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macabra11 04-27-2009 03:18 PM

Just brewed my 1st AG - Now I have ?s
So I just brewed my first AG beer on Saturday, an organic Kölsch, and everything went great! :rockin: But I did have a couple questions about things that confused me...

1. COLOR - We used 9lbs Weyerman 2row Pilsner and 8 oz Breiss Munich, which produced a very nice, light yellow wort. We boiled, cooled and added to primary and it was still a nice yellow color. Pitched our yeast starter, and the next day it is a LOT darker! I have it next to a carboy of SNPA clone and it is AS dark as that now! Does wort get darker before it starts to ferment? Will this lighten up significantly after fermentation? I want that yellow color again - not this reddish brown I have now.

2. EFFICIENCY - Since this was our 1st AG, we weren't sure of our efficiency so we used 72% to calculate our recipe. Based on 72% efficiency we were supposed to hit an OG of 1.046. Well our OG was 1.045 (not far off), but when I calculated our efficiency with a few different online calculators, we got around 83% efficiency! :ban: How could our gravity be so close, but our efficiency so different????

3. COOLING - How long does it take to bring 6 gal of boiling wort down to 60 degrees with a 25ft copper IC? We ran water through it for over an hour and could only get it to about 70 degrees!!! And it was at 70 for about 20 minutes and wouldn't go down further. Then we transfered into the carboy and put the carboy in a sink with ice water which only brought it down to 64 degrees. Am I doing something wrong? :confused: This doesn't seem anymore efficient than an ice bath, and wasted a lot of water too.

Please help!!!!!!

SRTBREW 04-27-2009 03:29 PM

COOLING: 25 ft. may be a bit on the small side. I use a 50 ft. and it cools a full boil very fast. As for not getting it below 70 degrees, what is your ground water temperature? If it's not much below 70 you won't be able to cool past that with your i/c.

thedude123 04-27-2009 04:15 PM

If you are trying to lager it what is your fermentation method going to be? If you chill it to 70 with the chiller then put it in a fridge to cool it down to what you want then pitch the yeast.

I use a 25 foot chiller and it usually takes me 30 mins to get down to 70 degrees. It all depends on the temp of your ground water.

macabra11 04-27-2009 04:25 PM

Wanted to ferment it at 60 degrees to limit the "fruitiness" in the style, then I plan on lagering in a mini fridge for about 6 weeks. Dropping the temp in the fridge 5 degrees/day until I reach 35.

The ground water (coming form outside hose bib) was pretty darned cold, and it was a very cool windy night (brewing in garage with door open). I did not think to take the tmep of the water running through the hose, but I guarantee that it was cooler than 60 degrees.

thedude123 04-27-2009 04:42 PM

Why not just put it in the fridge now to ferment? Wait till the temp is 60 and then pitch the yeast then change the temp in the fridge to when you want to start lagering it.

Do you have a temp controller for the fridge?

macabra11 04-27-2009 05:19 PM


Originally Posted by thedude123 (Post 1286974)
Why not just put it in the fridge now to ferment? Wait till the temp is 60 and then pitch the yeast then change the temp in the fridge to when you want to start lagering it.

Do you have a temp controller for the fridge?

That is the problem. The fridge can only reach about 50 degrees for a high. We do not have a temp controller for it, but have had great success with getting steady cold temps (below 50). Right now, it is fermenting in a closet with a fan and cool, wet towel at around 63 degrees.

Any ideas on how to get it cooler in there? :confused:

ClutchDude 04-27-2009 05:42 PM

It gets lighter as it ferments. My blonde was dirty before ferementation, now it's about right on the color.

I think some people pitch at 70 then cool it down. If you are that concerned, I'd use a reservoir You can get a cheap pump from Harbor Freight and fill a cooler with ice&water. Hook your IC up to the pump and spit the waste water back into the cooler.

Keep in mind that as the delta between your wort and ground water temps get smaller, the longer it takes to cool down.

CharlosCarlies 04-27-2009 06:08 PM

Pitching at 70F is perfectly fine (and I ferment at 60F generally). I let my yeast sit at room temperature (72-74) until I pitch, so 70F would actually be pretty ideal. It won't hurt the yeasties at all to pitch above fermentation temps, you just don't want to shock them by throwing them into too hot/too cold of wort. I try to keep my wort and yeast within 5F of each other, but I've always been told anything up to 10F is probably fine as well.

Also, did you stir the wort at all during cooling? I actually use my IC as a stirrer and it's amazing how much hotter the outlet water gets when you get some water flow across the coils.

jjp36 04-27-2009 06:09 PM

As far as cooling goes, if you stir the wort while using the chiller it will cool significantly faster.

macabra11 04-27-2009 06:38 PM

Yeah, we figured out the stirring trick about half way through, and it did improve the cooling. But it still kind of just hung out around 70 and wouldn't move. The ice water bath brought it down to 64. I think I will try a combination of setting the kettle in a cooler ice bath while running the IC and stirring on my next brew. That should do the trick.

Anyone have any ideas about my efficiency question? :confused:

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