Stuck Imperial Porter

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Yalc, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    I know what your thinking....here we go again.
    I will try to give all the pertinents up front and I know I was careless on a few fronts but the question is now to dump or not to dump?
    I have been brewing trouble free since 2012.

    The grain bill:

    Maris 53.2%
    Munich Light 13.3%
    UK Brown 7.2%
    UK Choc 6.6%
    Special B 5%
    UK C-90 3.3%
    UK C-60 2.5%

    The OG was 1.079, lower than expected.

    The mash initially rested at 159F (I know right?, I told you I made some rookie mistakes)

    I did not oxygenate.
    I pitched 1 packet of US-05 dry, no rehydration.

    I fermented at 65F.
    After 10 days my Gravity was at 1.036 or 53% attenuation.

    I panicked and added 1 lb of brown sugar made into a thick syrup. I had read that Maybe raising the alcohol % wouldcompensate. At this time I also added a rehydrated pack of US-05. After 5 days, Very slight activity.

    The question is now what would you do?

    I figure I could add Brett and let her ride.
    I could add beano.
    I run out of ideas there short of dumping.

    Let the flagellation begin, but I am hoping for some constructive ideas.
     
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,463) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    What's the gravity now? And are you using a refractometer?
     
  3. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (185) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    Probably not the source of your problem, but your grain bill adds up to 91.1%.

    Is there any reason to think the gravity hasn't fallen to a reasonable FG by now? When did you last measure it?
     
  4. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    Sorry, I took the percentages after I added the 8.9% sugar later on, my bad.
     
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  5. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (185) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    In that case you had over 58% MO and over 14.5% Munich to start, which certainly seems as though it would provide plenty of diastatic power for that malt bill. I also don't think a 159°F mash would elevate your FG this much. So I'm a little puzzled, although I'm curious to know what the gravity is at now.
     
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  6. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Devotee (495) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Have you tried rousing the yeast? Sounds like they got tired. They'll probably finish eventually.
    But maybe give them a swirlie.
     
  7. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    Hey Vikeman, I went out and took a Hydrometer reading and it is at 1.032, with the additional sugar plus a bit now fermented my alcohol is at 1.093 - 1.032 now at 7.3% and 63% attenuation. i may just let it ride. Weird that I didn’t see much activity.
     
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  8. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (199) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Patience. Also....... if you dry hop, that can reinvigorate the fermentation as well, since hops contain enzymes. It's worked for me.
     
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  9. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (266) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    The highest regarded robust porter finishes at 1.030 for 7.5%... just sayin
     
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  10. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,748) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    • I know many people do not rehydrate dry yeast and typically get good results. I think Fermentis may now even recommend against it. (I always rehydrate)
    • I know many people do not oxygenate when using dry yeast. (I typically do not, but have sometimes for higher gravity batches, especially if I only have one pack of yeast)
    • I know many people do not make starters with dry yeast (I don't, except see below).
    • I know many people would not hesitate to use one pack of dry yeast for a 1.079 OG beer. (I use 2 packs of dry yeast when I get out of the 1.060s)
    Not trying to say "holier than thou," but I do think you are exposed to risks. I think the risks all point towards a lower than ideal population of yeast, which is suggestive of the sluggish fermentation.

    What I would do is get some US-05, rehydrate, add it to a 1-L starter wort. Let the starter go for about 18 hours or so, to get the yeast active, and then pitch the whole thing into your beer. I wouldn't worry about the 1-L of starter wort messing with your beer flavor. I would disregard the people who say don't use a starter with dry yeast. You are pitching into hostile territory; you want them active at the time of pitching.
     
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  11. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (386) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Id also up your temp to 68-69. Helps sometimes
     
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  12. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    Yes, I think I was just asking for it with all my shortcuts.
     
  13. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (119) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    I just kegged a 9% stout that I mashed at 162. thought the yeast had given up at 1.035 but it got down to 1.017 by week 3. Honestly I wish it had given up a little sooner. I’m guessing it’s something about my water I can’t seem to keep my beers from drying up. Even when I mash way high
     
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  14. wasatchback

    wasatchback Aspirant (266) Jan 12, 2014 Utah

    Checked your thermometer? I don’t think there’s anything about water that would have a dramatic affect on attenuation. Kai did tests on Ca content I believe?
     
  15. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (119) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    What would affect attenuation that much? Hydrometer read same as refractometer
     
  16. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Initiate (199) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Mash length. Was your grand total mash length for 60 minutes, or 90 minutes, or longer? Personally I only mash for 45 minutes. This achieves acceptable efficiency and attenuation every time. There's no need to mash longer, and as you are seeing it can increase conversion of complex sugars to simpler ones and thus increase attenuation to a point where it's ridiculous in some cases.
     
  17. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (119) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    I’ll have to try a shorter mash I’ve always done 60 minutes
     
  18. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (185) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    I've mostly gone to 45-minute mashes myself, partly to avoid over-attenuation, which I have also struggled with. It wasn't the only variable I changed, so it's hard to say how much effect it's had. I've also started doing a mashout step to try to stop the enzymes at the end of the mash, have you tried that?
     
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  19. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,463) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Keep in mind that mash length is only one of four major factors affecting attenuation...
    - Grain Bill
    - Mash Temp
    - Mash Time
    - Yeast Strain

    Whether 60 minutes is too long or too short depends on your goals and also the other factors.
     
  20. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (119) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    I bet that’s it. I never do a mashout
     
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  21. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    Update- Kegged this a few days ago and waiting for it to carb up. I was very pleased that I was able to save this brew by adding some additional brown sugar once it got stuck. I believe it was the very high mash temp along with a high % of less than fermentable grains that did me in along with directly sprinkling the dry yeast into the fermenter. Probably a combination of all these things. Anyway, it tasted really good before carbonation so hoping for the best once carbed up. Thanks to everyone who replied.
     
  22. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,187) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    What was the FG?
     
  23. Yalc

    Yalc Initiate (114) Nov 5, 2011 Florida

    The additional sugar brought it up to 1.093 and once that was fermented off it came down to a final gravity of 1.032. Higher than I would have liked but tasty and not a dumper. Final ABV of 8%. I'm letting it mellow out in the keg and it is tasting pretty good. I patterned it off of Denny's Bourbon Imp Porter but without the bourbon. I get a lot of chocolate and a touch of coffee, just the balance I like.