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Author Topic: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge  (Read 6047 times)

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2014, 08:32:29 pm »
I've brewed a couple of >20% beers. I wouldn't use extract, personally, other than to make up a small gravity deficit. If extract is where you're at, then like everyone else said, use the most fermentable extract you can get.

I'd brew a ~1.120 wort, as fermentable as possible, then use sequential sugar additions during fermentation to bring up the ABV. Use a powdery, attenuative yeast like Chico with a healthy starter for the initial pitch, then monitor gravity and feed ~2 lb of cane sugar at a time each time it ferments below 10°P or so. Aerate along with each sugar addition except for the last one. If gravity stops dropping, rack the beer onto an entire yeast cake from another beer using an alcohol-tolerant yeast. You may have to do this several times to get the beer to its attenuation limit. For a 5 gal batch, 6 lb of sugar would take you from 1.120 OG and 1.030 FG (12% ABV) to 1.170 OG and 1.010 FG, for 21% ABV.

Oh awesome, so are starters exclusively for >7% beers? Or is there another criteria as a deciding factor?

A starter is never necessary, strictly speaking. How much yeast to use comes down to the target pitching rate. 0.75 million/mL-°P is pretty much standard for ales; some brewers pitch more for high-gravity ales and pretty much everyone pitches more for lagers. For 5 gal (19 L) at 1.050 (12.5°P), that's 178 billion cells, or basically two packs/vials (~100B each). So a starter is usually a good idea for any normal homebrew batch.

this is solid real world experience speaking. I'm pretty sure the rest of us are extrapolating.

I only say you could get away without a starter because it's one vial in 2 gallons. as a10t2 says at 5 gallons it would require a starter or two vials of yeast.

The highest ABV I have attained was ~13% and that was plenty for me.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2014, 10:01:02 pm »
Realistically, making your own wort gives you more fermentable wort, based on my experience.  How far can you pitch it?   I don't know that....
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Offline BigBearyZ

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2014, 10:49:39 pm »
Wow, I'm honestly amazed at the quality and quantity of information obtained in thus one post.

I believe the schedule outlined by morticaixavier along with the advice given by a10t2 and the other contributors will lend itself to   promising first batch.
Brew day is on December  9th and I will update when appropriate.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2014, 05:10:43 am »
Wow, I'm honestly amazed at the quality and quantity of information obtained in thus one post.

I believe the schedule outlined by morticaixavier along with the advice given by a10t2 and the other contributors will lend itself to   promising first batch.
Brew day is on December  9th and I will update when appropriate.

A word of caution: As the others have said you are going to have a hard time getting an extract beer this big to attenuate properly (you would have a hard time with an all grain beer as well, but you will especially have a hard time with an extract due to a number of different reasons, most notably extract is less fermehtable than all grain). Be sure you subsititute a fair amount of sugar for the extract, this will help with the attenuation. You may be able to go as high as 20%, maybe even 25%.

If the yeast sputter out and the beer stops fermentation early you will be in grave danger of bottle bombs and a beer this big could be potentially dangerous should those bottles start popping.

Finally, when you say a "promising first batch", I am hoping you mean a first batch for this beer, not your very first batch ever. This would be a bad first batch to learn to homebrew on.

Offline BigBearyZ

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2014, 08:53:19 am »
Ok, ill reduce the amount of extract used and substitute it for candi or beet sugar during the boil. Maybe even relying solely on said sugar for the main source and steep greater amount of grain.

The thing I could suggest to make sure there's a healthy fermentation is to stay on top of the sugar additions and nutrient additions, other than that im not really sure what else to do.

And  this not my first batch of beer thankfully, but at the same time im still relatively new, think ill enlist some of the homebrew club that im apart of to help

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2014, 08:56:24 am »
don't rely solely on the sugar. then the wort will be nutrient deficient. I would for sure reduce or eliminate the dark LME though in favor of light DME or LME (if it's fresh) and sugar. as Major said 20-25% but I wouldn't go higher than that.
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2014, 10:38:01 am »
Another thing that I was thinking reading this thread, and I didn't see it posted yet is fermentation temperature. With that gravity, the yeast is going to be pushing the temperature really high as it gets chugging along on the sugars. I would certainly recommend at least the water bath + frozen bottles trick to keep it cool during the first 48-72 hours. After that, I would keep it warmish (68-70) to make sure the yeast are as happy as possible while they are fermenting the remainder of the sugar.

This is a very ambitious brew, and I wish you good luck. Remember to put a few bottles hidden away so you can taste it in 3-4 years.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2014, 10:44:37 am »
+1.  I'd go 60-62F for 3 or 4 days, then ramp up gradually.  Maybe even rouse and give it a few days @ 75F after it appears to be at FG, to encourage the yeast to eat a few more points. They usually will. I'd leave it in primary for a good month.
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Offline BigBearyZ

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2014, 11:25:39 am »
Ok so I've sifted through the information and I think I'll brew Big Mama's Barleywine frome "Extreme Brewing" and use that yeast cake for the Imperial Stout. Ill draw up a procedure before the brew date and post it.







Calagione, Sam. "Extremely Unique Beers." Extreme Brewing. Deluxe ed. Vol. 1. Beverly, Massachusetts: Quayside Group, 2012. 124-133. Print.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2014, 11:34:21 am »
Ok so I've sifted through the information and I think I'll brew Big Mama's Barleywine frome "Extreme Brewing" and use that yeast cake for the Imperial Stout. Ill draw up a procedure before the brew date and post it.







Calagione, Sam. "Extremely Unique Beers." Extreme Brewing. Deluxe ed. Vol. 1. Beverly, Massachusetts: Quayside Group, 2012. 124-133. Print.

the yeast is going to be pretty tired out after a big beer like a barley wine. if you are brewing a batch to build a population for a big beer it's better to brew up something like an ordinary bitter or a pale ale. this will stress the yeast less before asking them to perform a big task like an RIS.

Also, even with a very big beer a whole yeast cake is over pitching which can results in anything from a disapointing ester profile to acetaldehyde (green apple). I would pitch about 12-18 floz of fresh slurry into 5 gallons of big beer.
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"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
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Offline BigBearyZ

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2014, 11:36:54 am »
Oh I understand, So the yeast cake should be a last resort just in case the gravity drops.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Big Alcohol, Little Knowledge
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2014, 12:13:34 pm »
Oh I understand, So the yeast cake should be a last resort just in case the gravity drops.

I was just saying that brewing a barley wine to produce yeast for a RIS isn't ideal. Generally you want to repitch from a lower gravity beer into a higher or equal gravity beer.

If you want to brew a beer to build a yeast cake for a big beer fermentation I was suggesting you brew something low gravity as your first batch and don't use the whole yeast cake, remove part of it after you rack your firs small beer to packageing.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce