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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Hydro on November 30, 2010, 04:28:57 AM

Title: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on November 30, 2010, 04:28:57 AM
I got a 5 gallon cornie keg full of Blonde Belgian from a friend for helping him during a 26 gallon brew day.  Two weeks later.  He bottled his beer in 750's and corked after adding priming sugar and a packet of yeast to the bottling bucket.  He siphoned my beer straight from the carboy into my cornie keg and is way too sweet for my taste.  It is extreamly cloudy.   I am thinking about pulling the keg out of the kegerator and letting it's temperature rise to 60 - 65 degrees.  Taking a hydrometer reading.  Then racking it back into a carboy, adding 1 pt of Strong Belgian yeast starter, 1 tsp yeast neutrient, and a tsp of amylase enzimes.  Hopefully this will kick off and crunch more of the carbs out of this beer.  Take a hydrometer test a week later.  Just incase this does not work.  I plan on racking to a clean carboy adding 1 beano tablet per gallon.  Let it sit in the carboy till the crunching stops, should be about 2 to 3 more weeks.  I hope that the beer will clear up.  Just incase it will not I will add isinglass to the carboy.  

Ok, I have never backed a beer out like this before.  Does anyone have any experience at all doing this?  Of course, I can understand that no one would want to admit that they screwed up like this.  Am I waisting my time, or do my steps sound reasonable?  Thanks in advance.

Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: gordonstrong on November 30, 2010, 05:11:27 AM
Don't panic.  You need to figure out what's wrong before you start trying to fix it.  You could make it worse.

Ask your friend why he bottled/kegged it.  Was it done or did his recipe say primary should take 2 weeks?  Did he take a gravity reading?  What did his recipe predict?

If a beer is cloudy and sweet, it sounds like it wasn't finished.  So it's either a stuck fermentation, or it was packaged prematurely.  Some Belgian strains can take awhile to work, and not all respond well to having their temperatures constrained.

I would take it back to primary fermentation temperature or maybe a few degrees warmer as-is and see what happens.  Carbonating it didn't help, so you'll want to knock some of that out if you can without oxidizing the beer.

However, depending on the recipe, it could be that the beer is underhopped.  A sweet beer isn't necessarily a stuck fermentation.  It could be insufficient bitterness to balance.

In any event, I think that drying it out will help.  See if it happens on its own first.  Warm it up and give it time.  Repitch active yeast as your next step.  I would avoid hitting it with enyzmes or other additives.  If there is sugar in there and the pH is reasonable, the yeast should do their job.

Give it time to work.  Package it when the gravity has stabilized and the beer has dropped bright.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: tschmidlin on November 30, 2010, 06:06:28 AM
Gordon's right, I've got nothing to add except to get the recipe info from your friend and find out what the OG was, then measure the SG.  The more info you have about the beer the better decisions you'll make.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on November 30, 2010, 06:14:22 AM
Gentlemen,
Thanks for your input.
I will give him a call tomorrow and we can talk about it.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: skyler on November 30, 2010, 08:37:13 AM
Worst case scenario, sour it.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: corkybstewart on November 30, 2010, 02:14:52 PM
Worst case scenario, sour it.

Add brett to the keg and let it sit a few months.  The dregs of 2 reasonably fresh Orvals will give you a truly fine beer in a few months.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on November 30, 2010, 03:10:31 PM
Worst case scenario, sour it.

Add brett to the keg and let it sit a few months.  The dregs of 2 reasonably fresh Orvals will give you a truly fine beer in a few months.

Wow, what an interesting idea.  I had to do a bit of googling to figure out what your increptic message ment, ie brett and Orvals.  Brett lambicus(wlp653),  and Orval Trappist Ale.  That may be an excellent idea to get some flavor into a rather bland, over sweetened, under fermented brew.  
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: ipaguy on November 30, 2010, 03:53:05 PM
About the amylase:  If the cause of the sweetness is incomplete fermentation of simple sugars, adding amylase is likely to make the problem WORSE.  That last thing you would want to do in that situation is start breaking down relatively tasteless dextrins into additional simple sugars.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on December 02, 2010, 08:38:43 PM
About the amylase:  If the cause of the sweetness is incomplete fermentation of simple sugars, adding amylase is likely to make the problem WORSE.  That last thing you would want to do in that situation is start breaking down relatively tasteless dextrins into additional simple sugars.
Hi ipaguy,
I do understand why you would think that; although there are reasons and conditions as to why one would or would not add amylase to an over sweetened stuck fermentation.  

If I was adding amylase alone.  I agree with you, that would make the problem WORSE.  

My thought was to add amylase, yeast nutrient, and yeast.  That is a complete combination of elements which would help in drying out the brew.   If you really want a dry brew, ie FG .99? to 1.002 add 1 tablet of beano per gallon to your fermenter.  It does not leave any unpleasant or distinguishable taste to your beer.  Plan on it crunching the residual sugars out of the brew.

Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: EHall on December 02, 2010, 09:07:46 PM
....all the blonde belgians I met were sweet too... le sigh!
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on December 02, 2010, 09:43:41 PM
Gentlemen,
Thanks for your input.
I will give him a call tomorrow and we can talk about it.


I talked with my friend Tuesday morning and he agreed that the fermintation must be stuck.  He said that he had difficulty keeping the carboys warm enough due to the cool/cold weather we have had.  I went ahead and moved the beer out of the cornie keg, back to a carboy, and into a warming chamber.   Set the temperature to 68 degrees and waited.  It started to slowly bubble through the airlock and looks like it is going to possibly recover.  I checked the SG of the beer comming out of the cornie keg and it was 1.031.

I do like skyler's idea of adding the Orval.  I went down and purchased the last 5 bottles that Total Wine had on hand.  I do not plan on adding the Brett to this brew as of now.  May plan another brew in the future.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: EHall on December 02, 2010, 10:16:39 PM
turn it up to at least 75F... even 80F at this point wont hurt it...
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on December 03, 2010, 03:11:38 AM

I do like skyler's idea of adding the Orval.  I went down and purchased the last 5 bottles that Total Wine had on hand.  I do not plan on adding the Brett to this brew as of now.  May plan another brew in the future.

For the Love of Beer,
Robert

I went to Beer a day website to learn more about the beer.  Looks like they add Brett to their beer at bottling.

http://www.beeraday.net/beer/orval/

Orval adds brettanomyces yeast to the beer at bottling. Brettanomyces — or simply “brett” if you’re on a first-name basis — is a wild yeast that creates the unique flavor found in Belgian styles such as Lambic and Gueuze, but also the “off” taste you might get from wine gone bad. Perhaps this unique approach happens at Orval because instead of relying solely on the monks, the brewery from the very beginning hired from the laity. According to the Orval website:

Set the temperature to 75 Degrees.

For the Love of Beer,
Robert
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on March 06, 2011, 06:19:15 PM
A final review of how to save a, Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and to sweet."

After adding the Orval, and waiting, my patients got ran out.   The gravity had dropped down from 1.031 to 1.021 and it still tasted too sweet.  So I added dry yeast and it did not do anything.  My last step was to add 5 beano tablets.  Now that worked.   The beano crunched down the long chain sugars so that the yeast could convert them.  The final gravity dropped to 1.000 and the amazing thing is that it still has a sweetnes to the flavor.  The brew sets about 9.7 ABV and my wife really likes it.  We had barbecue two weekends ago and she tried a sip of mine and asked for one of her own.  She drank about 24 oz of the Blonde Belgian and has asked for it a couple of times since then.  Last weekend I drank 3 - 20 oz. glasses over a 2 1/2 hour period, while I was reviewing my lawn and planning for the spring projects.  Wow, this Belgian is strong.   My speach started getting a bit slured and I was shocked.  I absoluted can not remember when the last time that I drank enough to cause me to get to that level of intoxication.  I drink for the flavor, not to get intoxicated.  

I do have a question for you gentlemen.  I am amazed that there does seem to be sweetnes still in the brew since the hydrometer indicated 1.000 FG.   When I plugged the numbers into Beer Smith it showed Total calories 326 Cal/pint, Calories from Alcohol 265 Cal/pint.  I thought the calories would be absent or way lower, since the carbohydrates/sugars had been converted.   I have used beano in the past when attempting to make a beer for a friend of mine who happens to be a diabetic.  I was under the assumption that the carbohydrates would be converted into alcohol and therefore it would be an effective way to brew beer for a person who may have diabeties.  When the FG was crunched down to 1.000, I thought that the calories would also be near the zero range.   Do you think this is a software issue or am I confused?  Sorry if this seems to be jumping topics, although they are actually related with each other.
 
Cheers
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: a10t2 on March 06, 2011, 08:19:25 PM
An FG of 1.000 means the yeast have converted about 82% of the sugars to ethanol. There's still a ton of sugar left in a beer that big.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: euge on March 06, 2011, 08:47:07 PM
An FG of 1.000 means the yeast have converted about 82% of the sugars to ethanol. There's still a ton of sugar left in a beer that big.

Real Attenuation is 81.1% if the OG was 1.071 which will get you 1.000 and 9.7% ABV. The 1.000 reading is skewed by the presence of the alcohol- which skews the hydrometer reading if that makes sense... ???
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: tschmidlin on March 06, 2011, 09:07:33 PM
Right, straight ethanol will read around 0.79, water reads 1.000.  A beer mixture of just water and ethanol can't read 1.000, you've got to have something left.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: malzig on March 06, 2011, 11:00:38 PM
Alcohol is loaded with calories.  Fermenting a beer to 1.000 (or lower) makes very little difference in it's caloric content.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: a10t2 on March 06, 2011, 11:26:57 PM
Alcohol is loaded with calories.  Fermenting a beer to 1.000 (or lower) makes very little difference in it's caloric content.

For a given OG, true. But if you're targeting an ABV level, a small difference in gravity can have a substantial effect on the total caloric content. For example, a beer that starts at 1.050 and finishes at 1.012 and one that goes from 1.040 to 1.002 have about the same alcohol content, but the lower-gravity beer has around 25% fewer calories.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: ajk on March 07, 2011, 01:40:19 PM
I am amazed that there does seem to be sweetnes still in the brew since the hydrometer indicated 1.000 FG.

As others have pointed out, there's still plenty of sugar in this beer.  Belgians are dry not just due to high attenuation but also due to bittering hops.  Up them a bit next time, not enough to be noticed as bittering hops but enough to dry out the beer.

Also, alcohol can give an impression of sweetness, so the bittering hops have to balance that as well.
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on March 08, 2011, 03:41:33 AM
Your right, this Really Skews with my head.  Ha Ha

This weekend I will take two cups of beer and boil it to remove the ethanol and once it has cooled.  I will add enough water to bring back up to two cups and recheck the hydrometer reading.  This should give me an accurate reading of the Real Extract value and then be able to calculate what the actual residual sugar is still in the beer.  Thanks for your ideas.  Will update.


An FG of 1.000 means the yeast have converted about 82% of the sugars to ethanol. There's still a ton of sugar left in a beer that big.

Real Attenuation is 81.1% if the OG was 1.071 which will get you 1.000 and 9.7% ABV. The 1.000 reading is skewed by the presence of the alcohol- which skews the hydrometer reading if that makes sense... ???
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: a10t2 on March 08, 2011, 03:51:18 AM
This weekend I will take two cups of beer and boil it to remove the ethanol and once it has cooled.  I will add enough water to bring back up to two cups and recheck the hydrometer reading.  This should give me an accurate reading of the Real Extract value and then be able to calculate what the actual residual sugar is still in the beer.  Thanks for your ideas.  Will update.

That will work, but why bother? If you have the OG and FG readings you can calculate the real extract:

RE = .1808*OG + .8192*FG
Title: Re: Blonde Belgian kegged, force carbonated and it is too sweet
Post by: Hydro on March 08, 2011, 04:05:51 AM
Ok, so we are looking at a Real Extract value of:

RE = 1.0133792
or
1.014

So sugar is 1.036 per pound in 1 gallon of water and this is showing that there is a residual of .37 percent of a pound of sugar per gallon.  Still left in the brew.  That is what I am tasting.

Is my math correct?



This weekend I will take two cups of beer and boil it to remove the ethanol and once it has cooled.  I will add enough water to bring back up to two cups and recheck the hydrometer reading.  This should give me an accurate reading of the Real Extract value and then be able to calculate what the actual residual sugar is still in the beer.  Thanks for your ideas.  Will update.

That will work, but why bother? If you have the OG and FG readings you can calculate the real extract:

RE = .1808*OG + .8192*FG