Achieving low FG on high gravity (e.g. 1.090 OG) brews.

Post #1 made 3 years ago
Hey folks, I'm just looking to pry into your experiences on how you went about achieving high attenuation on the bigger beers. Those of you that wanted it, anyway.

I had a shot at my own Imperial IPA recipe, and took some precautions to help attenuation along as I knew it would be an issue ...

- 7% of base grain swapped for turbinado sugar, added at end of boil. (I see 5-15% recommended from multiple sources, so I played it conservative to start).
- 5.35 mash pH target (room temp) for a highly fermentable wort (nailed this, well as much as our favorite test strips could tell me).
- 300ppm sulfate in brewing water, achieved with gypsum into diluted (w/ RO water) tap water.
- 151F/66C mash temp (could have gone lower - 148F/64.5C -, but I was paranoid about the sugar drying it out too much).
- low amount of crystal malt, about 3% total.
- US-05 - high attenuating yeast in my experience, tolerant up to at least 12%ABV ... many personal anecdotes of 80-85%AA in the 7-8% ABV range.
- 66F/19C fermentation temperature


I was hoping for about 1.015 FG (10% ABV), but here I am .. stuck at 1.020 (9.5% ABV) for quite a while now (77%AA). I roused the yeast, warmed up the beer to diacetyl rest temps, still at 1.020 for 3 days now.

This is still fine, I'm within style guidelines and the beer tastes pretty great, and next time I brew there are obvious tweaks I can make to help go lower. I'm just looking for your input and experiences if you have any.

Some people talk about finishing with champagne yeast, but this scares me ... anyone ever try this? I'd be tickled to get down to 1.012 from 1.090, 1.015 is acceptable though ... so I'm on a mission for how to get repeat-ability here!

Luckily the beer doesn't taste as sweet as I thought 1.020 FG would be, so that's nice. I really love my Imperial IPA's to be tongue strippingly(sic) dry, though ... so help a brotha out? :headhit:

As a side question, would there be any difference of attenuation if the turbinado was simply replaced with honey, instead of increasing percentage?

If no hard answers are available, maybe this would make for a team "experiment". I'll certainly be making this beer a few more times until I feel the challenge is overcome.

Thanks!
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Post #2 made 3 years ago
Hey Rick...

What a great question! I would maybe start by finding out if US05 can handle alcohol levels so high! I have no idea the answer to that except that I know yeast peter out as the abv reaches a certain level no matter what you do. I thought it was at about the levels you're looking to achieve. I have no experiences to contribute, but will be interested in what others have to say. Maybe participate in an experiment.

Achieving low FG on high gravity (e.g. 1.090 OG) brews.

Post #3 made 3 years ago
Given what you have already tried I would start with dropping the mash temp to 62-63C. I have done this with a couple of beers I wanted to finish dry and had a summer ale finish at 1.003! It was from a much lower starting gravity but still got down there.

Another thing that might help is reusing yeast from a smaller brew. So brew a pale that's 1.045 or so and then pitch the IPA onto the yeast cake. Some people use the whole yeast cake and the same fermenter, others scoop out half a coffee cup or so into a clean fermenter or some tip some yeast out and then pitch in the same fermenter. I have tried all methods and had good results but best practice would be a measured amount into a clean and sanitised fermenter.

Adding more sugar of any kind should help with attenuation but there won't be a significant difference between varieties of sugar or honey as they are all essentially completely fermentable.

Also, from my limited understanding, a high final gravity won't add sweetness to a beer but more add body and mouthfeel. I believe this is beaches under mentally sugars don't actually taste sweet but an happy to be corrected on this one if I am off the mark.

Off topic but I am wondering what equipment, grain bill and batch size you use to get a 1.090 wort. I have seriously struggled hitting big numbers with my processes but am keen to keep trying as I do enjoy the occasional IPA or RIS!

Post #4 made 3 years ago
I haven't found any information on the spec sheet from fermentis, only results on various forums.

10-11% seems to be commonly achieved, but about the threshold where people begin to have issues.

I really love this yeast, but if I cannot make it work at 10%. .. so be it.

I've been thinking, and might have to up my oxygenation game by getting some aquarium equipments. I've only been shaking the crap out of it before pitching, which has served me well so far. But, this is a different ball game.

Contrarian, I like the yeast cake idea ... will definitely try that. You posted while I was writing this .. and I'm on the go. Will post you my file and equipment when I get back to aPC.

I actually over shot ... ended up at 1.092 for this one.

I might have some questions about mashing 62-63 though, well out of my comfort zone. :argh:
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Achieving low FG on high gravity (e.g. 1.090 OG) brews.

Post #5 made 3 years ago
I've only done a low mash temp a few times but seems to have gone ok. I you are worried about it being too thin you can do your main mash at 62C an then do a 15 min rest at 72C.

I don't step mash but have heard this approach gives good results.

It also seems that a longer mash will result in a more fermentable wort so you could mash in at 64C before bed and a mash out and boil the next morning and see how that goes.

A lot of brewers who make RIS or barley wine will add additional yeast for bottling, often champagne yeast that can tolerate the high alcohol so that's probably worth a general search too.

Post #6 made 3 years ago
Something else that may be of interest is Drauflassen

May suit your Germanic ancestral genes! :lol:
" Narziss reports that this technique is beneficial to the attenuation and the ester levels of the final beer."
Last edited by mally on 05 Dec 2014, 18:39, edited 1 time in total.
G B
I spent lots of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I squandered
I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
I ONCE gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life
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Post #7 made 3 years ago
Okay, Contrarian ... attached is my file.

I transferred everything to 1.3T, which uses more water and grain than the file I am beta testing (I believe the liquor retained by grain is the only difference here).

What I'll do is post the 1.3T BIABacus, but the recipe report will be copied from the beta file I used on brew day. The TWN and grain amounts won't match, so just a heads up there.

My success, I think ... is the use of a 71.4L kettle. I generally double batch everything, but not these high gravity brews. I had about 5"/13cm of mash head space with everything in the pot.

Here is a pic from another brew, pretty basic.
Image

Recipe Overview

Brewer: Rick
Style: IIPA
Source Recipe Link:
ABV: 9.9% (assumes any priming sugar used is diluted.)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.09
IBU's (Tinseth): 113
Bitterness to Gravity Ratio: 1.26
Colour: 24.7 EBC = 12.6 SRM

Kettle Efficiency (as in EIB and EAW): 75.9 %
Efficiency into Fermentor (EIF): 68.4 %

Note: This is a Pure BIAB (Full-Volume Mash): Sacharification

Times and Temperatures

Mash: 90 mins at 66 C = 150.8 F
Boil: 90 min
Ferment: 10 days at 19 C = 66.2 F

Volumes & Gravities
(Note that VAW below is the Volume at Flame-Out (VFO) less shrinkage.)
The, "Clear Brewing Terminology," thread at http://www.biabrewer.info/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Total Water Needed (TWN): 40.84 L = 10.79 G
Volume into Boil (VIB): 36.81 L = 9.72 G @ 1.059
Volume of Ambient Wort (VAW): 25.53 L = 6.74 G @ 1.09
Volume into Fermentor (VIF): 23 L = 6.08 G @ 1.09
Volume into Packaging (VIP): 21.88 L = 5.78 G @ 1.014 assuming apparent attenuation of 84 %

The Grain Bill (Also includes extracts, sugars and adjuncts)

Note: If extracts, sugars or adjuncts are not followed by an exclamation mark, go to http://www.biabrewer.info" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (needs link)

84.5% 2-Row (3.3 EBC = 1.7 SRM) 8427 grams = 18.58 pounds
3.1% Victory (73.2 EBC = 37.2 SRM) 309 grams = 0.68 pounds
3.1% C80 (212 EBC = 107.6 SRM) 309 grams = 0.68 pounds
7.1% Turbinado (25.2 EBC = 12.8 SRM) 708 grams = 1.56 pounds! (Boiled Only)
2.2% Acidulated (3.3 EBC = 1.7 SRM) 219 grams = 0.48 pounds

The Hop Bill (Based on Tinseth Formula)

63.8 IBU Warrior Pellets (15.6%AA) 55 grams = 1.94 ounces at 90 mins (First Wort Hopped)
28.1 IBU Mosaic Pellets (11.6%AA) 83 grams = 2.928 ounces at 12 mins *(see notes)
21.1 IBU Amarillo Pellets (8.7%AA) 83 grams = 2.928 ounces at 12 mins *(see notes)
0 IBU Citra Pellets (14.1%AA) 56 grams = 1.975 ounces at flame-out
0 IBU Mosaic Pellets (11.6%AA) 42 grams = 1.48 ounces (Dry Hopped after 6 days)
0 IBU Citra Pellets (14.1%AA) 42 grams = 1.48 ounces (Dry Hopped after 6 days)
0 IBU Mosaic Pellets (11.6%AA) 70 grams = 2.47 ounces (Dry Hopped after 10 days)
0 IBU Amarillo Pellets (8.7%AA) 70 grams = 2.47 ounces at flame-out (Dry Hopped after 10 days)

Mash Steps

Mash Type: Pure BIAB (Full-Volume Mash): Sacharification for 90 mins at 66 C = 150.8 F

Strike Water Needed (SWN): 41.65 L = 11 G at 68.1 C = 154.6 F

Mashout for 1 mins at 78 C = 172.4 F

Miscellaneous Ingredients

0.5 Whirfloc (Boil) 5 Mins - Clarity

Chilling & Hop Management Methods

Hopsock Used: Y (Pulled 30 mins after boil end.)

Chilling Method: Cube (Employed 30 mins after boil end.)

Fermentation & Conditioning

Fermentation: US-05 for 10 days at 19 C = 66.2 F
Diacetyl Rest: 4 days at 21 C = 69.8 F
Secondary Used: Y
Crash-Chilled: N
Filtered: N
Req. Volumes of CO2: 2.25
Serving Temp: 4 C = 39.2 F
Condition for 21 days.
Consume within 3 months.

Notes:

* = Flame out addition w/190-212F hop stand for 30min. 12m value is for bittering calculation only, add hops at 0m. Use hop sock.
** = Secondary hop stand, add @ 120-150F, leave in until ready to pitch. Use hop sock.
*1 = first dry hop in primary (add 1 day after high krausen, 3-4 day contact), no sock.
*2 = dry hop in secondary, no sock in fermenter. 4-5 day contact time, strain/squeeze hops through hop sock when finished.
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Last edited by Rick on 05 Dec 2014, 22:51, edited 4 times in total.
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Post #8 made 3 years ago
mally wrote:Something else that may be of interest is Drauflassen

May suit your Germanic ancestral genes! :lol:
" Narziss reports that this technique is beneficial to the attenuation and the ester levels of the final beer."

Nice, I think you just saved me a lot of money on yeast. I'll have to ponder this one a bit.
Last edited by Rick on 05 Dec 2014, 22:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #9 made 3 years ago
Another note, after being pinned at 1.020 for 3 days ... I bottled last night. It was 1.018.

Hrmph. That was a bit unsettling, but I went with my gut and bottled it anyway.

:pray:
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Post #10 made 3 years ago
mally wrote:Something else that may be of interest is Drauflassen

May suit your Germanic ancestral genes! :lol:
" Narziss reports that this technique is beneficial to the attenuation and the ester levels of the final beer."

After further thought, I think this is pretty ideal for my setup if I run both pots. Chill #1 batch in the kettle, and the #2 in a cube.

Pitch #1 the next day split into two fermenters, when low krausen is reached ... crack open #2 and fill both fermenters.

I like this idea a lot, if the beer is a hit and I need to make a bunch of it. Otherwise, the yeast cake from my house pale ale will suffice as I do not dry hop it anymore anyway.

I suppose both will be given a try, depending what brews are on the horizon ... will compare notes and go with the better attenuating method. Might take a while to see a trend, but I do make a ton of hoppy ales, so ...

Drauflassen + Contrarian's step mash is likely what my next batch will see.

I recently acquired a 5lb tub of unfiltered/crystallized honey from a local farm, so I may sub that in place of the turbinado as well ... just so it's one less thing I need to buy for brew day. Will up this addition in percentage as well ... 10% or 2lb should be a logical next step. Will add it to the end of the boil just as I did the sugar, I'm not really wanting to mess around with tedious pasteurization just yet, although it is on my to-do list.

Thank you gentlemen, could not have done this without ya!

I have a breakfast stout on the horizon, and then I'll get back to this. If anyone is interested, please take the file ... tweak it to your liking and brew along with me. :yum:
Last edited by Rick on 06 Dec 2014, 02:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #12 made 3 years ago
More thinking has lead to new thoughts.

Drauflassen is essentially a starter, and with this high gravity brew it might need modification ... considering yeast growth is ideal under less stressful conditions. Germans are big on light lagers, and this brew is pretty far from that.

Solution, partigyle. I'll grow the yeast in 1/2 the weaker batch, decant onto remaining weak wort while leaving behind enough yeast to dump the high gravity brew into. Overthinking, or necessary?
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Post #14 made 3 years ago
It's a good point about the gravity difference Rick, I hadn't really considered that.

I have read a few books recently though (Noonan, Bamforth etc), as well as the Braukaiser website.
One other method to consider is Krausening. I know it is not used exactly as you would be, but it is mentioned in the books how good the fresh new yeast help finish the beer off, and therefore could help in your attenuation as well?
With you talking about parti-gyle it made me think that you could brew the "big beer" and then start the weaker brew at a later date. Once you hit high krausen on this "small beer" mix some of it into the nearly finished big beer to help finish it off.

Again, it is probably not a perfect solution, and probably has downsides too (especially timing), but thought it could be another option for you?
G B
I spent lots of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I squandered
I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
I ONCE gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life
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Post #15 made 3 years ago
You have my wheels turning, mally. A lot of that makes sense to me, and seems less risky as far as infections go.

My only concern with that method would be knowing how much of a decrease in IBU and ABV I would get from adding the weaker beer to the main batch. Any idea how much volume we're talking, to make a significant impact on attenuation?

Waiting until this point to also add honey/turbinado might help offset the gravity difference, but it might be a bit late for adding so much sugar to a near complete fermentation. I really don't know how the yeast from either batch would react to this.

If I knew the IBU loss, I could compensate for that on brew day. Can't very well make the lighter beer 113 IBU's!

Hmm, reserving the sugar until late would also keep the big beer yeast a bit healthier. This seems like the most sanitary option so far, I just lack the experience to know the total effect on the yeast.
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Post #16 made 3 years ago
From my understanding of krausening you usually only add the top/head of the wort (that should mainly be just yeast), so you will only dilute by a minimal amount.
I have never done this by the way so I do not speak from authority!

One thing I would be wary of is what you are "cropping". To me there is a lot of fresh yeast at the top, but there is also some dead yeast and "gunk".

Exerpt from Noonan

"As the head rises to form low, rich mounds and curls of foam, it carries with it protein, hop residues, and degenerated yeast cells, which are visible as a brown scum that colleas on the head and at the surface edge"

I did a RIS well over a year ago now and I used 10% cane sugar in that in an effort to keep the FG lower & ABV higher.
Due to the powerful flavours used in this style there is no way I can tell it has that much adjunct and it still only got to 1.016-1.018 though, so if I were to do this again I would possibly consider upping the sugar a bit more, & even using dextrose instead.
Last edited by mally on 09 Dec 2014, 03:05, edited 1 time in total.
G B
I spent lots of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I squandered
I've stopped drinking, but only when I'm asleep
I ONCE gave up women and alcohol - it was the worst 20 minutes of my life
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Post #18 made 3 years ago
Right now I'm thinking, go the step mash route ... add sugar to the fermenter in stages instead of at the end of boil. If it attenuates, great. If not, I'll time it so krausening from the weaker parti-gyle batch can be used as last resort. If I end up needing it, and it works ... will be a solid data point for my records.

Will go back to turbinado or even corn sugar, just so I don't have the added work of pasteurizing the honey. In such a high alcohol brew, I feel comfortable adding the sugar in dry ... but not so confident with the honey since there is moisture for the bugs to breed in.

This way I can pitch the strong batch straight away, and if I lose one it'll likely be the weak batch.

If I can pitch onto a partial yeast cake from a previous brew, great ... but I'm not going to go out of my way until I feel this current strategy needs to be honed a bit.
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Post #19 made 3 years ago
Rick, If you do add the Sugar in stages, Keep in Mind your Making a Huge Starter.

Also, you will be Creating yeast that can handle High ABV

Make Sure you Collect those Last Living Yeast, they may Handle 15% or More ABV!!!!
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.
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Post #20 made 3 years ago
Thanks, I surely have a lot to learn about brewing yeast to fully optimize. I'll have to search out some reading material.
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Post #22 made 3 years ago
Hey Rick,
Bit late to the party but I would be thinking along the lines of the lower mash temp and a big starter. Did you use a starter on this brew?
Used a couple of calculators and pics attached.

Brewers Friend is saying to use 3 - 4 packets without a starter.
Photo 1.jpg
If you use a starter and 1 packet you would also need a 5L Starter
Photo 2.jpg
Then again a different Mr Malty calculator says. 2 packs is enough.
IMG_4691.PNG
.

The only other thing i can think of is allowing the brew to warm up a bit towards the end of the ferment. Talking 2deg c. Could just allow the yeast a little bit more to work on.
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Last edited by DaveDoran on 11 Dec 2014, 03:41, edited 1 time in total.

Post #23 made 3 years ago
joshua, thanks for that tutorial. I have seen it before, but hadn't bookmarked it. You saved me some time. What I'm more wanting to learn is whether it would be smart to save yeast from a 10%ABV brew. Most people will say no, but I really have no formal knowledge on the matter ... so perhaps this method I am going to use will prep them better? Without the sugar, my OG from brew day is still going to be in the vicinity of 1.081.

Dave, I fermented at 66F for about 6 days ... and then ramped up to diacetyl rest temperature of 70F for another 4 days in primary. Then, another 4 days in secondary at 70F.

Days 9 through 12 I was stuck at 1.020, figured it was finished. Then on bottling day (#15), it moved to 1.018. It's difficult to know which readings to respect, but I went with my gut and bottled. Now I'll just hope it was done, hopefully it doesn't over carbonate ... or explode.

I used the Mr. Malty calculator, and pitched the 2 fresh packets of US-05/rehydrated. I don't like to over pitch my IPA's, so that was good enough for me. My wort volume was also more like 21L, after hop soakage losses.
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Post #24 made 3 years ago
Rick,

Sam Adams Brewer has created a Yeast that can Tolerate 25%ABV for the High end Barley Wine product.

Distillers have a Yeast that can handle 18%-20% ABV, to make Distillation Better.

If you like Dry Beer, that 10% yeast would be a Good Thing to Harvest, Grow, And Freeze Samples for further Use.

See Yeasty's Topic at viewtopic.php?f=86&t=1372
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.
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Post #25 made 3 years ago
Rick, it sounds like you pitched an adequate amount of yeast, but I can attest that oxygenation really helps. I got an oxygenation system a few months ago and have seen a marked improvement in my fermentations. Given a healthy pitch, the recommendation I would make is to add the sugar a few days into the fermentation after krausening. Jamil Z often recommends this for drying out Belgian tripels, quads, or "imperial" saisons. Really should be no different for any HG brew. The simple sugars really help out the tired yeast, whereas if those simple sugars are in the boil and the initial fermentataion, then the yeast has a tendency to ferment the simple sugars first, resulting in a higher FG because they "give up" after the easy pickings.
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