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ApothecaryBrewing 11-20-2012 12:20 PM

Rye Pale Ale Fermentation Question
Hey! Relatively new to the forums and I have a pretty simple question that could be applied generally to fermentation but at the moment is directed towards a Rye Pale Ale Batch I brewed about 9 days ago.

The recipe was a self creation, using 9.9lbs of Light LME, 1lb Flaked Rye and 1 lb Crystal 40L. The OG @ 70F was about 1.060. It was supposed to be up around 1.073 I believe. I think I ended up short changing the LME by not scraping out the cans to get every last drop so 9.9lbs of LME turned into probably 9.5lbs.

I also do partial boils since I enjoy the shorter ramp up to boil and ramp down to chill. This I have heard may effect the OG.

Either way, OG was 1.060 @ 70. It has fermented for 9 days, had some yeast in the air lock so I know it was pretty vigorous at one point. I took a measurement yesterday and it was reading 1.020 @ ~70F. The FG was expected to be around 1.018 or 1.019.

I am going to wait until this upcoming weekend to move it to secondary and dry-hop it, but here is my question...

Even if fermentation has appeared to slow / stop (no visible air lock bubbles), can I rock my fermenter back and forth to agitated the yeast back into solution and try to bring the temperature up a couple degrees to reignite the yeast and hope to bring the FG down even farther?

Since I didn't hit the 1.073 OG mark I was hoping to try and push the FG down as close to 1.010 as I could get it. Is this possible? Is the agitation and warm method worth it or what? Just looking for a little guidance in fermentation.

Oh and I had pitched 2 x White Labs California Ale Yeast Vials... didn't plan ahead for a starter :-/

Please and Thanks!

Pie_Man 11-20-2012 03:06 PM

Did you steep the flaked rye? Flaked rye should really be mashed which would have required a based grain. I worry that you extracted a lot of proteins and starches into your beer.

To answer your question about rocking the fermenter back and forth, you can do that, but it's probably not going to lower gravity to 1.010 in my opinion. Here's why, first, this is an extract beer. A lot of extracts tend to be less fermentable which makes it difficult to get the low FG you're wanting, especially without using adjuncts like sugar. And secondly, I think if you steeped the flaked rye, that would add non fermentables to your beer (proteins, starches, etc.) which would also increase your FG.

Also, be careful not to introduce oxygen into the beer at this point. Rock the carboy gently, if at all. You will see a lot of activity in the airlock if you do this, it's mostly just CO2 in solution being released and not actual fermentation.

Your FG is pretty close enough to your anticipated gravity of 1.018-1.019 that I think you're good. I'd probably give the beer another week or two to completely finish up and clean up any by products created during fermentation.

ApothecaryBrewing 11-20-2012 03:37 PM

I did steep the rye at 150F for 60 min with the crystal 40. Wouldn't that have added to my OG instead of making it come out roughly 0.010 lower than expected?

The beer is pretty cloudy but has a nice hop bitterness and crispness to it so I am not too worried about the added starches/proteins from the steeped rye... I guess it may just be a little cloudy.

I guess I will wait a week and rack it to secondary. Thanks for the info!

Pie_Man 11-20-2012 05:12 PM

What's your final volume? The extract alone should have given you a higher gravity.

LME has about 36 gravity points, 36 * 9.5 = 342 / 5 gallons = 68 or 1.068. If 5.5 gallons into the fermenter than 342 / 5.5 = 62 or 1.062.

I'm not sure you got the conversion from the rye malt you were looking for. I've heard mixed advice on whether rye malt has enough diastatic power to convert itself (i.e. without the use of a base grain).

ApothecaryBrewing 11-20-2012 05:33 PM

I had done about a 3-4 gallon boil and topped it up to exactly 5 gallons when I dropped it into the fermenter. Before I did my OG reading I even calibrated my hydrometer and if it was off it was by a margin that I could not see and I have 20/20 vision haha.

Maybe I didn't clean out the LME cans as well as I should have.

Pie_Man 11-20-2012 05:41 PM

It's difficult to get an accurate gravity reading after adding top off water. Your wort, and the top off water, have different gravities and it's difficult to get them mixed together for an accurate reading. This is likely the main culprit; it's a pretty common question on here when people are doing partial boils. Your gravity was likely higher than 1.060.

daksin 11-20-2012 05:51 PM

Flaked grains have no diastatic power. They have been cooked (starches gelatinized) so you don't have to do a cereal mash, but they still need to be mashed with a base grain to convert any of that starch to sugar. You basically didn't get any rye in your beer, just a bunch of unconverted starch. Next time, mash your flaked grains with at least a pound of 2-row in 1.5qts/lb to get some conversion. That accounts for the low OG, and should give you a lower than expected FG as well- wait another week before deciding.

ApothecaryBrewing 11-20-2012 06:53 PM

I figured I messed up with the Flaked Rye. The guy at the LHBS told me a steep with some crystal would be fine and he seems like a rather knowledgeable fellow... should have known the interwebz know better.

I know this isn't the ideal forum for this, but for future renditions of this beer, should I opt for a different rye grain or should I follow the mash process with base malt if I am sticking with Extract for a bit?

Pie_Man 11-20-2012 07:27 PM

Flaked rye certainly needs to be mashed, I though you were using rye malt which should have enough diastatic power to convert itself, sorry for the confusion on my part.

If using flaked rye again, I would certainly do a partial mash, there's plenty of instructions on here about doing that.

ApothecaryBrewing 11-20-2012 07:28 PM

I appreciate the help. I heard Flaked Rye gave a better flavor, I will try Rye Malt next time and maybe dabble in partial mashing.


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