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Old 01-15-2011, 05:18 AM   #201
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i have been following this thread and finally brewed it per Wayne1, as is -- except i used the zest of 4 oranges/ juice steeped in vodka and added to primary.

we are crushing this keg! make this beer.



btw, i made 8 gallons: 4 g became true Blue Moon & 4 went in another primary with wit yeast wl400, fresh ginger &orange in vodka. i wanted to see which one we liked better. i will be bottling the wit yeast one soon (tasty).

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Old 01-17-2011, 03:29 AM   #202
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All right. I've spent years brewing before I ever visited a homebrew forum. I looked at one thread, and I'm already posting. That didn't take long.

I love blue moon, and so does my wife. It might be my favorite all time beer. So when I saw this thread, I was hooked. I spent the last week trying to convert this recipe into an extract recipe. I've never done anything other than extract. But then I talked to a brewing buddy who said he would happily help me brew my first all grain recipe. So I brewed it today. I just checked the O.G. before pitching the yeast, and am extremely nervous. The O.G. was 1.020. How is that possible? My lowest O.G. in any of my dozens of extract brews was something like 1.036, but it was usually more like 1.046. Did I do something wrong?

Here was the recipe I used (5 gallons):

5 lbs 2-row
4 lbs white wheat
1 lb flaked oats
1 oz Hallertau (90 min)
3 tsp ground coriander (10 min)
3 tsp ground valencia orange (5 min)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale)

I mashed (is that the right term?) the malt for 1 hour at 155 degrees.

However, I was overly ambitious, and tried a few other things for the first time today, including...

  • just bought a new 30 quart brew pot and brewed the full 5 gallon batch
  • brewed in my garage using propane on a turkey fryer (in order to get 5 full gallons boiling)
  • 1st time using a wort chiller (again, no other way to get 5 full gallons cooled quickly)
  • and, of couse, first time doing all grain
  • it's also my first time using my new glass carboy, but i don't know how that could affect the O.G. (I marked 5 gallons on the carboy and it is right at that mark)

I'm not overly concerned about alcohol content of my beer, but this won't even qualify as 3.2 beer. I'm mostly just nervous that it won't taste very good. I've found that my extract batches usually end up with a lower O.G. than it "should", but the beer still turns out good (and with plenty of alcohol). But 1.020 is incredibly low and much lower than the "expected" 1.052 I've heard from previous posters. I don't understand it.

Any ideas?
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:50 PM   #203
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Default Mashing issues?

I would look at your mashing temps and procedures. Can you provide more details about the steps you used starting with the grain.

Was the grain fresh?

Was it ground?

How did you mash? In a cooler or just steeping?

Did you sparge and bring the mash temp up to 168F at the end of your hour at 155F? How did you get the wort into the kettle to boil? Without using rice hulls did you have issues with draining you mash tun like a stuck sparge? I usually need to use Rice Hulls to get my tun to drain freely.

Lastly you took the OG reading at 72F I presume?

Since you are starting out brewing AG I would suggest that you measure the OG prior to boiling to decide if you need to add any DME in case you get a low OG for whatever reason. You will need to recalculate the true OG if you measure when the wort is hot. (When you measure hot wort at say 170F you will get a low OG reading that needs to be corrected)

When I went from Extract brewing to AG I did a few partial mash brews to get the hang of mashing without having to totally rely on the AG conversion process to fermentable sugars. This took several batches to get the temps down right and I still have most of my problems with hitting my mash temp correctly without having to do fine adjustments.

Your new processes with a larger boil shoud not affect your OG readings except for the final volume which you say was 5 gal.

I would say that you should be using a 90 minute boil for this batch and your starting boil volume should be close to your kettle size capacity... I boil close to 7.5 gal for this but I shoot for a 5.5 gal final batch size to take into accound that I want at least 5.25 gal in my carboy to finally get 5 in my corny keg (I use a 15 gal kettle to do 5.25 gal batches so Im not sure you are going to be able to safetly boil without boilovers when you get your hot breaks using a 30 Qt kettle. You could do partial mashes in this however.)

I finally would suggest getting Beersmith software which helped me tremendously with making the transition to AG.

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Conditioning/Lagering/Carbing:

Dry Hopping:

Primary: Zombie Dust IPA

Next: HefeWeisse, BrewDog Hardcore IPA, Red Oktober

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Old 01-17-2011, 02:53 PM   #204
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Default Vienna Moon Variation

ekjohns:

I am going to be brewing Blue Moon AG this weekend using several variations suggested in this thread namely Weyermann Vienna in the place of 2 Row pale but I am also going to use organic Orange Extract in place of the Valencia peel to get more Orange flavor. Have you decided whether the amounts you used were OK or too much? I believe you used 4/6 of an ounce?

The recipe I came up with using Beersmith and a bunch of suggestions in this thread:

4.75# Weyermann Vienna
3.75# Weyermann White Wheat Malt
1.50# Flaked Oats Briess
0.25# Weyermann Carafoam (If I can find it.. Carapils otherwise)
0.16# Crystal Malt 40L

1.25 oz Hallertauer Hops at 60 Min
1.25 oz Ground Corriander - McCormicks at 10 min
0.50 oz Organic Orange Extract at 0 Min

Pitch with Wyeast American Ale (Chico) yeast at 72F
(I make a yeast starter 2 days ahead of brew day)
Ferment at 66-68F for 21 days

Single Infusion Mash, Meduim Body Profile
Mash at 154F for 60 min
Mash Out at 168F for 10 min

Beersmith calculates OG at 1.054 using 70% efficiency
20.8 IBUs and a color of 5.6 SRM
Starting Boil Volume is 7.9 Gal
(Considering 1.25 gal trub loss in my 15Gal Megapot kettle)

Suggestions are welcome

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On Tap: Uncle Buddy's Bock, Old Ale Jack Daniels Barrel Aged 8 Months, Stone 15th Anniversary Clone Black IIPA, Schwartzbier, ABSF Spotted Cow, ThreeC IPA, Kona Volcano Pale - Amarillo/Mosaic Dry Hopped, Cade's Campout Ale

Conditioning/Lagering/Carbing:

Dry Hopping:

Primary: Zombie Dust IPA

Next: HefeWeisse, BrewDog Hardcore IPA, Red Oktober

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Old 01-17-2011, 03:36 PM   #205
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Thanks for the reponse, Bob. Let's see if I can answer some or all of your questions...

I bought the grain from the homebrew store the day I brewed, and I ground them at the store.

We kept the procedure very simple for my first AG brew... maybe too simple? I used my buddy's cooler for the mashing. We put all of the grains in a big bag, and put them in the bottom of the cooler. We heated 3.5 gallons of water up to about 165 degrees and poured it over the grains in the cooler. Once it was all settled, the temperature of the mash in the cooler was right at 155. We closed the lid, and it maintained 155 fairly well. We kept about a gallon of water on the side at 170F (or lower) and twice over the course of the hour, we had to pour a little of the extra hot water over the grains to bring the temp back to 155. It never got below about 152. We kept the temperature as close to 155 as we could for the entire hour, and I thought we did a decent job. At the end of the hour, we drained the contents of the cooler into the brewpot. We poured maybe 1 more gallon of water slowly over the grains to get the last bit of goodness out of them (I assume that is what is meant by sparging). We never brought the temp up to 168 before sparging. When it was all said and done, we used 6 gallons of water so the boil started with 6 gallons minus whatever the grains soaked up. I would guess it was just over 5 gallons. The final amount after the boil was just under 5 gallons. I didn't have any issues with draining freely because we put the grains in a bag. My buddy says he always does it that way, and I know he's made some tasty AG brews.

I did a 90 minute boil on this batch. As I said, the pre-boil volume was probably a little low (5.25 to 5.5 gallons probably), but I was okay with that for this batch. In the future, I will bring it up to 6 - 6.5. In the end, I think I only lost about 0.5 to 0.75 gallons on the boil because my final volume was just a touch below the 5 gallon mark on my fermentor. If anything, this should have increased the OG.

After the boil, I used the wort chiller to bring it down to pitching temp. Once in the fermentator, it was 70F so I took the OG and pitched the yeast.

The only things I can think of that I did wrong were:
1) Maybe I should have done the mash for longer than 60 minutes
2) I didn't bring the temp up to 168 for mash out

I wouldn't think that those two things could account for such a low OG, but maybe there was something else that I'm missing.

Thanks for your other tips. I will definitely take them into account for future brews. At this point, I may retreat back into my shell and do some more extract brews before I try another AG brew. I've been nervous about trying AG, and now I'm a little gun shy. But I would like to figure out what I did wrong so I can fix it the next time I go AG.

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Old 01-17-2011, 04:26 PM   #206
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DougE,

Welcome to HBT!

Your low gravity could be the result of many things. The crush of the grains might have been a bit coarse. If the grains were not ground much the water could not get in to convert the starches to sugar.

Your rinsing of the grains might have gone too fast. I am old school when it comes to sparging (rinsing). I fly sparge. Which is constantly keeping 2" of so of hot water on top of the grain bed when draining. I take about 45-60 minutes to run the entire amount of water through the grains. I usually start with close to 8 gallons in my kettle and evaporate off 1.5 gallons or so over a 90 minute boil.

I am not sure when I might brew a Blue Moon again, but I should be brewing something in the next couple of weeks, weather depending. Drop me a PM if you would like to travel to the SW Denver suburbs to help me do an all grain batch. Hopefully you might be able to pick up something you can use in your brewing.

A link to my rig in in my signature. I may have some more stuff in my system to make it easier for this old man to do things, but the principle is the same in all grain brewing.

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Old 01-17-2011, 04:41 PM   #207
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i think the big things are:
1) how well you ground the grain. The finer the grind the better in most cases (you can go to fine though)

the big problems I see is the sparge.

1) 1 gal is not nearly enough. Usually you would mash with about 3 gal of water for 10 lbs of grain then add 4 gal to sparge. With only a gal i think you left alot of sugar behind do to too little of a sparge.
2) i think the bag idea while nice for clean up doesnt all for a good mixture and you can get a lot of dry pockets of grain. Thus the water cant get to them to convert and disolve the sugar so you dont get anything out of them.

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Old 01-17-2011, 04:46 PM   #208
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Bob: I havent tasted the beer yet since its gone in the keg (i brewed it for a friend this time, but I will be trying it this coming weekend). I added the extract late in the ferm. so I wouldnt blow off all the aroma. At kegging day the orange smell was strong which is what i wanted. I could taste the orange and I got zero bitterness. If anything the flavor was a bit bland but this was because of the yeast. I used US-05 and kept it down into around 64-65F so i dont think I got any flavor from the yeast at all. The color using 2-row with the crystal was spot on so I think vienna may make it a bit too dark and may be a bit too malty.

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:27 PM   #209
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Don't know how the crush of the grains could be wrong. I used the mill at the homebrew store that everyone else uses.

It sounds like the consensus is that my sparging was too fast/not thorough enough. I could believe that. I was just following my buddy's lead. I know he's brewed a lot of tasty AG brews, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was doing it right. He made the comment that most of his AG brews used closer to 20 pounds of grain and were very high in alcohol content so I don't know if that changes anything. He also said he started using the bag as he increased the quantities of grain because his drain kept getting clogged. It sure seems like a great idea, but if it doesn't work then it doesn't work.

So what is the consensus? Does this beer still have a chance at being somewhat tasty even if the gravities and alcohol content are way off? Also, is 60 minutes long enough to do the mash (not counting the sparging at the end) or should I have gone longer?

Thanks again everyone.

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:40 PM   #210
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Default Vienna Moon Tweaks

Thanks ekjohns,

I am using Nilo's version of Wayne's original recipe with the Vienna substitution suggestion from Wayne's post #188 with less Crystal 40L. I just got a great deal on a 55# sack of Weyermann Vienna so Im going to try this out using Vienna as well as the additional Flaked Oats at 1.5# sugested to get a better creaminess to the body.

Im not sure I will add the Orange Extract to the fermenter after blowoff as you suggest, I will add the 0.5oz at the end of the boil. I may end up using both the some Valencia peel and the extract. Im not sure the bitterness is something you want to get rid of completely but I do like the orange taste.

One question I have for Wayne is what fermentation schedule you have used for BM. I know you have said the freshness is key here. How many days would you ferment this and what temps. How many days carbed before tasting.

Im using 21 days for primary at 66-68F and 2 weeks force carbing/conditioning at 35F so about 5 weeks to taste.

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On Tap: Uncle Buddy's Bock, Old Ale Jack Daniels Barrel Aged 8 Months, Stone 15th Anniversary Clone Black IIPA, Schwartzbier, ABSF Spotted Cow, ThreeC IPA, Kona Volcano Pale - Amarillo/Mosaic Dry Hopped, Cade's Campout Ale

Conditioning/Lagering/Carbing:

Dry Hopping:

Primary: Zombie Dust IPA

Next: HefeWeisse, BrewDog Hardcore IPA, Red Oktober

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