Many home brewers overlook what could possibly be the most important ingredient in your beer… the yeasties…

Not only do they provide the alcohol for you, but they are also responsible for adding or taking away flavors that are necessary to have for certain beer styles…

Here’s the story:


First off, thanks for giving us all this advice for free!

I’m on my fourth batch. Actually my fifth since I have a batch of lager lagering as I write this. The batch I’m brewing is my first high gravity beer, a 1.096 Scotch Ale.

Here’s the recipe for the beer:

Maris Otter 2 oz
Peated Malt 2 oz
Crystal 40L 5 oz
Pale ME 2.9 qts
Amber ME 1 qts
Amber DME 1 lb
Cane Sugar 0.25 lb
Molasses 2 oz
KaroDark Syr 2 oz
Kent Goldings 1 oz
Kent Goldings 1/2 oz
Irish Moss
White Labs Edinburgh Scottish Ale

This batch has been fermenting for 9 days now and it’s at 1.028, which means the approximate attenuation is 70.8%. The yeast is supposed to have an attenuation of 70-75%. Does that mean that it is ready to go into my secondary?

It seems like FG is a little high.

Also, is the attenuation levels the yeast manufacturer provides true or approximate?

I know it is a big beer, but any comments will help,

Central, PA


That is a big beer indeed… in fact in falls under a Strong Scotch Ale category which has a peaty aroma coming from your peated malt. Now allow me to calm your worries and let you know that a 1.028 FG is not bad for a high gravity beer like that…

Let me re-phrase that, a 1.028 FG is common for high gravity worts and it should be about done fermenting. You can leave it sitting a little while longer, but chances are it is done. It doesn’t look like you have much unfermentables, which would be the only thing that would add density to your beer…

Since the attenuation levels in the yeast packet is a range, it usually means that that’s what is normal for the most part. In other words, there are ways to influence the yeast to give you less attenuation or in your case, higher attenuation… but it’s a little too late for that.

Things that can improve yeast attenuation levels are proper oxygenation of the wort, a proper pitch rate (building large starters), proper temperature to both pitch and ferment and keeping your fermenting container from any temperature shocks.

Now, since I don’t know exactly what process you followed I don’t know what could have influenced your brew to come out higher than you expected, but again, 1.028 FG is a good gravity reading for a big beer like that.

About the only thing I can think of is that, since you used Maris Otter, that could have raised the density of your beer if you didn’t do a mash, partial mash, or an inefficient one. Maris Otter needs to be mashed to convert to fermentable sugars.

Also, remember that your Amber Malts also have some un-fermentable sugars and they are not mostly fermentable sugars like your Pale ME.

I would transfer to the secondary and leave it sitting there a couple of weeks or even a month if you are that worried, but it should be fine and done fermenting.

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