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Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

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HummelBrew

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Post Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:16 pm

Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

OK, so on 12/18 I brewed a belgian dark strong. Grain bill was:
11lb Pilsner
1.5lb caramunich
.25lb special B
3lbs of Agave Nectar (let's try something new)
WLP500 (yeast cake)

I mashed at 148*F for 90 minutes (my old thermometer could have been off by a few degrees, but calibrated beforehand) and then boiled for 90 minutes. My target gravity was 1.086 and I was just shy of that.

I fermented at 65*F for about 2 weeks, then raised the temp to almost 70*F for nearly a week.
I pitched yeast from a Belgian Dubbel(starter made) that I transferred that same day. That beer did not finish quite as low as I wanted...1.017 instead of ideally 1.012 or so.

So now the problem. Tonight, more than 3 weeks after fermentation started and over a week after my krausen fell I went to transfer the Dark Strong to secondary. Of course, AFTER I siphon it over, I check my gravity and I'm at 1.045!!!! To help this thing along I even had swirled the carboy a few times after the strong fermentation phase & once the Krausen was starting to drop to encourage the yeast to keep working.

Now...what on earth do I do? I was going to wash and save this yeast anyways, so I still have it. I am getting the nice belgian aroma from the yeast. Should I pitch the yeast in there again, buy more belgian yeast, pitch some T-58 or US-05? Champagne yeast or some wild bugs?

Anything to knock this thing down. Or, am I Sh!t out of luck?
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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shredd3r

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Post Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:46 pm

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

What are you measuring gravity with?
Bottled:Wine and more wine
Kegged: Imp Stout
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HummelBrew

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Post Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

A Hydrometer. I also just got a refractometer too. I used both methods this time for grins and giggles. Used Sean Terrill's spreadsheet for the refractometer adjustment.
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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JLap

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Post Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:47 pm

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

At that level of attenuation in your BDS I'd say you have a serious yeast health issue. I didn't do the math but you only fermented 40 gravity points so you're probably only at 5% alcohol. You probably should have started ramping the temperature up sooner but I wonder if you are not using enough oxygen prior to fermentation. I would not save this yeast because you're just asking for more of the same. Start over with a new starter and check your starter size, oxygen amount, and temperatures.

In terms of solving your current problem, I'd suggest making a pint starter with either dry yeast or liquid yeast and adding it at high krausen. That should help to drag the gravity down though you may not get as low as you'd like. You can always do bugs later if that doesn't work but you have a ways to go and might get more wild character than you want at this point.
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HummelBrew

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Post Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

JLap wrote:At that level of attenuation in your BDS I'd say you have a serious yeast health issue. I didn't do the math but you only fermented 40 gravity points so you're probably only at 5% alcohol. You probably should have started ramping the temperature up sooner but I wonder if you are not using enough oxygen prior to fermentation. I would not save this yeast because you're just asking for more of the same. Start over with a new starter and check your starter size, oxygen amount, and temperatures.

In terms of solving your current problem, I'd suggest making a pint starter with either dry yeast or liquid yeast and adding it at high krausen. That should help to drag the gravity down though you may not get as low as you'd like. You can always do bugs later if that doesn't work but you have a ways to go and might get more wild character than you want at this point.


Yea, attenuation is in the crapper. It does make sense to say that the yeast are under the weather. Not sure what from, because I used a starter on the previous beer, which tastes quite good eventhough it didn't finish as low as I had planned on.
If I add more yeast, how I can actually even introduce oxygen this late in the game without ruining the beer. Yum...cardboard. :(
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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shredd3r

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Post Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:46 pm

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

HummelBrew wrote:A Hydrometer. I also just got a refractometer too. I used both methods this time for grins and giggles. Used Sean Terrill's spreadsheet for the refractometer adjustment.


Dang, I was hoping those were refractometer readings...that would put your beer right at about 1.018. Sounds like yeast pitched wasn't healthy.....Or something cosmic that I'd never think of.
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Kegged: Imp Stout
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Harris4

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Post Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:08 pm

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

I have the best luck with WLP500 when ramped up to about 76-78 over a week. Pitch in the mid-sixties and ramp up just after peak fermentation determined by the slowing bubbles in the air lock.
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Wahoo

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:51 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

I think your best bet is to make a large starter with fresh yeast, and pitch it at high krausen. IF you have enough healthy cells from a well oxygenated starter (Ideally stirplate, but even regular shaking will do the trick), you might be able to kick off a new ferementation. I'd try a different strain.
"Lagers? You'll put your eye out. Stick To Ales"
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HummelBrew

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:16 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

Wahoo wrote:I think your best bet is to make a large starter with fresh yeast, and pitch it at high krausen. IF you have enough healthy cells from a well oxygenated starter (Ideally stirplate, but even regular shaking will do the trick), you might be able to kick off a new ferementation. I'd try a different strain.


Would you suggest using another belgian strain? I already have that nice aroma from the WLP500 and I can get a litle phenols / ester in the flavor too.

What about pitching some rehydrated dry yeast? T-58 or some neutral champagne yeast? Basically just to ensure it finishes?
Also, I am assuming there are still sugars in there to be consumed given only a 40 point drop, but should I add any other fermentables?
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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Wahoo

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:13 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

I would not use simply rehydrated yeast (I have tried that before and it didn't work).
I think you want a small very active fermentation that will then take over and dominate your underattenuated beer. That is why I suggest pitching at high krausen.

I would use a belgian strain if you had it. I don't like champagne yeast in beer so that would not be my choice.
"Lagers? You'll put your eye out. Stick To Ales"
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HopAle

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:24 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

How far off did you say that thermometer was? High or low?
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HummelBrew

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:22 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

HopAle wrote:How far off did you say that thermometer was? High or low?

The old thermometer was High. My target mash temp was 148. I calibrated before my brew session, but there is a possibility that mash temps reached 155*F, which is how far off it was prior to calibration. Even at that temperature it should get down lower than I am now.
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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HummelBrew

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:28 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

Wahoo wrote:I would not use simply rehydrated yeast (I have tried that before and it didn't work).
I think you want a small very active fermentation that will then take over and dominate your underattenuated beer. That is why I suggest pitching at high krausen.

I would use a belgian strain if you had it. I don't like champagne yeast in beer so that would not be my choice.


OK. Timing shouldn't matter much right?
If I can get a Belgian strain later today, get a small starter going, and don't pitch until tomorrow after work, would I see problems considering I racked off that unhealthy yeast on Tuesday?
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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Scott Miller

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:00 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

I wonder what the sugar profile is of the Agave syrup.
Or if it contains preservatives that retarded/inhibited your ferment.
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HummelBrew

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Post Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:26 am

Re: Belgian dark strong: yeast not hungry enough?

Scott Miller wrote:I wonder what the sugar profile is of the Agave syrup.
Or if it contains preservatives that retarded/inhibited your ferment.


It is pasteurized, however it is 100% organic agave nectar, no preservatives.

The bottle did say to use less of this syrup vs. using granulated sugar, but is basically for substituting when baking.
B: Rye Saison, B-wine, Oaked IPA, Oaked Shilling 90
K: Munich Helles, Dubbel, Bock, RyeIPA, Brown Ale, Bo Pils
P: Stone Levitation clone
S: Belgian Stout, RIS, Cid-ah, Belg Dark Strong
http://www.bloatarian.com
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