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General Category => Extract/Partial Mash Brewing => Topic started by: bcrowell on July 03, 2010, 03:38:03 PM

Title: controlling dryness
Post by: bcrowell on July 03, 2010, 03:38:03 PM
The recipe below is my current version of a Belgian strong dark ale I make. The first time I brewed it, I really liked the way it came out. It didn't come out very dry, and I thought the slightly sweet, malty flavor was excellent. That original recipe had only 1 lb of candi sugar, but 4 lb of amber dry extract. I had og=1.097, fg=1.032, which is 67% attenuation. I had a stuck fermentation, but was able to restart it.

For my second attempt, I wanted to avoid the stuck fermentation problem, so I increased the candi sugar and decreased the dry extract. I've brewed this new version of the recipe three times now, and usually get attenuation of more like 78-80%, no stuck fermentations.

What I really want is to have my cake and eat it too: I want slightly less than full attenuation, but I don't want hassles with stuck fermentation. Is there any way to accomplish what I'm trying to do? It seems like anything I do that reduces the fermentability of the wort will increase the chances of a stuck fermentation. Conceivably I could pasteurize it before it was done drying out, but I've never heard of a homebrewer doing that...?

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2 lb Belgian candi sugar, amber or dark
8 lb light syrup
3 lb amber dry extract
1 lb Munich light
.25 lb Munich
.25 lb Special B
.5 lb Belgian caravienne
1 lb honey
17 AAU Cascade bittering
1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
WLP 500 Trappist Ale Yeast


Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: denny on July 03, 2010, 03:58:45 PM
Don't confuse a stuck fermentation with a high finishing gravity.  A stuck fermentation is indicative of yeast issues, while a higher finishing gravity is due to unfermentables in the wort.  You could try backing the sugar off, but making sure you pitch a large quantity of healthy yeast to avoid a stuck fermentation.
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: Hokerer on July 03, 2010, 09:02:42 PM
Don't confuse a stuck fermentation with a high finishing gravity.  A stuck fermentation is indicative of yeast issues, while a higher finishing gravity is due to unfermentables in the wort.  You could try backing the sugar off, but making sure you pitch a large quantity of healthy yeast to avoid a stuck fermentation.

Agreed.  To the OP, what kind of a starter are you using?  For a 1.097 beer, it had better be a really substantial one.
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: bcrowell on July 03, 2010, 10:56:33 PM
Agreed.  To the OP, what kind of a starter are you using?  For a 1.097 beer, it had better be a really substantial one.
I use a 1-gallon starter.
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: denny on July 04, 2010, 06:45:16 PM
Agreed.  To the OP, what kind of a starter are you using?  For a 1.097 beer, it had better be a really substantial one.
I use a 1-gallon starter.

Well, that's good!
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: euge on July 04, 2010, 07:57:47 PM
What might help is adding a couple of pounds of 2-row to your steeping grains. Steep these grains in your wort at 145F for an hour. It should increase the fermentability of the wort and still retain sweetness to go with all that alcohol.

When brewing big beers like that being able to control your sugar-profile is really critical. Moving away from extract and into all-grain will help you a lot brewing big beers like this.

Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: bcrowell on July 04, 2010, 08:28:02 PM
What might help is adding a couple of pounds of 2-row to your steeping grains. Steep these grains in your wort at 145F for an hour. It should increase the fermentability of the wort and still retain sweetness to go with all that alcohol.
Interesting suggestion, euge -- thanks! Would you reduce any of the other stuff to make up for the added 2-row?
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: euge on July 04, 2010, 09:28:04 PM
Keep it the same. The Munich can convert itself but the 2-row's enzymes will help with the extract. If you can why not use some Belgian 2-row pale or even Pilsen malt if the LHBS will sell it to you like that.
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: bonjour on July 05, 2010, 01:59:23 PM
Don't confuse a stuck fermentation with a high finishing gravity.  A stuck fermentation is indicative of yeast issues, while a higher finishing gravity is due to unfermentables in the wort.  You could try backing the sugar off, but making sure you pitch a large quantity of healthy yeast to avoid a stuck fermentation.
I find that most "stuck" fermentations are really "finished" fermentations.

It sounds like you are on the right path,  you can try to partially backoff the changes you made to restore some body if that is the direction that you want to take your brew.

Fred
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: babalu87 on July 21, 2010, 01:35:28 AM
As long as your doing partial mashes I would skip anything other than light extract.
Title: Re: controlling dryness
Post by: bluesman on July 21, 2010, 08:52:20 PM
You may also try rousing the yeast near the end of the fermentation (if necessary) while warming the beer to 70ish or so to enable it finish properly assuming you have some remaining fermentables to consume.