Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Too much alcohol for my yeast?
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:17 PM   #1
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Default Too much alcohol for my yeast?

In early Nov. 2009 I brewed a Big IPA. I used 10 lbs of dry light malt extract some specialty grains and atleast 3 oz of hops (I'll have to check my brewnotes when I get home). I used Safale S-04. I let the beer sit in the primary for 13 days, then racked it into a carboy for 16 more days. It has now been kegged for a little over 7 weeks and still tastes sweet. You can taste the alcohol right up front with lots of malt characteristics afterwards. The OG was a staggering 1.101, the gravity is now sitting at 1.03. I am wondering if the high alcohol content (9.7% abv as of right now) killed off my yeast too early.

I took this beer to my local brewclub meeting last night and heard a few different opinions on what to do with it. Some said to just leave it alone for a few more months, others said to throw some Safale S-05 and a bit of beano into it to try to restart the fermentation. When I pull up on the pressure relief valve some air does come out which makes me think the yeast may still be working. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing. This is my first big beer and I didn't even think about needing to use a champagne type yeast due to the high alcohol content. The beer is drinkable, almost like a barley wine at the moment but the hops are undetectable, and there are no off flavors so I know I shouldn't have to dump it. Just wondering what the best route would be to salvage this beer. Thanks.


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Old 01-21-2010, 04:25 PM   #2
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What temp is it at? You could raise the temp a little while it sits for a few more weeks/months. Pitching more yeast is an option but I'd stay away from beano. I've never used it but from what I know it will probably break down your complex sugars into fermentable ones, not what you need - you need to ferment what you already have in there.


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Old 01-21-2010, 04:29 PM   #3
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I'd try wine yeast, like Lalvin's EC1118 champagne yeast before I'd try Beano. The problem with Beano is that it WILL break down the complex sugars to simple sugars that the yeast can digest, but I don't think the problem is too many complex sugars. I think the problem is exceeding the yeast strain's alcohol tolerance. Also, once Beano goes, it never stops. You could end up with a very high alcohol, thin beer.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:37 PM   #4
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No on beano
No on champagne yeast
Make a 1 liter starter with US-05 and pitch it at high krausen and 65 degree wort temp.

What was the gravity when you racked it to secondary?
What temp did you ferment at, S-04 tends to stall unless warmed up a little after hi-krausen.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babalu87 View Post
No on beano
No on champagne yeast
Make a 1 liter starter with US-05 and pitch it at high krausen and 65 degree wort temp.
Unless I'm mistaken, high krausen has already passed for the OP.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmies View Post
Unless I'm mistaken, high krausen has already passed for the OP.

Pitch the starter at high krausen

Quote:
Make a 1 liter starter with US-05 and pitch it at high krausen and 65 degree wort temp.
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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the attenuation of 04 is 70-75% you are at about that with those #'s now . Try some 05 it may take it down a few more points. I don't know the alcohol tolerance of 04 or 05

Danstar states that Notty has a high tolerance but doesn't give the %
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:50 PM   #8
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I don't have much ability to change the temp of my brew closet but during the winter months it tends to hover around 61 degrees. I only very recently have started taking gravity readings between racking and did not get a reading for this brew when I racked it. I had always been a "watch the bubbles" type of brewer. I'm sure I should have left it in primary longer.

Babalu, I am a bit unfamiliar with krausening, are you saying I should take about a liter of the beer out of the keg and make a starter with US-05 and pitch it a day or so later when it really starts going off?

I may try to warm it up to about 65 degrees for a couple of weeks to see if the original yeast wakes up, but I think S-04 doesn't tolerate high alcohol quite as well as US-05. Is this correct?

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Old 01-21-2010, 07:41 PM   #9
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Would the alcohol tolerance for US-05 be around 10-15%, since White Labs 001 is mentioned as that range?

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew_strains.html
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:18 PM   #10
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No, US-05 is about the same as S-04 for tolerance. Nottingham has a higher ABV range. If you're willing to spring the bucks, WLP002 English Ale Yeast is rated for over 15%.


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