very high specific gravity

Have a question or want to show off your project? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View


Just covering my bases in case any of you saw this over at the
rec.crafts.brewing group -- don't skin me.

Hello folks, I couldn't find an answer after searching for a while so I
thought I'd just post directly to the group.  Hopefully one of you pros
can help.


I just racked my first batch of beer after six days in the primary
fermenter (the airlock had slowed down to about a bubble every 30 secs
or so) and was still coming up with a specific gravity of 1.024 at 73
degrees.  Now, I know this is way too high to prime and bottle (which
was my original plan) but I'm concerned that the brew won't be safe to
bottle in the next 2-3 days.  The only reason I say this is because the
original specific gravity and temp at the time I pitched my yeast
(White Labs English ale) was 1.122 and 72 degrees.  I know that's
wickedly high but I used 6.5 lbs of malt (half syrup and half DME --
it's what I had on hand).


Any thoughts on what's going on here and why the specific gravity
readings are so high?  Do you think there's a chance that I will have
to add more yeast to jump start the fermentation again?


Re: very high specific gravity


grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

1) your temperature is probably high for what your meter is calibrated to
        which will drive up your specific gravity
2) your ale yeast WLP002 has an attenuation of 62-70, which means that it's
        going to naturally leave a higher SGf, leaving about 30% of your sugars
        unfermented.
3) Lastly, your going to get a higher attenuation if you brew above 63-68 F
        if indeed your going with WLP002.
-Cowboy
--
subjugate the rhyme and rock with the rhythm
only got one line to balk all the schizm

Re: very high specific gravity



Since you used such a huge amount of malt you're bound to be left with a

fairly high final gravity. However if you are worried that your beer
hasn't
fermented completely, leave it for another week and check the final
gravity
again. Also there's no need to worry that your beer would spoil during
this
time, unless you sanitized your equipment really badly during racking.

In fact you can leave your beer in the secondary fermenter for even a
longer
time if you want. If you sanitized well then there's nothing you'd need
to
worry about, you'll only end up with a beer with less sediment in the
bottles
and probably a better taste.

In my opinion there's no need to add more yeast. Since you kept the
beer in
primary for only six days there's still lots of yeast floating around,
it will
get
the job done if there's anything let to ferment.


--
hevimees
------------------------------------------------------------------------
hevimees's Profile: http://www.brewtank.com/member.php?userid=150 View this
thread: http://www.brewtank.com/showthread.php?t=2458

Re: very high specific gravity


G_Cowboy and Hevimees, thank you for your replies.

I'll just be patient and see what happens.  I guess I should have left
it in the primary fermenter for a bit longer.  Hopefully everything
will turn out well in the next week or so.  Live and learn.  Thanks
again.


Re: very high specific gravity


grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
I think what the others are getting at is there wasn't enough
information to determine what, if any, the problem was.  It is a good
idea to give the more experienced brewers as much information about how
things were done, including ingredients.

Having said that I am still a relatively inexperienced brewer.  As a
relative newcomer to homebrewing, I understand the difficulty in
starting out.

It gets easier as you go (at least that is what I am finding).  You will
  learn something new with every batch you brew.

Best of luck

Scott Lothrop

Re: very high specific gravity


grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
6.5lbs of malt isn't really that much.  Most of the recipies, that I
have done, have at least that much and start out at about 1.050 SG.  I'm
willing to bet that you read the hydrometer wrong or it's calibrated
incorrectly.  I believe that it would be hard to get that high of a
reading in a 5 gal batch with that amt of malt.  You did take your
reading after you had the whole 5 gal batch mixed together, before you
added the yeast, right?  A safe rule of thumb is: 1 week in the primary
and then 1 week in the secondary and everything should be fine.  (This
is for most normal, average gravity, ales)  I have 2 hydrometers, both
calibrated for 60F.  One has a chart on how to compensate for temp.  70F
add 1, 77F add 2, 84F add 3, 95F add 5.  For example, if you took a
reading at 84F and you measurement was 1.100, add 3 and the adjusted
reading would be 1.103.  I generally don't worry about the exact
reading.  I try to get the measurements between 65F and 70F before I
pitch and take a final reading when I am getting ready to bottle just to
  get a close idea on the ABV.  If you like, take 3 readings, about a
day apart, if the gravity doesn't change then it's done brewing, if it
changes, keep trying until you get 3 readings in a row that don't
change.  Make sure you are at the same temp each time.  I think, if you
wait a few more days you should be fine.
Good luck,
Welcome to the hobbie,
Cheers,

--
Michael Herrenbruck
DragonTail Ale
Drunken Bee Mead

Re: very high specific gravity


I didn't think 6.5 lbs was too much since a buddy of mine who's been
brewing for a few years typically uses 5 lbs of malt and a pound of
honey when he's making his honey brown ale.  That's a lot of sugar and
his OG comes out very high.  Anyway, I definitely made a point of
checking the OG after filling the fermenter up with additional water to
bring it to 5 gallons.  I am more and more inclined to believe that the
wort didn't get stirred all the way which is why the OG was so high.
In fact, here's my recipe that I posted over on rec.crafts.brewing when
I was asking for their help.  Hopefully this will help you figure out
(maybe) what some of the problems might be.

1.  Brought to boil 2 gals of water.
2.  Once at a boil turned off heat and added all malt (3.5 lb can of
Bulldog amber syrup and 3 lb bag Haaglander light DME).  Mixed
thoroughly.
3.  Return to boil for 5 minutes to make sure everything was nice and
mixed.
4.  Add 1 oz. of Hallertau hops, 4.6% alpha acid.
5.  Boil for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6.  At 45 minute mark, added 1/2 oz of Willamette hops, 4.0% alpha
acid.
7.  Boiled for another 10 mins and then added last 1/2 oz of Willamette
hops.
8.  Cooled the mix in an ice water bath in kitchen sink for about an
hour.  It took a lot longer b/c I kept running out of ice.  Discovered
blocks of frozen chicken thighs work just as well.  :)
9.  Moved the cooled wort to primary fermenter.  I should point out
that the siphon wasn't used since my fermenter is a six gallon plastic
bucket.  I just poured it in but tried to minimize splashing so as not
to froth it up.
10. Moved the bucket to a bathtub and topped it up to about 5.5
gallons.
11. Recorded OG and temp.  I assume there wasn't proper mixing to get a
1.122 reading at 72 degrees.
12. Added White Labs English ale yeast (WLP002).
13. Checked the airlock's activity twice a day and after six days
thought it had slowed enough to bottle.  I honestly forgot all about
racking it first.
14. Recorded the 1.024 FG at 73 degrees and freaked out.  No way I'm
going to bottle this.
15. Moved the brew into 5 gallon glass carboy and put it back in the
bathtub.  Wrapped a towel around it to keep light out.  No skunky beer
please.
16. Started searching for help on the great big Internet and wound up
here.  Thanks for all your help folks.

I did check the accuracy of my hydrometer and it was pretty close to
1.000 with just tap water.  Hopefully it was just a particularly thick
wort sample that I used.


Re: very high specific gravity


grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

"Frothing" is good at this point.  It will incorporate O2 into the
solution that the yeast need to "work" properly.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Probably correct about the mixing.  You need to make sure that
everything is mixed really well.  Again the more you mix the more O2 you
can get into the wort.  I actually use a wisk to mix everything up.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
I would leave it in the secondary for at least a week.  The gravity
should drop closer to what you are expecting, I'm guessing somewhere
around 1.014-1.016.
Cheers,

--
Michael Herrenbruck
DragonTail Ale
Drunken Bee Mead

Re: very high specific gravity



Here's my defense speech: you didn't specify the size of your batch, so
I
assumed that you used 6,5 lbs of malt in a batch smaller than the
standard
5 gal, since you claimed your starting gravity was 1.122.

However with this amount of ingredients it's simply impossible to get a
gravity
that high, so the sample you took was very strange indeed, or your
hydrometer is wrong.

Also just as Michael already said it's a good thing to get oxygen into
the wort
before you add the yeast. Yeast needs oxygen to grow, so it's very
important
that there's lots of it in the wort in the beginning of the
fermentation.

If you have two plastic buckets and a friend to help you out, then a
good
way to aerate the wort is to pour it from bucket to bucket a couple of
times.
If you only have one bucket then just close the lid, put your thumb on
the
airlock hole and shake the poop out of it.

In any case patience is your best friend. I agree with Michael's rule
of one
week primary + one week secondary. If you're feeling lazy you can also
leave
your beer in the primary for the whole two weeks and it should turn out
just
fine. But since you have a glass carboy, I suggest you use it as a
secondary
fermenter. I know I would if I had one, it's nearly impossible to get
one where
I live.

Anyways I don't really see any big problems with your brew at this
point,
just small issues like the bad hydrometer and a slightly slow
fermentation. But
as the big boys like to say: relax, have a homebrew... and wait for a
week :)


--
hevimees

* Hevimees - bad spelling since 2004 *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
hevimees's Profile: http://www.brewtank.com/member.php?userid=150 View this thread: http://www.brewtank.com/showthread.php?t=2458

Re: very high specific gravity


Then that's exactly what I will do.  I'll just let it sit in the dark
for another week and see what happens.  Thanks for all of your advice.


Re: very high specific gravity


Alrighty, I finally got around to taking a specific gravity sample of
the 2nd fermentation.  Unfortunately, nothing has changed.  At 74
degrees I'm still coming up with a raw reading of 1.020 which is 1.022
when adjusted for temperature.  I think that's a pretty good sign that
the fermentation has completely stopped since that's where it was at a
week ago when I moved the brew to the 2nd fermenter.  I know this is
too high for bottling so where do I go from here?  Also, the final
volume in the carboy appears to be just a bit over four gallons if that
helps you adjust for anything.  Thanks for all your help so far.


Re: very high specific gravity


On 4 Dec 2005 14:10:35 -0800, grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Why do you think this is too high for bottling?

steveb

Re: very high specific gravity


I thought it needed to be around 1.010 so that there wouldn't be any
risk of explosions during carbonation.  By adding sugar I'll raise the
SG slightly in order to give the yeast something to ferment and make
bubbles.  If I mix this up with a bit of sugar to restart the
fermentation (provided there's any yeast still alive in my brew) and
then bottle it in order to contain the CO2, won't there be a greater
chance of my bottles exploding?

Do I need to think about adding "yeast hulls" (or whatever Papazian
calls it) and more yeast to kick start the fermentation in the 2nd
fermenter again?  How about just sloshing around the carboy since
there's a bit of sediment on the bottom?


Re: very high specific gravity


On 4 Dec 2005 16:38:08 -0800, grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Well not necessarily.

Many recipes will be *done* at around 1020. Did you post the recipe,
we have the final volume, so that will help.

steveb

Re: very high specific gravity


I posted the recipe on Nov 28th.  Here it is again if you need it:

1.  Brought to boil 2 gals of water.
2.  Once at a boil turned off heat and added all malt (3.5 lb can of
Bulldog amber syrup and 3 lb bag Haaglander light DME).  Mixed
thoroughly.
3.  Return to boil for 5 minutes to make sure everything was nice and
mixed.
4.  Add 1 oz. of Hallertau hops, 4.6% alpha acid.
5.  Boil for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6.  At 45 minute mark, added 1/2 oz of Willamette hops, 4.0% alpha
acid.
7.  Boiled for another 10 mins and then added last 1/2 oz of Willamette

hops.
8.  Cooled the mix in an ice water bath in kitchen sink for about an
hour.  It took a lot longer b/c I kept running out of ice.  Discovered
blocks of frozen chicken thighs work just as well.  :)
9.  Moved the cooled wort to primary fermenter.  I should point out
that the siphon wasn't used since my fermenter is a six gallon plastic
bucket.  I just poured it in but tried to minimize splashing so as not
to froth it up.
10. Moved the bucket to a bathtub and topped it up to about 5.5
gallons.
11. Recorded OG and temp.  I assume there wasn't proper mixing to get a

1.122 reading at 72 degrees.
12. Added White Labs English ale yeast (WLP002).
13. Checked the airlock's activity twice a day and after six days
thought it had slowed enough to bottle.  I honestly forgot all about
racking it first.
14. Recorded the 1.024 FG at 73 degrees and freaked out.  No way I'm
going to bottle this.
15. Moved the brew into 5 gallon glass carboy and put it back in the
bathtub.  Wrapped a towel around it to keep light out.  No skunky beer
please.


Re: very high specific gravity


On 4 Dec 2005 19:25:45 -0800, grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Thanks.

Final gravity, assuming you measured it correctly (which also means
checking accuracy of your hydrometer) seems a bit high.

My estimate for the OG is around 1047, based on the ingredients and
volume you specified, and I'd expect a FG of around 1012 ish.

At 1024, the attenuation is poor, and that yeast should do better.

One problem is that pouring the wort into the primary carefully, so as
to avoid froth, is exactly what you do NOT want to do. The yeast, when
pitched, requires the wort to be as saturated with oxygen as possible.
This is the only time you actually do want to oxygenate. Boiling the
wort reduces the O2 content to about zero, adding a couple of gallons
of cold tap water will help, but maybe not enough.

If you are really concerned, you could try pitching a pack of dried
Ale yeast, and seeing if the SG drops over a few days.

Otherwise, prime and bottle as usual. Keep an eye on the progress of
the conditioning. Good qaulity bottles rearely break, cover them with
a thick cloth, and open carefully, still covered.

hth

steveb

Re: very high specific gravity
I repitched with two packs of Nottingham dry ale yeast and a pack of
yeast food on Dec 5th.  I actually spent about 20 minutes rehydrating
the yeast in warm, sterile water just to make sure they were good and
active.  I let the brew bubble away happily for another week and
checked the SG again.  It still came up with a 1.022 which means that
I'm measuring from the bottom of the fermenter.  I know the hydrometer
works correctly because it reads 1.000 when it measures cold tap water.
 I said bollocks to the SG reading and bottled my brew anyway (on Dec
12th).  That'll show it who's boss!

I'm going to pop open a bottle on New Year's Eve to see if any
carbonation happened.  Hopefully it did.  I'll let you folks know how
it turned out.  Thanks for all your help.


Re: very high specific gravity
On 29 Dec 2005 10:41:54 -0800, grundlethrop@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Love it :D

When you open them, do the first couple carefully, under a teatowel

steveb

Re: very high specific gravity



grundlethrop@gmail.com Wrote:
> I know the hydrometer works correctly because
it reads 1.000 when it
> measures cold tap water.

First off I would have done the same thing.  The reading never changed
even
after you introduce more yeast.  As for your hydometer, check out
this link for
calibrating it.  http://www.honeycreek.us/hydrocal.htm
Good luck,
Wild


--
wild

::It is my design to die in the brew-house; let ale be placed
to my
mouth when I am expiring, that when the choirs of angels come, they may
say, \"Be God propitious to this drinker.\" -- Saint Columbanus, A.D.
612::
------------------------------------------------------------------------
wild's
Profile: http://www.brewtank.com/member.php?userid=69 View this thread:
http://www.brewtank.com/showthread.php?t=2458

Site Timeline