FG 1.030 too high?

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hal simmons

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I made an extract stout (third brew ever) 11.5 days ago. Here are the malts I used for a 5 gallon batch.

8 lbs. Muntons Dark DME
1 lb. chocolate malt
1 lb. roasted barley
0.75 lb. black malt
0.5 lb. British crystal malt, 40° Lovibond
0.5 lb. dextrin malt

The grains got steeped separately at 155 degrees. I used Wyeast 1084 liquid yeast (smack pack), but did not make a starter. The fermentation started off great after about 10 hours, going strong for the first 4 days (had to use a blowoff tube for first 48 hours). By day 11 (last night) the airlock was down to 1 burp every 50 seconds. I forgot to take an OG reading, so I don't know where I started out at, but last night I decided to rack to a secondary and check the gravity while I was at it. It was at 1.030 and the wort tasted good, but sweet.

The problem is that now after racking (14 hours later) all bubbling in the airlock is pretty much stopped. I'm counting more than 3 minutes between burps. I'm thinking I racked too soon, and now I don't know what to do. I know for a stout the FG is going to be higher than most, but is 1.030 too high for this recipe? Do I just go ahead and bottle? Is there any danger of leaving it in the secondary if it's not fermenting? There's a good bit of headspace in the secondary, the beer comes up to where the bottle starts to curve at top.

What do I do? Do I bottle this weekend or leave it in the secondary for another week?
 

TexLaw

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Yes, you racked too early. If you are still getting about a bubble every minute, fermentation is not done. Leave it in the secondary and see if it finishes up. You probably have enough yeast in there to finish the job, but it is going to take a while.

DO NOT BOTTLE now, whatever you do. The beer is still fermenting or, at least, it still has some fermenting to do. If you bottle now, you make bottle bombs.

In the future, take your hydrometer reading before you rack.


TL
 
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hal simmons

hal simmons

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Would pitching more yeast at this point help, or just leave it and let it go?
 

Joker

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I would just leave it and let the current yeast finish the job.
 
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hal simmons

hal simmons

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Can I trust that the yeast is still doing it's job if the airlock isn't bubbling? How long should I wait before taking another hydrometer reading?
 
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hal simmons

hal simmons

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In the future, i'm assuming it will be better to leave it in the primary until the airlock's not bubbling anymore. I had about 2 inches of junk in the bottom of primary. Is there any concern about leaving it on that junk for too long?
 
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hal simmons

hal simmons

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How much should I expect the FG to drop before bottling?
 

HP_Lovecraft

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Curious though. That recipe shows an OG of 1.091.
The yeast shows an attenuation of 70-74%.

That would make the projected FG of 1.022 - 1.028.
He used a considerable amount of specialty grains (3.75lbs) which meant that much of the sugars were unfermentable.

So... I would think that 1.030 seems like its pretty close to the FG. Plus, you are approaching the upper alchohol limit of the WYeast. Sounds to me like everything is right on track. If you really wanted to go lower, you might have to use a dry wine yeast?

Bottling higher gravity beers is always tricky. I'd leave it in the secondary for a few more weeks, then when you bottle, use half has much sugar.

nick
 
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hal simmons

hal simmons

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I'm still getting a burp every 3 minutes right now. The recipe said it would make a strong, sweet, high alcohol stout, but didn't list original gravity, final gravity or expected alcohol content. I think I'm going to wait a week and take another reading and see how much it's changed, if any.
 

TexLaw

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You have a good point, Lovecraft, about the possible FG. He used dark extract, too, and that tends to be a bit less fermentable than its lighter counterpart.

I'd rather be safe than sorry here, though, so I recommend waiting at least another week before bottling, rousing gently every day until the gravity stabilizes. There is some airlock activity, so it could still be fermenting. If OP is worried about losing beer to hydrometer samples, he can sanitize his flask or just take readings further apart. Stable is stable, and it doesn't matter if you take a reading every day for a week or take them a week apart if you are just looking for a flat line.

I would never, ever use a wine yeast here, though. That will throw the beer far out of balance, as wine yeasts ferment stuff that beer yeasts do not. Rather, I'd go with a beer yeast that's better suited for higher gravity.


TL
 

TexLaw

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hal simmons said:
Is there any concern about leaving it on that junk for too long?
Well, yes, but "too long" is longer than you think. Autolysis is more of a boogeyman than anything else. You'll have to search far and wide to find someone who's actually had a batch suffer from autolysis. Typically, you can leave your beer in the primary for four weeks, no problem, and probably as long as a few months. About a month ago, I brewed a 1.077 beer that was in the primary for four weeks, and I didn't lose a moment's peace to autolysis worries.


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BierMuncher

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hal simmons said:
I'm still getting a burp every 3 minutes right now.
Forget the burping.

Use your hydrometer. That's what it's for.

Take a reading every day. When you go three straight days and no movement in gravity, add 2 more days, then rack.
 
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i've made 2 stouts recently with that yeast, and both times i noticed some interesting things about it. initially fast fermentation with NO krausen, then slowing to an almost stop, but high gravity still. the last 5-6 gravity points came slowly. it also dropped another 1-2 points after racking to secondary, but you'll probably get more than that because i left both in primary for 14 days and pitched very big starters, so my primary was pretty well finished. follow the advice above not only because your gravity will continue to drop slowly, but all those complex flavors and high alcohol take some time to meld. you've brewed a complex high gravity beer, give it a chance to be great. if this beer was at my house right now, i'd put it in the closet and forget about it until the middle of February. i understand that that's hard to do given that it's your 3rd beer, but honestly the best thing you can do to improve your brewing is to learn patience now.
 

Ryan_PA

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BierMuncher said:
Forget the burping.

Use your hydrometer. That's what it's for.

Take a reading every day. When you go three straight days and no movement in gravity, add 2 more days, then rack.
I am not sure I agree with this approach. I do think you should take a gravity reading to be sure, just not quite yet, and not every day. I would still give it a week and check it then. You still have fermentation going on iff you are seeing airlock activity. When this dies down and you cannot see any movement at all, then check. I imagine a week is a good benchmark at this point. Moving it too soon can hurt the beer. Waiting an extra week (or two) cannot.

Brewing should impart a good amount of patience, if not try wine making. If not, marry a greek chick.
 
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hal simmons

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Interesting. Fermentation started around 10 hours, and ramped up pretty quickly. I had to switch to a blow-off tube at around 36 hours because the krausen had foamed all the way up into the airlock. After the initial fermentation it's just been chugging along slowly for about 5-6 days.

Is there any danger of leaving it in the secondary too long if fermentation has ceased? Say, I take two gravity readings next week and they are the same, should I still keep it in the secondary for another week or two?
 

Scimmia

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there's people who leave it in secondary for a couple of months, so you should be fine as long as you don't completely forget about it or something.
 

discgolfin

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You can never leave it in secondary too long. Leave it as long as you would like. Again autolysis is so rare..and with a big beer like you have it will only bulk age it better than if you bottle. I agree if it is stable SG reading a week a part u are good to bottle..however it only will improve with age so longer in secondary is fine as well. It really is funny how many people see air locks slow and they run to get the racking cane and transfer..let the yeast clean up for a few days and than check you gravity..secondary is not for fermentation at all..

I leave my 1.08+ beers in secondary 4 to 6 weeks all the time. Think about your secondary as one big bottled beer..how often do you hear people scared of the yeast on the bottom of your bottle conditioned ale lysing and giving bad flavors...never

I iust make another batch while I wait for it to age a bit in secondary..sometimes 2 batches..I have 3 secondarys..I have an apfelwine that has been in one of them since October..no worries..I'm just aging it nice an long...

Jay
 

BierMuncher

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hal simmons said:
...Say, I take two gravity readings next week and they are the same, should I still keep it in the secondary for another week or two?
That's going to be determined by how much you need that fermenter.

I see several things that indicate you're fermentation is pretty darn near complete:

Rapid / robust fermentation after 10 hours. (The faster it takes off, the faster it finishes)
12 days since going into the fermenter.

The sweetness you taste is from all the specialty malts and the dextrin.

CO2 can continue to be released from a fully fermented beer long after the effective fermentation has ceased. You wort became highly saturated with CO2 during fermentation. (We've all had "sudsy" hydrometer samples)

That periodic airlock burp is more likely due to CO2 release, than creation.

If you've no plans to drink this beer (or brew another one) soon, leave it be. Me...I'd be on to the next batch.

You're going to pick up an additonal 3-4 weeks of conditioning in the bottles while they carbonate.
 
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hal simmons

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I don't need the fermenter, so I'm good to leave it for another couple weeks if necessary. I think i'm going to wait to check the gravity for a week or so and see where it's at. Probably leave it in the secondary for another 1-2 weeks as well.
 

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if you're not keen on the hydrometer, wait until you get NO burps, then wait 3-4 more days. Then bottle.

If you're not going to use the hydrometer(which you don't have to if you don't want to), leave your beer in the primary until you get no bubbles at all, then rack to secondary.

Secondary is for clearing only, not for fermenting. Fermentation should be complete when you rack.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I fear over-frequent (IMHO) SG readings. Don't you think the risk reward is tipping the scale toward contamination if you take a gravity reading all the time. I use carboys to ferment and I try not to open them up unless absolutely necessary. I just wait for 2 weeks in primary and get ready to rack. If the beer is 10 points off, fine cap it back up, but if I am under 5 points off I would rather just rack it and let the remaining suspended yeast finish it off in secondary.

Then again, if you had a conical, sampling everyday would be a breeze.

For those of you who do sample very often; how do you sample? Thief, refractometer....? Sampling everyday seems like it would be wasting beer, or do you just ensure everything is sanitized before checking and dump your sample back in?

I normally thief a hydrometer jar worth of beer before transferring, test it, then continue to my racking. This way I get to sample my brew and get excited about what I will be drinking in a month.

On the other-hand maybe I am just being a pansy about contamination.
 

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Ryan_PA said:
Brewing should impart a good amount of patience, if not try wine making. If not, marry a greek chick.
^^ Funny. I got an Oklahoma girl who was raised in Italy. Much the same I think!!

As others have said, you can leave it in the secondary for a long time. Months.

Patience is the key, especially with a big beer. Sometimes the last few bottles of a batch are the best, and I am kicking myself for not being more patient and let it age.

I like to age in the secondary, partly because I am less likely to drink it. It seems to make a better beer.

Where is David_42 to give us the exacts?
 

tbone

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I just completed an AG stout and pitched Wyeast 1084 (starter). It took off in 6 hours and in about 15 hours it was bubbling at 2 burps per second - fastest I have had to this point. It is now approaching 48 hours and things have really slowed down . I am assuming that the same thing will happen to mine as discussed in this thread. Again patience is is the key. For me also. :)
 
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hal simmons

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Sounds very similar to my fermentation with this batch. Mine was at it's peak (2-3 per second) between 36-64 hours. Sounds like from what most people are saying with this yeast, expect it to slow and then keep hanging on for a while.
 

budbo

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hal simmons said:
In the future, i'm assuming it will be better to leave it in the primary until the airlock's not bubbling anymore. I had about 2 inches of junk in the bottom of primary. Is there any concern about leaving it on that junk for too long?
I keep mine in the primary 10 days to two weeks, the new house has chilly ground water and I generally get a monster cold break and let it sit for 2 weeks on a 4 inch blob... hasn't hurt one yet.
 

BierMuncher

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Boerderij Kabouter said:
...Don't you think the risk reward is tipping the scale toward contamination if you take a gravity reading all the time....
440+ gallons in the last 13 months.

Sampled each and every batch several times at certain intervals.

Used a SS ladle (for my buckets) and a racking cane (for my carboys) to draw samples.

Not one infection.

Rumors of people getting an infection simply by thinking about their beer are greatly exaggerated. :D
 
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hal simmons

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So...looking back at some of the comments and doing a little more reading about starters and pitching rates it looks like I severely underpitched this batch. The recipe didn't have target OG or FG projections, and I didn't expect it to have that high of a starting gravity, so I just pitch a Wyeast smack pack (and no nutrients) as I have the last two batches. If the OG (based on the ingredients I put in) was indeed 1.091, then I should have pitched ALOT more yeast than just that pack.

But...fermentation took off after only 10 hours, and was very vigorous for the first 4 days. I'm fermenting a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy, so there's alot of headspace, but the krausen got so high it came into the airlock and I had to switch to a blowoff tube.

Plus, when I racked after 10.5 days (I know, too early) the gravity reading was at 1.030, which was high, but i'm still getting bubbles in my secondary every 1min 45seconds, which means i'm still dropping some points, right? Just that one pack of yeast dropped the gravity that much in 10 days?

Should I expect any negative side affects from underpitching this batch (and racking to secondary too soon) other than it's just going to take alot longer than it should have to finish?
 

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Here is a list of things for Hal Simmons to do:

1. Read the STICKIES.
2. Never trust the air-lock for an indication of complete fermentation.
3. Relax...
4. Be patient
5. Take a Hydrometer reading in a week and see what it says.
 

bigben

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hal simmons said:
So...looking back at some of the comments and doing a little more reading about starters and pitching rates it looks like I severely underpitched this batch. The recipe didn't have target OG or FG projections, and I didn't expect it to have that high of a starting gravity, so I just pitch a Wyeast smack pack (and no nutrients) as I have the last two batches. If the OG (based on the ingredients I put in) was indeed 1.091, then I should have pitched ALOT more yeast than just that pack.

But...fermentation took off after only 10 hours, and was very vigorous for the first 4 days. I'm fermenting a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy, so there's alot of headspace, but the krausen got so high it came into the airlock and I had to switch to a blowoff tube.

Plus, when I racked after 10.5 days (I know, too early) the gravity reading was at 1.030, which was high, but i'm still getting bubbles in my secondary every 1min 45seconds, which means i'm still dropping some points, right? Just that one pack of yeast dropped the gravity that much in 10 days?

Should I expect any negative side affects from underpitching this batch (and racking to secondary too soon) other than it's just going to take alot longer than it should have to finish?
I think other than stuck fermentation, the only other side effect of underpitching is possible Diacetly flavor from the yeast not being able to clean up after themselves.

I dont know of any other side effects, but there may be others.
 

jayareo

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So, where is the batch now? I found this thread via a search - as I have a batch in a similar situation ... I have it in secondary now ... hoping that increasing the temps to the mid 60's will help jump start the fermentation again. Mine has to come down from 1.028 to the 1.015 arena.
 
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