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Old 01-03-2009, 08:02 PM   #1
Ashz
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Default Wee heavy....wee issue

I am doing a Wee heavy today. 60 minute boil. Mash hit dead on. Sparges were fine. Do the boil test OG and it is like 1.06....WTF? Only thing I changed this brew was the Mash temp was target of 150 instead of my usual 154. Will this account for my low OG? I am currently boiling down about 2 gallons to try and salvage back to what the target should be.

Question is on the Mash temp. Normally I mash around 153-154 with no issues. I just did a 80 +/_ two days ago with that mash temp and hit my OG fine. So the only culprit I see is the Mash temp. Did I not convert near enough? I did a 60 minute mash at 150, should I have lengthened this? I don't think all is lost but I am a bit perplexed by the low gravity. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Also I am a bit concerned about caramelizing of the last two gallons back on the boil. Should I just put all back in and boil more? What a pain in the arse.....doesn't help I am feeling the flu hitting now. Relaxing with a homebrew, but still worrying.

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Last edited by Ashz; 02-16-2009 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Added question
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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I don't have a solid answer for you, but for me, I'm more likely to hit my target OG mashing at a lower temperature. That's probably a$$ backwards but what the hell.

What were you shooting for?

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Old 01-03-2009, 08:14 PM   #3
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I was targeting 1.08....way low...first time this has happened to me.

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Old 01-03-2009, 08:17 PM   #4
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wow.. I haven't done any High OG beers like that, wish I could help more

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Old 01-03-2009, 09:05 PM   #5
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was there anything different about the crush this time around? Perhaps you had a loss in efficiency? IS it possible you were short on the grain bill? Are you certain on your volumes? Maybe you collected too much wort?

Those are the places I would be looking at.

As to the boiling down and caramelizing I would not worry unless your grist had a lot of crystal and specialty malts. Even then, you are mashing rather low for a Scotch ale I think, so it probably will only help.

A very traditional method of making all Scottish ales including a wee heavy is to use only base malt and a touch of roasted for color. Then purposefully caramelizing/reducing the first runnings (say a gallon or so) down to about a quart and also a long boil. Builds up melanoidins and gives it that rich malty flavor. I have been using this method for a series of Scottish ales leading up to wee heavy. I am currently only 2 brews in a 60/- and a 70/-. The 80/- is coming up shortly...

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Old 01-03-2009, 09:42 PM   #6
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FWIW, when I mash at lower temps, I usually let it go for 90 minutes. I think I read that somewhere recently (Maybe Brewing classic styles?). I think the logic is that it may take a little longer at lower temps to hit complete conversion. It has been working for me on the bigger beers I brew.

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Old 01-03-2009, 10:55 PM   #7
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In my experience any thing is a possibility when you don't mill the grain yourself. I will say that the 90/- and the wee heavy grain bill were milled at the same time by the same LHBS.

My recipe was almost identical to what you described for a scotch ale. In fact both of the brews in the last two days were identical in process, up to the mash temp. It really doesn't make sense that I would have such a change in efficiency due to the mash temp, actually I am almost ready to rule it out but there is no other difference to speak of other than temp.

In the end I boiled down approximately 2 gallons of wort from 1.055, down to 1.10 or there abouts. Adding the remaining boil to the wort previously collected I got the OG up to 1.067....still low, but I gotta just let it be. No use crying over spilt wort.

Kinda ticks me off though. Oh well time to bust open an Arrogant bastard I think and just chill out and let nature take it's course.

Oh one other thing of note with this brew. I christened my new Immersion chiller. My old one worked. Took almost 35 minutes to get to pitching temp but my new one (1/2" 50' copper) Took less than 7 minutes to get to 90 and within another 5 it was at 70. Super stoked about the chiller working like a charm.

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Old 01-03-2009, 11:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashz View Post
In my experience any thing is a possibility when you don't mill the grain yourself. I will say that the 90/- and the wee heavy grain bill were milled at the same time by the same LHBS.
I would say it was definitely the crush, however you did another batch that worked fine from the same time? Maybe the first one the mill was working fine and the next it was off? Again, is there any chance they stiffed you a few lbs. of grain? Did you weigh it out yourself?

Wish I could help more. I agree it was not the temperature though. That would not give you a lower efficiency unless your thermometer was off and you were actually below sacchrification temps, lower than 142 or so.

Keep some DME on hand next time and you can just use it to get to the right gravity. It won't hurt. Of course don't worry about it this time. It will turn out just fine.

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Old 01-04-2009, 12:00 AM   #9
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How many big beers have you done? Usually efficiency % drops as gravity goes up. There should be NO difference in OG due to mash temp(unless too low or too high) only FG

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Old 01-04-2009, 02:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymurgrafi View Post
I would say it was definitely the crush, however you did another batch that worked fine from the same time? Maybe the first one the mill was working fine and the next it was off? Again, is there any chance they stiffed you a few lbs. of grain? Did you weigh it out yourself?
Definitely a possibility. In the past I have relied on the LHBS to be accurate in both the crush and the weight. This is yet another reason for me to get the Grain mill and start buying bulk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymurgrafi View Post
Wish I could help more. I agree it was not the temperature though. That would not give you a lower efficiency unless your thermometer was off and you were actually below sacchrification temps, lower than 142 or so.
I immediately ruled this out as I use a Digital Thermometer calibrated to NIST traceable standards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymurgrafi View Post
Keep some DME on hand next time and you can just use it to get to the right gravity. It won't hurt. Of course don't worry about it this time. It will turn out just fine.

Well I was going to do this but I had less than a 1/4 cup left from doing up two starters for the two batches this week.


Quote:
Originally Posted by niquejim View Post
How many big beers have you done? Usually efficiency % drops as gravity goes up. There should be NO difference in OG due to mash temp(unless too low or too high) only FG
I have done at least 15 batches between 1.075 and 1.18...with no issues up to now. Again the only thing changed was Mash temp. The only thing out of my control is the Crush and the weight. Looks like I will be ordering the Mill today.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
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