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Old 05-20-2012, 04:18 AM   #1
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Default Help me make good beer

So i have been brewing for 5 years now, started making extract beer and moved to all grain about 3 years ago. As sad as it is i never really took any readings didnt care just liked making beer. So about 8 months ago bought a refract. and started taking readings and notes. Here is my problem when i make low gravity beers I have no problem hitting my og but when it comes to high gravity beers I cant seem to hit my numbers. My system is two bayou classic kettles, I use one for a direct fire mashtun and the other iuse as a kettle. I started doing 90 min mashes to try to up my efifciency but when it come to high gravity beers it makes no difference. I have a march pump. I just need some advice on what i can do to increase my numbers. I hope this is enough info let me know if you need more.

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Old 05-20-2012, 04:24 AM   #2
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So i have been brewing for 5 years now, started making extract beer and moved to all grain about 3 years ago. As sad as it is i never really took any readings didnt care just liked making beer. So about 8 months ago bought a refract. and started taking readings and notes. Here is my problem when i make low gravity beers I have no problem hitting my og but when it comes to high gravity beers I cant seem to hit my numbers. My system is two bayou classic kettles, I use one for a direct fire mashtun and the other iuse as a kettle. I started doing 90 min mashes to try to up my efifciency but when it come to high gravity beers it makes no difference. I have a march pump. I just need some advice on what i can do to increase my numbers. I hope this is enough info let me know if you need more.
Sometimes eff. can be overrated. If you know you're consistantly low on high gravity brews, why don't you just increase your grainbill to compensate? If you mill your own grains, try tighting the gap a tad, or ask your LHBS to double mill your grains. Not sure how you are sparging, but if you batch sparge, try double batch sparging (splitting your sparge water addition into 2)

Worse comes to worse have some DME on hand to raise the gravity.

I have had issues as well with higher gravity beers. I typically add 10% more base malt to my recipes if my OG is over 1.070. That seems to get me to my expected OG.
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Old 05-20-2012, 04:44 AM   #3
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Youre automatically going to get lower efficiency with higher OG beers bc you have so much more grain compared to water. Unless you boil for a lot longer you will leave sugar behind in the grain resulting in lower efficiency. I get about 80% brewhouse on most beers, but that drops to 63-65% on high gravity ones.

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:33 AM   #4
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funny I get 80% on beers between 1.050-1.060 and 63% on beers <1.045. Oh yeah I do go no sparge on low gravity beers.

Seriously though, if you are consistent at certain gravities then don't sweat it, just design your beers based on that efficiency. What is the difference between 65-80% efficiency, $3? Just plan on going low (with your efficiency) and design your beer around that. I will pay an extra $3 to know what I am getting and be sure it is delicious!

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Great advice guys thankyou, I guess my concern is what is the point in making a barleywine or RIS or anything with a ton of grain if I'm not getting all of the potential sugar out of it, should i just compensate with dme or sugar to get those big beers, By the way I batch sparge I dont know if that makes a huge difference or not, Its just discouraging to put all that grain in and not get what I expect out of it.

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:49 PM   #6
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Great advice guys thankyou, I guess my concern is what is the point in making a barleywine or RIS or anything with a ton of grain if I'm not getting all of the potential sugar out of it, should i just compensate with dme or sugar to get those big beers, By the way I batch sparge I dont know if that makes a huge difference or not, Its just discouraging to put all that grain in and not get what I expect out of it.
Most people get lower gravity in "big" beers. It's just the nature of the beast. Unless you have a pro set up, you have a really hard time extracting all of the sugars in a bigger mash. Just make sure to stir the mash really well after each sparge addition and vorlauf again to settle the grain bed. It will help with eff.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:06 AM   #7
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If you're trying to chase efficiency you could do more sparges, but in turn you'll have to boil longer to reach your target volume

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Old 05-21-2012, 04:25 AM   #8
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Get rid of the refrac and get a hydrometer. Refrac for dark/high gravity beers = skewed readings.

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Old 05-21-2012, 04:32 AM   #9
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Most people get lower gravity in "big" beers. It's just the nature of the beast. Unless you have a pro set up, you have a really hard time extracting all of the sugars in a bigger mash. Just make sure to stir the mash really well after each sparge addition and vorlauf again to settle the grain bed. It will help with eff.
What do you mean by pro set up I seem to think i have a pretty good set up?
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:34 AM   #10
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Get rid of the refrac and get a hydrometer. Refrac for dark/high gravity beers = skewed readings.
I have a hydrometer, It just seemed complicated to have to adjust for temp, I never heard that dark or high gravity beers could affect the readings
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