How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:32 pm

I am making a Black IPA and am concerned about the final gravity. The OG was 1.083 and after two weeks of fermenting it has stopped at 1.026. It tastes clean with a nice hop bitterness, but is a bit too sweet for my liking. I am using Wyeast London Dry Ale III and the numbers are within the listed attenuation range so it looks like that might be why fermentation stopped. Does anyone know how I might drop the gravity even lower to cut the sweetness? Or should I just continue on, dry hop it as planned, and not mess with it?

Thanks for any feedback you might give.

~Stephen

For reference, this is the recipe I used:

Grains & Adjuncts
Amount Percentage Name Time Gravity
0.60 lbs 4.96 % Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 30 mins 1.034
9.99 lbs 82.63 % Pale Liquid Extract 60 mins 1.036
0.50 lbs 4.14 % Carafa II 30 mins 1.032
1.00 lbs 8.27 % Munton's Light DME 60 mins 1.046

Hops
Amount Name Time AA %
0.66 ozs Columbus (Tomahawk) 60 mins 14.00
0.33 ozs Warrior 60 mins 15.00
0.50 ozs Columbus (Tomahawk) 30 mins 14.00
0.33 ozs Centennial 30 mins 10.00
0.40 ozs Warrior 30 mins 15.00
0.66 ozs Columbus (Tomahawk) 0 mins 14.00
0.66 ozs Centennial 0 mins 10.00
0.20 ozs Warrior 0 mins 15.00

1.00 ozs Cascade 5 days 5.50
0.33 ozs Centennial 5 days 10.00


Yeasts
Amount Name Laboratory / ID
1.0 pkg London Dry Ale III Wyeast 1318

Additions
Amount Name Time Stage
2.40 oz Malto-Dextrine 01 hours Boil
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:45 pm

I wouldn't mess with it much myself. It's only been two weeks. Assuming you haven't racked since cold crashing, I would let it warm back up, swirl the yeast back into suspension and let it sit another 10 days to two weeks (you can dry hop during this time). Gravity will still drop a couple of points even though you don't see active fermentation. This extra time will help clean up any esters formed during fermentation. It may still taste a bit sweet (blame the malto-dextrine) but carbonation will make it taste a little drier.
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:24 pm

A suggestion for next time: don't put the maltodextrin in the boil. Wait until fermentation is complete, and check your gravity. You can add the maltodextrin at that point by dissolving in a little water, boiling, and cooling. If your gravity finished too high or it tastes a little sweet, you could then add less maltodextrin (or none).

As a general rule of thumb, if you are adding something non-fermentable to your beer (e.g. maltodextrin, lactose, spice, coffee, etc.), wait until fermentation is complete to add it. At that point you have a much better idea of what the finished beer will taste like, and can adjust the amount of your addition to balance with the rest of the beer. If you are adding to the boil, you are blindly guessing unless you have some past experience to go on and are confident your fermentation will go exactly as previously.
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:58 pm

I don't recall maltodextrin tasting all that sweet, but agree in a beer like this it likely isn't needed, you aren't gonna be lacking on body.
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:54 am

spiderwrangler wrote:I don't recall maltodextrin tasting all that sweet, but agree in a beer like this it likely isn't needed, you aren't gonna be lacking on body.


I think it's more of that perceived sweetness. There's the residual sugar already there & add enough extra body, that 'thickness' can come across as extra sweetness without actually being sweet.
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:51 am

Ozwald wrote:
spiderwrangler wrote:I don't recall maltodextrin tasting all that sweet, but agree in a beer like this it likely isn't needed, you aren't gonna be lacking on body.


I think it's more of that perceived sweetness. There's the residual sugar already there & add enough extra body, that 'thickness' can come across as extra sweetness without actually being sweet.

Gotcha... take something from just 'sweet' to 'cloyingly sweet'...
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:11 am

If you rack it to a secondary you'd stir up the yeast and pick up a small amount of oxygen which will restart fermentation.

I will go ahead and premptively reply to 2 things that I know someone is going to say:

1. It's not really a 'secondary' it's a bright tank- Yes I know that. People have been calling it a secondary for a long time though so whatever happens in it I'm calling it a secondary.
2. Oxygen exposure is bad- The yeast are going to mop it up very quickly and fermentation isn't done anyway.
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Re: How can you lower a final graity after attenuation?

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:41 am

I think it's less about picking up oxygen and more about stirring up yeast (or just knocking CO2 out of solution) that would give you an increase in activity. Oxygen shouldn't be needed for continued fermentation, if limited, it would play a role in growth, but if the existing yeast have crapped out and stopped fermenting, I don't think a need to reproduce is the problem.
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