Author Topic: High Final Gravities  (Read 1670 times)

Offline yaleterrace

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High Final Gravities
« on: March 01, 2011, 10:02:16 AM »
Hey homebrewers.  I have been brewing for a while now (all-grain) and I have recently started running into an issue with my ales.  I keep winding up with high FGs, and seemingly can't bring them down.  I LOVE beer with a big body, so this isn't a problem until I shoot for a low FG I come in high.  For instance,

Saison: OG 1.064, FG 1.033
Brown Ale: OG 1.080, FG 1.041
IPA: 1.062, FG 1.027
RIS: OG 1.112, FG 1.052!

I employ a stepped infusion mash, and all of these had at least a partial A-amylase conversion at higher temp, hence more body, but they also all had a B-amylase rests.  My B-amylase rest temp is in the 146-148 degF range, and my A-amylase temp range is 158-160.  I have been using mostly Belgian Saison, Belgian Abbey Ale, East Coast Ale and Dry English Ale yeasts.  Can anyone troubleshoot my issues?  I feel like sooner or later my high FGs will make infection more possible and/or more noticeable and damaging.  Thanks & Cheers!

Offline maxieboy

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2011, 10:05:12 AM »
Have you calibrated your thermometer? Could be reading low.
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Offline yaleterrace

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2011, 10:06:55 AM »
Yeah, checked the Blichman thermometer with a second Blichmann, a different dial thermo and an alcohol thermo...

Offline bonjour

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2011, 10:24:25 AM »
You are consistently at the same attenuation (+/-) with different yeasts.
This is either a measurement issue or a process issue.

Can you run a fast ferment test,  Take a bottle, dilute it by 50% in a growler, measure it then ad a packet of dry, not liquid or rehydrated yeast.  let it ferment (warm) and see what it stops at.

This is to determine if you have any fermentables left.

duty call, got to work.
Fred Bonjour
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AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2011, 10:24:51 AM »
What are the recipes for those beers?   Have you changed malt?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline yaleterrace

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2011, 10:30:07 AM »
I'll try the quick fermentation test, tho I use dry yeast packets with healthy starters for anything I can, liquid when I can't.

As far as malt goes, I switched from Breiss US 2Row to Rahr US 2Row about 6 weeks back and brewed 4 batches with the same high FG issues.  The saison was brewed with unmalted wheat and oats as well, but no other adjuncts to speak of.

Offline tom

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 10:33:48 AM »
No need to do starters for dry yeast. They can be detrimental.

What temperature are you fermenting at? How do you aerate/oxygenate your wort?

Have you checked the mash pH?
Brew on

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 10:35:28 AM »
I think there's a thread or two around here about Rahr . . . but I thought it was pH effects and high attenuation, not low attenuation.  I haven't used Rahr, so someone else will have to talk about that.  If the 4 batches where you've had the problem were all made with Rahr, and none of the ones you made with Briess had that problem, I would think it's the malt.  Is that accurate, or am I confused?

In either case, do the fast ferment test like Fred says.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 10:49:14 AM »
I use Rahr exclusively as my domestic pale malt and I always get the attenuation I expect out of it.  Neither over nor under attenuated.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 11:02:51 AM »
I use Rahr exclusively as my domestic pale malt and I always get the attenuation I expect out of it.  Neither over nor under attenuated.
Yeah, but who was saying they noticed or heard about it affecting their beer and it changed the pH?  It could be that since you use it exclusively you've figured out how to use it to get the beer you want, and if you changed malts to Briess you'd be cursing Briess and their malt :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 11:03:39 AM »
I use Rahr exclusively as my domestic pale malt and I always get the attenuation I expect out of it.  Neither over nor under attenuated.
Yeah, but who was saying they noticed or heard about it affecting their beer and it changed the pH?  It could be that since you use it exclusively you've figured out how to use it to get the beer you want, and if you changed malts to Breiss you'd be cursing them and their malt :)

The recipes I use it in were originally formulated with GW pale and I haven't changed anything that I can recall.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline bonjour

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2011, 11:04:22 AM »
can you detail your process, and I mean everything, times, temps, recipe, etc.  from mash in to the final in the bottle (or keg).
How/when did you measure your gravities.  Refractometer, hydrometer, both, raw readings, temps.
You cannot have too much detail here.

You have a problem.  We do need more info to help.



Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline bluesman

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2011, 11:04:40 AM »
In addition to a FF test have you considered your fermentation process. What temperature and how consistent are your temps. How are you monitoring the fermentation?  Hydrometer calibration? Secondary?

Just a few things to look at but the FF ferment test will tell us more.

Edit: Fred...our timing on our posts is impeccable.
Ron Price

Offline yaleterrace

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2011, 11:08:26 AM »
My mash pH is always in the 5.0 - 5.3 range, so I think that's okay... not to say I wouldn't rather have a pH meter instead of strips.

I oxygenate my wort pre-pitch in a weird way, but it works.  I have an immersion and a plate chiller, but I use neither these days in favor of a low-energy/no-waste water approach.  Instead, I let the wort cool in the sealed kettle overnight, and transfer vigorously to primary carboys creating a faux krausen of foam to incorporate oxygen.  I know, higher chance of infection this way, but no problems with this process yet.  Always get a strong fermentation, visually active in 6 hours or less.

The Breiss/Rahr thing seems to make little difference, I've had high FGs with both, and in the same realm as one another.

(I'm not trying to shoot down advice, I want more!  I just don't know where this is issue is coming from.)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: High Final Gravities
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2011, 11:14:10 AM »
Ah, I misunderstood - you said you've brewed 4 with Rahr, and you list 4 at the top, so I thought that was all of them.  Ok, not the malt.  You are vindicated Denny :)

How are you measuring your FG?  Tell me you're using a refractometer :)
Tom Schmidlin