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Old 12-30-2012, 02:07 PM   #1
ChickenSandwichCarl
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Default Low Attenuation: Possible Factors and Fixes?

So I just finished a hoppy amber extract brew with and OG 1.056 and was hoping for a FG of 1.012 or 1.011 which would be in the high 70% for attenuation. Ended up with 1.015/1.016(my hydrometer's tough to read) which is in the low 70's for attenuation.

It was fermented with california ale yeast WLP001 at between 64* and 66*F. Had a very good early fermentation(had a mini blow out). Left in the primary for 3 weeks. Dry hopped for 5 days then cold crashed for 5 days at 36* before bottling today.

The beer smells and looks awesome, tastes a little too sweet for what I was going for.

Thoughts?

Let me know if I need to supply any more information

Thanks

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:25 PM   #2
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Its not uncommon for people to have a hard time reaching the desired FG with extract (honestly 1.015/.16 isn't that bad, I've hard trouble getting past 1.020 haha). It sounds like the fermentation went well so its probably just the extract.

Personally I think that the higher gravity of these extract beers stem from the generation of unfermentables during the wort boil due to caramalization. I've found that a full-volume boil, to reduce scorching, help to bring that FG down. If you can't get the bigger kettle try adding the extract a little later during the boil

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:28 PM   #3
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Did you make a starter for the yeast? with WLP001 you will get better attenuation next time if you make a yeast starter to increase the number of yeast cells before pitching. If you use US-05 (the dry yeast equivalent) you will not need a starter.

Did you oxygenate the wort before pitching? After boiling, there is very little oxygen left in the wort, but the yeasts need O2 to reproduce, and with inadequate O2, you will get lower attenuation.

Have you checked your hydrometer in cold water? It is not unusual for hydrometers to read a few points high or low. If yours reads 1.002 in 60 degree water, then just subtract the 0.002 from every reading to correct the error.

Some extracts are more fermentable than others. You may get better results by using extract from a different Maltster. I have found that Muntons ferments well, but I'm sure there are others that I have never tried.


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Last edited by ajf; 12-30-2012 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Added another paragraph
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
Did you make a starter for the yeast? with WLP001 you will get better attenuation next time if you make a yeast starter to increase the number of yeast cells before pitching. If you use US-05 (the dry yeast equivalent) you will not need a starter.

Did you oxygenate the wort before pitching? After boiling, there is very little oxygen left in the wort, but the yeasts need O2 to reproduce, and with inadequate O2, you will get lower attenuation.

Have you checked your hydrometer in cold water? It is not unusual for hydrometers to read a few points high or low. If yours reads 1.002 in 60 degree water, then just subtract the 0.002 from every reading to correct the error.

Some extracts are more fermentable than others. You may get better results by using extract from a different Maltster. I have found that Muntons ferments well, but I'm sure there are others that I have never tried.


-a.
The hydrometer is correct. I've checked it a couple of times because I'm paranoid, and definitely made sure to aerate it very well. Vigorous shaking for about 5 minutes. I did not make a starter(I do plan on using them in the future)and when I opened the tube it started to explode, so its possible I didn't get it all in there.

This is going to be my only extract beer anyway. I made it just because it came with the kit.


Thanks for the tips
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