High FG... any ideas?

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lukemarson

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I brewed a Heady Topper clone using the HBT recipe (https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=390082). I used the pack put together by Farmhouse Brewing Supply (http://www.farmhousebrewingsupply.com/heady-topper-clone-all-grain/). I am fermenting in a glass carboy in a room around 65-70F.

I dry-hopped it after 3 days as per the Farmhouse instructions. The smell coming out of the airlock was immense. 2 weeks after I put the beer into the carboy fermentation has stopped. I took a Final Gravity reading and it wasa whopping 1.075. The Original Gravity reading was 1.086, which is not much higher than the 1.073 that was the OG specified by the recipe. While the OG is about right, the FG is clearly not.

1. Any ideas why this is high?
2. How can I get it down... it really should be around the 1.014 mark.

I dry hopped it by putting the pellets into my glass carboy. They created a thick foam at the top, which may have stopped oxidization? I've just tried some swirling to get the foam to sink as I am performing the second dry-hopping for 7 days before bottling.

It is also worth noting that during the steeping of my cooled wart into the carboy (which was cooled down using a wort chiller) that the process was reasonably quick and may have added a little more oxygen than expected.

Thoughts and comments welcome. Thanks in advance!
 

BlueHouseBrewhaus

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Sounds like the yeast may have been a dud. You can try repitching with a couple of packs of US-05. Also, how are you measuring gravity - hydrometer or refractometer?
 

solbes

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Do not bottle with a beer at 1.076, I hope that is obvious. Bottle bombs would ensue.

If I'm reading this right, you transferred out of primary into a carboy after only 3 days? If so, there's your problem. You left most of the yeast behind after it just got going. Beer kit instructions are not all that reliable. If this is the case, pitch fresh yeast into your carboy and leave it alone for awhile.

If you left it in primary for 2-3 weeks and it only got down to 1.076, you have yeast that never got going. It would likely now be pretty infected, and so would most of your plastic equipment.
 

Pkrd

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I dry-hopped it after 3 days as per the Farmhouse instructions.


I took a Final Gravity reading and it wasa whopping 1.075. The Original Gravity reading was 1.086, which is not much higher than the 1.073 that was the OG specified by the recipe.
The dry hop is supposed to be at day 14 and day 18.
Split dry hop in half and add half on day 14 and day 18. Carb on day 25.

1.086 is quite a bit higher than 1.073. Are you reading the hydrometer correctly?
 

flars

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I looked at the recipe. The first dry hop is after 8 days. Hops won't stop a fermentation though.

Quite the recipe for a new brewer. No matter what the instructions are, leave the beer in the fermentor until the fermentation is complete. That doesn't help now though. Are you using a refractometer for SG? Refractometers are not accurate when alcohol is present.
 
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lukemarson

lukemarson

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Sounds like the yeast may have been a dud. You can try repitching with a couple of packs of US-05. Also, how are you measuring gravity - hydrometer or refractometer?
That's kind a what I'm thinking. I'm using a hydrometer. I've always found it to be reliable in the past.
 
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lukemarson

lukemarson

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The dry hop is supposed to be at day 14 and day 18.
Split dry hop in half and add half on day 14 and day 18. Carb on day 25.

1.086 is quite a bit higher than 1.073. Are you reading the hydrometer correctly?
The packages from Farmhouse specified that the first is added after 3 days. The HBT recipe says 14 days. Quite some discrepancy I know!

I've never had a problem reading a hydrometer before. It was definitely 1.086 which I thought at the time was high, but obviously nothing I could really do about it.

So, any thoughts on why this is happening and what the solution is?
 
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lukemarson

lukemarson

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Do not bottle with a beer at 1.076, I hope that is obvious. Bottle bombs would ensue.

If I'm reading this right, you transferred out of primary into a carboy after only 3 days? If so, there's your problem. You left most of the yeast behind after it just got going. Beer kit instructions are not all that reliable. If this is the case, pitch fresh yeast into your carboy and leave it alone for awhile.

If you left it in primary for 2-3 weeks and it only got down to 1.076, you have yeast that never got going. It would likely now be pretty infected, and so would most of your plastic equipment.
Yes, pretty obvious.

No, what I did was transfer from the brew kettle to the carboy after cooling of the wort. I added the hops after 3 days.

I don't see any signs of infection and I'm always very careful with sanitizing. I've been checking regularly for that.

Do you think it's worth trying to pitch with new yeast?
 

flars

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I'm not familiar with the characteristics of the yeast. Did you make a starter for this brew?
 
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lukemarson

lukemarson

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I looked at the recipe. The first dry hop is after 8 days. Hops won't stop a fermentation though.

Quite the recipe for a new brewer. No matter what the instructions are, leave the beer in the fermentor until the fermentation is complete. That doesn't help now though. Are you using a refractometer for SG? Refractometers are not accurate when alcohol is present.
Yeah, I didn't think the hops would affect it.

Well, this is not the first all grain that I've done and my first ever brewing was done with a professional Belgian brewer. I know it can be a little optimistic, but I felt comfortable with it and it has gone well so far except for the issue with the FG.

I'm using a hydrometer for measuring.

So I'll leave the beer. But any thoughts on how to get it going?
 
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lukemarson

lukemarson

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I'm not familiar with the characteristics of the yeast. Did you make a starter for this brew?
It's a liquid yeast. I pulled it from the fridge about 6 or 7 hours before I put the wort into the fermenter. I did have the yeast for a couple of months as a few work trips put paid to my brewing efforts a month or so ago. Could it be that the yeast may have become dormant?
 
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lukemarson

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Its a big beer so you definitely want to make a starter from the liquid.

+1 on pitching two packs of US-05.
My bad on that one. I hadn't read anywhere that I should've made a starter, although of course I'm still learning a lot about brewing.

I'll do that and see if it works. Luckily the beer seems to be contamination free so it might still be a goer.

Thanks so much for your responses!
 
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lukemarson

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Its a big beer so you definitely want to make a starter from the liquid.

+1 on pitching two packs of US-05.
So I just wanted to let you know that I pitched 2 packs of US-05 yeast last night and this morning there was definite signs of life and a wonderful aroma coming from the air lock. I took a gravity reading this evening (about 18-20 hours after pitching the yeast) and the reading has definitely gone down a little (from 1.076 to 1.072), so hopefully over the next week or so it will begin to drop towards the target. I'm going to be away for Thanksgiving so will take another gravity reading next Sunday.

Again, thanks so much for your input and advice. I'll update the post again after Thanksgiving. Cheers!
 

flars

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A high OG beer will take some time to finish. Wait a couple of weeks for another SG reading. This coming Sunday the fermentation will not be near completion and each opening of the fermentor will be another risk of infection. Give your beer time. Begin thinking a minimum of three weeks in the primary.
 

Bellybuster

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How did you get 1.083 from a kit that has grains for 1.073? That's quite the difference.
 
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lukemarson

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A high OG beer will take some time to finish. Wait a couple of weeks for another SG reading. This coming Sunday the fermentation will not be near completion and each opening of the fermentor will be another risk of infection. Give your beer time. Begin thinking a minimum of three weeks in the primary.
So I just took a reading, just over 3 weeks since I pitched the yeast... and we're down to 1.029! Given the OG, that's about right. I'm going to bottle it tonight as pretty much all action ceased over the weekend.
 

hanuswalrus

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That's good that it has gone down to 1.029 but that still seems very high, especially for a DIPA. I would probably wait another couple days and take another gravity reading before bottling just to be sure it's not still fermenting. A DIPA at that FG is going to be very sweet and the hops will likely not be very apparent.
 
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lukemarson

lukemarson

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That's good that it has gone down to 1.029 but that still seems very high, especially for a DIPA. I would probably wait another couple days and take another gravity reading before bottling just to be sure it's not still fermenting. A DIPA at that FG is going to be very sweet and the hops will likely not be very apparent.
Thanks for the tip. The OG was high so I assume the FG was going to be. I like my DIPAs (and IPAs) more on the sweeter side, but I'll hold off for a few more days.
 

kh54s10

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Even with the OG being high and expecting a bit higher FG, I recommend waiting until Thursday and taking another reading. If it is not done, 1.029 still seems high, you do risk creating bottle bombs.

Also since you dry hopped so early, then had to repitch, your hop flavor and aroma will have faded. It might be good to give it another round of dry hops.
 

BlueHouseBrewhaus

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Also since you dry hopped so early, then had to repitch, your hop flavor and aroma will have faded. It might be good to give it another round of dry hops.
+1 on additional dry hopping. Also, 3 weeks is about the minimum amount of time I would allow for a big beer to finish. Use an extra week for additional dry hopping and being sure the yeast is done.
 
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