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Old 03-10-2012, 07:57 PM   #1
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Default Jamil's Belgian Dark Strong cloying

So I'm fermenting Jamil's "Brew Like a Homebrewer" Belgian Dark Strong.

I'm using the WL Belgian Blend WLP575, because they didn't have the yeast Jamil called for in Brewing Classic Styles.

When I input the recipe into Beersmith it tells me the expected FG is 1.017.

My OG was 1.105 and now (2 weeks in) it's at 1.028. I took a sample today and it was still cloying...at least if that means what I think it means ;-)...really sweet.

But then I do the math and realize I'm already at 10% abv and 73% attenuation. I looked up the yeast on the website and it says to expect 74%-80% attenuation. Which, even if I get to 80% is only 1.020. The yeast is a Medium-High alcohol tolerant strain, and the fermentation process has slowed considerably. I'm sure I'll get a few more points out of it, but I'm skeptical I'll get down to 1.020 TBH.

So my question is really about how this beer/yeast will age. I'm in no hurry to get it off the yeast cake, and I really hope that cloyingly sweet taste will abate.

Will it?

BTW, I fermented temp controlled to within 1-2 degrees from 68 slowing ramping up to 74 (just yesterday, day 12). I'll hold it at 74 best I can for as long as I can.

I know these beers take a very long time to fully age and mellow, I'm just wondering from somebody who's brewed something as high gravity as this if the cloying at 10% alcohol and a fermentation that's slowing rapidly will take care of each other buy the time the beer is fully aged.

One last question: I'd like to move my beer to a cellar when I'm convinced my fermentation is (almost) completely done. But I've heard these yeasts can really creep along eating those last few points of gravity. Is this inadvisable?

I intend to age it until Christmas.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-10-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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I am a super rookie but I did 3x Belgian that came out sweet. These high gravity beers really need a yeast starter. Mine really did not turn out well. After 90 days it was still on the sweet side.

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Old 03-10-2012, 08:11 PM   #3
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Jamil's recipe has an FG of 1.024 (from brewing classic styles), so you arent tooo far off. I'd probably try and coax an extra few points out of it. Warm it up a few degrees, swirl the fermenter, etc etc.

I bet it'll be better once its carbed up too. It is a fairly sweet style though

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Old 03-10-2012, 08:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for that response. Yes, I did a 1L starter with a stir plate. Plenty of pitching yeast per the beersmith calculator.

I wonder if yours will get any better in time? I've been told by someone who's brewed one of these to expect 8-12 months before it's ready to drink.

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Old 03-10-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sockmerchant View Post
Jamil's recipe has an FG of 1.024 (from brewing classic styles), so you arent tooo far off. I'd probably try and coax an extra few points out of it. Warm it up a few degrees, swirl the fermenter, etc etc.

I bet it'll be better once its carbed up too. It is a fairly sweet style though
LOL...of course..consult the book. Why didn't I think of that???

Will do on the coaxing. The yeast temp range is 68-75 so I'm probably good on temp right (74f)? I could bump it up to 75, but most my experience is with ales, and I've had my best batches come from fermentations on the low end of the range, so I guess I'm a bit conditioned to not want to go to the high limit. I know RDWHAHB!
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
So I'm fermenting Jamil's "Brew Like a Homebrewer" Belgian Dark Strong.

I'm using the WL Belgian Blend WLP575, because they didn't have the yeast Jamil called for in Brewing Classic Styles.

When I input the recipe into Beersmith it tells me the expected FG is 1.017.

My OG was 1.105 and now (2 weeks in) it's at 1.028. I took a sample today and it was still cloying...at least if that means what I think it means ;-)...really sweet.

But then I do the math and realize I'm already at 10% abv and 73% attenuation. I looked up the yeast on the website and it says to expect 74%-80% attenuation. Which, even if I get to 80% is only 1.020. The yeast is a Medium-High alcohol tolerant strain, and the fermentation process has slowed considerably. I'm sure I'll get a few more points out of it, but I'm skeptical I'll get down to 1.020 TBH.

So my question is really about how this beer/yeast will age. I'm in no hurry to get it off the yeast cake, and I really hope that cloyingly sweet taste will abate.

Will it?

BTW, I fermented temp controlled to within 1-2 degrees from 68 slowing ramping up to 74 (just yesterday, day 12). I'll hold it at 74 best I can for as long as I can.

I know these beers take a very long time to fully age and mellow, I'm just wondering from somebody who's brewed something as high gravity as this if the cloying at 10% alcohol and a fermentation that's slowing rapidly will take care of each other buy the time the beer is fully aged.

One last question: I'd like to move my beer to a cellar when I'm convinced my fermentation is (almost) completely done. But I've heard these yeasts can really creep along eating those last few points of gravity. Is this inadvisable?

I intend to age it until Christmas.

Thanks in advance!
Often overlooked: Your perception of sweetness is HEAVILY dependent upon temperature, and carbonation. When you are tasting room temperature fermenting beer, it will taste NOTICEABLY SWEETER than serving temperature. In addition, the carbonic acid, not heavily present in fermenting beer offsets the sweetness.

Good taste exercises. Try a room temperature commercial belgian and a cold one. Let one flatten and try it against a fresh one. Note that even a flat beer has more carbonic acid than still-fermenting beer.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaysurfer View Post
LOL...of course..consult the book. Why didn't I think of that???

Will do on the coaxing. The yeast temp range is 68-75 so I'm probably good on temp right (74f)? I could bump it up to 75, but most my experience is with ales, and I've had my best batches come from fermentations on the low end of the range, so I guess I'm a bit conditioned to not want to go to the high limit. I know RDWHAHB!
You get most of the yeast derived flavor during the first few days of fermentation. At this point you can take it to 30 without it negatively impacting on the taste.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sockmerchant View Post
You get most of the yeast derived flavor during the first few days of fermentation. At this point you can take it to 30 without it negatively impacting on the taste.
Did you mean 80?

That's good, because I just watched the thermometer tip up to 76 a minute ago ;-)

Thanks for all the responses. If anyone has any feedback on kegging/bottling/cellaring I'd listen. I have some space in a wine cellar I could use for aging it.

I like to keg stuff, but I'm thinking keg and sugar carbonation rather then force carb like my ales on this one? Or is this style far better off bottle conditioned?

Edit: I see you're from NZ. Perhaps you did mean 30C? That's hotter then I'd like to go, but it's nice to know I don't have to worry about the fusels if I go a degree or two over the upper limit.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:11 AM   #9
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At the end I do let my Belgians go up towards 30. With ambient and heat from fermentation it gets close on its own.

Personally I'd bottle condition it. But then again I bottle all my Belgian beers.

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Old 03-12-2012, 05:50 PM   #10
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Well I ramped it up to 75-77 since I started posting this, and it's still bubbling, although slowly. I'm going to keep coaxing it and hope I can get a few more points of it. I'll post up next time I take a gravity reading.

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