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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Second batch - watery beer
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:16 PM   #11
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bobtheUKbrewer2 - I mashed with ~ 4.6 gallons, then dunk sparged the grain bag into ~3.6 gallons. I ended up with just over 5 gallons in the fermenter.

This brings up another question - so I've got my 5.1 or so gallons in the fermenter, then I added 1.6 liters of yeast starter. That's close to 1/2 gallon more liquid into the fermenter that I assume has a low gravity since it started around 1.040 and fermented for 24 hours. Could that also add to the watery feel of the beer? Is it better to plan further out and cold crash/decant the yeast starter so you don't add a bunch of low gravity wort? I had problems with my first batch starter when I tried to do that so I decided to pitch the whole thing.
Yeah that is another issue I have asked myself .I just feel any liquid whether it's starter wort or straight water for topping off is not going to ruin your beer but it isn't helping as their isn't any flavor or Fermentable sugars in either(maybe a bit of yeasty flavor in the starter). I must admit that I never plan ahead enough to make a starter and cold crash it long enough to decant so I have been pitching the whole thing. I'm hoping by just skipping the topping off to 5 gal It might get me more of that malt backbone and hop balance I want with my IPA's.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:18 PM   #12
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Your starter is fine. 1.6 liters of 40 point wort would only lower your batch OG by 2 points.
I was thinking the starter gravity would be more like around 1.010 or less since it had been fermenting, although since it also contains 3-4% ABV in the starter, you're probably right.

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Also, a 6% beer shouldn't have a "kick" if it's well made.
I guess I'm just getting used to drinking 9% IIPAs and such, because a 12 oz bottle of this beer didn't hit my head any more than a Coors might.


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You got about 80% apparent attenuation from a yeast that they rate at 71-74%, so you had a pretty fermentable wort.
I was actually pretty surprised at the attenuation. Maybe my OG reading was wrong. That might explain both the lower perceived ABV and the watery beer.

I'd surely be annoyed if both my thermometer and hydrometer are crap. I just bought them.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:30 PM   #13
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"I was actually pretty surprised at the attenuation. Maybe my OG reading was wrong. That might explain both the lower perceived ABV and the watery beer. "

Your gravity readings were probably right. You can get much higher attentuation with AG beers if you mash low or long. I prefer my IPA's on the dry side, but your tastes may vary.

"I was thinking the starter gravity would be more like around 1.010 or less since it had been fermenting, although since it also contains 3-4% ABV in the starter, you're probably right."

Well, the FG of the starter would certainly be lower, but you need to look at the OG of the starter to determine its impact on the batch

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Old 02-24-2014, 08:38 PM   #14
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The hydrometer should be checked with distilled water. Check the thermometer in ice water, obviously it should be 32. They can be off at one end or the other.

Try raising your mash temps. 152 still has beta amylase working which will thin it out, yet with higher alcohol. Try 158 for an hour next time. Test with iodine for conversion. If there's no color change you,re good, if so then go another 30 minutes and test again. I'll bet you're good after an hour.

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Old 02-25-2014, 01:42 AM   #15
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The hydrometer should be checked with distilled water. Check the thermometer in ice water, obviously it should be 32.
Came here to say this.

Boil temps vary based on altitude and other things. Freezing doesn't. You calibrate more accurately with a ice water slushy

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Old 03-06-2014, 06:06 PM   #16
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The first thing to try on this batch is to leave it in the bottles for another 2 weeks and see if it changes. Most beers change a lot in that amount of time.
Its been another couple of weeks and it does seem to have improved with longer conditioning. Still slightly watery, but much improved. Actually is a pretty darn good beer for a first AG attempt.
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Old 03-15-2014, 06:06 AM   #17
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I agree with checking the thermometer - I used a glass thermometer for my first year of home brewing, and finally figured out that my beers were over attenuated because the thermometer was 8 to 10 degrees low. I figured it out after comparing it with a digital thermometer we had to check roasts and the like. Now the fact that your thermometer did show 212F at boiling does suggest accuracy, but as others have said, there’s always some lowering of temperature if you’re mashing an hour or more, so that seems suspicious.

If you think a beer is too thin, you can boil some maltodextrin along with whatever you prime with, to add some more body. Two ounces adds about .01 to the FG for a five gallon batch. I finally figured that out, and it is a great help to beers that need a bit more substance (or a lot more).

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