Need High Gravity help, 22% abv stalled fermention

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supercarbuilder

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I brewed an experimental beer with a ton of sugar to boost abv with not much regard for final taste.

Started with an OG of 1.174, Pitched a mason jar of WLP007 from a local brewery and added sugar during first week of fermentation (approx. 7 gal. batch), a little a day. Calculated OG including fermentation sugar is an OG of 1.189. Using a conical and temp control at 65, let rise to 70 and held there to finish.

Brewed on 1-3-16 and it only got to 1.089 on 2-5-16. So I dropped out the old yeast, re-hydrated two packs of EC-1118 Champagne yeast and pitched on 2-5-16. 2-21-16 pulled a sample and FG is still the same as on 2-5-16. It's stuck at 13.13% and I'd like it to get down to 1.020 at 22.18% ABV

Any thoughts? I want it to finish as low as possible, it doesn't taste terrible now but it's very sweet. Like I said, this is an experiment so all I want is ABV not concerned about taste. Thanks, let me know if you need more specific info. :mug:

Edit: It actually tastes pretty good, maybe I only need to get down a bit more. It's clean and dessert like. I only used pale 2 row and a bit of chocolate malt for the color.
 

Qhrumphf

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My initial question is, why? If you're not concerned about taste, surely a jug of rotgut vodka would get the job done cheaper.

But yes, WLP099 is what I would do. I hate that strain (destroyed a Barleywine of mine when used as a secondary strain, ate all the body and residual sweetness right out of it leaving a bone dry thin alcoholic mess), but you might actually need it.
 
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supercarbuilder

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I thought about using the WLP099 but I thought champagne yeast would work better. One of the white labs reviews used the 099 just for this so I might give it a try. I'll do a couple packs in a few liters of oxygenated starter wort and see where we end up.
 

Izzie1701

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Ec-1118 only has an alc tolerance of 18% so that won't get you to your 22%
 

andrewmaixner

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CBC yeast would be my next try... but! first, make a fully oxygenated starter, then start adding your high alcohol and high gravity beer a little at a time -- mix half and half for a day, then keep doubling the volume occasionally (daily? 2 days? longer?) with additions from your insanely high strength experiment.

Please let us know how it goes. I head heard of impressively strong drinks when slowly step-feeding.
 

Calichusetts

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CBC yeast would be my next try... but! first, make a fully oxygenated starter, then start adding your high alcohol and high gravity beer a little at a time -- mix half and half for a day, then keep doubling the volume occasionally (daily? 2 days? longer?) with additions from your insanely high strength experiment.

Please let us know how it goes. I head heard of impressively strong drinks when slowly step-feeding.
This or even the opposite. Make a high gravity batch of beer, ferment normally, then add high gravity yeast, then add this to your original beer. People have been successful with this method.
 

RyanDe680

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My initial question is, why? If you're not concerned about taste, surely a jug of rotgut vodka would get the job done cheaper.

But yes, WLP099 is what I would do. I hate that strain (destroyed a Barleywine of mine when used as a secondary strain, ate all the body and residual sweetness right out of it leaving a bone dry thin alcoholic mess), but you might actually need it.
This.

But yeah, what's the objective?
 

robopp

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Since EC1118 is a competitive yeast and therefore will kill any normal yeast you pitch. I think you're stuck at the current gravity
 

Paps

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If possible,shake the fermentor wildly.
EC-1118 reacts well to it, especially at room temps.
Also, you may have gotten bad/old yeasty packets.
I've had it happen a few times as yeast doesn't move very quikly off my LHBS shelves and it was the last few in the box.
 

LostBoyScout

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Wow. Taking a beer to that ABV take a lot of special care. Admittedly, I am not an expert but I can make some suggestions.

Firstly, even your starting gravity wort is a very hostile environment for brewer's yeast. As you likely know there's a published alcohol tolerance (usually 10-12% ABV) after which the yeast will likely not survive. But even before any substantial alcohol is produced, that sugar-rich of an environment is tough for them. With due care you can get another 1-3% of alcohol out of a given yeast, but not likely you'll get more than that.

The new pack of yeast didn't do anything because the environment was too hostile for them. It doesn't have the right nutrient balance for them to build momentum from. They need nutrients and they probably need oxygen. I would hit it with a good dose of yeast nutrient (probably a blend of several, to try to give them a balanced diet) and some pure O2. From my basic understanding, that will give you a chance of knocking some more gravity out of it.

If it's largely sugar, your yeast did surprisingly well because that's not a very good diet for them. I imagine you added nutrient at the start, but they need regular feedings at that massive gravity. Also, as an aside, I think 1.020 is needlessly dry for 22% and would result in a harsh and probably undrinkable beer. Even for a 15% beer I'd be looking for 1.035, if not higher.
 
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supercarbuilder

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This.

But yeah, what's the objective?
It's basically just to see how much efficiency I can get from my system how big of a beer i can fit in my mash tun and see how good my fermentation is. I have a bunch of extra kegs so I'm just going to let this one to sit in the back for a while just for fun.

I usually make three to four and a half percent alcohol beers so it's kind of a fun departure from the normal

I made a one liter 1.045 gravity starter and added two vials of WLP 0 9 9 and I will keep adding a bit of my already partially fermented beer everyday until I have a big pitch throw into the conical, also it's on a stir plate and I have a 6 liter flask.
 
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supercarbuilder

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Thanks for all the good suggestions, most of which I am familiar with in theory but not in practice.

As for a few things posted earlier:
I'm am confident in my local store's yeast health as I'm pretty involved with them day to day and have been for a few years. That said any packet can be a dud.

Also, will adding pure o2 have a negative effect on final flavor via oxidation as it is already partially fermented? Or will the new pitch be able to absorb that o2, assuming it starts again? I'm not opposed to trying it but it tastes decent now so that may be a last resort.

I have some good yeast nutrient with all the bits the yeast like that I used in the boil and the starter, but I will also dissolve some more and add it when I pitch my WLP099.
 
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supercarbuilder

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UPDATE:

Here is what I did, I made a 1.040 starter 1l and pitched 2 vials of WLP099. After 24 hrs I added a liter of my partially fermented beer, about 13.5%. Waited 48 hrs and added another liter, after another 24 hrs I added another liter. Then after another 48 hrs I pitched the whole thing back into the conical, nearly 4l of stepped starter. I was a bit concerned that the first addition of beer to the starter would shock the yeast pretty bad, that's why I waited longer before the second addition. On the last day there was a good amount of activity in the flask, lots of bubbling and a tiny bit of foam on the surface. So I have some high hopes for this trick. I'll keep you posted as the FG hopefully decreases.

Side note: I brought a small sample of the beer into the LHBS and they were pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted at 1.089 still. I'll post the recipe too.
 
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supercarbuilder

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WTF Old Ale

6gal in fermenter
OG: 1.189
FG: ???
IBU: 73.6
SRM: 31.6
ABV: hopefully over 20%

38# Pale 2 Row
1.5# Chocolate (350srm)
5# Cane (beet) sugar
3.75 oz warrior 60min
Whirlfloc
Yeast nutrient

RO water with these additions to the entire volume:
10.10g Calcium Chloride
7.9g Epsom Salt
3.4g Gypsum
10ml lactic acid in mash
2ml lactic acid in sparge water

Mashed at 150f for 75min then 15min rise to 168f mash out for 10min. Mash pH of 5.4
Boiled for 2hrs.

added a half cup of sugar boiled in a half cup water ever 24 hrs for the first 5 days to fermenter.

I run a kal clone electric brewery with HERMS at about 90% efficiency.

rps20160228_124538_900.jpg
 

Paps

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How big are those kettles?
I have an electric set-up as well but i've not pushed it to it's limits yet.
But i'm not shooting for how high an ABV of a beer i can get (that's what my cier recipe is for) but just to see how much volume i can make per sitting.
Largest batch i've done so far was 15 gallons. I don't have a rims/herms set up so it's basically a caveman-electric system.
 
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supercarbuilder

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How big are those kettles?
I have an electric set-up as well but i've not pushed it to it's limits yet.
But i'm not shooting for how high an ABV of a beer i can get (that's what my cier recipe is for) but just to see how much volume i can make per sitting.
Largest batch i've done so far was 15 gallons. I don't have a rims/herms set up so it's basically a caveman-electric system.

2 15 gal and a 20 gal boil kettle, these run bigger. You can get about 21 out of the boil and 16 out of the others. I can do a 17 gal in the fermenter depending on hop loss etc.
 
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supercarbuilder

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UPDATE:

The WLP099 is chugging away!!! Already down to 1.080. I'll be curious to see how the 099 effects flavor, I really like the 007 for dark/strong beers and I don't want to loose that profile but we will see.
 

day_trippr

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I've used WLP099 a few times to pull down an FG and would be hard pressed to describe any character it brought to the party.
If there was anything from it, it got lost in the notes from the primary strain...

Cheers!
 

Paps

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so you were able to get 40-lbs of grain into a 15 gal mash tun ?????
My HLT and MT are 25-gal,BK is 45-gal.
Am hoping to to do full barrel batches in one sitting (32 gal beer after hop loss/ect)
I'm thinking i can get lower gravity beers done in it but i'm hoping for mid end gravity ones as well (1.050-1.060ish range)
How much water did you get in the MT with that 40-lbs of grain?
How much room was left?
 
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supercarbuilder

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so you were able to get 40-lbs of grain into a 15 gal mash tun ?????
My HLT and MT are 25-gal,BK is 45-gal.
Am hoping to to do full barrel batches in one sitting (32 gal beer after hop loss/ect)
I'm thinking i can get lower gravity beers done in it but i'm hoping for mid end gravity ones as well (1.050-1.060ish range)
How much water did you get in the MT with that 40-lbs of grain?
How much room was left?
That's a great question, I've been pushing the limits with my system trying to find the limits. I have a domed false bottom like this...

6400.jpg

Instead of this one...

10967.jpg

This gives me about 3.5 gal more room in the mash tun. I also mash in with about 1qt per lb of grain instead of 1.25 per, this also helps. The mash tun is quite full at that point, but as I start the re-circulation it starts to create a nice grain bed and leaves a few inches of mash water on top of the grain so the lower water to grist ratio doesn't have an effect.
 
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