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Old 04-30-2010, 01:12 AM   #1
khanti
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Default Attenuation: Extract vs All Grain

So I recently made the switch from extract to all-grain brewing. My first All-Grain brew was a Belgian Dark Strong Ale and I had the most insane fermentation I've yet witnessed. I wound up getting 89.1% apparent attenuation, a record for me, and smashed the 1.020 barrier I'd been struggling with (1.100 down to 1.010). But I was also using a new yeast (WLP500) and a fairly low mash temp, so I figured it was just a fluke.

So a week later, I converted my favorite IIPA recipe to all grain. I pretty much just swapped out the Extra Light DME for American 2-row. Wound up with an identical starting gravity to what the extract version of this beer was and again I got crazy attenuation. The extract version was 70.4%, the all-grain was 80.5%. I used a higher mash temp on this one than I did the Belgian (154 vs 149), but when comparing the identical recipe IIPAs, extract vs AG, everything was as close to the same as I can get.

So is AG just that more fermentable or are there other variables I'm just not accounting for? I really like the way the AG IIPA turned out, but it a completely different beer than the Extract version. Drier, thinner, less head retention, more hop-forward. Delicious, but a different beer.

Is this typical? Should I be adjusting my recipes to include more non-fermentables? Cara-pils or something?

TIA

-khanti

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Old 04-30-2010, 01:37 AM   #2
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Mash temperature matters. Mash higher for less attenuation. Mash lower for higher attenuation.

There's a lot more to all grain, but that's a decent starting place.

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Old 04-30-2010, 01:56 AM   #3
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Mash temp matters a ton!!!!! Same pitching rates I'll get 1.020 mashed at 160, and 1.008 mashed at 149.

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Old 04-30-2010, 02:10 AM   #4
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Agreed, that mash temp makes a huge difference, as is evidenced by my 80% at 154 vs 89% at 149, but I was still surprised to see such high attenuation even with a mash temp of 154 vs what I was seeing with extract.

When converting recipes, what mash temp can I assume DME was made at? For instance, is Light DME equivalent to a mash of its constituent grains of 154 or 152, etc?

Thanks again

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Old 04-30-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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according to the specs at Briess, their extract is only 75% fermentable

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Old 04-30-2010, 06:07 PM   #6
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Thanks! That's a number I can work with. Hadn't occurred to me the manufacturer would have published specs, just figured there might be a rule-of-thumb folks use.

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Old 04-30-2010, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcp27 View Post
according to the specs at Briess, their extract is only 75% fermentable
Looking back through my old extract brew logs, I have exactly one beer that was 100% Briess DME. It went from 1.048 OG to 1.012 FG, which is 75% right on the nose. Mix of wheat and pilsen DME with Wyeast 3638 pitched at 65F and allowed to free rise.
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