Safe to mini-keg??

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

Moderator: slothrob

Safe to mini-keg??

Postby bigbirdga » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:48 pm

I have a 5 gal batch of Stout that has been in the secondary for 30 days. It is an extract with 3.5 lbs of steeped grain, although 1 lb of that is carapils. No other adjuncts. OG was 1.056, SG at transfer was 1.032. Current SG is 1.025 and has been for a week. However, there are still very visible pinpoint bubbles rising in the carboy and accumulating in a thin ring at the neck. No visible bubbling that I have been able to catch at in the lock, but it looks like it is still fermenting. Taste test reveals pretty good carbonation as is, so I don't want to create keg-bombs. I use mini-kegs and normally prime with about 3 oz of corn sugar for the batch. Should I wait for the bubbling to stop and continue to test SG or keg with even less prime? I have been brewing and using minis for several years and never had this problem, but this is my first higher gravity attempt. Thanks
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Postby slothrob » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:56 pm

Since the gravity has dropped so much during secondary, I'm concerned that the fermentation could have stalled. It's not a universally accepted procedure, yet, but I recommend transferring after fermentation has completely ceased. The idea is that primary is for fermentation and secondary acts as an aging and clearing tank. By removing the bulk of the yeast before fermentation completes you are asking a small fraction of the yeast to finish the job.

Either way, I don't think many brewers would recommend removing the beer from the yeast at 1.038.

That said, since the gravity did drop, then stop for a week, I'm lead to believe that the yeast was able to complete the job. The beer probably just has a high finishing gravity. I probably would have more confidence mini-kegging this than I would bottling it.

With 3.5# of specialty grain (I imagine quite a bit of Crystal Malt in addition to the pound of Carapils) there would have been a lot of unfermentables and this was probably never going to be a dry beer. If the recipe used Amber or Dark Extract ( I assume this was an extract beer) there's probably already Crystal Malt in the extract, so it won't finish as dry as Light Extract would.

I've seen a couple extract Stouts that finished around 1.018 to 1.020. Each pound of Crystal Malt/Carapils/Chocolate Malt will add about 2-3 points to the finishing gravity.

I'm not sure what to think if the beer seems quite carbonated already... You can take the beer's temperature into account, and that should adjust the amount of priming sugar to the current level of carbonation, as long as the beer really is finished fermenting.
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Postby bigbirdga » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:26 pm

Thanks, I agree it appears that the fermentation stalled in the primary rather than completed, even though I was not getting any more SG drop when it was transferred. I think I'll go ahead and keg with less sugar. You are correct tere is Crystal, Chocolate and Roasted Barley as well as 1 lb of Wheat DME. Lots of stuff that won't ferment. Iwas looking for a "sweet" stout, not necessarily a "cream", thus no lactose.
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