The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Consistently 20 points low........

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-06-2012, 10:48 PM   #1
OofC_Zer0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Palmyra, VA
Posts: 85
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default Consistently 20 points low........

So I have been brewing since January of this year. I have never brewed a bad beer, and never had an infected batch. Most of the beers I have brewed are big beers(1.080+). And I can definitely tell that they have an abundance of alcohol. But according to my hydrometer readings, I am consistently 20 points low(maybe not always 20 points, I would say at least 10 points and sometimes up to 20). I have bought 3 hyrdrometers and checked and they are all the same. I get my grain milled at my LHBS, and I have never asked but I dont believe that they have problems(but I guess they could). And all my beers finish out at 1.010 or lower. I have used 2 different digital lead thermometers, and tried mercury as well, and as far as I can tell im accurate with my mash temp within a few degrees. I fly sparge with 168-174 degree water. I usually go for whatever pre boil volume beersmith says, but I never get the pre boil gravity that it says i should. Not sure on my setup how much wort I boil off in an hour, I usually just watch it and if its not boiled down enough I will turn up the heat and vice-versa. For a few months I was brewing every Saturday, I would say I have brewed 25-30 times all together. My first batch was a partial mash kit, and from then on its been AG all the way. I hope that's enough information to at least give me a possible scenario, but if not ask anything you need. I keep good notes so I should be able to answer anything. Thanks in advance!

__________________
OofC_Zer0 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-06-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
dzlater
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,038
Liked 26 Times on 25 Posts
Likes Given: 109

Default

.

__________________
dzlater is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-06-2012, 11:11 PM   #3
duboman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Glenview, IL
Posts: 5,958
Liked 450 Times on 419 Posts
Likes Given: 200

Default

One place to start is becoming sure of a lot of things you are not sure of

You are not sure you get a good crush
You are not sure of your mash temps
You are not sure of your boil off
You are not sure your system set up is correct

Until you can confirm all of theses things, then these are the things you need I look at.

Beersmith is a tool and it will only spit out the correct information if what's entered is correct.

__________________
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010
duboman is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-06-2012, 11:25 PM   #4
OofC_Zer0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Palmyra, VA
Posts: 85
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

i said i used 3 different thermometers and all are within a degree or 2 of my target temp, and the grain looks to be milled correctly with the husks split and all but what i meant is that i have not asked to see if they get any complaints about the mill. and i always wind up with the correct volume after boil im just not sure of how much boil off at what setting i get for a certain amount of time, which is why i watch and adjust as i boil. what about my system is not set up correct? just trying to figure out exactly what you think i should be zeroing in on. not trying to sound ungrateful of your advice. thank you.

beersmith is just giving me what i should have with the ingredients im using at a guesstimated 72% efficency not sure what i could put in wrong that would make that information irrelevant

__________________
OofC_Zer0 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-06-2012, 11:38 PM   #5
SpeedYellow
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,043
Liked 98 Times on 81 Posts
Likes Given: 20

Default

See the above posts again. A few points:

1. Just because 3 thermometers are within 1-2F of your target doesn't mean any of them are correct. Calibrate one with ice water and boiling water or a calibrated Hg unit.
2. Investigate crush issues. If somebody is doing it for you, it could well be a poor crush. Asking about complaints is, ahem, an inaccurate gauge of crush quality.
3. Boil off has nothing to do with efficiency, so ignore that.
4. Big beers typically have lower efficiency because sparge water is reduced.
5. It's impossible to judge how you are doing when you haven't even told us your efficiency. Tell us efficiency of either mash, into fermenter, or brewhouse.

__________________
SpeedYellow is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 12:02 AM   #6
OofC_Zer0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Palmyra, VA
Posts: 85
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

photo.jpg
photo-1-.jpg
looks like my mercury thermometer is accurate withing .5 degrees. left it in the ice water (mostly ice) for a few minutes(stirring). Boiled it for a few minutes as well and held steady. according to beersmith with my low gravity readings, my measured mash efficency is in the range of 50-60% depending on the brew. how exactly would you suggest that i investigate my grain crush?
__________________
OofC_Zer0 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 12:26 AM   #7
billl
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,780
Liked 248 Times on 208 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

There really is no magic to the process. You just have to start measuring things and making sure they are working well.

So, starting with your rig. Are you using a converted cooler? What type of manifold/braid/false bottom do you have? How long do you stir at mash in? What water ratios are you using? How much of a temp drop do you get during the mash? What temp are you lautering at? (not the sparge water, but the actual temp in the tun?) How long are you boiling?

A simple "trick" is to just increase the preboil volume to get more sugars and then increase the boil time or intensity to hit your targeted post boil volumes. This can really help with big beers.

__________________
billl is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
duboman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Glenview, IL
Posts: 5,958
Liked 450 Times on 419 Posts
Likes Given: 200

Default

Glad to see you are pro-active

For the crush I find a gap of .035 or 1mm is great so ask at the LHBS and if they won't adjust then ask them to mill twice.

As mentioned check your mash tun and also fill it with water and drain. See how much liquid is left, you could be missing a lot lot of tasty wort behind. Verify temperature drop and also be sure to dough in really well with a couple of good stirs during the mash

Boil water in your kettle for an hour and see what your boil off is-use a calibrated brewing stick measured in 1/2g increments

If your mash efficiency is that low it will be associated with the crush, dough in, temp, ph and water chemistry. Start with the easiest and go from there

Be sure you hit your pre-boil gravity, it gives you an idea of what's going on and allows you to make adjustments by either adding extract or boiling longer to hit your desired OG.

A good efficiency across the board is 75% but more importantly is dialing everything to be consistent. I would rather know that every time I brew I'm at a certain consistency than being all over the place for each batch

Take better process notes including temps, volumes so you can tweak as you go. If your detailed with everything you should just need a couple batches to get better results!

__________________
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010
duboman is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 01:03 AM   #9
RedGlass
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 214
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

Are you accounting for temperature in your hydrometer readings? Do you take a pre-boil gravity reading, or are you calculating efficiency based on OG and (unknown) boil off rate?

As others have said, if you're consistent with your efficiency, just factor that into your grain bill and you'll be good to go.

__________________
RedGlass is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-07-2012, 01:16 AM   #10
OofC_Zer0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Palmyra, VA
Posts: 85
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...Parts_r-1-.jpg
that is what i used to make my mash tun, followed it to the T.
i usually stir for about 10 minutes or so, mostly to get the temperature as close as possible. and then half way through mash i open up and stir for 5 to 10 mins checking temperature and then start heating my sparge water. i usually just heat the water to what beersmith says, once i add the grain im usually a few degrees higher so i stir or add an ice cube or 2 to get to my desired temp. usually mash at 152, which puts my strike water at 166-168 and sparge water at 168-170. depending on how bitter i make my recipe (i only brew ipas double ipas and russian imperial stouts) i do a 90 or 60 minute boil. my pre boil gravity is never what beer smith says it is, ive always just assumed that beersmith was incorrect and that it was requiring too much wort to boil. so with that in mind, i think it could be safe to say that i am either no getting the crush i need or i am leaving a good dense layer of sugars at the bottom of my mash tun. so by your suggestion i should tell my LHBS that i want my crush setting to .035 ot 1mm or to crush it twice. and if i am losing a layer of precious sugars at the bottom how would i retrieve said sugars. thanks again for all the responses and suggestions.
__________________
OofC_Zer0 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DMS consistently on score sheets rocketman768 All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 13 05-15-2012 07:03 PM
OG consistently too high JiBiru8 All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 2 04-29-2012 08:18 AM
consistently bad effeciency ?'s ericsabbat All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 8 06-12-2011 01:30 PM
Consistently low OG pearlbeer All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 9 01-05-2010 06:02 AM
OG consistently too high smackythefrog All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 15 11-22-2009 01:26 PM