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original gravity not expected

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Post time 2010-6-10 08:08:00 | Show all posts |Read mode
Hey guys,
I did my first partial mash  and I think it turned out bad. I brewed a wit and used 6 lbs of grains, and used 3 lbs of malt extract. I did my partial mash for 90 mins at about 160 degrees. when finished, and put into my carboy, i took an OG of 1024... no way was this reading right for a wit. Is there anything I should do for my future brews and how can I fix this brew???
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Post time 2010-6-10 08:22:00 | Show all posts
that is low, what were you expecting?
How did you rinse the grains, share more about your process.
160 is too high to mash, generally 150-154 is a more typical range. What temp was the water you used for rinsing the grains, ideally that should be 168.
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 Author| Post time 2010-6-10 08:29:00 | Show all posts
I was expecting a gravity around 1040.
I used 2 lbs pils malt
2 lbs wheat malt
1 lbs carapil malt
then a container of wheat extract
I never tried a partial mash before but I was getting bored with just extract brews so I asked a friend and he didn't say anything about washing the grains. I just let the grains sit in the water at 160 degrees wrapped in a massive cheese cloth for 90 mins. after, I put that into another 5 gallon pot for 10 minutes for the sparge and then I transferred the wort over and added the liquid extract. I am guessing I did the process wrong?
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Post time 2010-6-10 09:30:00 | Show all posts

By rinsing, I'm pretty sure he meant the sparge.  Some important data you left out, what was the batch size? How long did you boil?
160 is high.  For a wit I would try 152 or 153, but definitely between 149-156 for almost every style.  You may have lost a few points there, but it's going to effect the final gravity more than the original.  You can also cut down the time a bit from 90 minutes, depending on a few variables (volume of water/grain-to-water ratio etc.)  For your recipe, I'd try soaking the 3 lbs in 1 gallon for 45 minutes.  If you soaked the grain in the entire pre-boil volume (assuming over 5 gallons), you may have lost a few points there.  But again, this is a very small loss.
Walk us through more of your process, something doesn't smell right (besides JP).Lee
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 Author| Post time 2010-6-11 06:53:00 | Show all posts
The recipe was for 5 gallons. I boiled for 60 minutes when the hops were added. I did the rest of the process just as if I was doing only extract. I used a wort chiller and transferred to the carboy and i took the OG from that point and added the yeast.
I used all the grains in about a gallon and a half of water, then sparged with another 2 gallons of water. Is this what you are talking about with the ratio? Should I have used less grains or more water?
also, is there anything I could do to fix this beer now that it is in the carboy, like maybe adding some sugar, or do you think I should just let it play out...
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Post time 2010-6-11 07:14:00 | Show all posts
what was the temp of your sparge water and how much did you sparge with?
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 Author| Post time 2010-6-11 07:23:00 | Show all posts
I sparged with 2 gallons at 160 degrees.
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Post time 2010-6-11 07:23:49 | Show all posts
that may be part of the problem, mash at a lower temp like 152 and sparge with water at 170.
your efficiency is not going to be that high doing partial mashes, at least mine never were.I do stove-top mini-mashing and I'm a bit confused about your recipe
1lb pills malt    OK
2lb wheat malt   ---- is this 2lb grain or LME ?
1lb carapils    OK

A partial mash assumes some LME --- if you only added the 2lb of wheat I can see your problem.
And even if the above are all grains you mashed (and also added some LME) Mashing at 160deg is going to de-nature a lot of proteins giving you a very low mash efficiency ... as others have mentioned. Also what was your grist to water ratio for your mash ? Too much water would further hamper proper mashing.
Generally you want to use 1.5qt per pound of grist (grain) to be mashed. Mash 60 - 90min at 145-155deg.   I use a really large open bag to mash in --- to sparge  I pull the bag out of the mast pot and rinse it in 2 gallons of water (in my brew pot) at 165deg for 10min. Toss the grains out - pour in the mash liquor from the mash pot - top my partial boil pot to 3.5gal and head to a boil.
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Post time 2010-6-12 10:25:00 | Show all posts



Ok, we've already covered ratios.  Not a problem there.  You can't denature proteins, but 160 will begin to denature the enzymes that convert the starches to sugar.  That will kick your efficiency in the nuts, but I doubt you'll lose almost 20 points.
As all of us have been saying (myself included) that 160 is too high, it dawned on me last night that this might not be the issue either - did you hold the grains at 160 or did you get the water up to 160 and then put your grain in?  The temp of the grain would drop the temp and you'd be mashing at an estimated 147ish.  That would give the opposite result - a very fermentable wort.
Other things that came to mind: how well did you stir before taking the gravity reading?  I know you did it post transfer which would lead me to believe that it was well mixed but perhaps it wasn't and you only got the top portion in your sample.  When did you add the extract to the boil?  Did it boil the whole 60 minutes or did you do a late addition?  If the LME wasn't fully dissolved from a late addition, this could have been your problem.
I know you've stated you've been brewing extract for the last 3 years, but I don't want to assume anything either.  As much and as frequently as I brew, I still occasionally forget a gravity sample or whirlfloc or whatnot.  Sometimes it's the simple, obvious answer.  I think it's awesome you're expanding your horizons into partial mash territory & hopefully we can figure this thing out to get you moving forward again.  If you'd like a proven partial-mash recipe, I'm sure dozens of BN'rs could help you out for your next brew, or I could provide you with something as well for your next brew.  Hopefully this mystery brew didn't discourage you from trying another batch soon.Lee
"Show me on this doll where the internet hurt you."
"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."


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Post time 2010-6-13 03:12:00 | Show all posts
How fine did you mill the grains?  A poor crush tends to be the cause of most low OG problems.
WayneBugeater Brewing Company
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 Author| Post time 2010-6-14 02:52:00 | Show all posts

That was my first thought too. Was this a partial boil?
How much extract did you use? LME or DME? If we can figure out the gravity contribution from the extract we can get an estimate of the mash efficiency, which would help for troubleshooting.Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
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Post time 2010-6-14 07:18:00 | Show all posts
I used a wheat LME, 3.3 lbs of it. I did use more water to top off the carboy then I have in the past with my extract boils, but I thought I mixed up the wort and top off water appropriately. I did take the sample off the top though because i forgot to take a sample before as I usually do. How do you guys usually take your OG reading, maybe any advice to get a more accurate reading?
I just mashed my grains through the mill once, but I thought that would be enough. Maybe twice next time? I also noticed that my grains were very clumped together throughout the process, so I probably need to measure out the water more accurately instead of eyeballing it. i added the LME while the wort was heating up to the boil and when it started boiling I added an ounce of hops and boiled for 60 minutes, and then used a wort chiller to cool.

As of now I have fermentation, but It really started to slow down, and it has only been about 4 days. I havent had a fermentation slow like this with any of my pure extracts. I am pretty curious about this beer...
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Post time 2010-6-15 08:01:00 | Show all posts

3.3 lb of LME in 5 gallons would be ~1.024 all by itself, and I think we can assume your mash efficiency wasn't 0, so your OG had to be higher than that. For mini-mashes I generally get 50-65% efficiency, and even at 50% the OG would be ~1.042.
For partial boils, I would take a gravity reading before topping off, then calculate the OG based on how much you're diluting. If you have a refractometer and a hydrometer you can take post-fermentation readings with both and calculate the OG; otherwise you just won't know this time.Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
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Post time 2010-6-15 09:56:00 | Show all posts
"""Ok, we've already covered ratios. Not a problem there. You can't denature proteins, but 160 will begin to denature the enzymes""

DOH !
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Post time 2010-6-15 09:57:00 | Show all posts
Don't feel too bad, enzymes are proteins.

eiqsycq5t5o.gif

eiqsycq5t5o.gif

Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.

I was thinking that's a mill problem, too. 3 lbs of extract in a 5 gallon patch works out to be about 1.024. did you look at your crush? I did a few batches where I had horrible efficiencies, and I realized that my mill was spaced out a bit too far, and most of my grain wasn't getting crushed. Once you mashed in, did you get it good and stirred up?
Also...I think I read everything here, but does your hydrometer read zero with plain old water?Crupp
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Fermenting: Saison, ESB
On tap: 09 Cider, American Mild, Dark Mild II, American Wheat, Hefe, Traditional Mead, Belgian Blond
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 Author| Post time 2010-6-15 09:57:38 | Show all posts

Let me get a hallelujah on this one!
One of the most important things I've learned was to calibrate everything... often.  Knowing that your instruments are accurate will give you a better comfort level and aid in problem solving.  I'm still working on it, but the better I calibrate, the better I know my system and the better I can adjust the results of my brews.BN Army Private First Class   
Fermenting: Lucky Day Pale
Kegged: Buckwheat Bulgur & Barley Saison, K├Âlsch, Styrian Celia Grisette, Single Dubbel, Winter Maple Strong Brown AleHey guys,
I did my first partial mash  and I think it turned out bad. I brewed a wit and used 6 lbs of grains, and used 3 lbs of malt extract. I did my partial mash for 90 mins at about 160 degrees. when finished, and put into my carboy, i took an OG of 1024... no way was this reading right for a wit. Is there anything I should do for my future brews and how can I fix this brew???
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Post time 2010-6-10 08:22:00 | Show all posts
that is low, what were you expecting?
How did you rinse the grains, share more about your process.
160 is too high to mash, generally 150-154 is a more typical range. What temp was the water you used for rinsing the grains, ideally that should be 168.
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 Author| Post time 2010-6-10 08:29:00 | Show all posts
I was expecting a gravity around 1040.
I used 2 lbs pils malt
2 lbs wheat malt
1 lbs carapil malt
then a container of wheat extract
I never tried a partial mash before but I was getting bored with just extract brews so I asked a friend and he didn't say anything about washing the grains. I just let the grains sit in the water at 160 degrees wrapped in a massive cheese cloth for 90 mins. after, I put that into another 5 gallon pot for 10 minutes for the sparge and then I transferred the wort over and added the liquid extract. I am guessing I did the process wrong?
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Post time 2010-6-10 09:30:00 | Show all posts

By rinsing, I'm pretty sure he meant the sparge.  Some important data you left out, what was the batch size? How long did you boil?
160 is high.  For a wit I would try 152 or 153, but definitely between 149-156 for almost every style.  You may have lost a few points there, but it's going to effect the final gravity more than the original.  You can also cut down the time a bit from 90 minutes, depending on a few variables (volume of water/grain-to-water ratio etc.)  For your recipe, I'd try soaking the 3 lbs in 1 gallon for 45 minutes.  If you soaked the grain in the entire pre-boil volume (assuming over 5 gallons), you may have lost a few points there.  But again, this is a very small loss.
Walk us through more of your process, something doesn't smell right (besides JP).Lee
"Show me on this doll where the internet hurt you."
"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."


BN Army // 13th Mountain Division

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 Author| Post time 2010-6-11 06:53:00 | Show all posts
The recipe was for 5 gallons. I boiled for 60 minutes when the hops were added. I did the rest of the process just as if I was doing only extract. I used a wort chiller and transferred to the carboy and i took the OG from that point and added the yeast.
I used all the grains in about a gallon and a half of water, then sparged with another 2 gallons of water. Is this what you are talking about with the ratio? Should I have used less grains or more water?
also, is there anything I could do to fix this beer now that it is in the carboy, like maybe adding some sugar, or do you think I should just let it play out...
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Post time 2010-6-11 07:14:00 | Show all posts
what was the temp of your sparge water and how much did you sparge with?
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Post time 2010-6-11 07:23:00 | Show all posts
I sparged with 2 gallons at 160 degrees.
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Post time 2010-6-11 09:22:00 | Show all posts
that may be part of the problem, mash at a lower temp like 152 and sparge with water at 170.
your efficiency is not going to be that high doing partial mashes, at least mine never were.
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