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Ok, I got a little carried away…

I was brewing at a good clip in the 90’s, I was always doing specialty grains and extract brews…then I had kids, and a tougher job and travel… blah blah

Anyway I got back into it, and I picked up a conical fermenter, I got a few cases of grolsh bottles on Craigslist, one of those SG readers you put a drop of liquid on… we are all good it is all much simpler. I started remaking my recipes of yesteryear I thought It would be easy… I had a wonderful Russian Imperial Stoudt recipe…so I decided to look at my notes and remake it… I overshot the SG a bit, (a 7 gallon batch) It started with an SG of 1.125…. so I was looking for a 10% brew… ok…worrysome but not that bad. However after fermenting for about 10 days it stalled at 1.070. It has been almost two months since then…I have added yeast (3 times, ale and champagne), I have Increased the temp (by putting outside, not in the A/C), I have drained the trub… all with no effect. It is still at 1.070… (note it still smells like beer)

So what I just did today, was pull it inside (@70F), pull the trub out, and then I pulled a gallon from the bottom and put it in my ukeg, (which will allow me to force carbonate with CO2 the gallon in about 3 days), and I pitched the (hydrated) champagne yeast (again). the wort now tastes ok… but really bitter… I was not expecting that…

I am also worried about the odd ingredients I put in there (I did get carried away), so for the 7 gallons brew… along with the 23 lbs of extract I added 2.2 lbs of Agave, 1 lb of oats about ¾ lb of dark sugar and 4 oz of Hershey powder… I am wondering if I went too far with the ingredients, but it was a full 1 ¼ hour boil of the extracts…

Any ideas on what to do here… I will report back when the ukeg comes out…

Thanks in Advance….

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Check it with a hydrometer for the FG

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So you’re using a refractometer to measure SG? They don’t always work well in the presence of alcohol. Many brewers don’t use them after fermentation and go back to a hydrometer. Or I believe there are calculators that can help make the conversion. Have you tried checking with a hydrometer?

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Damn modern tech got me again! I threw my Hydrometer in there and it is reading 1.032…
I knew the refractometer was off, but wow…

So… two things come up in my head:

  • am I done? … chalk up the 1.032 to unfremented sugars and start bottling?

  • But is it reayy 1.032? My Hydrometer says 1.032… my refractometer says 17 Brix… which translates to 1.07 Sg according to this calculator Brix Conversion Calculator | Brewer's Friend … how do I do this in the future… refractometer when no alcahol… hydrometer when there is?

If you started at 1.125, and are now at 1.032, you’re sitting on a 12.7% ABV beer, which is quite beefy. I’m guessing the champagne yeast, agave, and dark sugar aided in that endeavor.

Given it’s only 2 months old, I think a beer this big would benefit from another 6-8 months in a cool, dark place . . . like a purged keg.

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You can bottle, that yeast can’t tolerate that ABV their taking a rip van Winkle nap

ok… so one vole to bottle now and one vote to have it sit for a while… I am waiting for a tie-breaker or compelling reasoning…

Simple… A huge brew like that needs alot more time… IF you have a keg, push it there with CO2… Toss it in a quiet area and visit it about Thanksgiving… Time to test with the hydrometer and sample… Maybe it may be good to cold crash and start carbing for Christmas… I mean the holidays!! Sneezles61
EDIT: welcome back to the brew scene! We’re here for you.

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I agree with the more time for age and taste thing, I am into that but I am worried about the bottle exploding thing. My plan was to bottle in the summer and drink when there is snow on the ground would that work… Or are you guiys saying I should rack it (I have my old glass carboy) and let it sit for a few months before bottling?

Rack quietly in the car boy… Perhaps enough yeast to slowly take care of the O2… Perhaps the professor will weigh in… He’s more of the big brew brewer…
I’d certainly give it more time…

Definitely age it but if you don’t keg I’m still thinking the bottle would be fine. If you do rack to a carboy make sure you top up with sterile water to limit head space

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He’s lurking. He hit me with some like earlier today

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I think normally we hear “take several readings a few days apart top tell if she’s done”. If they’re consistent, bottle it and put it to bed for awhile. That’d be my play.

Indeed. Its a nice gizmo a refracto meter but i use it only during the actual boil. For the rest i do use a hydrometer.

Staling at 1.070 seems high. I would recheck with hydrometer rack it into a carboy. And let it stand. For a longer time. At the most you might end up with a grav of 1.060. If you are impatient

He’s at .032

Bottle it and welcome back to the obsession

I’ve never brewed big beers from extract but .032 still seems like a pretty high finishing gravity. I’d be more comfortable aging it in a carboy or keg than I would bottling it. Of course as advised above, if you take a few gravity readings and it’s consistent…it’s done.

At 12%+ it’s definitely a beer that could age a while. Definitely tuck a few bombers away. Pull one out in a year, another in two…I bet in 2-3 years it will be awesome as long as you don’t oxidize it bottling.

Good luck on that monster. I love a big Imperial Stout. Why brew it if you can’t feel it, right?

I’m not a fan of refractometers only for the the fact that they become useless after fermentation starts. But they are another cool brew toy so why not? Champagne yeast might drive down the gravity but will dry out your beer. What and how much hops did you use. the bitterness should help balance the high alcohol.

What is the target FG for this? You could blend it with something else to bring it in line.

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