### Author Topic: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation  (Read 7071 times)

#### Joe Sr.

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##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2014, 02:53:44 AM »
1.087 is not that big, in my estimation.  There is no reason this shouldn't attenuate further.

I'd go with a decent sized starter pitched when the yeast is active.

It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

#### ultravista

• Brewer
• Posts: 409
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2014, 04:15:37 AM »
Beersmith calculates 1.087 > 1.023 as 71.9% apparent attenuation. White labs states 74-82% attenuation.

If Beersmith is telling you that 1.087 to 1.023 is 71.9% apparent attenuation, then there is a bug in Brad's software.

AA = (O.G. - F.G.) / (O.G. - 1) x 100 (multiplying by 100 yields AA as a percentage value instead of as a fraction)

AA = (1.087 - 1.023) / (1.087 - 1) x 100 = 73.6%  (which is the lower end of the given range for the strain)

Here's a clear cut example of why it is important for all brewers to learn basic brewing mathematics before using brewing software.

From the Alcohol and Attenuation Tool in BS 2.1.

#### erockrph

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##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2014, 06:38:50 AM »
Was it a single-step or a two-step starter? What was your starter gravity?

A lot of brewers make the mistake of brewing a big beer with yeast grown in 1.040 gravity wort.  Pitching a culture grown in 1.040 wort into 1.087 wort seriously stresses the yeast cells.   A better approach is to pitch the vial into 1L of 1.030 gravity wort, wait twelve to eighteen hours, chill and decant the supernatant (a.k.a the clear liquid that lies above the slurry), and then pitch the slurry into 3 liters of 1.060 wort.  Using this process, we are also increasing osmotic pressure with each step.
I'm not disagreeing, as my own experience with pitching slurries from 1.060ish beers has been quite successful, but I am curious what the biology is behind this. Is there a mechanism that the yeast has to acclimate to higher osmotic pressures?

There are no hard and fast rules, but I would say that in most cases the mistake is making a high gravity starter.

The starter was well within the ratio of growth (4X at most). The gravity was low, the way every yeast lab propagates yeast.  The idea is that you can pitch the correct number of cells, grown in ideal conditions (LOW GRAVITY WORT).

Whether or not this is always true is another deal.  540 is one of the few where I've had any problem at all with starter grown yeast.  However, I would never encourage someone to make high gravity starters.  But obviously certain yeasts benefit more than others from growing in brewing conditions.

I think the key here is the recommendation to pitch at 12-18 hours, and not after the starter has fermented to completion. I think the alcohol content in the starter is probably the biggest detriment to yeast health. By pitching earlier in the process you will avoid some of that alcohol.

Kai ran an experiment a few years ago comparing yeast growth (per gram of extract) vs starter gravity. He saw virtually no difference between a 5,7 or 10 Plato starter wort on yeast growth, and they were all at nearly 100% viability. A 20 Plato wort did see a 33% lower growth rate and was about 90% viable. He attributed the lower viability to the alcohol content. It's unclear where the break point is between 10 and 20 Plato where yeast growth and viability start to tail off in a starter, but even at 20 Plato the results weren't disastrous. It stands to reason that a 1.060 starter isn't going to be horrendously detrimental to yeast health.

http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2013/05/28/starter-wort-gravity-and-yeast-growth/
Eric B.

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

#### egg

• Cellarman
• Posts: 62
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2014, 12:16:20 PM »
1.087 is not that big, in my estimation.  There is no reason this shouldn't attenuate further.

I'd go with a decent sized starter pitched when the yeast is active.

Is this advice to try to get the FG down a bit? I'm going to do the same later today with my own, 'stuck' at 1.016.  Guessing I will have to stick to a 1L starter (using US-05) to keep to the general rule of keeping it below 5% of the 21L batch, seeing it won't be decanted.  Not sure whether to use 1 sachet or two, though will assume I should stick to 1.040 wort.

#### HoosierBrew

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• Indianapolis,IN
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2014, 12:44:03 PM »
I must have been lucky with 540/WY1762. It's my go to strain for dubbel and quad and I've used it many times, finishing 1.010ish (occasionally below) on first pitch. But I mash low, usually 149F for dubbel and 148F for quad, 15%+ sugar/syrup, plenty of yeast, nutrient, and oxygenation.

EDIT  -  I will add though that I've only used WY1762, never WLP540. So I don't know if there are any subtle differences in performance associated there.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 02:25:47 PM by HoosierBrew »
Jon H.

#### Joe Sr.

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##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2014, 01:43:12 PM »
1.087 is not that big, in my estimation.  There is no reason this shouldn't attenuate further.

I'd go with a decent sized starter pitched when the yeast is active.

Is this advice to try to get the FG down a bit? I'm going to do the same later today with my own, 'stuck' at 1.016.  Guessing I will have to stick to a 1L starter (using US-05) to keep to the general rule of keeping it below 5% of the 21L batch, seeing it won't be decanted.  Not sure whether to use 1 sachet or two, though will assume I should stick to 1.040 wort.

Yes.  I haven't had great luck with it, but others have reported that pitching fresh active yeast has been effective at finishing out bigger beers that have stalled.  I've found that patience is required.

I think you want a LOT of yeast for this, so a bigger starter wouldn't hurt.  Or slurry from another batch.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

#### ultravista

• Brewer
• Posts: 409
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2014, 01:59:06 PM »
Here is a response from White Labs regarding autolysis and reducing the gravity.

-------------------------------------
Autolysis will happen as soon as there are dead yeast cells that begin to decay. It is recommended to remove old yeast as early and often as possible to avoid autolysis off flavors, but it can be a desirable flavor characteristic in some products.

For instance Champagne is almost entirely distinguished by autolysis flavors and this is intentional. They age it a minimum of 18 months to incorporate this characteristic. It may be desirable in certain aged beers as well.

As far as reducing the gravity, you are left with very few options. You can rouse the yeast and warm it up, or you can try pitching a new volume of highly active yeast. You want the yeast to be highly active so that it can endure the stresses of starting in a hostile environment. More yeast will only help if you have the available sugars for fermentation. It is likely that the addition of yeast will perform for a breif while and then cease action again. Hopefully this is enough to get you to the target final gravity. If not, you may have to repeat this process.

It is possible that the yeast have consumed all the available sugars and that the remaining sugars are too complex for the yeast to break down. This would be evident if adding more yeast did not effect the final gravity. In this case you would be limited to back blending the beer into a new wort and continuing fermentation as a new batch.

Early stalling is usually attributed to poor cell growth during fermentation. It can be influenced by things such as over pitching, low aeration, or nutrient deficiencies, among other things.
-------------------------------------

#### denny

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##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2014, 03:19:35 PM »
How's this going?

I have a Holtrop-ish Rochefort 8 on the go too, 21 liters OG 1.079, with the WLP 540 (700ml stepped to 3.5L starter) which is at 1.016 after 2.5 weeks, sat at 76F (pitched at 63) having been roused several times.  It looks to be going no lower, so about 80%AA.  My adaptations led to 15% sugar in total and the mash was 2.5hrs at 147, with a brief mash out to follow.

Going by Stan Hieronymous' figures for OG and attenuation, it looks like the real thing finishes around 1.008/9.  I wish I could get it down there.  Tastes great, but a 1.016 body with 3.5vols plus of CO2 will be a pretty full mouth feel.  I guess I've just got to mash even lower next time.

Stan also says that the last 10% of attenuation can take as long as the first 90%.  At only 2.5 weeks you may be prematurely concerned.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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#### egg

• Cellarman
• Posts: 62
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2014, 04:02:48 PM »
How's this going?

I have a Holtrop-ish Rochefort 8 on the go too, 21 liters OG 1.079, with the WLP 540 (700ml stepped to 3.5L starter) which is at 1.016 after 2.5 weeks, sat at 76F (pitched at 63) having been roused several times.  It looks to be going no lower, so about 80%AA.  My adaptations led to 15% sugar in total and the mash was 2.5hrs at 147, with a brief mash out to follow.

Going by Stan Hieronymous' figures for OG and attenuation, it looks like the real thing finishes around 1.008/9.  I wish I could get it down there.  Tastes great, but a 1.016 body with 3.5vols plus of CO2 will be a pretty full mouth feel.  I guess I've just got to mash even lower next time.

Stan also says that the last 10% of attenuation can take as long as the first 90%.  At only 2.5 weeks you may be prematurely concerned.

I appreciate your thoughts. Not to be confused with the OP here, but as far as mine is concerned, it's not going anywhere. I am certainly here to learn, though I'm used to the 10%/90% thing with wlp 530. I have a single point finishing hydrometer and enough fermentations under my belt to say that with some confidence.  If there was any movement at all, I would leave it.

#### brewinhard

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##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2014, 10:55:13 PM »
1.087 is not that big, in my estimation.  There is no reason this shouldn't attenuate further.

I'd go with a decent sized starter pitched when the yeast is active.

Is this advice to try to get the FG down a bit? I'm going to do the same later today with my own, 'stuck' at 1.016.  Guessing I will have to stick to a 1L starter (using US-05) to keep to the general rule of keeping it below 5% of the 21L batch, seeing it won't be decanted.  Not sure whether to use 1 sachet or two, though will assume I should stick to 1.040 wort.

I don't see a 1.016 FG as a high FG for a Belgian Quad.  With some decent carbonation the beer will taste just fine.  I have made Quads that finish in the low 1.020's that were amazing and placed in several comps in the past. I find that sometimes when these styles dry out too much they lack a bit of character and sweetness that is noticeable in commercial versions.  Just my 2 cents which doesn't go for much nowadays....

#### S. cerevisiae

• Guest
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2014, 02:24:05 AM »
The reason why we want to avoid dumping yeast cells from a White Labs vial into 1.060 wort is because we are dealing with a unknown number of viable cells that may not be in the best of health.  A large deferential between the amount of solute inside of the cell and the amount of solute outside of the cell will cause water to migrate through the cell membrane to outside of the cell, resulting in dehydration,  which, in turn, can result in cytorrhysis (the complete collapse of the cell wall).  It also helps that it is easier to dissolve oxygen in 1.030 wort than it is 1.060 wort.

Do you why pitch rate increases with respect to gravity?  It’s because the osmotic pressures encountered in high gravity wort place a lot of stress on a yeast cell’s plasma membrane (i.e., the high solute differential thing mentioned above).  If we couple the osmotic pressure problem with the fact that it is more difficult to dissolve oxygen in high gravity wort than it is low gravity wort, we quickly realize that we have to limit the number cell divisions that need to occur before the stationary phase is reached, as each division results in a mother cell sharing its ergosterol and unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) reserves with its daughter cell (replacement divisions will need to occur during the stationary phase; hence, we need reserves going into the stationary phase).  Ergosterol and UFAs are critical cell plasma membrane health because they make it more pliable, which, in turn, is critical yeast cell metabolism.

An important thing to remember is that a yeast cell loses turgor pressure when it shrinks due hypertonic situations (high levels of external solutes).  Turgor pressure is the pressure that pushes a yeast cell’s plasma membrane against its cell wall.

Another problem that we encounter in high gravity fermentation are high ethanol levels. Ethanol is hygroscopic, which results in water being drawn out of the cells through their plasma membranes, which, in turn, results in shrinkage and loss of turgor pressure.  In effect, yeast cells quit fermenting at a point because they become too dehydrated to pass nutrients and waste products through their plasma membranes, eventually resulting in cell death.

With that said, we encounter two problems when growing yeast cells for use in high gravity fermentations.  The first problem is basic biomass growth, that is, we need to increase the overall yeast cell count, so that our pitch rate is closer to maximum cell density.  The second problem is that we need to grow cells that do not go into the yeast equivalent of cardiac arrest when pitched into high gravity wort.   What we are doing by increasing the gravity with each step is progressively selecting cells that can endure higher and higher osmotic pressures.  It’s basically survival of the fittest. The cells that do not have the right stuff do not replicate and are replaced by the offspring of cells that do have the right stuff.  This selection process is basically what happens in the 6 -> 8 -> 10 progression that narvin mentioned.  There is nothing magical about using a larger batch. It’s all fermentative growth.

« Last Edit: October 17, 2014, 01:51:38 PM by S. cerevisiae »

#### narvin

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2498
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2014, 01:20:58 PM »
That makes sense.

So, have you done a 2 step starter with a higher gravity wort for the second step?  I might try that next time I want to go straight to a very high gravity batch(1.090+).  Of course, there's a certain point where it's just as easy to make a lower gravity batch of beer as your "starter".

#### S. cerevisiae

• Guest
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2014, 01:50:51 PM »
Beersmith calculates 1.087 > 1.023 as 71.9% apparent attenuation. White labs states 74-82% attenuation.

If Beersmith is telling you that 1.087 to 1.023 is 71.9% apparent attenuation, then there is a bug in Brad's software.

AA = (O.G. - F.G.) / (O.G. - 1) x 100 (multiplying by 100 yields AA as a percentage value instead of as a fraction)

AA = (1.087 - 1.023) / (1.087 - 1) x 100 = 73.6%  (which is the lower end of the given range for the strain)

Here's a clear cut example of why it is important for all brewers to learn basic brewing mathematics before using brewing software.

From the Alcohol and Attenuation Tool in BS 2.1.

Either Brad Smith knows something that the rest of the brewing world does not, or he needs to perform more thorough code reviews.  My bet is that there is a bug in Brad's software because here is a posting that he made on his site (http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,1928.msg7731.html?PHPSESSID=3ca218961138cfb86bbf62f439f229de#msg7731):

"  The apparent attenuation numbers can be calculated by hand as follows:
apparent attenuation = ( ( OG in points - FG in points ) / OG in points ) x 100
"

To convert a specific gravity reading to points, we merely lop off the 1 and treat the number on the right-hand side of the decimal point as a whole number, which is equivalent to performing the following operation:  (S.G. - 1.0) x 1000

Example:

1.087 in gravity points = (1.087 - 1.0) x 1000 = 87
1.023 in gravity points = (1.023 - 1.0) x 1000 = 23

(87 - 23) / 87 x 100 = 73.6%

#### ultravista

• Brewer
• Posts: 409
##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2014, 02:09:59 PM »
S. cerevisiae - thank you for your feedback. I rely on Beersmith and rarely run calculations elsewhere. Moving forward, I will check via Excel.

Gravity was down to 1.021 last Saturday and I decided to begin chilling. This week will be 6 weeks since pitching. I believe that it may be down another point or two by tomorrow. Around 77% attenuation.

#### Joe Sr.

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##### Re: HELP: WLP540 Abbey IV Attenuation
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2014, 02:16:38 PM »
If you start chilling you likely won't go any lower.  If you're happy with 1.021 that's fine, but if you think it should be lower I would just wait.

I've left big beers for two months to reach terminal gravity.   Sometimes you just have to be patient.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton