Author Topic: Adding after initial ferm  (Read 6367 times)

funkybrewster

  • Guest
Adding after initial ferm
« on: October 01, 2009, 10:40:39 AM »
I am extremely, hugely bummed out and very confused as well. Not only did I discover my Pale had a major problem today but the Belgian Triple that I've been been fermenting for 2 weeks I have discovered has an extremely low abv, like 2 or 2.5% I don't get it? It's been producing co2 regularly for the past 2 weeks so how in the hell can it be this low? I used Wyeast trappiste. Is there anyway to save it? To add more of something to at least get it drinkable? It tastes good, but w/ no alcohol presence whatsoever. Man, after today, I am just ready to throw in the damned towel...I really thought this was going to be a good one. I guess I had beginner's luck, because the first few were decent but I have hit a rough patch. Does anyone know how to fix this thing?

Offline bonjour

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • Beer du Jour
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2009, 11:01:16 AM »
Can you post your gravities, and how you took them?  Are you by any chance reading the %alcohol scale on your hydrometer to measure your current Alcohol level?  If so you need to take the difference between the initial reading and the final reading.

Fred

Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2009, 02:38:24 PM »
Original gravity and current gravity would be helpful. If you don't have that then your recipes and we can get close. (DWHAHB)  Don't worry Have a Home brew!

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline switzead

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 41
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2009, 08:24:03 PM »
I think you have misread something.  Nothing bubbles away for 2 weeks and only has 2% ABV.  That little sugar would have been eaten up in the first 2 days.  Gravity readings and the method in which you are taking them are the only way to tell what you got going on.

funkybrewster

  • Guest
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 07:40:13 AM »
Okay, thanks for all of your replies and observations. I actually calculated the potential alcohol using the balling method. I don't own a calculator so I did it longform on paper twice. The numbers don't lie....except when I try and multiply and divide. Erm, I procured a calculator and am embarrassed to find that it's more like 6% (5.97) Woops. Not only was I totally panicked...I think it was the moldy Pale Ale that I discovered before that that frazzled my brain and put me into 'Doom' mode! I know that the yeast is supposed can potentially reach 8% plus. The strange thing is, I barely could taste any alcohol at all, but then again, I am not too good at tasting flat, unconditioned beer yet. The taste was light for what I was going for and I am wondering if I am not using enough malt in my recipes. Most of the recipes I have, in the Papazian books and a couple I have from friends/kits etc. usually call for 5 pounds of malt/sugar for 5 gallon batches but many have suggested to me that that is not enough, as a rule. Obviously this batch didn't have enough fermentable sugars to reach 8% and give it more body. I think it'll taste good, just a bit on the light side. I know all recipes differ but how much, as an average, is a good amount of malt or sugars to use for a five gallon batch? On this Belgian I used a Brewferm 3.3 can of 'Triple' malt syrup, one pound of light Belgian Candi sugar, and 2 pounds of light spraymalt. 

Offline bonjour

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • Beer du Jour
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2009, 08:24:13 AM »
How much malt to use for a batch of beer depends on the style of beer that you are trying to brew.  The bottom line is that if the beer tastes the way you want it to taste, you did a good job.

In the middle of Charlies book is a table of how much malt to use for various styles.  from memory 6-7 pounds for most beers.

This is where BeerSmith can help you.  Enter the recipe and if the predicted gravities don't come within style, or if you want the beer to be big for style, adjust it there.

For a Triple, off the top of my head, you might be a little light. 

On Alcohol in beers,  What makes alcohol evident are the higher alcohols, the fusels, these are one of the things that drives headaches.
I brew a lot of really big beers.  Good qualified judges that like big beers frequently estimate these beers at 7-8%abv.  They are typically double that.  They are also fermented cool to accomplish that.  Belgian beers should be fermented slightly on the warm side to promote the esters and phenolics, and the higher alcohols that Belgians are known for.

Fred

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2009, 09:31:12 AM »
I bet even dry malt extracts differ a little, but Muntons DME reliably delivers 0.8% ABV per pound/gallon, so 5# would yield a 4% ABV in exactly 5 gallons.  10#, 8%, and then adjust the recipe from there.  Like on a tripel, you would sub 1-2# of DME out and use a plainer sugar instead to lighten the body and maintain the alcohol.  And with simpler sugars comes a speedy start to fermentation, so go low esp. in the first 48-72 hours to prevent the fusels Fred warned of.  Once the simple sugars are consumed the yeast slow down a bit, so it's safer to bump your freezer up a tad to boost the nice esters. 

I'll toss a bad beer instantly, but I had a fuselly tripel that teased me for months.  Tasted nice, but 12 oz was all it took to split my skull.  Finally tossed the last bottles after much self-inflicted pain. 

funkybrewster

  • Guest
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2009, 04:04:51 PM »
"...so go low esp. in the first 48-72 hours to prevent the fusels Fred warned of.  Once the simple sugars are consumed the yeast slow down a bit, so it's safer to bump your freezer up a tad to boost the nice esters."

I am sorry, you lost me here, but it sounds like something important. Can you reexplain this as if you were speaking to someone with very limited knowledge and ability. Not that that's me, or anything.

Offline bonjour

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • Beer du Jour
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 07:55:07 PM »
Ferment temps should be the temp of the wort (thermometer on the outside of the bucket or carboy below the liquid level is ok, espesially the stick on's).  For Ales keep you ferment temp under 70F if at all possible.  This slows down the production of higher alcohols (the kind that give you a hangover) to a crawl.  When activity has slowed down it's ok to let the temp come up a bit.

Note that some styles require a higher ferment temp, up to 85F+, but that is a bad idea for most styles.


Offline switzead

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 41
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2009, 08:49:30 PM »
Based on your ingredients you should only get about 4.5% alcohol.  You should have had about 1.048 OG and 1.013 FG.  Not sure what you had on your OG but if it was close to 1.048 and you are calculating a 6% alcohol then the FG would be close to 1.000 and there are very little fermentables left in the beer, giving it the very dry mouthfeel you are talking about.  It would be nice to know what your beginning and ending gravities were measured.  I still think you have misread something here.  For Belgian Tripel I would go with 6.6 pounds of liquid extract, 3 pounds of the spraymalt and 1.5 pounds of the candi.  This will put your OG near 1.085 and give you a 8% ABV expectations.

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Adding after initial ferm
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2009, 09:15:17 AM »
"...so go low esp. in the first 48-72 hours to prevent the fusels Fred warned of.  Once the simple sugars are consumed the yeast slow down a bit, so it's safer to bump your freezer up a tad to boost the nice esters."

I am sorry, you lost me here, but it sounds like something important. Can you reexplain this as if you were speaking to someone with very limited knowledge and ability. Not that that's me, or anything.

Sorry 'bout that, but Fred covered for my brevity.  We've also discussed here that in the center of the fermenter it is possible/likely that the temp is 1-2F higher from the heat generated by the actively feeding yeast.  So, if want your "true" ferm temp to be 64F to keep it clean of fruity esters and fusel alcohols, then you may want to set the freezer at 62F for the first 48 hours while the feeding frenzy is most active.  Then raise the freezer as the yeast slow down and cool off. 

 

modification