Author Topic: My first big beer. Will it carb?  (Read 1372 times)

Offline Philbrew

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My first big beer. Will it carb?
« on: May 30, 2015, 03:49:57 AM »
After 7 (mostly) successful small to medium lagers, I decided to enter the world of big beers, a doppelbock (extract and mini-mash).  I designed a recipe on Beersmith and following some good advise from Joe Sr. and DmTaylor, I pulled 2 lbs. of LME and added a pound of corn sugar to the recipe.  Beersmith said:  OG 1.089, est. FG 1.020 and est. ABV 9%.  I hit OG on the nose.  I pitched a healthy amount of WY2124 slurry from a 1.060 Marzen that I had just bottled.  Fermented at 50F for 8 days and ramped up the temp. over 2-3 days.

After a looong diacetyl rest at 66-70F, the FG came out 1.010 and Beersmith calculated the ABV at 10.5%!  The hydrometer sample tasted crisp and very alcoholic.  The beer is now lagering at 31-33F.

I want to bottle this batch.  Considering the alcohol content, I wonder if I should try to find a bunch of 8 oz. bottles. :)

Question is:  At that alcohol level and after lagering, will this yeast have enough umph left to carbonate this beer?  It did get it to 1.010 albeit very slowly at the end.

Waddya think?
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 06:36:44 AM »
Any idea why it fermented all the way past the 1.020 mark? Mash temp? Unwanted visitors in the slurry? Reason I'm asking is that if it's the latter, it may well ferment even further in the bottle once the priming sugar's gone, and that's not something you want. At all.
Make sure the gravity doesn't drop further before you bottle.

If you're unsure about WY2124's ability to carb a 10.5% beer (I've no experience with this yeast btw), you can play it safe and bottle with half a teaspoon of US-05 dry yeast, reactivated and pitched into the bottling bucket, together with the priming sugar. Will work.
Don't overcarb this one. 10.5% and 1.010SG means too much carb will thin out the beer, which is not something you want in a doppelbock.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2015, 08:02:31 AM »
Where is that 'like' button on this forum?
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2015, 09:31:14 AM »
Where is that 'like' button on this forum?

As in "I was, like, derp, or, like, whatever, like, you know."?
All truth is fiction.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2015, 11:36:22 AM »
I do not think your yeast will be able to handle bottle conditioning this time after lagering.  The alcohol content is just too much for those tired yeasts to properly carbonate your dopplebock.  I would suggest (as stated above) to add some rehydrated dry yeast to your bottling bucket along with your cooled priming sugar to bottle with.  I really prefer bottling with a champagne yeast (lalvin EC-1118).  It is neutral, pH and alcohol tolerant, and only costs around $1.  And no, it will not ferment out anymore sugars except for your priming sugar. 

Offline erockrph

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2015, 02:13:31 PM »
Personally, I think it will probably carbonate just fine if you give it enough time. If you want to add some dry yeast at bottling for insurance, then 1/4 packet of something like 34/70 or US-05 should do the trick.

When I bottle condition a lager, I prefer to bottle after my D-rest, then wait for the bottles to carbonate before lagering in the bottle. I figure this way there is plenty of yeast in suspension to carbonate in a normal amount of time, plus any new yeast growth during carbonation will drop out during lagering.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2015, 03:46:21 PM »
I agree with erock.  I've never had an issue carbonating big beers.

But if you're worried, go ahead and add some yeast.

My opinion on champagne yeast is that it is NOT neutral, but maybe the small amount used for carbonating is OK.  People pitch it sometimes in the hopes it will finish out a stalled fermentation.  Not neutral in that application.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2015, 03:55:12 PM »
10% seems to be the upper limit for many lager strains so I would add extra yeast. I'd go with either EC-1118 or K1V at bottling. You don't need much to carbonate beer so add sparingly.
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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2015, 03:55:20 PM »
Wyeast 2124 is W-34/70.  W-34/70 is a robust and forgiving tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes) lager yeast strain, which is why it is the most popular yeast strain in the world.  I would take Eric's advice and pitch 1/4th of a packet of rehydrated dry W-34/70 with your priming sugar.   The alcohol heat should mellow in time.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2015, 03:56:54 PM »
I agree with Joe and Eric.  I tend to shy away from champagne yeast. I used it a time or two and it definitely isn't neutral - didn't care for the flavor impact at all. I think it'll carbonate fine, but SO5 is a better, much more neutral option.
Jon H.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2015, 05:57:02 PM »
I have never noticed any flavor impact when using champagne yeast at bottling time.  There is just such a small amount of sugar that the yeast consume that no esters/phenols are produced, at least ones that I could detect. The price difference between a $6 pack of 34/70 (of which you would use only 1/4 of) and a small $1, 5 gram packet of champagne yeast have me using the champagne yeast every time.
 
I have had big abv% beers fail to carbonate before as well even giving them several months.  All the while, the beer is sitting with this extra oxygen in the headspace most likely oxidizing the beer while you hope your yeast are 
carbonating your beer.  Ever since then, I have always added a small amount of dry (rehydrated) yeast to the bottling bucket when bottling strong beers over 9% or so.  A simple assurance for a low price...

Offline Philbrew

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2015, 07:34:24 PM »
Wyeast 2124 is W-34/70.  W-34/70 is a robust and forgiving tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes) lager yeast strain, which is why it is the most popular yeast strain in the world.  I would take Eric's advice and pitch 1/4th of a packet of rehydrated dry W-34/70 with your priming sugar.   The alcohol heat should mellow in time.
I happen to have a packet of W-34/70 on hand.  Once rehydrated, can I put it in my priming sugar solution?  I bottle carbonate via "pump prime".  https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23215.0
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2015, 08:32:44 PM »
Wyeast 2124 is W-34/70.  W-34/70 is a robust and forgiving tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes) lager yeast strain, which is why it is the most popular yeast strain in the world.  I would take Eric's advice and pitch 1/4th of a packet of rehydrated dry W-34/70 with your priming sugar.   The alcohol heat should mellow in time.
I happen to have a packet of W-34/70 on hand.  Once rehydrated, can I put it in my priming sugar solution?  I bottle carbonate via "pump prime".  https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23215.0

Personally I'd be concerned about the osmotic pressure of the priming solution. You could just add dry yeast directly to the bottles before capping.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2015, 02:10:51 AM »
Wyeast 2124 is W-34/70.  W-34/70 is a robust and forgiving tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes) lager yeast strain, which is why it is the most popular yeast strain in the world.  I would take Eric's advice and pitch 1/4th of a packet of rehydrated dry W-34/70 with your priming sugar.   The alcohol heat should mellow in time.
I happen to have a packet of W-34/70 on hand.  Once rehydrated, can I put it in my priming sugar solution?  I bottle carbonate via "pump prime".  https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=23215.0

Personally I'd be concerned about the osmotic pressure of the priming solution. You could just add dry yeast directly to the bottles before capping.
Agreed. It shouldn't take more than a few grains.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: My first big beer. Will it carb?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2015, 08:35:26 AM »
Personally, I hate manually iterative jobs like adding grains of dry yeast to individual bottles. Just activate a teaspoon of dry yeast as per usual and add it to the bottling bucket. Before or after adding the priming, makes ne difference.
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