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Old 04-19-2013, 01:57 AM   #1
Ticebain
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I've made a few more than several batches now and it seems like I have a problem with under attenuation. Most of my beers finish at a FG of 1.009 to 1.012. I even had a kolsch finish (like finish finish after 2 weeks) in primary at 1.022. I let it sit in secondary for another 3 weeks and it did not budge.
My most recent beer was a OG 1.059 saison, mashed at 148. It finished at 1.009. I was shooting for about 1.004. I can't imagine that with that low a mash temp that there were many unfermentable sugars in there. What am I doing wrong?

I always use starters if I'm starting with liquid yeast. Dry year I sometimes do. The saison I did not, but it was my most vigorous fermentation yet.

I think I had a thermometer that was off a bit (stopped using it after) for the kolsch. So mash temp was prob too high, but I am especially stumped on the saison

Any ideas would be much appreciated


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Old 04-19-2013, 03:04 AM   #2
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Looks like you need to adjust you expectations or recipes a bit. 59 to 9 is 85%. And 1.009 is actually below style guidelines for a saison(although you'll find lots of example that are lower). Were you using some simple sugars to lower that? How much?

What were your other fermentation parameters? Oxygen? Temps? Any yeast nutrients?


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Old 04-19-2013, 03:06 AM   #3
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I know that I'm going to get my ass chewed by a million people here that think secondary fermentation is a super important part of the process, but I think that is part of your problem. Racking to secondary before fermentation is complete is a bad idea IMHO. Just leave it on the yeast cake and let it finish. That's how I do all my beers, and they come out just fine. Don't let people scare you about leaving the beer on the primary yeast cake for 4-5 weeks. It's really not a big deal. If you're still having problems after that then I would look at under pitching or possibly not having enough healthy, viable yeast to start the process based on the package date. It sounds like, based on the fact that you said you use a starter everytime, that this isn't the issue.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneShot1 View Post
Racking to secondary before fermentation is complete is a bad idea IMHO.
That's not just your opinion, its the truth. But the OP did say finished FINISHED, so that must mean stable gravity readings and not just a hunch.

Posting OG/FG with nothing about the recipes, mash info (besides the saison), or yeast variety leaves little to go off of. With the info you gave, sounds like you are getting pretty good attenuation.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:27 AM   #5
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I've had people ASSURE me that their fermentation was finished because the airlock wasn't bubbling and when you took a gravity reading over three days, it was clearly not finished. Then after a little bit more time even with the airlock not bubbling the final gravity dropped dramatically. I appreciate the condescending post nonetheless. It is totally appropriate given the circumstance.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:58 PM   #6
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Billl: i was using a recipe from my LHBS for the saison. i overshot the OG by .005, but the recipe saif FG should be about in the 1.004 range. It should still finish around there even if it is a bit heavy on the start right?

OneShort: ive heard it both ways, all my LHBS's recipes say 7 day primary 10 day secondary. my primaries are usually 3-5 days more. i usually use the secondary as more of a clarifying rest. get the yeast cake off the bottom so there is less sediment when i put it in the bottleing bucket. I dont expect it to really ferment out much more, but I let a pils (that I did not use Irish Moss on) sit in a cold room for 6 weeks and that crap is clearer than my tap water.

the kolsch still befuddles me though. it is so high, (1022) and primary was nice and warm, depending on the time of day and outside temp 68-73, (i ferment in a basement bathroom adjacent to my furnace, so if its cold outside, the furnace runs a lot and pumps a good deal of warm air in there, if its warm outside, the ground temp takes a lot of heat out of the room. either way, i keep a space heater with a programmable thermostat in the shower stall with the carboy. so it never gets too cold, and even if it gets too warm, its not long enough to really heat up the beer much, its an old drafty house. but anyway, the kolsch was in primary for 3 weeks and secondary for another 3, it stopped perking the airlock after 4 days and i took reading weeks apart and they were the same...im stuck on that one... the only thing i can think is i drown the yeast in booze b/c my start was 1.077, (kind of a waaaaayyyyy more efficient mash than i wanted) and they stopped producing.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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"Billl: i was using a recipe from my LHBS for the saison. i overshot the OG by .005, but the recipe saif FG should be about in the 1.004 range. It should still finish around there even if it is a bit heavy on the start right?"

No, all other things being equal, raising the OG will raise the FG too. In your case, it would only be +0.001 though. If you want more specific advice, you are going to need to post some more specifics. Recipe? yeast? pitch rate" how did you oxygenate? What temps were you at? How long did you ferment?

Most saison yeasts need to ramp up to pretty high temps to get the attenuation you are looking for. They also generally take longer than a week to do it.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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Billl. Recipe is as follows

6 lbs. Light LME
2 lbs. Vienna (German)
8 oz. Flaked Wheat
8 oz. Flaked Oats
1 oz. Fuggle (60 minutes)
.5 oz. Hallertau (15 minutes)
.5 oz. Hallertau (0 minutes)
8 oz. Honey (0 minutes)
SPICE PACKET
( oz. coriander; tsp. grains of paradise; oz. sweet orange peel; oz. bitter orange peel) - (0 minutes)

Yeast - Lallemand Belle Saison

I subbed the lme with 8 lbs of Belgian pils malt. Mashed at 148 for 60. Double batch sprarged and collected about 6.5-6.9 gals of wort. Boiled. Cooled and transferred to my 6 gal better bottle. Topped it up to about 5.5 gals with per boiled water (I needed just a few cups and wanted to get a decent amount of beer after losing what's in the yeast cake). Shook the hell out of it (no O2). Pitched the whole pack of dry yeast and put the airlock on. Pitch temp was 69.
Fermentation was in the aforementioned basement bathroom with the thermostatted space heater at 74. So that shower stall did not get below 74 for 10 days. It was chilly outside so it may have actually gotten hotter at some times due to the furnace pumping in hot air
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:52 PM   #9
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I haven't used that strain, but the reviews seem to indicate it tends to ferment fast and responds well to high temps in terms of driving down the FG. It looks like the company actually recommends pitching 2 packs, but more reviewers seem to be having good results with just 1 pack.

The people reporting the best attenuation from this strain seem to be;

a) rehydrating the yeast before pitching
b) aerating well
c) tossing in a little yeast nutrient
d) pitching in the mid 60s
e) ramping up to 80 or so

For the mash, you can also look as a 90 minute length to get a more fermentable wort. The temp is fine though.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
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I sold all my Carboys but two because I quite moving beer to a secondary... though I don't think that is the issue here... after two weeks there should have still been enough aactive yeast in the beer to finish off the process.

I plugged your numbers in to tastybres online recipe calculator (which I find underestimates ABV) You might try an online calcualtor and see what it sees...

OG 1.061
FG 1.015
IBU 23
ABV 5.9 %
SRM 5

Low-Range HighRange
OG 1.055 1.061 1.080
FG 1.010 1.015 1.015
IBU 20 23 45
SRM 6 5 12
ABV 4.5 5.9 8.1

I will "try" to plug it in to BeerSmith when I get home... but I am on way out of town so no promises...


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