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veektor
05-26-2005, 09:30 AM
I posted a recipe and some notes under Recipes category, with a question about my fermentation that does not seem to stop: http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,920.msg8231.html#msg8231

I am cross-posting here with a specific question, hoping to get responses. In short, I made a 5 gallon batch of braggot, using Brown Malt Extract and Orange Blossom honey for the fermentables, with Nottingham (Ale) yeast. Started primary on 3/26/05, racked into a secondary carboy on 4/5/05. Today is 5/26, and there are still bubbles coming through the airlock.

I must admit that I am using a one-piece, twisted airlock, rather than the 3 piece one I use on everything else. I suspect this has little to do with the basic fact that there is still CO2 produced in the carboy. Anyone see ferementation last this long, especially in secondary? There is only so much fermentable sugar in there, it has to stop eventually!

I have been holding off on taking gravity readings, but to do justice to all who will reply to this, I will do so and post it here later today.

Greenblood
05-26-2005, 09:56 AM
At this point I would say that a gravity reading is really what is going to help determine what is going on.

David Baldwin
05-26-2005, 01:44 PM
I concurr that your hydrometer is going to be your best gauge of where fermentation is at. Did you happen to take an OG?

veektor
05-26-2005, 04:01 PM
I took gravity readings at the beginning and then at the racking time. I just don't have the latest because I keep thinking that it's about to stop, and I would just take the final reading. I will get one tonight as promised.

In addition to being freaked out by 2 months of fermentation in its own right, I keep thinking that by using ale yeast I should not expect much attenuation of my extracts, as the alcohol tolerance of these yeasties is pretty low, in 6% neighborhood (or such was my impression). I am inclined to speculate that perhaps nutrient deficiency is my problem, but that will be only speculation without SG reading. I'll shut up now until I have that available.

veektor
05-26-2005, 11:15 PM
I finally had a chance to measure SG this evening. I am going to restate some info that could be relevant.

3/26 Brewed 5.5 gal batch with 4 lbs Brown Malt Extract and 3 lbs Orange Blossom Honey, 1 oz Northern Brewer Hops (1/2 for 60 min, 1/2 for 30 min) OG=1.042
4/05 Racked into a 5 gal carboy after fermentation seemed to have stopped in primary. SG=1.010
5/26 Checked gravity and tasted the concoction. Hop flavor is too strong, brown malt too pronounced, honey flavor is practically non-existent :( SG=1.006

For comparison, when I made a 6 gal batch of Brown Ale, using 8 lbs of brown malt extract (my first batch of beer), in 2 weeks it went from 1.043 to 1.015, at which point I bottled it. I did use White Labs European Ale yeast that time.

I am not ready to give up on the Braggot category yet. I already see what I will do differently next time I make a braggot: more honey, lighter malts, less bitter hops (Goldings or Fuggles). But not until I find out how to make it ferment less than 2 months!

kace069
05-27-2005, 03:49 AM
I'd just like to say that I like d47 for my braggots. I haven't tried an ale yeast for one yet but when I do I plan on going with a high tolerence trappist ale yeast. I actually drank one last night and the only problem I have had is the giant head I get. Next time I will cut back on the priming sugar. The d47 really eats it up.

veektor
05-27-2005, 01:48 PM
I'd just like to say that I like d47 for my braggots. I haven't tried an ale yeast for one yet but when I do I plan on going with a high tolerence trappist ale yeast. I actually drank one last night and the only problem I have had is the giant head I get. Next time I will cut back on the priming sugar. The d47 really eats it up.
I had actually considered using D47 at first, but decided to shoot for less alcohol with more sweetness. I've read that D47 needs moe nutrients than some other yeasts. Do you add any or is there enough nutrients in the malt?

Greenblood
05-27-2005, 03:02 PM
5/26 Checked gravity and tasted the concoction. Hop flavor is too strong, brown malt too pronounced, honey flavor is practically non-existent :( SG=1.006

I am not ready to give up on the Braggot category yet. I already see what I will do differently next time I make a braggot: more honey, lighter malts, less bitter hops (Goldings or Fuggles). But not until I find out how to make it ferment less than 2 months!


Well, I wish I could be of more help, but I am not sure what would cause such a lag in fermentation. I am a strong advocate of using starters for my yeast to ensure a healthy fermentation. That may or may not have been an issue in your case. Did you use any king of nutrient additions? As far as the flavor, don't give up. Give it time to rest, and you may be surprised to see the honey character return. Don't give up on dark malt braggotts either. I will be bottling a dark malt and orange blossom braggott this weekend that has been bulk aging for 8 months. My 2nd attempt at Braggott. It may not be anything to write home about, but it is certainly a good brew for a summer day. It lost it's honey character 3 different times during the aging process, but in the end it returned, and while it is not dominant, it is quite evident.

I will be starting my next braggott next week, and posting it in the Brew log:

Belgian Braggott White

4# wheat DME
5# OB honey
1oz Coriander seed
1oz (finish)Saaz
1.5oz (bitter)Styrian Goldings
Wyeast #3944 White ale yeast


Greenblood

veektor
05-27-2005, 05:03 PM
...I am a strong advocate of using starters for my yeast to ensure a healthy fermentation. That may or may not have been an issue in your case. Did you use any king of nutrient additions? ...
The initial fermentation was very vigorous for about a week, even though I did not use any yeast starter. So far I have not had any problems with the dry yeasts, I usually just rehydrate them per instructions on the package. One time I just dumped them dry into the primary, and it still fermented just fine.

No, I did not add any nutrient, I just figured that malt should have plenty, though I am wondering if that is the reason for fermentation taking this long.

veektor
06-09-2005, 11:30 AM
I found another post around here, where it was mentioned that lack of nutrients affects the tail-end of fermentation, which finally convinced me to add some. About a week ago I added a teaspoon of yeast nutrient to the carboy, which seemed to invigorate fermentation for a day and then pretty much came to a stop, at least for the times when I was watching. Last night I bottled the batch, after priming it with 3/4 lb honey. I am crossing my fingers in hope that my bottles will not be exploding. If I notice that carbonation becomes excessive after a few weeks, I'll just have to drink it faster ;D

As a side note, I also bottled a batch of brown ale the same night, and was curious about differences in taste. Brown ale tasted more malty (doh!) and had more hop flavor. The braggot did not have a pronounced honey taste or smell, or if it did, I had a hard time picking it up. It actually reminded me of brandy, though not quite as strong, obviously. The smokiness of brown malt wa probably leading me to think in that direction. At this point I am not exactly happy with the results, and I have no other braggots to compare it to. If the bottles don't blow up on me, it might age out into something decent, I hope.

JoeM
06-09-2005, 11:49 AM
3/4 of a lb of honey is a bit much for priming, but itís not a terribly large amount. What types of bottles did you use? Also the amount of honey in your recipe is a bit light so Iím not surprised that the honey flavor isnít very pronounced, plus the use of finishing hops tends to mask the honey aroma. Typically I leave the finishing hops out of my braggot recipes for just this reason, but of course thatís personal preference. I am quite familiar with the brandy like flavor that your describing, and I find that it does mellow with age (i usually age my braggots for about a year).

veektor
06-10-2005, 10:18 AM
Thanks for the comments, Joe. In retrospect, I think the recipe I used as a basis for my braggot was a little sloppy, and I should have been tipped off by comments like "leave bottles somewhere warm for a week or until bottles begin to explode..." The recommended amount of honey in it was "up to a pound". I am just going to keep a close eye on this batch. I used 12 oz crown-capped beer bottles.

Of the braggots you have made, which ones did you think were more successful? I am intrigued by Greenblood'd Belgian White Braggot and may have to imitate if he claims success with it: http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,1129.0.html