Re: High OG

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Henry Scott

May 2, 2005, 9:00:40 AM5/2/05
to, Ali Ishaq
Both Ali and AleX were right on--thanks!. I was overreacting about
the OG; I suspect it was bleed over from my worries about the yeast.
Ali: thanks for cautioning me regarding adding water, and AleX: thanks
for the tips for verifying that all was in order.

Before hearing from Alex I had considered measuring the dimensions to
get the volume of wort, but dismissed the idea because I thought the
carboy was too irregularly shaped. However, after trying to take his
advice I found it was indeed straightforward, and it looks like Ali's
estimate for the level was very close to 5 gallons (within a few
percent). Here's the really dumb part: the instructions list an
"anticipated specific gravity", and I mistakenly thought that meant
where it would ultimately end up so I didn't even notice that the value
is....*drumroll*... 1.058! Looks like all is good with the wort.

So, my only issue now is the yeast, and I pitched the Nott around 6 PM
yesterday. After 12 hours there is a very thin layer of small bubbles
at the top. I wasn't sure if those were leftover from when I shook
things around right after adding the yeast or if from fermentation.
Encouragingly, in the 5 minutes I spent checking it out there was an
obvious gurgle through the blow-off tube. Hopefully it will pick up
by the time I get home from work tonight.

Thanks again!


On May 1, 2005, at 10:38 PM, Ali Ishaq wrote:

> I would not add too much water. In fact, for the imperial russian
> stout that I
> have in the secondary now the OG was 1.101 which is above the range
> they had
> suggested. But I did not add water and that seemed to be OK with Alex.
> I
> suppose this just means that the final gravity will be a little high
> and the
> beer may have more body and/or more alcohol...
> Ali
> --- Henry Scott <> wrote:
>> Hi Ali, Another issue... I just measured the OG, and it is rather
>> high:1.058. If I remember correctly, we measured it before adding
>> water, saw that it was too high, added more water, but I don't
>> remember
>> measuring it again after adding the water. Do you think I should add
>> more water? My temptation is to add water until the OG is below
>> 1.5...
>> -Henry

Jeffrey Sutter

May 2, 2005, 9:37:11 AM5/2/05

Jeffrey Sutter

May 2, 2005, 9:51:32 AM5/2/05

My Wy1028 yeast pack is still pretty flat almost 2 days later; I've smacked
it around some more and am wearing it inside my shirt. This house is cold.
I'll still throw it in on top. Fermentation is starting with the
Nottingham, I think; the airlock is starting to advance past dead-even,
slowly developing a bubble....

Tried the Steam beer (bottled 24 Apr) last night, after trying to wait....
Good carbonation, flavors not entirely developed, I think, and not exactly
a great copy of Anchor, but it should be much better after another few
weeks. B. likes it.

P.S. I sent my Diaper Pail Ale label to this contest,, and they ignored it,
even after a second submission. I am annoyed!

riverside dr, south bend

Jeffrey Sutter

May 6, 2005, 12:34:39 PM5/6/05
At 08:51 AM 5/2/2005, you wrote:

>My Wy1028 yeast pack is still pretty flat almost 2 days later; I've
>smacked it around some more and am wearing it inside my shirt. This house
>is cold. I'll still throw it in on top. Fermentation is starting with the
>Nottingham, I think; the airlock is starting to advance past dead-even,
>slowly developing a bubble....

So now, after I pitched *both* the Nottingham and the 1028, the ESB, still
in primary after 6 days, has a gravity of 1.012.

Yow! Is this a problem that it fermented so fast?


riverside dr, south bend

Alexandre Enkerli

May 6, 2005, 1:16:43 PM5/6/05
Not at all and it's not even that fast...
Alexandre in Montreal


May 6, 2005, 1:21:56 PM5/6/05

I haven't been following this thread that closely, but from what I can
discern from previous posts, you started out with an O.G of 1.058 and
now you're at 1.012 after 6 days. I have no experience with dried yeast
but I have used the Wyeast 1056 on at least two dozen occasions. It is
my yeast of choice for high gravity barleywines, IPA's etc. where I'm
not concerned with the flavor added by the yeast, but where voracity
and attenuation are desired.

If memory serves me (wow, that sounds like the beginning of Iron Chefs)
the 1056 is listed as having 77-78% attenuation which would put your TG
of 1.012 right on. Six days is not extraordinary -- actually more
ordinary. I've had beers ferment out to within a point of TG within a
couple of days.

Cheers and happy brewing!

Jeffrey Sutter

May 6, 2005, 2:56:09 PM5/6/05

Thank you both for the feedback. I've become accustomed to not getting
much below 20 ... after weeks, and bottling with higher FG like the
steam-beer I only got down to 1.019 from 1.046 in 4 weeks with Wy 2112, and
the oatmeal stout that reached 1.019 from 1.063 in 4 weeks. The IIPA (with
Wy 1056) is at ~1.028 from 1.082 after just over 2 weeks, sitting in a
carboy and I'm not sure if it goes lower (currently, that's 66%
attentuation, right?)

Do I rack the ESB and let it sit for a week or so? There's no rush to
bottle, I assume, and does the extra time mellow out the flavors?

relax, etc.

riverside dr, south bend

Alexandre Enkerli

May 6, 2005, 3:42:12 PM5/6/05
Some people say you don't need to rack. In this case, if your beer
remains at that same FG for a bit, you could bottle it directly,
without a secondary.

AleX in Montreal
"Yeast is our friend!"


May 6, 2005, 4:25:36 PM5/6/05

Generally I would rack, not so much because your going to ferment out
too much more, but you can get a little settling and clarity without
having your beer sit on a big yeast and protein cake. However there is
wisdom to not racking -- the less transferring, the less chance of
oxidation and/or spoilage.

Even though it's not a hard and fast rule, I generally look for, and
get, 75% attenuation on average with the majority of my beers. For
instance, on your 1.082 beer I would have anticipated a TG of 1.020 or
a quarter of the OG.

There are several other factors that can cause your higher final
gravities. Are you using extract or doing all-grain? I quickly switched
to all-grain brewing some 10 years ago because the quality and
fermentability of the LME and DME available was low. Because of the
processing of both ME's they tended to have a great deal of
unfermentable sugars. This may be the case with your beers.

I believe that AleX had mentioned that good healthy starters are
paramount to great beers. Aside from switching to all-grain and
impeccable sanitation, I firmly believe that the pitching of huge
starters is the single most import factor in brewing great beers.


Jeffrey Sutter

May 6, 2005, 10:43:23 PM5/6/05

Your thinking on this is very helpful, thanks.

Yes, as a newcomer I am using extract kits with some steeped grains. I'm
only up to 6 batches (but happy with the results). After I'm confident
with basics, like sanitation, and get a good feel for how it all works,
I'll move on to working with grain (after a few dozen kits, I'll get bored
;-). But I think I'll start improving the yeast start with a little wort
right away. I've been just pitching the paks and putting the pail in a
cold basement...


May 7, 2005, 12:33:10 PM5/7/05
The cold basement could also be a cause for higher than expected gravities, but
somewhat doubtful unless your basement is really cool, say below 62-64F. If
this is the case, bring the fermenter back up to the 70F room and give it a
gentle swirling to rouse the yeast. The fermentation lock will bubble like mad
and then subside. Take a hydrometer reading, then take another in two or three

One other possible problem could be a high concentration of CO2 in the
hydrometer test beer. Before taking a reading, take a long thin stem of some
sort and stir the hydrometer sample vigorously to knock the CO2 out of
solution. I'm assuming you're using a hydrometer flask and not floating the
hydometer right in the fermenter.

I generally start my beer a little warm ~70F and then try to move to a cooler
spot, say around 68F. The fermentation process actually adds about 4F to my
carboy at the peak, so a little cooler after things are really going is good,
but not necessary. Consult your yeast pack for the manufacturer's suggested
ferm temp.

I would also invest in a glass carboy for a fermenter. Plastic buckets tend to
scratch, scratches tend to harbor bad microbes. Glass generally doesn't scratch
easily and you can inspect so much easier. That will help in your quest for
sound sanitation.


Aleta Maria

May 7, 2005, 6:55:30 PM5/7/05

Please tell me how to unsubscribe from this list.  I enjoy a good brew like the rest of you, but as I'm not a brewer, I don't need to constantly be baraged with all the finer points of the process.  I thought that the whole point of this mailing list was to unite the microbrew community, not be a Q & A session for homebrewers.  I appreciate the heads up about the brewery in Broad Ripple and will check it out the next time I'm there - but as for the rest of it, I'm out.


Alexandre Enkerli

May 9, 2005, 1:25:22 PM5/9/05

Here's the unsub address:
I can also unsub you, if you prefer.

Yes, the list has become a bit more technical but it'd be fun if you
(and others) could post on other things. Your expertise is very
valuable and I was hoping that you might use it to tell other people
about good craft brew.

If you feel barraged by the technical posts, you could still remain on
the list but set yourself to digest mode or to no-mail. That way, you'd
still be able to read the messages that sound interesting (like brewery
openings, tasting sessions...) without having to go through the more
technical posts.

At any rate, feel free to contact us at any point.

Again, sorry about the technical bent of recent messages. It's part of
the dynamic among beer geeks that brewers tend to be a bit more
talkative... ;-)


AleX in Montreal
[555.1km, 62.8] ApparentRennerianCoordinates


May 9, 2005, 5:22:07 PM5/9/05

I would hate to see anyone leave the list when it seems that if it
weren't for the homebrewing discussions there would be little else
going on. A little input from everyone makes for much more spirited and
interesting interplay. I'm glad you found the Brugge post helpful; why
not kick in a comment about your favorite Belgian beer or brewery.

The model of this group is akin to the Chicago Beer Society's page;
that group seems to keep things going by allowing for "all things
beer". Although I admit to hitting the delete button quickly when they
start talking about their rib or chile competition.

I think AleX had a good bit of advice about opting out of the email
mode and just checking in on the Googlegroup. Although you may miss an
invitation for free beer when I'm conducting my focus groups prior to
opening my brewery/brew pub if you're not monitoring the emails. ;)

How about everyone contributes by answering the following: What is the
most interesting brew pub, brewery or great beer pub you have ever


Alexandre Enkerli

May 10, 2005, 10:32:31 AM5/10/05
Following Jim's advice:

> What is the most interesting brew pub, brewery or great beer pub you
> have ever
> visited?
Non-local answers: Dieu du ciel (Montreal, Qc), Magic Hat (Burlington,
VT), and Mr. Pickwick's (Stowe, VT).

Closer to local, in Chicago: The Piece, Goose Island, and the Maproom.
These places were all great and being so close to Chicago is certainly
an advantage.
I *want* a brewpub like The Piece. The place itself is fabulous. The
hefeweizen was one of the best I've had in my life. The food was quite
Goose Island is closer to your typical brewing chain but the selection
is quite good and their beers are well-brewed.
I had one of the best beer sessions of my life at the Maproom. Amazing
selection, great place. Oh, it's not the largest selection ever. But
they had a lot of very good and interesting beers, including some that
are hard to find elsewhere. The Hopleaf was similar to that with a
Belgian specialization but I preferred the Maproom.

In Michiana, my favorite beer place has been Legends of Notre Dame,
especially from late August to October or so as they had a lot of
"Limited Availability" beers at a really good price. It's still the one
place in town where I could find the type of beer to suit my mood. And
I went often enough (eventually getting my pint glass for tasting all
of their beers) that for the first time in my life, I was a "regular"
somewhere. Some of the waiting staff would recognize me elsewhere!

One of my favorite beers, available at Legends, is Duchesse de
Bourgogne, a Flemish Red Ale. Very wine-like, good balance of sourness
and sweetness.
One thing that was quite nice about living in Indiana (and my friends
in Montreal were quite jealous) was to have access to Three Floyds
beers. The hop aroma in Alpha King is so intense that I would spend
several minutes just sniffing the beer!

I haven't been but I keep hearing about Zeke's in Dowagiac, MI. Jim
knows. It's close enough and has a very large selection.

Jeffrey Sutter

May 13, 2005, 6:51:31 PM5/13/05

Where can I get this "Utopia" beer?

Alexandre Enkerli

May 14, 2005, 10:13:57 AM5/14/05
It's a limited batch. The "strongest beer in the world" at 25% ABV
(about the same as some ports).
They have it in some places but the price ($4/oz., more expensive than
most ports) is a major deterrent. Had some brought by a CBSer in a
gallon jug. It was interesting but resembled more of the malt
equivalent of a Pineau des Charentes... Apart from the insane ABV and
the cask conditioning, you get much of the same effect from an aged
barleywine at 12–14%.
Ali wouldn't like it: it's not carbonated! ;-)
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