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Old 01-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #1
Blu3Ridge
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Default High OG brews length?

Gents,
Three weeks ago I started the process on a Russian Winter Stout. This is my first high OG brew. So on brew day, I took an OG of 1.07, pitched my yeast, and left that night for the weekend, and returned to this:



I quickly siphoned it into my carboy and let it chill there up to this point. There was no infection. Yesterday I took a hydrometer reading of .03 after three weeks, my FG should be .017 per recipe.

I'm under the impression that most beers really finish fermenting in 2 weeks, but with higher OG beers, how long does it really take? The recipe states: "Ready in: 18 weeks. Primary 1-2 weeks, Secondary 3-4 weeks, Bottle Conditioned 12-16 weeks."

Are they insane with that schedule?? Or am I just actually that impatient and need to RDWHAHB? I'm down to 7 more pints of my HB Porter, and I don't know how much longer I can wait, as the snow is melting outside out of sync with my Russian Winter

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:06 PM   #2
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High ABV beers need longer conditioning times for the harsh fusel alcohols to meld. The beer will smooth out a bit if you will. Thats a pretty high FG so I'm thinking that the explosion then transfer to secondary likely depleted the amount of yeast... and what was left couldn't finish the job. I see absolutely no need for the 3-4 secondary either.

I've done a few high ABV beers with OGs of 1.070-1.098. All were done with primary fermentation in 10 days.

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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I've come to accept I have these three options:
1. Pitch more yeast
2. Wait another week, take a hydro sample, if still .03, bottle. Learn from this.
3. Wait another week, take a hydro sample, if <.03, wait till it hits FG. It's a slow beer.

Lessons learned so far, buy a blow off valve when doing high OG beers and plan two months ahead instead.

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:53 PM   #4
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Blu3;

Those are some good lessons to learn. I would add to that:

Fermentation Temperatures! Regulating your fermentation temperature is one of the best things you can do to improve your brews. If the ambient room temperature is 68F, its likely your fermentation temperature is closer to 75F with all the heat created during fermentation. There are ways to do this that won't break the bank either. I monitor temperatures in several locations thoughout the house and shift my carboys accordingly. Other people put their fermenters into a larger water bath and add warm water or ice bottles to regulate temperatures. Whatever you choose to do, regulating fermentation temperatures should be a high priority on your list of things to do.

And regarding fermentation temperatures for big beers, I like to start low (62F generally, sometimes lower) and then let fermentation temps rise over a week - 10 days into the ballpark of 68F. I find this reduces the production of harsher fusel alcohols.

Depending upon what your mash schedule was like, your ferment may not be done at 1.030. Your yeast may have just crapped out. I would be hessitant to bottle so soon, as you may end up with some bottle bombs.

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Old 01-18-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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The gravity stayed the same after a week and half. Bottled it. Now can anyone recommend a blow off valve so I don't lose all my yeast next time?

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Old 01-18-2013, 11:48 AM   #6
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I would suggest leaving your bucket lid loose. It looks like your tiny airlock hole clogged and the lid literally exploded off. Next time just set the bucket lid on the bucket loosely, at least until initial fermentation is finished.

Other options:
--brew a smaller batch
--get a larger bucket

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