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Old 09-30-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
TheCrowsNest
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Default Golden Strong Ale efficiency issues

I brewed this last night, I was thinking of something along the lines of a Belgian Golden Strong ale but didn't quite stick to style. My LHBS threw me a curveball when they said they will never get clear candi sugar again (apparently the guy that makes it couldn't justify it?), so I had to use table sugar.

My OG came in at 1.058 - way off. That's under 60%. I'm pretty bummed, as I've never missed the mark by that much with my setup. Ever. This was my mash schedule: 4.2 gallons for 60 min @ 160; sparge 5.8 gallons for 15 min @ 165.

I've never used table sugar as an adjunct before. Any ideas what could have thrown this efficiency off by so much?

Size: 5.0 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 265.61 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.079 (1.070 - 1.095)
Terminal Gravity: 1.020 (1.005 - 1.016)
Color: 9.7 (3.0 - 6.0)
Alcohol: 7.85% (7.5% - 10.5%)
Bitterness: 43.1 (22.0 - 35.0)

Ingredients:
12.0 lb Belgian Pils
1.0 lb Belgian Biscuit
0.5 lb Belgian Cara-Pils
1.0 lb White Table Sugar (Sucrose)
1.0 oz Amarillo® (8.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
1.0 oz Saaz (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 20 m
2 ea Cloves (whole) - added during boil, boiled 20 m
2 ea Lemon zest - added during boil, boiled 20 m
1.0 oz Saaz (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 1 m
2.0 oz Saaz (5.0%) - added dry to secondary fermenter

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:05 PM   #2
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Do you mill your own grain, or is this done by the Lhbs? If you do your own milling and normally follow the process you described above, then I can't say why the low eff. However, if the store did the milling, they may have not crushed the grain as fine as they usually do. Just my 2cents.
For what it's worth, II mill my own grain and here is my process for an efficiency of 90%
http://backyardbrewer.blogspot.com/2...fficiency.html

mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
TheCrowsNest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbird View Post
Do you mill your own grain, or is this done by the Lhbs? If you do your own milling and normally follow the process you described above, then I can't say why the low eff. However, if the store did the milling, they may have not crushed the grain as fine as they usually do. Just my 2cents.
For what it's worth, II mill my own grain and here is my process for an efficiency of 90%
http://backyardbrewer.blogspot.com/2...fficiency.html

mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com
I let the LHBS do the milling, just haven't gotten around to buying a mill yet. I just read through your link - do you use any rice husks to help create a filter bed? I'm using a false bottom and the holes are considerably larger than that of a mesh tube. For a crush like that it looks like I'd have to vorlauf for like 20 minutes (based on no mathematical evidence whatsoever) before getting a good filter set up.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
mbird
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Hi,
Based on the fact that the LHBS did the milling, I would say that is the problem. Especially if you haven't changed your process.
I don't use rice hulls but I do use a s.s. braided hose as a filter, I gave up on the false bottom many years ago. With the hose, I circulate about a quart of liquid to achieve the clarity I desire. I can understand your concern if you use a false bottom but when I was using a false bottom I still crushed the grain pretty well getting about 80-85% eff. without any stuck mashes. Have you had a stuck mash in the past? If not, crush a little more with each batch of beer until you get a better eff. without sticking.
mark
www.backyardbrewer.blogspot.com

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Old 09-30-2011, 09:51 PM   #5
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I've never had to deal with a stuck mash. Have you ever crushed your grains at something smaller than 0.029"? I'm sure my magic number will be different, just curious.

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Old 09-30-2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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No, I have not set this mill to a smaller gap. I'm happy with +90% eff. My worry is tanin extraction althought I haven't experienced that so I'm not sure why I won't crank it down a little more. In any case, I'm happy where it's at and my beers come out pretty good. Cheers!
mark
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:44 AM   #7
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Looking at the recipe I would have used at least another pound of table sugar. It doesn't solve your efficiency issue per se but it would have bumped up your OG by 7-8 points. In a BGSA it would also help dry it out and attenuate enough. Mashing at 160 won't help either, I like to mash at 145-147 for that style of beer. IF it finishes at 1.020 I would think it will be an overly sweet beer. My BGSA finishes at around 1.009

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Old 10-01-2011, 03:15 AM   #8
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Did you really mash at 160F, or is that a typo? Seems about 10-12F high for a golden strong (or any higher OG beer for that matter). That's also outside of the optimal temp range for enzyme activity, and barely within the range for which the enzymes we rely on are active at all. Have you calibrated your thermometer recently? If you really did mash at 160, and your thermometer is a couple degrees off, you could have denatured the majority of the enzymes with excessive heat.

And the grain bed is really what forms the filter, not the false bottom or manifold, so the vorlauf time/amount should be about the same regardless of the equipment.

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