High Gravity - High Attenuation
this is my 3rd batch of beer --- first 2 came out lovely and highly drinkable
currently brewing a high gravity chocolate stout (i think that is what it would be classified as)
i think i screwed up by pitching all my yeast --- 1-quart starter from WL0007 (Dry English Ale from white labs) I gave it a 5-hours head start in a low gravity baby wort ---- i pitched every last drop
I am currently worried about it fermenting out before consuming all the sweetness out of the beer (i think sweet beers are evil)
last February '07 i brewed a nice amber ale (OG 1.072) that ended up as a 6.3% ABV ---- after bottling most of it, i shook up the remaining yeast/beer - i bottled it and capped it then immediately stuck it in the fridge.
I opened that bottle tonight --- it was very mildly carbonated --- swirled it around a bit --- and let it sit in cabinet for 20 minutes
then i boiled 1 pint water with 1/4 cup table sugar(cane sugar) put it in a clean bucket (air tight with siphon tube coming out of the lid) - poured 1-quart cold distilled water into the bucket
then poured bottle into the bucket and siphoned off 1-pint of wort from my primary fermenter
put end of hose in a water / gin solution (50/50)
an hour later and it is bubbling
should i wait and see what happens? maybe pitch it in a day or 2 if there are no off/rancid smells?
or should i call it an abomination and throw it in the yard?
thanks for advice
For a beer that big you need at least that much yeast, if not more.
By "fermenting out" it will reduce much of the sweetness. For high gravity beer like this one, though, you will be left with some sweetness regardless of the yeast. There are just too many residual sugars left over that the yeast can't consume that you will perceive as sweetness. The right amount of hops should balance it for the most past.
If you find that your high gravity beers come out too sweet, you could use a pound or so of sugar in place of some of the malt so that the final gravity is lower the next time.
i am not sure whether or not i used enough hops ---- 4 oz cascades @ 6.5 AAU
2 oz after 30 minutes
1 oz after 60 minutes
1 oz after 75 minutes
killed boil at 90 minutes
i did use a lot of dark grains --- 6 lbs british chocolate
13 pounds of light malt extract (syrup stuff)
should i continue on with the second *experimental* starter so i can use it to consume some more of the sweetness? --- closest homebrew store is 2 hour drive away ---
it has been fermenting already for 47 hours
lesson learned --- never pitch all my starter in a high gravity beer hehehe
If the yeast is healthy, you don't need more. Yeast do not consume all of the sugars in beer. They leave behind some. Some strains are more picky that others. The CA ale yeast regularly goes up to about 80%, but there are some English strains that top out just over 60%. That remaining portion is partly what you perceive as "body", "mouthfeel", and "sweetness." Even if a big beer is fermented to 80%, that remaining 20% is much more residual sugar than a normal gravity beer, and adding more yeast will not consume it. See what you end up with before you do anything.
Thanks for the advice Brewsmith ... will do
If you don't like sweet beers, you shouldn't brew much over 1.070.
And, I'm sorry to say, with extract, you're probably going to have even more unfermented sugars than if you were going all grain.
It could very well be a beer that many beer lovers love, but if you hate sweet beers, then you should really avoid high gravity beers. It's counter-productive to attaining the characteristics that you like.
I have been reading in different places that Beano can be used to transform unfermentable sugars into fermentable sugars.
a guy in my brew club occassionally uses that technique and says it is successful
so far my best option, other than beano, seems to be rousing the yeast just to get the most out of it ....
Six pounds of chocolate malt?! Am I reading that correctly? That will give you a high finish gravity and make for a very sweet beer, even without considering the unfermentables in the LME.
If the final is too sweet, you have two choices to dry it out: Alpha amylase concentrate or alpha-galactosidase (Beano).
The downside of Beano? You have to heat the beer to de-nature it once you reach the desired dryness. Otherwise it will continue breaking down the sugars until there is nothing left. You end up with a high ABV, low-carb beer with almost no mouthfeel.
Alpha amylase concentrate will leave some sweetness and mouthfeel.
Six pounds of chocolate actually ought to add a large amount of roasted grain bitterness to the beer. I'm interested to see how this stuff turns out.
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