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Old 07-16-2008, 06:27 AM   #1
Grimsawyer
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Default FG just not getting low enough! 1qt/lb vs. 1.25qt/lb. How important is it?

I'm having a problem getting gravity to go down low enough. I had one beer that started at 1.084 not get below 1.038(had a GIANT starter and it sat for 3 weeks on yeast cake and 2 months in 2nd!!!!), and another that started at 1.046 ended at 1.019. The last one was suppose to be a corona-ish beer for a friend. Tastes great(no skunky!) but the mouthfeel is all wrong. I mashed that one at 149*F for an hour and a half. I pitched a brand new smack pack that completely filled up the pouch in 9 hours. Started bubbling away right out of the gate(well, 10 hours to light krausen) and I could tell when it was done but left it for a total of 10 days in the primary. There has been ZERO activity in the airlock for about 5 days. Might the problem be my water to grain ratio of 1qt of water to 1lb of grain? I've had extract brews finish out in the past with a lower gravity in 6 days... I'm getting irritated... While checking my notes my other beer that finished out on target(give or take 0.001) I diddn't reset beersmith to recalculate water needed from 1.25 qt/lb to 1 qt/lb. Does water ratio really make that big a difference?

my recepie was:

13lbs 2row
4lbs flaked corn
1lb carafoam
1oz cascade @60min
WYeast2112 California lager yeast
Fermented at 65*F 14 days.

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Old 07-16-2008, 08:27 AM   #2
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With flaked corn I would think a lower protein rest might help, perhaps pre-mash the corn prior to total mash.
For myself, I don't go below 1.25 qt per lb.

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Old 07-16-2008, 11:59 AM   #3
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On a slightly different note, how are you aerating? I was going through my brew log last night looking at 2 brews that had a slightly higher than expected FG. I write down everything when I brew and noticed that the first I ran out of O2 half way through aeration and the second brew I forgot I was out of O2 and just used the shake method. This is the only difference I can see between these 2 brews and my others and I mash most of the time at 1.25qts./lb..

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Old 07-16-2008, 12:44 PM   #4
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I don't know the chemistry, but a thicker mash favors a less fermentable wort, while a thinner mash favors a more fermentable wort. Still, mashing at 149 for 90 minutes should have done it!

I'd try mashing at 1.3 quarts/pound and see if it helps. I usually mash at 1.25 quarts/pound and at higher mash temperatures, since I like medium body/fuller bodied beers.

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Old 07-16-2008, 01:59 PM   #5
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Definitely try mashing a little thinner if you can. Also, check your thermometers. If you do not have a second thermo, go to Target and just buy a cheapy. Put them both in a glass of ice water and see what they both read.

The only reason I suggest this is because, like Yooper said, even with 1qt per lb, 149 for 90 minutes should have produced a very fermentable wort. However, if your thermo is off by a few degrees, I dont know how fermentable 1qt per lb for 90 minutes at 154 would be.

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Old 07-16-2008, 04:41 PM   #6
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Agree on checking your thermometer. Also make sure you're taking the temperature at a location best suited to give you the average temperature of your mash.

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Old 07-16-2008, 04:45 PM   #7
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It could be that the yeast simply quit on you for whatever reason.
My steps for dealing with this would be raising the temperature and re-suspending the yeast by agitating the carboy. If that doesn't do anything, re-pitching with a healthy batch of a clean ale or champagne yeast might do the trick (the flavor impact should be minuscule).

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Old 07-16-2008, 05:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
On a slightly different note, how are you aerating? I was going through my brew log last night looking at 2 brews that had a slightly higher than expected FG. I write down everything when I brew and noticed that the first I ran out of O2 half way through aeration and the second brew I forgot I was out of O2 and just used the shake method. This is the only difference I can see between these 2 brews and my others and I mash most of the time at 1.25qts./lb..
+1 with aeration

It has to be the aeration because a thick mash verses a thin mash doesn't make that much of a difference but aeration does. How are you Aerating?
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcaneXor View Post
It could be that the yeast simply quit on you for whatever reason.
My steps for dealing with this would be raising the temperature and re-suspending the yeast by agitating the carboy. If that doesn't do anything, re-pitching with a healthy batch of a clean ale or champagne yeast might do the trick (the flavor impact should be minuscule).
What's weird is I filled my 2 carboys up and pitched the yeast from BOTH smack packs. One in each of the carboys. Made a 10 gallon batch and Both 5 gallon carboys ended up at the same grav reading. 1.019..... I could expect that one could stop but both? I did get both the smack packs from the same place at the same time, was kinda last minute or I would have made a starter. Maybe a bunk batch from WYeast? As for aeration, just the shake meathod. My next purchase is an rv filter, relitavely cheap purchase compaired to a bottle of o2 and a regulator. That's out of my short term brewing allowance... I've got a SS Airstone and filter but I've made 2 10 gallon batches and compaired the shake meathod to the airstone w/ aquarium pump and it turns out the same. Even takes off about the same time. Next year's tax return and I've got an O2 bottle and a regulator, Till then it's just shakin'! I'm thinking maybe I will do up another batch of beer soon and jack up my water to grain ratio and use the same yeast, mash temp, shake meathod, etc. and this time hop it up a bit. Even the same grain bill. Then I'll know that the ratio is where the problem lies... That's all I can think of. Maybe when it's in the 2nd I'll add some extract and call it Imperial Mexican Corona or something goofy, but i'm getting ahead of myself there. Thanks for all the imput! I'll definately be checking my thermometers too.
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Old 07-17-2008, 10:34 PM   #10
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13 lbs 2 row and 4 lbs flaked corn?
I doubt the 2 row has enough diastatic power to convert 2 lbs corn.

-a.

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