Low SG - What should I do - NB Wee Heavy

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RumRiverBrewer

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I followed the directions to the "T" for this big brew, and just racked to secondary after 2 weeks in primary. I used Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale - the fermentation started gradual and was normal over 2 weeks, at about 66 deg F. The OG was 1.075. Checking the SG when racking it was 1.034. Does anyone have any experience with this recipe? That SG is too high, No? It seems the fermentation is incomplete. Let me know what I should do at this point. I'm OK letting it go 2 months in secondary, but want it to be complete... Should I pitch again?

BTW-I aerated the wort and handled with care..
 

Bernie Brewer

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Patience, Grasshopper. This is a big brew. Two weeks isn't very long for a beer this big. give it another month.......

I will say you should have left it on the yeast cake longer, but it probably will still finish out.
 

MVKTR2

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Did you use a starter or use multiple smack-packs? If not the low yeast cell count is probably the problem and the solution is to pitch more yeast. If you've got it on hand you could pitch US-05 or Nottingham with little flavor impact. If you've got quick access to liquid cultures repitch after making a simple starter or multiple packs. If you under-pitched it won't finish down nearly where it should and this is your only hope of getting it to drop. Then again I could be wrong! :)

FWIW I've got a 1.090 OG Wee Heavy in my primary right now. I did a 1-gallon 1.050 strength starter and have not cracked the lid on this brew that's now at 24 days in the primary. Planning to rack it between tomorrow and tuesday. Laziness and time are your allies in most brewing endeavors!

Schlante,
Phillip
 
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RumRiverBrewer

RumRiverBrewer

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I used a single smack pack, no starter. I checked the gravity half way through the transfer and after seeing it was low purposely moved the cane across the cake to get some of the yeast to transfer too. The bubbling essentially stopped several days ago and it's producing maybe 1 per 2 mins. Would Muntons Ale yeast ruin it?

I'd like top get it to a warmer part of my house but it's still cold here in MN.

(MVKTR2 - FG will be in a couple months)
 

mjohnson

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I've been doing a lot of reading about yeast lately, and it seems that most people (including me) are under pitching - especially for high gravity beers. Its my goal to start making healthy starters. Maybe try it next time.

Regarding your current situation, it is my understanding that bubbles aren't a good way to judge fermentation - the only reliable way is to check gravity. Have you checked it since you racked? It could be that the remaining yeast are slowing continuing their job.
 
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RumRiverBrewer

RumRiverBrewer

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Still trying to figure this out... This recipe has 6lbs LME going in the boil for the full 60 mins and another 6lbs going in the last 15 mins. Could this be causing a high SG after primary? What's the idea behind a late addition of LME? How would it affect fermentation?
 

jessup

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Btw don't you mean low FG, not SG? If not, I'm lost...
SG = specific gravity in general, so your OG or FG could have a SG of 1.xxx. got it G?:D

have you checked your SG in the past 2 days since re-racking. you said it's still bubbling so it may in fact me dropping still. check it. Secondary is typically just for clearing and fining. in ideal situations you shouldn't be racking any yeast over to the secondary. in your situation is was probably good, although you shouldn't have gone to the secondary at all just yet. like the 2nd post said, two weeks is really too early for any beer, especially something like a wee-heavy. the idea behind late additions is to get maximum hop utilization and to prevent scorching of the LME/DME. high gravity at the beginning "saturates" the wort and allows low amounts of hop flavors to enter the wort causing maltiness even though you may have gone hop crazy. late additions really help to lighten the color of the beer as well. the late add'n is def not the problem in this case.

my conclusion: add more yeast. don't aerate too much, though, you don't want oxidation at this point.

here's the NB inventory kit http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/beerkits/ScottishWeeHeavy.pdf
i'm surprised they don't say what FG to shoot for, but i guess it varies on what yeast you choose. personally i would've chosen something traditional like an edinburgh. why was your OG only 1.075 and not the listed 1.083? you're losing valuable alcohol!!
 

MVKTR2

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Btw don't you mean low FG, not SG? If not, I'm lost...

(MVKTR2 - FG will be in a couple months)

SG = specific gravity in general, so your OG or FG could have a SG of 1.xxx. got it G?:D QUOTE]

Just a brain fart, thinking SG... starting gravity not specific gravity in lieu of original gravity... was tired I suppose.

Either way I'm curious as to what the OPer wound up doing and how it's going.

Schlante,
Phillip
 
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RumRiverBrewer

RumRiverBrewer

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Thanks for the input. I did something radical: Closed the door in the utility room where I ferment, added a small space heater and got the temp up to 70-72deg. It was around 66 deg. There is a lot of action in the fermenter, bubbles/foam coming up and it basically looks like the fermentation is finishing like it should have. I think I got into this because of the changing temps here in MN; we turned the furnace off and things got cold in the basement. There seems to be a critical point with this yeast between 66 and 70 degs.
 
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RumRiverBrewer

RumRiverBrewer

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BTW-you have one crazy palatte IMO :)

keg: tripleC stout - chocolate cherry coffee (oaked)
5 gal Barrel: quad (CdT)
3 gal Barrel: oud bruin
Primary: white chocolate ale (w/ ghirardelli sweet ground white choc), wheat wine, quad (CdT)
Secondary: RIS (oaked), scotch ale (oaked), cranbrett, kiwibrett, flemish red x2
 
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