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Old 11-05-2012, 02:48 PM   #1
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Default High Final Gravity on a lower OG

Folks,

I recently brewed two session beers that I just did NOT care for. it was my first swing at session beers, because my hangovers on saturday and sunday morning have gotten intolerable with the beers I brew that I enjoy--that happen to be higher alcohol.

And let's face it, I'm not cutting back on the AMOUNT I'm drinking, so I need to cut back on the alcohol content a little.

I want to brew a session beer that has the malt backbone and hop profile of ordinary-strength beers, just with less alcohol. I brewed up a session ESB and a session American Lager. Both came in at the low 40s (1.042 seems to ring a bell?). for the American Lager, I used Pilsen Lager 2007 from Wyeast, and for the ESB, I used London Ale Yeast 1028 from Wyeast.

In both cases, the mash was above 155 (157 I think for the American Lager) and yet at final OG, both came in under 1.010. I was hoping for 1.014 and instead it just tastes like diet beer.

So, questions for the group:

1) Would tweaking the grain bill make a difference? as in, adding more adjuncts with lower diastatic power? Adjuncts in both recipes were pretty high (2lbs adjunct to 6 lbs base) for this reason initially.

2) I mashed at a high temp. any reason to go higher?

3) Yeast pitch rate and type were the main suspects in the low FG, in my opinion. I pitched a full package, and thought after the fact that maybe cutting the amount in half would be advisable. Should I change pitch rate or yeast type?

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:35 PM   #2
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Finishing that low with those mash temps seems off to me. Are you sure your thermometer is accurate, have you calibrated it. I'm wondering if its off and you are actually mashing lower than you think.

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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I don't recall if it's London Ale or British Ale, but one of those Wyeast strains ferments drier than other British strains. Check your thermometer, but also check your temp loss during the mash. That's about where i mash session beers, but I'd cut the adjuncts and go all malt (unless you're explicitly using adjuncts that'd raise body) and go with a higher percentage of caramel malts. I'm able to keep my session beers with below 1.040 OG finishing 1.010 to 1.013 that way.

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Old 11-06-2012, 01:44 AM   #4
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Well, I did a calibrating experiment, and my thermometer is giving accurate temps. I loaded a quart pitcher with ice and poured icy water in, and ten minutes later, put my thermometer in. 33 degrees F. off by one point.

Then I got a pot of water to a rolling boil. water in the pot was measured at 212 F.

Close enough for love, in my opinion.

I'm laying this off as three things, then:

1) adjuncts--one sess was an ESB, and I used a small amount of corn.

2) yeast--going to pitch less and pitch a lesser-attenuating strain

3) temp--it occurred to me recently on a brew I did this weekend, that in the cold weather, temp changes of the mash, when probed in different areas of the mash, vary by as much as four degrees. so I started slowly stirring the MT as I sampled the temp, and got a more even number. I'm going to reattempt and see where this gets me.

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Old 11-06-2012, 11:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeintoledo View Post
Well, I did a calibrating experiment, and my thermometer is giving accurate temps. I loaded a quart pitcher with ice and poured icy water in, and ten minutes later, put my thermometer in. 33 degrees F. off by one point.

Then I got a pot of water to a rolling boil. water in the pot was measured at 212 F.

Close enough for love, in my opinion.

I'm laying this off as three things, then:

1) adjuncts--one sess was an ESB, and I used a small amount of corn.

2) yeast--going to pitch less and pitch a lesser-attenuating strain

3) temp--it occurred to me recently on a brew I did this weekend, that in the cold weather, temp changes of the mash, when probed in different areas of the mash, vary by as much as four degrees. so I started slowly stirring the MT as I sampled the temp, and got a more even number. I'm going to reattempt and see where this gets me.
This.. If you are losing temperature and the mash is less than 150F then you are getting a more fermentable wort and as a result you are getting greater attenuation of the yeast. The other two things mentioned will not really have as much effect. Under pitching yeast will actually raise other issues more detrimental to the finished product, I would not advise that route
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