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Old 07-07-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
TRainH2o
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Default First Barley Wine, Missed SG Big Time

I just brewed my first Barley Wine yesterday and missed my starting gravity by quite a bit. Here's the recipe.

__________________________________________
Briess 2-Row Brewer's Malt 14 lbs
Weyermann Munich Type II 2 lbs
Briess 2 Row Caramel 10 1 lbs
Briess 2 Row Caramel 60 1 lbs
Crisp Amber Malt 1 lbs

Columbus Pellets 2 oz @ 60 mins
Cascade Pellets 1 oz @ 15 mins
Centennial Pellets 1 oz @ 15 mins
Cascade Pellets 1 oz @ 10 mins
Centennial Pellets 1 oz @ 5 mins
Cascade Pellets 1 oz @ 0 mins
Centennial Pellets 1 oz @ 0 mins

White Labs California Ale
________________________________________

OK, according to Brewbuilder, I should have hit about 1.104 at 75% efficiency for 5 gallons.

I had 1.076. This is post boil so the wort should be pretty well mixed and uniform in gravity at this point.

Not really sure what happened. I hit and held the mash temp the recipe called for, 149˚F for 60 minutes. I collected about 6.5 gallons but after my 60 minute boil, I was right at 5 gallons in the bucket. Granted, there was most likely a good half gallon left in the bottom of the kettle with the break and hops. This is not my first all grain and I have never been off like this before.

So, what to do? Is there any way to bump up the starting gravity at this point? I went ahead and added the yeast early this morning. I was afraid to let it go too long without pitching. Thoughts?

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Old 07-07-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
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It's not uncommon to get lower efficiency on high gravity beers. Main reason is that it takes a lot more sparge water to rinse 20# of grain than it does for 12#. So unless you want to do a very extended boil to get down to your target volume you lose sugars. An option is continuing to sparge and using that wort for another batch of small beer, but that's a whole other topic. To raise your gravity you can boil up some extract and add it, or add some other form of sugar(honey, table sugar, etc.)

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Old 07-07-2012, 06:06 PM   #3
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I was way off on my OG for a Baltic Porter that I brewed a while back. I boiled up 2 lbs of light DME in .5 gal of water, cooled, and added about 24 hours in after things were going strong and it turned out great. Big beers are hard to get decent efficiency from unless you fly sparge.

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I don't have much DME on hand and can't get any until Tuesday. I have heard that table sugar, corn or beet, will dry out a beer. What about adding brown sugar that has been boiled then cooled?

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Brown sugar is table sugar with molasses added, so it will have a similar effect, but will add a little flavor. All of these will ferment most of the way out. That being the case, it will increase your OG, but your FG will be very close to the same as it would have been without the addition.

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Old 07-07-2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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Edit nvm

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Old 07-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #7
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I may grab some brown sugar, boil it up and add to the primary after it cools. It looks like brown sugar adds about 9 gravity points/per pound in a 5 gallon batch, so I'll add about 3 pounds.

Thanks again.

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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Plugging your grain into beersmith with a 1 hour boil says 1.098 OG @75% efficiency. You got ~60%, which is pretty common with large OG beers @ five gallons with a 75% system. With bigger OG beers your efficiency usually suffers due to lack of sparge water, so I've been wanting to experiment with going with a thicker mash but I've haven't had a big beer to brew in awhile.

Next time just plan for an efficiency loss of 15% and up the grain bill till your mash tun maxes out, or try to increase your lautering efficiency, possible fly sparge if it makes sense with your equipment.

Or like I said just up your grain bill. at 1 quart per pound mash thickness and a 10 gallon tun you could have upped the base grain to 22lbs and still had a bit of room. This would have gotten you 1.111 OG @5gallon batch size @60% efficiency.

Good luck.

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:33 PM   #9
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Also if you really want maximum yeast health for your barleywine, it would make sense to add any time of sugar (unless DME/LME) to the fermentation vessel AFTER initial fermentation.

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #10
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So, to plan for this, what's better? To use more sparge water and boil longer? To use even more grain and make a session beer from the third runnings? I don't think I even get 1.10 on first runnings.

And if you do boil longer, does that mean you wait maybe an hour (or more) before you add any hops? What if you want to do FWH - do you get additional bitterness from FWH if you boil for 2 hours?

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