Golden strong ale not dry enough

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Duchifat, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. Duchifat

    Duchifat New Member

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    Dear members,

    I am quite new at brewing and brewed my second all grain Belgian golden strong ale. Grain bill:
    Pilsner 14.3 lbs
    Munich light 0.88 lbs
    Adjunct: white sugar 1.1 lbs
    I used a mash temperature of 153F and a grain water ratio of 1.72 quarts per pound.
    I am quite happy with the result except for the fact that the beer is not dry enough. There is a sweet taste (not dominating) I would like to get rid of. I tried using a thinner mash this time (first time grain water ration was 1.5 quarts per pound) but the sweet taste did not change.
    Any ideas what the best way would be to achieve a drier beer with such a recipe and beer type?

    Thanks in advance,

    Michael
     
  2. PZ

    PZ Member

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    Did you let it ferment completely? If you packaged before it was done it would taste sweet. Make sure you pitch plenty of yeast, aerate the wort and let it ferment until the gravity doesn't change over at least three days.

    If you are certain the beer has fermented properly, you could try mashing lower, say 149 degrees. Many people advise mashing for 90 minutes with a low temperature just to make sure the conversion is complete. More sugar would also dry it out more. 1.1 pounds isn't that much for the style, but I would try the lower mash temperature first. Good luck!
     
  3. Duchifat

    Duchifat New Member

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    Dear PZ,

    Thanks for the fast reply and helpful advice. I let it ferment completely (I measure SG) so I will indeed try mashing at a lower temperature. I check the wort with iodine after mashing but don't know how reliable that is. By the way, is the water grain ratio at mashing something to play around with or do you usually keep it constant?

    Best regards,

    Michael
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    if you want a dry finish you need to mash low like 149 to 150 , the higher you go over 152 to sweeter it gets
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    There's another possibility other than mash temps. Attenuation. You change fermentability, the percentage of sugars the yeast can handle, by changing mash temperature. If you mash at a lower temperature, the enzymes create more simple sugars, at higher temperatures you get more dextrins - branching long-chain sugars the yeast can't handle. Dextrins aren't really sweet, they contribute more to viscosity, mouth feel by another term. Your yeast probably finished as best they could so here are some ideas for a drier beer:

    1. Add simple sugars (you did that one already). Be sure and add them correctly! Belgian brewers use a technique called "Le Dosage", they make a sanitized sugar solution and add it to the fermenting beer at about two days to keep the yeast from eating up all the simple stuff and leaving the trisaccharides behind.
    2. Use a "finishing" yeast. When you think fermentation is done, add something that tolerates high gravity. When I do this, I use champagne yeast (dry).
    3. Keep mash temps reasonably low, 148 degrees to about 150 degrees should be fine.
    4. Aerate or oxygenate adequately. If you're aerating, give the beer another shot of air at about 12 to 18 hours in. Oxygenation gets you higher dissolved oxygen in the wort - try that if it's not too prohibitive.
    5. Control fermentation temperatures. The actual temperature can be off by a few degrees, just find a way to keep the temperature relatively constant. I use a large tub of water as a heat sink to control variation in temperature.
    6. Use a yeast starter.

    In other words, getting a dry beer requires good fermentation management and healthy yeast. Mash thickness can affect enzyme stability - use a lower water/grain ratio to keep your enzymes going longer.
     
  6. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I think this might be the key here.
    (OT, I myself am currently having "issues" with a sweet aroma/flavor in my *Jungbier*, but that has nothing to do with attenuation...)
    @MichaelvanStraten: can you give us your O- and FGs?
     
  7. Duchifat

    Duchifat New Member

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    Thank you all for the great ideas and Nosybear also for the detailed explanations. I certainly have a lot to work on.
    sbaclimber: OG was 1.084, FG was 1.016
    Best regards,
    Michael
     
  8. Daniel777

    Daniel777 New Member

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    I seems a possibility to me, that your yeast killed itself with the alcohol level and left some unfermented sugar in there. This seems to be 9% already, and my usual yeasts can't make more than 8-9% ABV.
    What kind of yeast did you use?
     
  9. Duchifat

    Duchifat New Member

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    Hi Daniel777,

    I used the Safbrew S-33 of Fermentis. The other strain I use for Belgian type beers (Tripel) is the Safbrew T-58. I was told by the supplier that these two strains were the most suitable for beer with high ABV. As far as I know the guy only sells yeast produced by Fermentis. Would you think these strains are unsuitable for high ABV? I tried attaching the technical data but I cannot upload files with extensions docx, pdf or txt... I don't think I can get yeast from other producers here.

    Best regards,

    Michael
     
  10. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    You don't need a high alcohol tolerant yeast. 1.084 is not too outrageous to ferment.

    1 Big pitch healthy yeast

    2 Aerate well. Oxygen if available.

    3 Give it time. Wait until you think it is done and give another week.

    I had a golden strong that I thought was done. I force carbonated in the keg, cold conditioned, and drank about half and enjoyed it. Then about 6 months later I bottled some up from the keg. No priming sugar. I then left the bottles at room temps for a couple weeks, and when I chilled and opened them, they were gushers. Still tasted good, just highly carbonated. Apparently, some sugars remained behind, and the combination of some O2 at bottling, and the warm temps kicked off the yeast and fermentation continued in the bottle
     
  11. TwoBottles

    TwoBottles New Member

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    I think at such a high OG, both Fermentis yeasts will run out of steam and leave unfermented residual sugar.

    I have used T-5.8 (attenuation around 72%) with a Belgian Blonde recipe and the resulting beer had a back-ground sweetness.

    T-33 has an attenuation of 77% so the suggestion of adding a champagne yeast in a some point might well be a good idea.
     
  12. Duchifat

    Duchifat New Member

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    Thanks TwoBottles.
    If I were to add champagne yeast, when would be best to do that? From the start or at some time point during fermentation, or before bottling?
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    any second yeast added would be after the first yeast seems to stall, and you would need a little more oxygen for that second yeast but only if its short of its final gravity, if not: leave it alone
     
  14. Duchifat

    Duchifat New Member

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    Thanks Ozark.
     
  15. JayDLaw

    JayDLaw New Member

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    dead thread rising:

    Try Omega labs, i am new to homebrewing, but my last batch with Saisonsteins monster, the attenuation was 92% went from 1.052 to 1.004...in 4 days. i am not sure if their high gravity will accomplish the same results but it may be worth a try
     

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