Author Topic: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew  (Read 2460 times)

Offline factory

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when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« on: December 12, 2014, 01:39:45 PM »
I've been wondering, would it be better to add sugars to a high gravity brew into the boil, pre-fermentation, or let fermentation start, and as it starts to slow down, add the sugars to the fermenter?  I'm curious as to what benefits one method has over the other?

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2014, 03:03:36 PM »
Here on Belgian forums many people add the sugar after a couple of days into the fermentation. They claim that they can knock off a few points off the FG that way, because the yeast first has to work on the more complex sugars before it gets to the simple sugars. However, I have no personal experience with this method to corroborate.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 03:09:56 PM »
I add everything in the boil.  I haven't noted a significant difference between this and when I have added sugar to the secondary.

My understanding is that if you're going for a super high ABV beer, the incremental sugar feeding is important.

My beers are never super high ABV, though they are often quite strong.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 03:12:52 PM »
I add everything in the boil.  I haven't noted a significant difference between this and when I have added sugar to the secondary.

My understanding is that if you're going for a super high ABV beer, the incremental sugar feeding is important.

My beers are never super high ABV, though they are often quite strong.

+1 .  Never noticed a difference either.
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Offline factory

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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 04:13:46 PM »
Here on Belgian forums many people add the sugar after a couple of days into the fermentation. They claim that they can knock off a few points off the FG that way, because the yeast first has to work on the more complex sugars before it gets to the simple sugars. However, I have no personal experience with this method to corroborate.

This is the train of thought that I had.  Let the yeasties go to work on the complex sugars so they don't poop out on all of the simple sugars first.

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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2014, 04:23:29 PM »
I've not experienced that even when I add 20% sugar to the boil. If the total OG of the batch with the sugar is 1.100 or lower and you aren't trying to retain any aromas from the sugar I would just add it to the kettle. that way I don't have to remember to add it in the fermenter a few days later. I've had belgian wheat wines go from 1.100 to 1.010 with this method. I suppose I could get slightly higher attenuation but I'm not sure I would want to. I've done that wheat wine both ways and didn't notice a change in FG or flavor. Although it was a year apart so I'm not sure I would really notice any flavor changes.

when I'm adding honey, on the other hand, even to a 1.040 beer I add it to the fermenter after 3-5 days of fermentation. it's basically done at this point. the fermentation will kick off again for a few days. This will retains some honey aroma and flavor while adding it to the boil, or even to hot wort, would not.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2014, 04:39:13 PM »
I add everything in the boil.  I haven't noted a significant difference between this and when I have added sugar to the secondary.

Same here.  I have found no advantages to adding it later.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 04:41:48 PM »
Here on Belgian forums many people add the sugar after a couple of days into the fermentation. They claim that they can knock off a few points off the FG that way, because the yeast first has to work on the more complex sugars before it gets to the simple sugars. However, I have no personal experience with this method to corroborate.

That is the claim.  The reality is different for most of us.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2014, 04:55:49 PM »
I have had an issue with Wyeast 3522 stalling out on high-gravity fermentations with the sugar added in the kettle. I haven't seen that happen with any other strain though, and I need to run a few more batches with 3522 to be confident that's actually the problem.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 05:49:01 PM »
I have had an issue with Wyeast 3522 stalling out on high-gravity fermentations with the sugar added in the kettle. I haven't seen that happen with any other strain though, and I need to run a few more batches with 3522 to be confident that's actually the problem.

How high gravity?  I've used 3522 up to 1.080 with 20% sugar in the kettle and there was no problem.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2014, 06:09:08 PM »
I have had an issue with Wyeast 3522 stalling out on high-gravity fermentations with the sugar added in the kettle. I haven't seen that happen with any other strain though, and I need to run a few more batches with 3522 to be confident that's actually the problem.

How high gravity?  I've used 3522 up to 1.080 with 20% sugar in the kettle and there was no problem.
Yes but Belgium is a different reality :-P
Here on Belgian forums many people add the sugar after a couple of days into the fermentation. They claim that they can knock off a few points off the FG that way, because the yeast first has to work on the more complex sugars before it gets to the simple sugars. However, I have no personal experience with this method to corroborate.

That is the claim.  The reality is different for most of us.
Frank P.

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Offline denny

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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2014, 07:10:27 PM »
Yes but Belgium is a different reality :-P

I have no doubt of that!  I hope to find out for myself one day.
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Offline bboy9000

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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2014, 08:06:12 PM »
The one time I tried adding sugar to primary my beer reached 0.098 FG.  Granted this was one trial and I was also using WLP 072 French Ale yeast (a beast) so it wasn't a controlled experiment.
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2014, 03:44:44 AM »
How high gravity?  I've used 3522 up to 1.080 with 20% sugar in the kettle and there was no problem.

Not terribly, unfortunately. A Dubbel at 1.063 that attenuated to 67% (FTT 85%) is the only one I've re-brewed. With the sugar in the fermenter it went to 79%. The other was a BGSA at 1.096 that stalled at 65% (FFT 80%), but I haven't re-brewed that.

As per usual, I'm blaming it on the altitude. ;)
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Re: when to add sugars in a high gravity brew
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2014, 01:37:56 PM »
I think it depends. I have done some big beers, but never huge beers. Some in the club have done huge beers with good success, the latest project came out to 20% ABV and used staged feeding of sugars later in fermentation. It turned out surprisingly drinkable.

For Belgian Tripels I have no problems with the sugar going into the boil, but that is a mere 9% ABV.
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