Author Topic: Stuck Stout or Just Fine  (Read 913 times)

Offline TeeDubb

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Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« on: November 01, 2015, 03:35:23 AM »
So, this is my first time posting.  I appreciate all of the great info and camaraderie on this forum!

I have an all grain chocolate milk stout that just finished primary.  OG was 1.068, a 5.2 gal batch, 16 oz of lactose was used (yes a bit high, but researched this a bit). It was fermented with White Labs WLP090 (1.0L starter) which has always been great and fast for me on ales. I did oxygenate with pure O2 for 60 sec. It took off after 6 hrs and pretty much finished after 3 days (looking at gravity) but I let it sit another 4D for a total of 8D in primary. Fermenter was controlled to 63-64F for the first 2 days, then allowed to free rise to 68 for the rest as it seemed to taper off.

It's at a gravity of 1.030 now, but I was expecting something closer to 1.023. I need a sanity check: my gut says to leave it be, let it rest in the keg for another week at 70F, then cold crash, fine with gelatin, and carbonate.  Call it a "sweet stout."  There is the temptation to add some Safale S-04, but I have never done this. I'm wondering if it really stuck, or the lactose (never used by me) had an impact on the fermentation.  By my calculations, the lactose raises the FG by about 6 points.

Any help or reassurance would be appreciated.  Happy Halloween!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2015, 03:44:54 AM »
If you can, pull a sample and quick carb it. Sometimes gravity isnt that sweet. Many of the long sugars just arent as sweet on the tongue as you might expect. One way to find out, right?

Offline TeeDubb

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2015, 03:50:17 AM »
Good point!  I did just pull a sample and, un-carbonated, it actually tastes quite good and in line with what I would expect for a stout.  Not really that sweet to the taste and good body.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2015, 04:01:32 AM »
There ya go. You might do another gravity reading in a few days just to be sure its not creeping down on you. Especially if you're going to bottle condition

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2015, 12:21:40 PM »
Not surprised with that much lactose - it may say only 6 points for the lactose, but combined with what other ingredients?  Like Jim said, the long chain dextrins that survived may not give a sweetness to your beer, but may add to a fuller body.  I wouldn't sweat it, but I would give it a bit more time to see if it loses a few more points.

I think that you will be fine - enjoy your milk stout!
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Offline TeeDubb

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2015, 02:42:45 PM »
Thanks for the great commentary.  I always make a couple of lessons learned in my notebook after each batch.  For this one a few things come to mind:

- On this batch, I under pitched by about 25-30% because I ran out of DME when making the starter and LHBS was closed. I rationalized it would be OK by thinking that it would just lag a bit and ferment longer.  I think with a med-high gravity stout and the presence of non-fermentable sugar, you have to pitch at the recommended amount or slightly higher.

- I think that I would raise the fermenter temp a deg or two next time for the start (65F) and let it free rise to 68-69F at the end at bit sooner.

Overall, it was a fun (and cheap!) brew to make with no hops to manage besides a bit in the boil. What a difference compared to the last couple of hoppy IPAs.  Cheers!

Offline InfantryBrewing

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2015, 07:49:38 AM »
Hi, I've brewed a few stouts (or more) in my days. IMO, I think you are jumping the gun by checking the gravity at 8 days of fermentation… especially for a chocolate milk stout. We all know most stouts are thick and big, which require more days in the fermentor. I have an imperial stout fermenting for the holidays and now it's at ~ 9.0% ABV after 2 months of fermentation (expected to stop at 10-11% ABV).

White Labs WLP090 seems like it wouldn't be a great yeast for stouts. It rated a "2" for stouts on White Labs website and you said its good for quick ales. Stouts shouldn't be made quickly as most stouts are aged. You may have severely under pitched your batch, but that does not mean you can't drink it!! I've guzzled down plenty of batches that did not go as planned. Cheers!
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 07:51:57 AM by InfantryBrewing »

Offline Stevie

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2015, 01:40:54 PM »
I 1,000% disagree. Most stouts are not "thick and big." That just continues the bs reasoning why people "don't like dark beers."

I've gone grain to glass in 12 days with a 7% American Stout and 9 days with a 5% Dry Stout, both with no issue. Guinness goes grain to glass in about 8 days.

Offline denny

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 05:30:40 PM »
I 1,000% disagree. Most stouts are not "thick and big." That just continues the bs reasoning why people "don't like dark beers."

I've gone grain to glass in 12 days with a 7% American Stout and 9 days with a 5% Dry Stout, both with no issue. Guinness goes grain to glass in about 8 days.

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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 05:39:21 PM »
I 1,000% disagree. Most stouts are not "thick and big." That just continues the bs reasoning why people "don't like dark beers."

I've gone grain to glass in 12 days with a 7% American Stout and 9 days with a 5% Dry Stout, both with no issue. Guinness goes grain to glass in about 8 days.

Totally agree. I go fermentor-to-bottle in about 10 days with a 5.5% stout and they never come off as thick or cloying. Of course, something like RIS is certainly a completely different animal but for very different reasons.

Offline TeeDubb

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Re: Stuck Stout or Just Fine
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2015, 06:43:21 AM »
Update: I had a work trip scheduled for the day after this original discussion, and so I let it sit in the secondary (keg) at 70F for another 6 days while gone and I got maybe another point or point and a half of gravity decrease (FG 1.028-1.029).  The flavors improved to what I was hoping for, aroma was awesome.  I called it good enough, cold crashed a few days ago, then fined with gelatin.  So, I'm at 5.25% ABV where 6.0% was planned, but it tastes good, clean, and has layers of complexity from the grain and cocoa nibs.  I'm taking my time and will let it sit for at least another 7-10 days while carbonating.

Good comment on the White Labs surveys of this yeast for stouts.  I honestly forgot to check, but mentally knew that 090 is a clean fermenter and good floc, so I went for it.  I may try this recipe again with another yeast and see what the impact may be.