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Old 08-13-2009, 06:11 AM   #1
stephelton
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Default OG overkill! Dilute?

Just finished brewing. I overshot my OG by around 0.01. I ended up with 1.075, was wanting to hit mid to low 1.060's. Unfortunately, I cut the hops back a bit this time, because last time I made this recipe I thought the hops were a bit much.

I'm wondering if I should dilute it, maybe add half a gallon of water or so. It's fermenting in a 15 gallon container, and is about 10 gallons right now.

What baffles me is that my sample pre-boil was about 1.047, at about 11.5 gallons. I forgot to sample the volume after boiling, which makes this a mess; however, I'm using a 12" thermowell, and it can reach the wort (with a small margin) which means it must be at least about 9 to 9.5 gallons. So that rules out an absurd boil off.

I took another sample with a wine theif, from the middle of the fermenter, and it's even higher than the first sample -- 1.076. I calibrated the refractometer I'm using (with distilled water), to rule that out. It was negligibly off.

This is my "Brown Brew" recipe:

Code:

   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 67.0    17.81 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)              America        73.35      2   
  8.2     2.19 lbs. Amber Malt                    Great Britain  65.04     35  
  7.9     2.10 lbs. Crystal 20L                   America        71.27     20  
 11.8     3.14 lbs. Munich Malt(2-row)            America        71.27      6   
  5.1     1.34 lbs. Biscuit Malt                  Great Britain  71.27     35  


Hops

   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1.50 oz.    Northern Brewer                   Pellet   9.10  32.8  90 min.
  2.00 oz.    Willamette                        Pellet   3.40   4.0  15 min.
I used 1.5 oz of the Northern brewer though. This might end up being a bit malty.

Anyway, it's obvious that I really nailed my efficiency and I've got a strong beer on my hands. I'm wondering if I should dilute it a bit before it ferments.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:19 AM   #2
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I'm thinking if your pre-boil sample was with a hydrometer maybe you did not correct for temperature there and your pre-boil reading was actually higher than you thought. The hop utilization is what it is. They will have utilized a bit lower due to the higher gravity. The question is do you want a beer with that much alcohol or not? If you want a more sessionable beer go ahead and dilute it some. I'd say more in the ballpark of at least a gallon of water for a 10 gallon batch. That gives you 10% dilution. There is no harm in adding some water as long as you pre-boil it to sterilize.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

I always use my refractometer (with few exceptions) during the brew day. I imagine the pre boil sample I obtained was from a wort that was not thoroughly mixed. It was quite low, considering the other samples I had taken during my batch sparge.

I'm not necessarily looking for a session beer, but I had something a bit easier to drink in mind. I'm going to ferment very low -- I think around 62 (because I can now so maybe the high alcohol content won't be so harsh.

The one thing I can't really fix (I guess I could make a hop tea...) is the hop bitterness. Diluting will not really affect that though.

Let me take another approach. Given the recipe I posted, what do you think about 1.075 OG?

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Old 08-13-2009, 07:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephelton View Post
Let me take another approach. Given the recipe I posted, what do you think about 1.075 OG?
Stephelton:

Beer is highly personal and subjective. I don't know if this is a recipe you have done before and are familiar with and like. You may have been looking for a lighter brown. I think for a brown the grain bill is a little light on some of the darker malts, although the amber should help some there. What kind of SRM were you targetting? I would have gone with some 60 or 80 on the crystal, maybe some special toasted malt, a bit o chocolate, or a darker munich variety.

Again personal preference but I think with some of the heavier roasted malts I mentioned, it would have a better sweet balance against a high alcohol content. I am not at home so can't look at beersmith, but without knowing the yeast, but assuming some sort of american ale yeast, I'd guess you are going to ferment down into maybe the 1.020 area and end up around 7% alcohol as is. That is not an extremely high level, but it may stand out against the lighter grain bill.

That is just my initial gut feel, and hopefully some others will chime in and confirm it, or offer other opinions based on similiar beers they have brewed. I would personally be tempted to dilute it a bit more towards your original target goal.

Either way it's gonna be beer, and it's gonna be your beer, and that's always a happy thing.

Cheers
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:01 AM   #5
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I would ferment it unless you are a stickler about getting 10 full gallons of beer.

I would still just ferment it. Lots of o2 and a big starter....

David

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Old 08-13-2009, 02:08 PM   #6
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You apparently got better efficiency than you normally do. I would dilute it now, as I'm a firm believer in hitting where I'm aiming. Dilution will also reduce the IBUs, so if that concerns you, you can boil 1/4 oz of hops in the makeup water.

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Old 08-13-2009, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
You apparently got better efficiency than you normally do. I would dilute it now, as I'm a firm believer in hitting where I'm aiming. Dilution will also reduce the IBUs, so if that concerns you, you can boil 1/4 oz of hops in the makeup water.
I may try making a hop tea with a gallon of water and try to bring my IBU up a bit. I'm having a hard time making up my mind. Will it have a large impact on fermentation if I do so now vs. later?

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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
You apparently got better efficiency than you normally do. I would dilute it now, as I'm a firm believer in hitting where I'm aiming. Dilution will also reduce the IBUs, so if that concerns you, you can boil 1/4 oz of hops in the makeup water.
My efficiency has been increasing over time. This is my 17th all grain brew. My efficiency has gone from the 50's to the 80's now. That said, I think one of my big problems is that my efficiencies are likely calculated based on incorrect grain properties. The 2 row I've been using is listed in Pro Mash as something like 75% potential. I emailed Great Western to ask about their two row, and was told it was actually about 81%. So between having incorrect data and my efficiency not being entirely predictable, I've had a real problem there.

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Originally Posted by Zen_Brew View Post
Beer is highly personal and subjective. I don't know if this is a recipe you have done before and are familiar with and like. You may have been looking for a lighter brown. I think for a brown the grain bill is a little light on some of the darker malts, although the amber should help some there. What kind of SRM were you targetting? I would have gone with some 60 or 80 on the crystal, maybe some special toasted malt, a bit o chocolate, or a darker munich variety.
The recipe actually included chocolate malt, and 30 (instead of 20) Crystal malt. Unfortunately, I forgot the chocolate malt at the brew store, and got 20 (instead of 30) Crystal. So I added some biscuit and some amber malt and decided to roll with it. This was a modified recipe of one I did several months ago that I liked quite a bit. The SRM, due to the lighter crystal and chocolate, will be a lot lighter.

Here's another thought. Steep some darker cyrstal (to balance the 20 I used) and some chocolate malt in about 1.5 or 2 gallons of water (after all, I will be adding fermentables here) as well as about 1/4 - 1/3 or so an oz of my 9.1% AA Northen Brewer? What affects will it have on fermentation, esp. if I can't get to this until tonight (about 18 hours after pitching the heavy starter I pitched? (subnote: I just peeked at the airlock, it's going nuts))
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
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What yeast are you using?

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:31 PM   #9
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What yeast are you using?
A third generation of Wyeast American Ale II. I made a pretty healthy starter for it.
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stephelton View Post
Here's another thought. Steep some darker cyrstal (to balance the 20 I used) and some chocolate malt in about 1.5 or 2 gallons of water (after all, I will be adding fermentables here) as well as about 1/4 - 1/3 or so an oz of my 9.1% AA Northen Brewer? What affects will it have on fermentation, esp. if I can't get to this until tonight (about 18 hours after pitching the heavy starter I pitched? (subnote: I just peeked at the airlock, it's going nuts))
That's an interesting thought. If you were definitely looking for something a bit darker that may help provide the ticket. According to the beersmith entries I made your SRM is currently around 10ish. As long as you keep the grain additions reasonable the overall effect should be to increase the color, body, and hop presence, and dilute the alcohol a bit. If you think you are at 10 gallons than I would think about a gallon is all you want to add. If you used 2 lbs of grain that would give you a 2qt/gallon steep ratio which should be pretty good. I would be tempted to go with a crystal 40 or 60 instead of 30to get some more toasted flavor in there. I would think you'll need a short boil after the steep to ensure your wort is sterile. Probably 15 minutes would suffice. It would also bring out more acids from the hops. By the way unless you were looking for strong hop presence, beersmith already puts you within style for an american brown at about 33-34 IBU

If you go that route you want to get it in there while fermentation is very active. If the temp is pretty close when you add I don't think the yeast will blink. They'll just party some more with the additional sugars. Also as alcohol is now entering the beer keep the splashing and oxygenation down as much as possible.
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