Also, why did you choose a massive beer to try and rush to comp? And what are you going to enter it under, since it doesn't meet any BJCP criteria? The only advice I can offer is to let this be, and either brew something in the 1.050 range if you want to enter, or else just wait for the next competition. If you try to rush this beer, you will not only get poor feedback but it will also not be as good to drink as it could have been.

jimpdx 08-24-2012 04:48 PM


Originally Posted by bottlebomber (Post 4357003)
Also, why did you choose a massive beer to try and rush to comp? And what are you going to enter it under, since it doesn't meet any BJCP criteria?

Sorry I should have clarified. This is not a REAL competition. There is a homebrew event taking place as part of a technology conference I attend. The competition is just attendees voting for their favorite. Lesson learned about rushing big beers (don't do it). I may be categorizing the beer incorrectly but the recipe (multiple Dreadnaught clones online) call for 159 and apparently that is straight from one of the Floyds. It is a giant malty beer with heavy hops to back it up so the higher mash temp seems reasonable?

OK one vote for "let it be". I realize by adding even a small amount of Dry US05 it will disrupt the dry hopping taking place over the next two weeks.

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