Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

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Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 23:38

I brewed a Belgian quad 3 weeks ago, checked it a couple of days ago and the gravity was around 1.041 (OG 1.092) which is about 20-25 points shy of where I wanted it.

I pitched 2 packets of Mangrove Jacks Belgian Tripel.

Now here's where I think I've maybe gone wrong... I kept it at 18°c for 3 days and it never really went as mad as most of the clips I've seen on YouTube etc. Was going to let it rise naturally in the fermentation chamber by unplugging the fridge but the 'Beast from the East' came along and it didn't go anywhere on its own so I raised the temp by 1°c every 24 hours to try to get some nice ester flavours into it. I've left it at around 25°C for about a week and a half now but I'm a bit worried it's stuck.

Anyone had any experience brewing such a big beer and should I be worried yet?

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Jeltz » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:53

I used one packet of Mangrove Jack's Belgian Abbey M47 recently in a beer with OG 1.070 and it finished at 1.008 the mash schedule was such that it should have been quite fermentable but I had expected it to finish at 1.014, I do rouse the yeast by virtue of the fact that I use a fast ferment conical and remove the initial yeast then when I pop the fresh collecting bulb on and open the vale again the exchange of air and water does the rowsing.

Obviously its a different yeast but I would be surprised if their Tripel yeast had a lower tolerance of alcohol than their Abbey and mine finished with a higher ABV than your's is currently at. Personally I would give it a good stir and see if that helps.

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby robwalker » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:56

Was there sugar in the bill? Yeast can prioritize simple sugars leaving the less fermentable ones behind. Might be worth pitching a finishing yeast like s33.
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby serum » Wed Mar 07, 2018 19:11

What you've done sounds in line with how I normally ferment that style of beer. There's no problem with lower temperatures you tend to just get a bit of a cleaner finish that way.

I never seem to get crazy fermentations anymore as I tend to keep the temperatures in check but my beer still attenuates well enough. I got those more before I had proper temperature control and particularly when I got it badly wrong. That's not to say all vigorous fermentations are wrong. More that a less violent one is still OK most the time.

What was the recipe?

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 23:42

serum wrote:What you've done sounds in line with how I normally ferment that style of beer. There's no problem with lower temperatures you tend to just get a bit of a cleaner finish that way.

I never seem to get crazy fermentations anymore as I tend to keep the temperatures in check but my beer still attenuates well enough. I got those more before I had proper temperature control and particularly when I got it badly wrong. That's not to say all vigorous fermentations are wrong. More that a less violent one is still OK most the time.

What was the recipe?
3kg pilsner malt
3kg pale malt
1.5kg dark candi sugar

Chinook 26g start of boil
Goldings 20g 30 mins
Tetnaang 20g 15 mins

75 minute mash
90 minute boil

Plus a bunch of extra time when the GF cut out when I added the sugar to the boil so I had to tip the whole thing to get to the reset button, probably added half an hour between sparge and boil.

Ended up with about 23 litres

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Last edited by Steviebobs1983 on Wed Mar 07, 2018 23:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 23:42

robwalker wrote:Was there sugar in the bill? Yeast can prioritize simple sugars leaving the less fermentable ones behind. Might be worth pitching a finishing yeast like s33.
Yeah a lot. About 20% of the bill

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby robwalker » Thu Mar 08, 2018 20:00

Yea, lazy bastard yeast I would say, for whatever reason. Try chucking some t58 in, it'll keep the profile as you've still got a good 20 points to go, should get it where it needs to go.
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 20:05

robwalker wrote:Yea, lazy bastard yeast I would say, for whatever reason. Try chucking some t58 in, it'll keep the profile as you've still got a good 20 points to go, should get it where it needs to go.
I did worry it was that. If I do it again, I'll chuck the sugar in on day 3.

I checked it again today and it's dropped 4 points so there's something happening. Gave it a stir while I was on.

If nowt else though, it's an experiment. I might break the batch up into demijohns and age a few on different things to see how/if it changes the flavour.

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 18:26

Okay so, went to my local HBS and they suggested pitching the same yeast because it's high alcohol tolerant but making a starter with medium spraymalt to get the yeast used to malt sugar.

Anyone had any experience making a starter from dried yeast? I've read somewhere that it can be counterproductive due to using all the nutrient it's packaged with.

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Dennis King » Mon Mar 12, 2018 20:06

Steviebobs1983 wrote:Okay so, went to my local HBS and they suggested pitching the same yeast because it's high alcohol tolerant but making a starter with medium spraymalt to get the yeast used to malt sugar.

Anyone had any experience making a starter from dried yeast? I've read somewhere that it can be counterproductive due to using all the nutrient it's packaged with.

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I've read that dried yeast is best without a starter.
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Saccharomyces » Mon Mar 12, 2018 20:27

It won’t be a starter (technically speaking) because you are not expecting the yeast to multiply once in the FV.

If the original yeast stopped fermenting, you need to find out why. pH wrong, poor vitality yeast, insufficient yeast or oxygen, flocculated too early, pitched too warm, mashed wrong or missing nutrients such as zinc.

If that isn’t possible, then pitching an actively fermenting culture is your best option. For one thing, you need glucose in there to prevent flocculation so some fresh extract should take care of that.

Without accurate data or experience with the strain anything you try is a shot in the dark. My limited experience with MG yeast was that they had long apparent lags, so I have not used any for years.
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Rolfster » Mon Mar 12, 2018 21:02

When ever I've had a stuck brew it's always got going again once I've bottled it up!
I've come up with the theory that it's the act of moving it from one fv to the bottling bucket that gets it going again (moving around and a bit more oxygen) in way that just stiring and increasing the temperature doesn't quite do. You could aways try moving it from one fv to another.

Whatever you do with the dried yeast rehydrate it first in sterile water.

Good luck!
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 23:39

Thanks for the prompt replies fellas!

I've set up the "starter" tonight and will pitch tomorrow once it's going good.

If this doesn't get it going, I'll just bottle/decant into smaller vessels for aging and leave it for a loooong time to see if it develops.

Strangely, it doesn't taste overly sweet.

I'll keep you posted if it turns out well, if anyone cares that is?

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Rolfster » Tue Mar 13, 2018 08:39

Do you know the risks of bottling a still fermenting beer? Best case senario decorating your kitchen with beer (so fizzy it bursts out of the bottle on opening).
Worst case is bottle bombs.
I'd keep taking readings and see if it's still going just to be safe.
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 09:04

Rolfster wrote:Do you know the risks of bottling a still fermenting beer? Best case senario decorating your kitchen with beer (so fizzy it bursts out of the bottle on opening).
Worst case is bottle bombs.
I'd keep taking readings and see if it's still going just to be safe.
Yeah, I'm racking most of it to secondaries for aging anyway. If the gravity's low enough by a fortnight's time, I'll bottle a few.

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Rolfster » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:04

:thumb:
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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby serum » Wed Mar 14, 2018 14:36

I think it's just a case of beers that strong being hard to ferment.

I'd probably have thrown 3 packs in. I've heard people say that you'll want a bigger pitch for a cooler fermentation too like for Kolsch or Alt but I don't know if it's true.

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:11

Just an update for anyone interested.

I am a moron.

I've only just fathomed out by accident that I haven't been using a refractometer correctly. For the past 3 or 4 brews, they've all appeared to finish under attenuated until I learned that I hadn't been correcting for alcohol content.

Turns out it's finished at around 1.007 and 10.5% ABV which explains why it still tasted good even though I thought it had finished high.

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Re: Belgian quad/westy clone sluggish ferment

Postby Dennis King » Sun Apr 15, 2018 15:24

A happy ending :D
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