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Old 03-18-2010, 02:25 PM   #1
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Default I could use some experienced help

Hi, I guess here's my first batch and let me lay out my problem.

I bought from craigslist a couple carboys and some ingredients that someone had to unload due to financial crisis. I got a 33lb jug of dark malt syrup, 1 lb of crystal malt(type unnown)and some hops.

My wife rebelled against this jug taking up so much room in the fridge, and demanded I remove said ingredients. I thought "Hey, I have 2 carboys, and an empty bucket, I'll just brew 15 gallons of strong brew for my first attempt."

Used a brew calculator online for boil times, everything seemed to go fine.
Brewed, put in fermenters, fermented vigorously for 10 days, borrowed extra buckets, racked to secondaries, and put brew out of site.

Weeks later, brew is doing nothing, gravity doesn't budge, no bubbles for a week of observation. Thought "time to bottle"

Added priming sugar, bottled. 1 week later... beer is VERY carbonated, and way too sweet. I'm thinking now that the fermentation got stuck, and with air and sugar it decided to start again. Also not a hint of hop flavor.

Please help.
Thanks.
Head

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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Wow - 33 lbs of LME in 15 gallons = a very big beer. You say you can't taste the hops - tell us about the hops you added and when. But that much malt is going to need a lot of hops.

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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It's hard to say what happened without more specifics. Did you take any gravity readings? If not, it is even more difficult to tell what happened.

How much priming sugar did you use? What kind of yeast did you use? If it was liquid yeast, did you make a starter? If you did, how big was the starter? I also echo frazier's questions about the hops.

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:51 PM   #4
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I'll have to wait untl I get home to pull out the recipe I followed exactly.

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:53 PM   #5
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I'd say watch out for bottle bombs. If it was a stuck fermentation and it has started back up, you very well could have some exploding bottles in your future...

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Old 03-18-2010, 02:56 PM   #6
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There's a lot of variables to your situations.

With some rough math, it looks like your OG was about 1.077, which is pretty heavy--but not impossibly heavy.

Part of the equation is your yeast. Different yeast have different attenuation rates--meaning that they digest different percentages of the total sugar. Different yeast also have different tolerances for alcohol--they produce the alcohol as a metabolic byproduct, and they can only take so much of it in their surrounding environment before they stop growing.

Anyway. To your point. If it's really sweet, you've got a lot of residual sugars. You could actually tell how much if you take a hydrometer reading. That will tell you how much sugar is left in the beer.

The difference between that number and 1.077 will also allow you to approximate how much alcohol is in your beer by telling you how much sugar the yeast actually ate.

As far as the hops. If it's in bottles--you don't have a lots of options to bump up the hop flavor. At least not any that I know about. You can dry hop in the secondary... but I've never heard of any way to get hop aroma/flavor into a beer that was already in bottles and has already gone through conditioning... etc.

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Old 03-18-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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Is it possible to pour back into carboys to finish out, while drawing a couple gallons off to boil in some hops and redistribute back into the brew.

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Old 03-18-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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What was the specific gravity of the beer when you bottled it? Did you measure with a hydrometer?

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Old 03-18-2010, 04:29 PM   #9
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You could theoretically pour it back. And fire up fermentation again. You could also dry hop in the carboy at that point too--and get some hop aroma and flavor without boiling.

Reboiling seems like a bad option because you'd boil off the alcohol you have. Plus... there's a total x-factor with how boiled yeast and fermentation byproducts would taste. Even if they tasted good... again. You'd boil off your alcohol, which beyond being a bummer, would affect your flavor.

If you try the carboy thing--something you have to worry about after fermentation is going is oxidation. If you infuse a lot of air/oxygen into the beer, you'll create oxidized flavors in your beer down the road--which can make your beer taste cardboard-y. Not saying it's not worth trying. But it would be worth being very careful transferring if you do decide to give it a shot.

Good luck.

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Old 03-18-2010, 04:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertvrabel View Post
What was the specific gravity of the beer when you bottled it? Did you measure with a hydrometer?
at bottling SG 1.40
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