Need help deciding what to do with a Belgian Dark Strong Ale

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Berk

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I'm about a week away from traveling for a full 30 days. I don't think fermentation will be complete when I leave so looking for recommendations on how to handle.

here are some details:
All grain
Mashed at 149f~151f
D180 and rock candy at flame out
OG 1.094
Currently 1.031
On 9/20 I pitched WLP530.
Initial fermentation temp 68f
Current temp 71f
Fermenter is an SS Brewtech Chronical

I guess I can go a few routes:

1) Maybe reach 70% attenuation Crash in 4 days for 3 days and rack to keg and forget about it.

2) leave it at 72f and come back In a month

3) Dump trub using dump valve, leave in conical at 72f come back in 30 days.

4) same as option 3, but reduce temp to some (?) lower temperature

5) don't dump trub, leave in conical but lower temp

Maybe something else I have not thought of?

Not really sure the best option. One fear is the airlock drying out while I'm gone.
 

mashpaddled

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Best off letting it sit. These beers benefit from some rest. WLP 530 is not always a great flucculator so some time to settle out would only help. If you can keep the beer cooler and give it a lagering people would be best but room temperature aging will help, too.
 

Alan Reginato

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3, dump the trub and let it mature for the time you need. The real issue would be if it is in industrial scale. And it isn't about time, but compaction and lake of heat exchange in large conical fermentation vessels. The layers of trub get too compact and the heat doesn't spread throughout it. So the yeasts cells start to die, due to high temp.
 

BPenny

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I routinely leave wild fermented beers in the primary fermentor, on the trub for 9-12 months in my basement (which ranges from about 58-75 F depending on the time of the year) with no issues. I probably wouldn't try that with a clean beer but, I did leave a clean Belgian Golden Strong ale in the primary fermenter (glass carboy) for about 4 months once and it turned out great.
 

BPenny

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Option 2. Top the airlock off and let it do it’s thing. Can you have someone check on it half way through?
I agree. Do you have any S-type airlocks? Those things can usually go months without topping off. Also, if you can find them, vented silicone stoppers never need to be topped off.
 
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jrgtr42

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What is your expected/ hoped for FG?
I would check gravity again the day before you leave, if it’s still fairly high, I’d leave it as is, if a couple points short of the expected, then you can dump trub. In either case there’s no harm in leaving it in the fermenter.
 
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Bobo1898

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If you're a week away from departure, it should be done in a week if you did a healthy pitch. You can crash for the whole month (hopefully off the yeast).

Some of the monasteries cold condition/lager their beers after they ferment at ale temperatures (according to Brew Like a Monk). If you intend to bottle condition, just make sure the beer warms up.

But if the beer is not completed by the time you leave, then I think you should be okay leaving it until you come back.
 

hotbeer

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I've not been fond of beers I rushed to bottle. All the beers I gave extra weeks in the primary FV were good to great beers. Don't be in a hurry. If you have a conical with the proper setup and can dump the trub then I'd consider that a optional thing. Mostly just to help you feel better about it.
 
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What is your expected/ hoped for FG?
I would check gravity again the day before you leave, if it’s still fairly high, I’d leave it as is, if a couple points short of the expected, then you can dump turn. In either case there’s no harm in leaving it in the fermenter.
Looking to hit 1.014
 
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I appreciate all the replies and suggestions. I will wait until the day before departure to see where it is at. Since I am targeting 1.014, if it is 1.017 or less I will dump the trub and leave in the conical at room temp 71f~72f for a month and then rack to a keg upon return. If it is above 1.017, I will leave as is (not dump trub) at room temp until I return. I do have an S-Airlock (used to use when I was making wine) and I remember how they hardly ever needed to be topped up, so will use that. This is my first BDSA, from everything I have read, this style requires time and patience. Seems like room temp conditioning for a month will be a great thing...
 
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Stuck fermentation, confirmed with a Hydrometer as well at 1.030. Dumped trub and harvested yeast last night. Got a starter on the stir plate, hope to get it going again.
20221006_130050.jpg
 
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Just a brief update, I left it in the fermenter for a month at room temp (72f), just got back and kegged it today. The S-type airlock did not dry out. It finished at 1.020 (10.6%), sweeter than expected, but balanced by the bitterness (34ibu). It tastes great although not carb'd yet. I think this will be a one of the best beers I ever brewed, ironically because I left it in the fermenter for 2 months. I was way overthinking it, LOL... Thanks for the support.
 
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odie

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late to the party since it's already done....

the correct answer was Option 1.

Just rack into a keg and forget it. It would have finished in the keg and carbed at the same time. A spunding valve or low psi PRV would be nice but not essential since you can just bleed the excess after the fact.
 

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3, dump the trub and let it mature for the time you need. The real issue would be if it is in industrial scale. And it isn't about time, but compaction and lake of heat exchange in large conical fermentation vessels. The layers of trub get too compact and the heat doesn't spread throughout it. So the yeasts cells start to die, due to high temp.

What harm would there be to letting it sit on the trub ?
 

hotbeer

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What harm would there be to letting it sit on the trub ?
My take on that as referenced by the OP is that they have a conical fermenter. So why not dump the trub?

Most of the stuff I've read suggest autolysis does not produce enough bad tastes to be noticed when we are talking about typical homebrew quantities of beer of 10, 5 and 3 or less gallons. Not sure what quantities that it starts to show itself though. Mostly it's considered a problem that the high volume craft brewer and commercial brewers must deal with.

For small brewers with conical FV's, dumping trub can done to allow for a later dump collecting mostly yeast. And it can also be in preparation for bottling or kegging directly from the FV. While books and stuff from back in the 80's and 90's touted a cleaner beer resulted from dumping the trub, I'm not convinced they were correct and I think others share that same feeling.

I can say from experience that 6 weeks on a thick trub layer has not produced bad beer for me. How much longer could I go? Don't know.
 
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