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Old 10-18-2011, 04:22 PM   #11
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If he hasn't been using enough grain, wouldn't he notice when he measured OG and found it was off by 25% or whatever?

Another possibility is that the thermometer being used to measure mash temps is not reading accurately in that range, or that he is not measuring the mash temp correctly, not mixing the grist enough before measuring, etc.

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Old 10-18-2011, 04:27 PM   #12
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No idea, he didn't post that info. All I know is that grain bill and only 1/2 lb. of DME is going to make a pretty thin 5G batch.

From looking at my past recipes, a typical extract cream ale has 5.5-6 lbs of DME, that recipe really only has ~3.5 lbs, so 2+ more lbs of DME would need added to the grains listed.

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Old 10-18-2011, 04:49 PM   #13
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Dang, guess I need a new, bigger mash tun...
Not really, if you are going to stick to PM, you just need to add the appropriate amount of DME. Using more grains and only 1/2 lb of DME....you might as well get a larger tun and go all grain because you aren't using much DME at all.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:11 PM   #14
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Unfortunately, I don't have an OG for the cream ale, as I broke my third hydrometer while brewing it. I can say that I've been operating under the impression that body and OG were not necessarily connected, given proper mash temperatures, which apparently was a mistake on my part.

What I think I should do, and I welcome input on this plan, is pick up a new hydrometer and brew a nice simple bitter:

7# maris otter
1oz cascade @ 60min
1oz cascade @ 10min
WLP002 english ale

Mash for 60min @ 154*F, using deathbrewer's stovetop partial mash instructions.

At what point(s) during this process should I take a gravity reading, apart from once the wort is in the bucket and I've measured my volume?

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Old 10-18-2011, 07:16 PM   #15
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Again, you're really low on your grains. We're talking 5 gallon batches, right?

You want to check your efficiency which would be a gravity reading after your mash and before you add any extract. With this SG you'll take into consideration the volume of the wort. Once you have that figured, the extract will give you consistent SG additions so there is no need to take another reading unless your volume gets screwed up somehow.

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Old 10-18-2011, 07:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by corwin3083 View Post
Unfortunately, I don't have an OG for the cream ale, as I broke my third hydrometer while brewing it. I can say that I've been operating under the impression that body and OG were not necessarily connected, given proper mash temperatures, which apparently was a mistake on my part.

What I think I should do, and I welcome input on this plan, is pick up a new hydrometer and brew a nice simple bitter:

7# maris otter
1oz cascade @ 60min
1oz cascade @ 10min
WLP002 english ale

Mash for 60min @ 154*F, using deathbrewer's stovetop partial mash instructions.

At what point(s) during this process should I take a gravity reading, apart from once the wort is in the bucket and I've measured my volume?
Take a preboil gravity (cool the sample to under 100 degrees first, then convert it!) and you can pour it back into the boil. You'll need to know your volume for this to be accurate.

An OG in the fermenter after the wort has cooled would be the next SG.

A couple of things I was thinking about- a beer with only 7 pounds of grain will taste rather thin even if you mash at 158. It's just because it IS thin. Just like a cup of coffee. If you use one scoop of coffee in the coffeemaker, the coffee is light and flavorless. If you use 4 scoops of coffee, it'll have more "coffeeness" to it. Same is true with malt- a light grainbill can make a very light beer unless it's filled with "richer" malts. For example- you can make a great mild with only 8 pounds of grain but it's hard to do well and you need some crystal malts to "help" it feel thicker than it is. With only 7 pounds of grain, you may have an OG of 1.035! Which is very hard to get to have a full rich mouthfeel.

I'd also double check the thermometer in boiling water/freezing water because if your thermometer is even 2 degrees off, you're not mashing where you think you are!
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:57 PM   #17
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For the partial mash cream ale, I'm about 85% certain that I did get a consistent 154*F for the mash; I measured temp before and after to confirm. However, I've only done (4) PM batches so far, so could have missed something or mismeasured something.

The recipe, for reference, was as follows:

.5# light DME
7.25# 2-row
.25# carapils
1# cane sugar (added after primary fermentation was complete, as with a tripel)

.25oz warrior @ 60min
.4z cascade @ 15min

Starter of WLP510 Bastogne Belgian Ale

If 154@F should have provided plenty of body, perhaps I could try another batch of this recipe at 156*F for comparison... After all, either way I end up with beer where there was no beer before.
As another example, this is a very light beer. 7.5 pounds of grain, and a pound of corn sugar, plus .5 pound of DME means that you have over 11% simple sugar in a beer with an OG of 1.050ish. No specialty malts, except for .25 pounds of carapils, means that there is nothing in that beer to provide fullness and body but the simple sugar will make it even thinner feeling.

I'd take a look at all of the recipes you've done, and see where they are lacking. If a typical grainbill is 7.5 pounds or so, that could be a large part of it, and you need some specialty grains as "body builders".
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:25 PM   #18
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Hmm. Well, if I need more specialty grains to make recipes work in terms of body, how would you alter this recipe to correct it, or is it simply not worth doing a partial mash with these volumes of grain? Would it be more effective simply to get a cooler/MLT to replace my 3gal MLT pot?

7# maris otter
1oz cascade @ 60min
1oz cascade @ 10min
WLP002 english ale

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Old 10-18-2011, 08:32 PM   #19
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What kind of beer are you trying to make, and how much of it?

For a 5 gallon batch, 7 pounds of grain is very low.

Adding specialty malts can certainly add body. However, I don't think just adding some specialty malts to the above grain bill is going to make a palatable 5-gallon batch of IPA, for example.

On the other hand if you are making, say, a 2.5 or 3 gallon batch then you are in much better shape.

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Old 10-18-2011, 08:43 PM   #20
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It's just an ordinary bitter:

7# maris otter
1oz cascade @ 60min
1oz cascade @ 10min
WLP002 english ale

According to Beersmith, if I get 65% efficiency, which should be possible using deathbrewer's stovetop partial mash method, (5) gallons of this beer should have the following stats:

Est OG 1.035
Est FG 1.011
Est ABV ~3%
Est IBUs 31

Is Beersmith incorrect? Have I missed some calculatory step? Is this approach even really workable; can I fix it, or would it be easier to just purchase a cooler to replace my current MLT so I can use more than 7# of grain?

I hear all of you when you say that 7# of grain will produce a thin beer; what I need to hear are suggestions for correcting this. What would each of you do in this situation?

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