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Aug 21, 2013
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I am brewing a Milk Stout that is in my primary fermenter. Fermentation was done at 68-72%. OG was 1.058 (expected 1.064). After 2 weeks, the fermentation is not as low as desired; it is at 1.026, but I was hoping for 1.022. My target abv is 5.5%, but I would be happy with 5.00% or 4.75%. Brewer's Friend calculated my actual abv at 4.2%. I was planning to rack into second fermentation on top of a vanilla bean extract today and let it sit for a week or maybe 2 to get the vanilla flavor added. After that, I planned to rack into another carboy or just the keg with 5 lbs of real strawberries. What can I do at this point to get closest to my ABV?

1) Let it sit on the yeast for a 3rd week and maybe gently swirl the yeast into a a bit of supension in hopes of getting a few more points. -or-

2) Rack now and hope that the strawberries will help to finish it out since the strawberries will cause a second fermentation anyways.

3) Rack now but transfer some yeast cake with the beer to help get some more fermentation going.

I used a 1.25 pounds of lactose which I am assuming is the primary driver of finishing too high.
Fermentation is over. The 1.25 lb of lactose added 50 points to your finished beer (an increase of 0.010 for five gallons). So really, your finishing gravity is around 1.016, which is reasonable for a stout. Feel free to leave it on the yeast cake for a longer period, but my guess is there's nothing left for the yeast to eat.

Also, Saccharomyces beer yeast cannot digest fruit sugars (fructose), so the strawberries would only contribute to the perception of added sweetness. Just so you know, added sugars will never cause the beer to attenuate a finished beer lower anyway.
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It's gonna take an awful lot of strawberries to get strawberry flavor I would go with raspberries personally. A pound per gallon gets me where I want to go.
Fructose is a simple sugar the sacc will have no problem fermenting out the sugars from whatever fruit you use.
Don't worry about that couple that couple of points. Adding fruit will boost the abv anyway.
Thanks. The flavor I'm going for is Saugatuck brewing's neopolitan milk stout; so chocolate, and vanilla, and strawberry. I'm planning on racking it into secondary just a few more days later this week. I think it's mostly done as well. I'm planning on adding 5 pounds of fresh strawberries directly into the carboy. First, I plan to slice them, puree them, then freeze them and then let them thaw out and throw into the carboy before racking. For a 5 gallon batch, do you think 5 is enough to get the strawberry flavor. I've seen some people go with like 7-10 pounds which seems like a lot.
I would go with more at least 1.5 pounds per gallon strawberries fade fast. May I also suggest going with frozen strawberries.