Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > help needed: brewing "tests" ?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-29-2009, 05:12 PM   #1
unholymess
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 40
Default help needed: brewing "tests" ?

I'm just returning to brewing after a couple years off from getting married, buying a house, moving, etc and am running into an issue with attenuation. With both an ESB and IPA all-grain brew that went nominally well, I can't get past 67% attenuation with yeast that should take me to 73-77% (wyeast 1335). In the hunt to figure out what idiot mistake I'm making, I went looking for brewing practice tests or homework items. Sadly, I'm not finding anything in print or on the web.

I'm looking for tests that might help me fine tune my process with a new rig, water and environment. If you have any ideas, please help a guy out!

One idea I've put together would be to brew an all base-malt beer (American Wheat, Kolsch, etc) that would remove unfermentable grains from the picture. The idea would be to take a 5 gallons recipe, scale it down to 1 or 2* gallons and then brew it a couple different ways to experiment with process changes. The small size would reduce the cost and pain of a possible drain-pour. I'd probably use a dry yeast to eliminate any smack-pack or starter issues - it'd also help eliminate per-batch changes in pitching rates. I'd also take a 1L sample from each and ferment at 80F to get to attenuation quickly just to give me an idea where the base batch _should_ ferment out to.

A couple of tests:
- #1 base run, no changes
- #2 increase mash time by 30min to 90min (use iodine to ensure conversion**)
- #3 drop mash temp 5F
- #4 leave in primary longer than normal (2 weeks instead of racking off at 85-90% attenuation @ 5-7days)
- #5 ferment in basement @ room temp - perhaps heating/cooling in fridge is capping action?

* any magic to scaling a batch down ? Is 1 gallon too small to brew with the same process ?
** how the heck do you guys get a wort sample with out debris in it for an iodine test ?

__________________
unholymess is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:27 PM   #2
BreckBastion
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marysville, Washington
Posts: 189
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

- #4 leave in primary longer than normal (2 weeks instead of racking off at 85-90% attenuation @ 5-7days)


Why do you rack to 2ndary so soon? Why not just leave it in the primary for 3-4 weeks and bottle it from there?

__________________
BreckBastion is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:29 PM   #3
unholymess
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 40
Default

I want to get it off of the cold break and other trub. I'm one of those "still do a secondary" guys.

__________________
unholymess is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:33 PM   #4
enderwig
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
enderwig's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Dickinson Texas
Posts: 1,452
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Default

I secondary as well, but my beers stay in primary for 2 weeks. Secondly, what temp are you mashing at, and are you sure of the calibration of your thermometer?

__________________
Read the
Homebrewtalk Wiki!
enderwig is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:38 PM   #5
BreckBastion
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marysville, Washington
Posts: 189
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

When I used to 2ndary, I would just dump everything from the boil in also. I would leave it there for a few weeks before I went to 2ndary. I never thought that it had ill affects on my beer.

"perhaps heating/cooling in fridge is capping action?"

What do you mean by this? Are you putting it in and out of the fridge during fermentation? If so, then this would cause temp swings and might be a cause if done enough.

1 gallon might be a little difficult to brew. I would think that it would be hard to maintain mash temps. I use a 52qt cooler though.
I don't use iodine strips and attain around 80% eff.

__________________
BreckBastion is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:41 PM   #6
SpanishCastleAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 4,384
Liked 29 Times on 29 Posts

Default

I think a good way to test this and turns out to be 'almost' no extra work would be to start doing fast-ferment tests for every batch. Here is Kaiser's page on it.

__________________
Early brewers were primarily women, mostly because it was deemed a woman's job. Mesopotamian men, of some 3,800 years ago, were obviously complete assclowns and had yet to realize the pleasure of brewing beer.- Beer Advocate
SpanishCastleAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:52 PM   #7
unholymess
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 40
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BreckBastion View Post
When I used to 2ndary, I would just dump everything from the boil in also. I would leave it there for a few weeks before I went to 2ndary. I never thought that it had ill affects on my beer.

"perhaps heating/cooling in fridge is capping action?"

What do you mean by this? Are you putting it in and out of the fridge during fermentation? If so, then this would cause temp swings and might be a cause if done enough.

1 gallon might be a little difficult to brew. I would think that it would be hard to maintain mash temps. I use a 52qt cooler though.
I don't use iodine strips and attain around 80% eff.
The fridge I'm using has a 2 stage temp controller - it is in my garage and summer temps in MN can swing the ambient temps above 75 during the day and below 60 at night. So, I heat and cool it to keep the fermentation temps controlled. For this batch it was heat to 68F and cool below 71F.
__________________
unholymess is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:59 PM   #8
BreckBastion
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Marysville, Washington
Posts: 189
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

It sounds like there wasn't much of a temp swing then. Then maybe the fast ferment test is what you should try. I've only had attenuation problems once and it was because i underpitched a huge beer with little aeration.

__________________
BreckBastion is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 05:59 PM   #9
unholymess
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 40
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by enderwig View Post
I secondary as well, but my beers stay in primary for 2 weeks. Secondly, what temp are you mashing at, and are you sure of the calibration of your thermometer?
Mash temps were 153F - measured in multiple spots in the 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler. I checked the thermometers before starting - I have 1 blichman in the boil kettle, and electric probe and a regular dial - I always make sure they agree during the mash water heating at a couple different temps.

It seems I've gotten multiple suggestions for a 2 week primary - is the reason for the longer time to give it time to finish out ? Most things I've read say to take it into the secondary once the primary starts slowing down. For me, that is somewhere in the 4-6 day range.
__________________
unholymess is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 06:02 PM   #10
unholymess
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 40
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BreckBastion View Post
It sounds like there wasn't much of a temp swing then. Then maybe the fast ferment test is what you should try. I've only had attenuation problems once and it was because i underpitched a huge beer with little aeration.
Indeed - I think this is the first thing I'll try. I've heard some craft/professional brewers do this with every batch so they can really know when "done" is "done".
__________________
unholymess 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
Beer line tests & solution to the "plastic" taste kal Bottling/Kegging 234 07-01-2013 10:26 PM
"American" or "Imperial" Oatmeal Stout Recipe: Critiques please! cladinshadows Recipes/Ingredients 4 01-04-2012 10:21 PM
Small Scale Commerical Brewing (600gal/mo) on "Beer Budget" GuateBrewer All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 5 11-02-2010 12:46 PM
"Video Surveillance on the Fly" or "Urine trouble now mister!" Tenchiro Debate Forum 1 05-23-2009 06:33 PM
First "real" homebrew, overall advice needed! ochocki Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 10-06-2006 08:01 PM