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Rye Porter Still Fermenting

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thefigure5

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I started a rye porter four weeks ago and moved it to the secondary three weeks ago. The recipe is below. It doesn't call for dry hopping, but the sample I took before transferring to secondary seemed sort of sweet, so I dry hopped with about 0.61 oz. of Cascade hop pellets. Maybe that means its not a porter anymore, but it is what it is.

With a refractometer and Sean Terrill's calculator, the specific gravity at the time of transfer into the primary (OG) was 1.0587, and the specific gravity at the time of transferring to the secondary was 1.0122.

As an aside, were I to treat this rye porter like the ale I have made five or so times with minor variations, I would have bottled it after being in the secondary for two weeks. In one example of the ale, the OG was 1.0599, the gravity at transfer to the secondary was 1.0122, and at bottling the specific gravity (FG) was 1.010.

With the rye porter I am working on now, the OG was 1.0587 and the specific gravity at the time of transferring it to the secondary was 1.0122. I haven't measured the specific gravity again, but have read many times about the recommendation to take multiple readings of the gravity and bottle the gravity doesn't change for some number of days.

I have attached a photo from today. Initially, after the one week's time in the primary, fermentation was quite active in the secondary. That slowed down quickly though (after a day or so), and after about a week, I was getting one bubble out of the blow-off tube every 15 seconds. That dropped to about one bubble every 30 seconds after two weeks in the secondary, and it has stayed at one bubble every 30 seconds for about the last couple of days. Today I pour an additional 8 ounces of water in the glass with the end of the blow-off tube in it, and the period changed to 35 seconds between bubbles.

Tiny bubbles continue to rise to the top in the secondary and you can see bubbles in the photo. I bottle into pints with swing-top lids, and I do think the bottles could handle the pressure if I were to prime with boiled water plus corn sugar (2.0 - 2.4 ounces) when I transition to bottling.

I haven't documented the time between bubbles when I've made the ale, but I am fairly certain bubbles were happening at some rate when I've bottled the ale. Here I am just looking for people's thoughts and advice. I've not used all these grains before and am not sure if fermentation duration would be different from the grains used in the ale (6.75 lbs. Bel pils, 0.75 lbs. Biscuit, and 6 oz. Caramunich for a 3-gallon batch).

RYE PORTER RECIPE

Note: I deviated from the recipe by dry hopping approximately 0.61 oz. of Cascade hop pellets into the secondary at the time of transfer to the secondary.

Rye Porter

3.5 gallon batch

4.0 gallon pre-boil
3.5 gallon post-boil and cooling
OG (post-boil) = 1.058
FG (at bottling) = 1.016
ABV = 5.49%

Grain:
63% pale ale malt - 4.75 lbs.
17% rye malt - 1.25 lbs.
6.7% chocolate malt - 0.50 lbs.
3.3% black patent - 0.25 lbs.
6.7% caramel 60 - 0.50 lbs.
3.3% Special B - 0.25 lbs.

Yeast:
1 packet (11.5g) Safale US-05

Hops:
0.326 oz. Challenger hops at :60 (4 AAUs) (added at T=00:00)
0.652 oz. Cascade hops at :15 (7 AAUs) (added at T=45:00)
0.652 oz. Cascade hops at :05 (7 AAUs) (added at T=55:00)

Stopped boil at 60 minutes.

Chilled to about 65F

Transferred to the primary fermenter and pitched the yeast

Fermented in the range of 61F to 63F, (four weeks so far, one in the primary and three weeks in the secondary)

Water:
- Five gallons split about 50-50 between strike water and sparge water
- A separate 1/2 gallon of sparge water if need to reach 4-gallons pre-boil

3.5 Gallon Directions:
Started with a protein rest at 122˚F for 20 minutes. Raise mash temperature to 152˚F and held for 60 minutes. Raised temperature to 168˚F for mash out. Sparged with enough water at 168˚F to collect about 4.0 gallons of wort. Brought wort to a boil and boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops according to schedule above. Chilled wort and transferred to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Pitched yeast when wort was at 65˚F or below. Fermented at 62˚F until complete.
 

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VikeMan

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The bubbles you are seeing could be due to off-gassing of CO2 that was made quite some time ago. It's also possible that dry hopping cause a mini-second fermentation (look up "hop creep").

I recommend taking a hydrometer reading.
 
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thefigure5

thefigure5

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The bubbles you are seeing could be due to off-gassing of CO2 that was made quite some time ago. It's also possible that dry hopping cause a mini-second fermentation (look up "hop creep").

I recommend taking a hydrometer reading.
This is interesting on all points. I'd heard the term, but never looked into what hop creep is until now. It wasn't a lot of dry hopping, and the temperature was 61-63F over the last three weeks. No doubt the hops did some conversion of starch to sugar and some of that sugar did get converted through fermentation. Fermentation did happen in the secondary (I expect mostly it was of sugars from the mashing process). With the refractometer, the %BRIX of 7.2 observed at the time of transfer to the secondary became 6.8 three weeks later. After moving the beer into the priming sugar/water mixture before bottling today, the %BRIX was back to 7.2.

I do have a hydrometer, and measured the specific gravity using the beer from the last bottle that didn't quite fill. It was 60F in temperature. I got 1.03 as the specific gravity as bottled. With Sean Terrill's calculator I got 1.022. The porter tastes pretty good so far.
 
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