Adding Fermentable sugars in secondary

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Adding Fermentable sugars in secondary

Postby danbrew11 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:39 pm

Ok, so i am kinda new at this.... I have a Lager fermenting at 55 degrees has been fermenting for 10 days and it seems to be almost done fermenting when it should take 2-3 weeks. I think this is due to the lack of fermentable sugars in the recipe i put together. I tasted it yesterday and it has a good taste, just missing a lot of alcohol. I plan on transferring to a secondary over the weekend and was wondering, if it's still lacking in alcohol if i could add some boiled rice syrup solids or extract to the secondary during transfer to increase the ABV. would there be enough yeast left over in the secondary to continue fermentation? Thanks.
Oh and this is the recipe i used:

for a 2 gallon batch

1.5 Gal. boiling

1lb 8oz of Crystal Malt 60
8oz light DME
8oz flaked corn maze
8oz cara-pilis

.5 oz Hallertau hops 60 min
.5 oz Mt. hood hops 25 min

SafLager S-23 Dry Yeast

I did not Mash the grains, just steeped them for about 25 minutes
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Postby slothrob » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:32 pm

10-14 days would be a pretty normal fermentation time for a Lager Yeast at 55°F. 2-3 weeks would be slow, in my experience. Most of my lagers are done with most of their active fermentation in about 1-1.5 weeks, with a few more days at about 62°F to guarantee that they ferment to completion and clean up some of the fermentation byproducts.

You could add up to about 0.5# of Table Sugar. I wouldn't bother with using rice syrup, it won't add anything that regular sugar will, and sugar is cheap and you probably already have it in your kitchen.

It would be best to add the sugar to the primary, while there is a lot of yeast around. Adding the sugar to the secondary will just stress the little remaining yeast and defeat the only purpose to a secondary, which is to separate the beer from the yeast to make it easier to get clear beer.
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Postby danbrew11 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:08 pm

Ok, thanks Slothrob. That makes sense about not adding it to the secondary. i have Rice syrup, DME and table sugar, but wont opening the primary to add sugar run a risk of contamination due to oxygen intake?
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Postby slothrob » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:03 pm

The Rice Syrup and Table sugar would both be basically flavorless, the DME would make the beer more malty and add more body. It all depends on what you think the beer needs at this point. Since you probably started at around 1.036, adding more DME could help the flavor, but with all that Crystal Malt, adding something that will fully ferment, like Sugar or Rice syrup will help keep it from getting sweeter.

Oxygen is mostly a risk for oxidation, more than infection. But, you're not going to stir it up, so the little bit of oxygen that gets in by opening the lid is a minimal threat. In this case, the yeast will consume most of the oxygen you introduce, anyway.

Whenever you open the fermentor, you run the risk of introducing infecting bacteria or wild yeast, but the risk is minimal if you take precautions and sanitize everything that contacts the wort. Fermented beer is also more resistant to infection than fresh wort.
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Postby danbrew11 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:58 pm

Cool, thankyou! i'm really excited about this batch, i'll taste it again soon and see what it's missing. i just started freaking out cause the batch before this was a Lager and it fermented for 2 1/2 weeks. It definetly has a malty sweetness but is complimented by a subtle hops finish, just trying to get the ABV. right. the sample i took from the wort with the hydrometer didn't read it correctly for some reason. According to the recipe generator the original gravity should have been 1.050 and the final should be 1.014
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Postby slothrob » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:38 am

Did you type the recipe correctly?

If the original recipe was 1.5# of DME and 8 oz of Crystal 60, which would be a more typical recipe, then the beer would be about 1.050 OG. As typed, especially since the Flaked Corn wouldn't have added any sugars, since it needs to be mashed with an enzymatically active grain, it's probably closer to 1.036 OG.

Most beers I make are on the low to moderate alcohol scale, so I probably wouldn't worry about bumping the alcohol in either case. However, it's probably easier to make a good beer around approximately 1.044-1.056, when you are getting started in brewing, than lower or higher OG beers.
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Postby danbrew11 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:31 am

Yeah everything was typed correctly. i use the beer calculus recipe generator from Hopville. I added 4oz of boiled Rice Syrup Solids to the beer very carefully yesterday. I just checked it and there is some activity, so thats good.
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Postby slothrob » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:24 am

We should talk when you are deciding on your next recipe... That recipe calculator seems to just allow you to throw any grains together without regard to their contribution to the beer or the brewing techniques you're using. We could probably work together to find or design a recipe that should turn out to your liking.
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Postby danbrew11 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:52 am

Yeah, i kinda had a feeling that it wasn't very realistic. especially when i would put in specialty grains or any kind of grains and it would up the ABV dramatically. I was just using it because it was easy to use, and it was something that could get me started, at least to understand it a little better though experimenting with brewing the recipes. I don't have the time or equipment to do a full mash probably not even a partial mash, so i was just using the grains to steep for flavor and color. Yeah i think that would be awesome if you could help me get a legit recipe going. I'm just about ready to transfer this Lager to a secondary, but I'm gonna let it sit out in room temperature (70-75 degrees) for 24 to 48 hours to do a diacetyl rest before i transfer. Thanks man for all your help!
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Postby slothrob » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:33 pm

You're going to get about 46 gravity points per pound from dry extract, about 36 points per pound from liquid extract, and about 25-30 points per pound from grain, unless the grain needs to be mashed, like your flaked corn. So, 1 pound of dry extract in 1 gallon will always give you a 1.046 beer. Then, every point that ferments out will give you ~0.13% abv, so that 1.046 beer finishing at 1.011 would have about 3.25% abv.

Unfortunately, I haven't made a lot of extract beers, so I'm no expert on the subject. But, if you feel like sticking with extract for now, you'll probably want to make sure that you're getting most of your fermentables from the extract, about 80-95% for most beers. Crystal Malt is really engineered to adjust the flavor not to provide most of the sugar.

I'll be curious to hear how this beer comes out, though. If there's a particular style of beer you like, I'll be glad to try and help you make something.
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Postby danbrew11 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:25 am

Ok, so i am going to transfer to a secondary today. i did a diacetyl rest, or tried too....when i left it at 75F for a day and a half i noticed that the yeast started to ferment more, after it seemed to be completely done. I guess the warmer temperature re- activated the yeast, so i let it sit out a little longer. I tasted it yesterday and it's fine, no off tastes. But the caramel flavor from all that crystal malt really makes it sweeter than desired, so i was planning on dry hopping in the secondary with .25 oz of Hallerteu whole hops for 2 weeks in attempt to even out the taste a little. I was going to use Cascade, but thought it would be better to use a hop i boiled with.
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Postby TimmyR » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:59 pm

I'd also recommend trying out a couple kits if you are able to ferment 5 gallons. It'd give you some reference points for recipes and help you work out the process.

Welcome to the best hobby ever.

Cheers,

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Postby slothrob » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:38 am

danbrew11 wrote:But the caramel flavor from all that crystal malt really makes it sweeter than desired, so i was planning on dry hopping in the secondary with .25 oz of Hallerteu whole hops for 2 weeks in attempt to even out the taste a little.

I thought you would find that to be the case. You can try the dry hopping, but I wouldn't spend too much additional extra effort or money on this beer. My philosophy is to learn from each beer and try to use what I've learned to make the next one better.

I think that's an appropriate hop to use, but it can get pretty grassy as a dry hop. You might want to taste the beer after 1 week and decide if it has had enough. That effect will age out somewhat, though, if you overdo it.
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Postby danbrew11 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:53 am

Hey Timmy, i would love to get a 5 gal glass carboy, but i dont have anywhere to put it. especially when doing lagers, it wouldn't fit in the mini frig that i customized for more space and a regulated thermostate to produce consistant tempratures for fermenting lagers. Right now i just have 2 Mr. Beer kegs that i ferment and secondary in, i customized one of the lids to be able to transfer between them with out exposing it to alot of air. seems to be working for right now, as i am learning and figuring out how to make good beer with what i have. In the future i may find that i will need to upgrade, but wanted to start out small first while i'm still just a beginner. Thankyou for the Welcome, brewing beer is fun, it's alot of work and patience but in the end there's nothing better than enjoying an ice cold brew that you made. Hopefully i'll beable to live that when this beer is ready. hahaha, if not i'll just keep on trying with variations of this recipe till i get it right, or take suggestions from slothrob to make it better. i already have ideas of what i need to change, but i'm always open to advice.....Hopefully the Hallertau won't make it to grassy, but i will check it in a week to make sure. Thanks guys
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