No Movement with Added Fermentables - Safe to Bottle?

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Maverick986

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Hi all,

I'm trying to decide if I can bottle a 5gal batch of beer, recipe below. It's a Golden Strong Ale with an OG of 1.099, which fermented out to 1.005. I racked to secondary onto 1.5lb of honey mixed with a small amount of water, which brought the gravity up to 1.011. It has been 5 days now, and the gravity has not changed, holding at 1.011, and sitting at 80deg. I'm concerned about bottling, for two reasons: one, if I bottle and it starts fermenting I'm pretty much guaranteed bottle bombs, second, if it doesn't ferment any more, then I have flat beer. Should I let it continue to sit in secondary and see if anything else happens, or pitch more yeast?

Recipe:
12lb pilsner
3lb sugar
1.5lb honey in at secondary

2.6oz Styrian Goldings
2.5oz Saaz

Yeast: Wyeast 3522 in a 3L starter
 

monkeymath

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I think your measurements must be off in some way. From 1.099 to 1.005 would be an insane level of attenuation, even given the relatively large amount of sugar. Or maybe some diastaticus yeast from a previous batch made it into your brew?

If the gravity isn't moving although you added simple sugars in the form of honey, that means your yeast has crapped out, which makes sense
given the strain's alcohol tolerance, if the readings are somewhat accurate. I agree with your reasoning not to bottle at this stage.

I think you should add some highly alcohol tolerant yeast to metabolize the honey and then carbonate your bottles after. Since all the sugars are simple, champagne yeast should work (although I've never tried it myself).
 
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Barbarossa

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Looks like you used a refractometer, isn't it? They don't give accurate results with finished beer.

I'm not familiar with adding sugar for a second fermentation. But if the first one is done, your yeast is most likely sleeping tight.
Also, if you've added that much honey, and you bottle, be ready to handle some beer bombs.
 

day_trippr

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So you're saying it could happen? :D

There are other ways to shed 94 fermentation points.
They generally do not involve the yeast that was pitched ;)

Cheers!

[edit/ps] Uncorrected refract readings typically error (by a lot) on the high side.
 

Golddiggie

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So you're saying it could happen? :D

There are other ways to shed 94 fermentation points.
They generally do not involve the yeast that was pitched ;)

Cheers!

[edit/ps] Uncorrected refract readings typically error (by a lot) on the high side.
Which is why people are supposed to run the post pitch (or after fermentation starts) refractometer readings through software. Either an installed app, spreadsheet (I have the excel file from a while back), or a site that factors all that in. Since the OP has yet to mention how he took the gravity readings, who knows.
 
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Which is why people are supposed to run the post pitch (or after fermentation starts) refractometer readings through software. Either an installed app, spreadsheet (I have the excel file from a while back), or a site that factors all that in.
Personally, for FG measurements, I found it was simpler to adjust volumes to account for a couple of hydrometer readings. :cool:
 

Golddiggie

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Personally, for FG measurements, I found it was simpler to adjust volumes to account for a couple of hydrometer readings. :cool:
At this point I'm using a Tilt [pro] in my fermenters (one each) but it's not guaranteed to be dead on (+/- 2 gravity points). BUT, for me, that's "close enough for gubmint work". If I'm curious, I'll pull a sample (sampling valves FTW), degas and test with my digital refractometer (got tired of trying to find a light that works well with my manual models).

I could also pull a sample from the yeast harvest/dump I do for each batch, once it fully settles.

I DO use the digital refractometer to check the OG numbers the Tilt gives. I've had it anywhere from exactly the same to having the Tilt show lower. Again, the sample I use for the test is allowed to settle long enough to get clear liquid to test.

To each his/her own, but know what you need to do for the different ways you pull SG numbers from your fermentation.
 
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Maverick986

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Looks like you used a refractometer, isn't it? They don't give accurate results with finished beer.

I'm not familiar with adding sugar for a second fermentation. But if the first one is done, your yeast is most likely sleeping tight.
Also, if you've added that much honey, and you bottle, be ready to handle some beer bombs.
I have been using my Tilt for during fermentation readings, which appeared accurate at pitching. I forgot to take a sample when racking to secondary, so I a going with its readings for FG.

I have not bottled yet, the beer is sitting in secondary at the moment.
 
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Maverick986

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I do want to bottle this beer, so it looks like my option is some higher alcohol tolerant yeast, or kegging and bottling. I do have a keg I could bottle into, although I do not have a way to bottle from the keg yet. Given I have honey in the batch, would it be better to keg, then bottle for retaining flavors, or would it make much a difference at this point? Also, any suggested yeast for finishing fermentation/bottling? I did find Lallemand has CBC-1 for bottling and cask conditioning.
 

MikeCo

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Not an easy problem - most ale yeasts will not be alcohol tolerant enough for the beer as it is. I might try pitching something like CBC-1 or another wine or champagne yeast that can handle the alcohol. Those yeasts only ferment simple sugars, but it sounds like that's what is remaining from the honey addition. Kegging might be the best option, assuming the unfermented honey hasn't made the beer too sweet. It would be hard to get the traditional level of carbonation for a BGSA via kegging. I would not recommend bottling from a keg unless you fully ferment all the sugars first, or you will have bottle bombs unless you keep the bottles chilled and consume them quickly. Even then it's risky IMO.

Side question - how did you assure the honey mixed well with the beer?
 
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Maverick986

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Side question - how did you assure the honey mixed well with the beer?
I will look into the CBC-1 to add to the fermenter.

I heated the honey with water, similar to making priming sugar, added it to the secondary fermenter, and racked from primary onto the honey-water mixture.
 

Golddiggie

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I will look into the CBC-1 to add to the fermenter.

I heated the honey with water, similar to making priming sugar, added it to the secondary fermenter, and racked from primary onto the honey-water mixture.
How warm did you get the honey mix?? IMO/IME, going above 100-110F means you're releasing a lot of the flavors that honey would give a recipe. I avoid going above 100-110F whenever I make mead.
 
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Maverick986

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I boiled the water to sterilize it, then cooled to about 120, then mixed with the honey. It appeared to mix well with the beer, and given my Tilt indicated a gravity of 1.005 before adding the honey, and 1.011 after, I'm believing it mixed pretty well.

As for adding yeast, how many packets would I add, given its low gravity now it looks like one packet, however, being high alcohol, should I be doing two or three due to that? I'm also looking at WLP715, Wyeast 4021, possibly WLP099 given its an Ale yeast, or any other suggestions.
 
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MikeCo

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I haven't used any of those yeasts, but they all have higher alcohol tolerance than CBC-1, so they look like good choices. I'm not sure how to calculate the necessary pitch rate for your situation. If it were my beer, I'd probably add 2 packets of dry yeast. With WLP-099, I would make a starter.
 
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