Author Topic: Stupid high gravity brew  (Read 9067 times)

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2208
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Stupid high gravity brew
« on: April 28, 2012, 03:07:10 PM »
I'm trying to figure out a way to brew Avery's Mephistopheles. Years ago I talked to one of the brewers about this briefly, and IIRC he said they start at 1.146, and just pitch fresh yeast everyday until it's done. Since I don't have access to tons of free yeast, I'm thinking of dividing the fermentables into three additions:

Step 1: 8L @ 1.080, ferment to 1.020
Step 2: Add 8L @ 1.155, new gravity 1.087
Step 3: Add 2L @ 1.376

Step 1 would be an otherwise "normal" beer, and step 3 would be just dextrose and turbinado. I'm not sure about step 2. I haven't mashed a beer that large before. What efficiency should I expect? I'm planning on a long boil for that one.

My reasoning for doing it this way is to keep the pressure on the yeast as low as possible, and to be able to start out with a reasonably sized initial pitch.

Any thoughts?
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3813
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 09:29:13 PM »
I don't have any experience with this, but this sounds kind of similar to how they brewed the Dogfish 120 on Can You Brew It. IIRC, they did do a second pitch of WLP099 after the initial ferment, and then continuously fed it dextrose every 12-24 hours until yeast activity died off. I'd definitely check out that episode if you haven't yet.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 05:52:20 AM »
Last time I made a 1.127 wee heavy I got 70% efficiency.  Since it's all malt I don't have the option of feeding it so it all goes in at once on top of the yeast cake from a 70/-.  Your plan sounds like it would work fine.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2208
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 06:19:50 AM »
I guess my main questions is, "What's the most efficient way to get 8L of 1.155 wort?" I have a couple pounds of DME, but I'm worried about the extract adding unfermentable sugar.

What's the practical upper limit for the gravity from first runnings? What's the grist-to-water ratio at that limit? Like I said, I haven't mashed anything that big before, so I don't really know what I'm doing.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 06:48:41 AM »
I don't have an exact answer to your question but for the beer I mentioned above I mashed 29.5 lbs and got 20 liters from the first runoff with a SG of 1.095.  If you took about 13 liters of that and boiled it down to 8L you would have a wort with a gravity of 1.155.

So you could do that and then use the rest of the first runnings and the second runnings to make another beer.

On my system, this beer represents the practical upper limit for me.  But it could be different for others.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 07:36:08 AM by tygo »
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline andrew000141

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 07:27:51 AM »
One of the other guys sort of suggested this but you should use dextrose over DME. You won't have to worry about unfermentable sugars that way
Fermenting:
Cherry melomel

In Kegs:
Saison
Irish Red
Thanksgiving Cider
Rye Pale Ale
IIPA
Ayinger Maibock clone
Moose drool clone

Bottles:
Mead

Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2208
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 07:29:29 AM »
Tygo - That's great. How thick was your mash?

Beersmith isn't very useful for what I'm trying to do, so I know I'll have to do some on-the-fly calculations when I'm brewing the second half of the wort.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2208
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 07:30:49 AM »
One of the other guys sort of suggested this but you should use dextrose over DME. You won't have to worry about unfermentable sugars that way

I'm planning on using 20% dextrose and turbinado already, and that's about as much I'm willing to go. Mephistopheles is thick, so I don't want to dry it out too much.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 07:40:15 AM »
How thick was your mash?

Ratio was 1.25.  29.50 lbs into 36.25 qts and lost about 14.25 qts to absorption in the tun.

And my actual first runnings were about 20L (corrected above post).  I was forgetting the gallon I pulled off to boil down.  So my efficiency was actually a little better than what I posted above.  More like 78%.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1329
  • St. Louis, MO
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 08:15:52 AM »
...I have a couple pounds of DME, but I'm worried about the extract adding unfermentable sugar...

Since you're using 20% dextrose/turbinado with the WLP099, I think you're OK here. Meph IS pretty thick... does Avery use sugar when they brew it?

How about aeration? What's your plan? Seems like taking it to three steps would give you less of a window to aerate than if you started bigger, aerated longer into fermentation, and then dosed out those 2L of sugar solution at the end (DFH does it this way).
@southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

STLHops Homebrew Club:
http://STLHops.com/

Online rjharper

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 541
    • View Profile
    • Angry Scotsman Brewing
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 08:28:09 AM »
This was my recent attempt.  OG 1.13 down to 1.028.  Things I learnt;

I mashed at 151, go lower, plenty of non fermentables.
I added the sugars after the boil, add them to the fermenter at high krausen
I oxygenated heavily at pitching, I should have done it again later.
I used a full yeast cake of WLP007, it got to 1.042, then I had to grow up 099 and repitch late to the game.  Pitch the 099 earlier when there's less alcohol to impede.
Ferment cool and slow.

I added bourbon soaked oak cubes for a month.  I love the overall flavor, just wish it was ever so slightly drier.  This scored 41 at Bluebonnet last month.


BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: 082 Tzar Bomba RIS
Brewer: Ross Harper
Asst Brewer:
Style: Imperial Stout
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 10.74 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.24 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.134 SG
Estimated Color: 66.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 89.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 58.7 %
Boil Time: 180 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
18 lbs                Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        58.1 %       
4 lbs                 Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        12.9 %       
1 lbs                 Carafa III (525.0 SRM)                   Grain         3        3.2 %         
1 lbs                 Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)               Grain         4        3.2 %         
1 lbs                 Coffee Malt (150.0 SRM)                  Grain         5        3.2 %         
1 lbs                 Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                   Grain         6        3.2 %         
1 lbs                 Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)               Grain         7        3.2 %         
1 lbs                 Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)                  Grain         8        3.2 %         
2.00 oz               Galena [13.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           9        72.1 IBUs     
1 lbs                 Treacle [Boil for 15 min](100.0 SRM)     Extract       10       3.2 %         
2.00 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)              Fining        11       -             
1.00 oz               Galena [13.20 %] - Boil 15.0 min         Hop           12       17.9 IBUs     
1.0 pkg               Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [35 Yeast         13       -             
1.09 Items            Oxygen (Primary 2.0 mins)                Other         14       -             
2 lbs                 Dememera Sugar (2.0 SRM)                 Sugar         15       6.5 %         
1.0 pkg               Super High Gravity Ale (White Labs #WLP0 Yeast         16       -             


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 31 lbs
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 8.7 gal of water at 162.6 F         151.0 F       120 min       

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.20gal, 5.50gal) of 170.0 F water
Ross
Red Earth Brewers (Oklahoma City, OK)
Tippecanoe Homebrewers Circle (West Lafayette, IN)

Angry Scotsman Brewing
http://www.angryscotbrew.com
http://www.facebook.com/angryscotbrew
http://www.twitter.com/angryscotbrew

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2208
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 09:31:51 AM »
Since you're using 20% dextrose/turbinado with the WLP099, I think you're OK here. Meph IS pretty thick... does Avery use sugar when they brew it?

How about aeration? What's your plan? Seems like taking it to three steps would give you less of a window to aerate than if you started bigger, aerated longer into fermentation, and then dosed out those 2L of sugar solution at the end (DFH does it this way).

Avery uses Turbinado in all of the big Belgians, or at least did circa 2009 when I lived in Boulder. They don't list it on the website, but I remember the brewer talking about how stupidly expensive it was compared to plain table sugar, but they felt it was worth the price. IIRC at that time they used 3787 for their "Demon" series.

I don't have a way to oxygenate, and I'm hoping that by dividing the fermentables and keeping the gravity low, I can coax the yeast to ferment it out reasonably well. I'm planning on front-loading the harder-to-ferment sugars, so I can use a champagne yeast if necessary to ferment the simple sugar addition.

RJ - Thanks for the feedback and recipe. Definitely food for thought. I'm thinking of using a reverse-mash technique (160*>140*), IIRC like Budweiser uses to brew a highly attenuative wort without additional enzymes.

I've noticed (and Denny mentioned in his article in the latest Zymurgy) when using bourbon, or bourbon soaked oak, that the vanilla in the bourbon exaggerates the perception of sweetness.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 09:54:39 AM by nateo »
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2810
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 12:35:54 PM »
I don't have a way to oxygenate, and I'm hoping that by dividing the fermentables and keeping the gravity low, I can coax the yeast to ferment it out reasonably well. I'm planning on front-loading the harder-to-ferment sugars, so I can use a champagne yeast if necessary to ferment the simple sugar addition.

I don't recommend using champagne yeast.  I've done it, as well as using wine yeast.  I didn't care for the results too much.  I found it to be perceptible in the flavor of the beer (a BDS).

As far as oxygenating your wort there are some pretty simple ways to do so.  If you run it through a screen filter as you transfer to your fermenter that should add some oxygen (though not likely the amounts you'll need).  Lots of people use the mix-stir which is economical and doesn't require much in the way of equipment (a drill).

As far as access to "tons of free yeast" you could hold some back from your initial pitch, grow it up in a starter (hold back some wort, too) and pitch that again later once the initial fermentation seems to be slowing down.  I'd rather do this than turn to the champagne yeast.

I have also found that bourbon adds a sweetness to beer.

Good luck.  Sounds tasty.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline nateo

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2208
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 12:53:24 PM »
Joe - You're probably right about the champagne yeast, although a BDS with champagne character sounds good to me.

I might look into using WLP099. I haven't used that one before. I've gotten S-04 to get up to 13%ABV with a lot of love, so I think under the right conditions a lot of yeast can tolerate high gravity.

I can aerate pretty well, but I don't have an O2 pump.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2810
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Stupid high gravity brew
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 01:14:58 PM »
I should clarify my "I didn't care for the results too much" statement.

The BDS with champagne yeast wasn't bad, but I didn't expect to notice the champagne yeast as much as I did.

I also used wine yeast on a high gravity beer to finish it, and the beer is very tasty (and strong).  I brewed it in 2006 after I resigned my last job and still have a bottle or two somewhere.  It definitely has a "winey" character to it though.

IME you'll get very different and perceptible flavors from both champagne and wine yeast, so if you're shooting for a true clone they're probably not what you want.

On the other hand, they will definitely help to finish the beer to a lower gravity.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton