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Old 09-30-2007, 08:59 AM   #1
Nealie
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Default jealous of dollhouse/my first AG was not as expected

not an unmitigated disaster, mind you, just more problems than i'd want in a first AG. had a tough time making a yeast starter last night and couldn't figure out if i'd have sufficiently viable yeast to pitch (fingers crossed). i decided to go ahead and brew at about 8:30-9ish, got my gear together, strapped on my headlamp and trucked outside. hit my mash temps spot on. sparged as directed (drain with vorlauf, add sparge water, stir, wait 5, drain) and fired up the burner on about 5.5gals. turned on the headlamp to discover i was well off my target color, 25+ L, and was probably in the low 20s. after boiling and cooling (which actually went really well with the help of a 200gpm fountain pump), i found that the OG is about 10points low (1.042, not 1.055). so it appears my oatmeal stout has turned itself into an oatmeal porter. and i'm never brewing in the dark again. any advice for pulling my efficiency out of the 60% neighborhood?



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Old 09-30-2007, 11:29 AM   #2
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A complete recipie would help us figure this out.

But if it's just efficiency increase you need then...
How was your crush, did you get a decent PH in
your mash, did you sparge enough and at what temp?



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Old 09-30-2007, 01:46 PM   #3
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At 5.5 gallons post boil, it sounds like you didn't sparge enough. With a 5 gallon post boil, you should start with about 6.25 and boil it down.

There are a lot of threads that discuss increasing efficiency and there are just as many opinions on it. Search for Batch Sparge Efficiency.

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Old 09-30-2007, 03:55 PM   #4
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recipe:

8lbs. 2-row
1lb 40-L crystal
0.75lbs flaked oats
0.40lbs. chocolate malt
0.40lbs. roasted

mash 45mins @ 158 (175 strike, 13qts.). drain. sparge @ 168 with 4.25gals.

the grain crush was done at the LHBS and they set the mill so i'm assuming that was ok. they also said not to worry about ph's in the tap water and other people i've talked to have said ph isn't really a worry here.

i think i might be leaning toward bobby m's explanation based on under-sparging.

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Old 09-30-2007, 04:07 PM   #5
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not enough grain if you ask me. The porter in my secondary had another pound of 2-row, and about a pound more specialty grains. I am still newer to AG brewing, but for a stout that just seems like the low end for grain.

I think the undersparging and a somewhat light grainbill are the biggest reasons.

and just because the LHBS crushed it doesn't mean they did a great job. some do, some don't. a lot depends on whether the person crushing it brews or not. I hear stories about 'big city' brewshops with part-timers running the mill and screwing it up pretty badly.

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Old 09-30-2007, 04:45 PM   #6
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158F is too high a mash temperature. The beta amylase will denature rapidly at that temperature and what you end up with is low efficiency and low fermentability of what you do get.

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Old 09-30-2007, 04:56 PM   #7
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5.5 gallons to the boil is somewhat of a mystery. Did you leave a lot of wort in your mash tun? You put a total of 7.5 gallons in the tun and lost two when you probably should have lost closer to one gallon to absorption, etc. Can you tip your tun when draining to get more out?

I actually have to boil 7 gallons to end up with 5 in the fermenter.

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Old 09-30-2007, 05:07 PM   #8
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I agree with David 42, 158 is too high. I do mine at 153-154.

You have plenty of grain ( though a little lite in color) so I would guess that either

1) bad crush
2) under sparged
3) bad crush

If you want to do 158 I would step mash, say 150 for 30 then infuse to get 158-160 for 30.

At 158 you're going to have a sweet tasting beer.

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Old 09-30-2007, 05:10 PM   #9
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responses: my understanding is that 158degF is the upper threshold for mash temps --i was being a sheep and following the beersmith-generated mash sched. there was some liquid left in the mash tun but probably not the 3/4 to 1gal that seems to have been lost. i'll just have to pay more attention to: total grain bill, sparge amounts, and mash temps on the next brew day.

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Old 09-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #10
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