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Old 06-20-2007, 07:45 PM   #1
SkaBoneBenny
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Default Why so... dry?

I just can't figure out what's going on. Ever since going AG, my beers have had brutally low FGs and come out quite dry. With my last two brews, an APA and an IPA, I specifically tried to mash at 155-156 in order to increase body and raise my FG. In both cases I got a FG of 1.007. One had an OG of 1.049, the other 1.053.

What could be going on? They both taste decent enough in secondary, but quite dry. What else influences gravity and dryness? Could it be the water here in Holyoke MA? Could it be my mash process? I'm batch sparging and not mashing out. Thoughts? Thanks!

Ben



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Old 06-20-2007, 07:53 PM   #2
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What type of yeast? What attenuation, What is the PH of your mash, what are you using to measure specific gravity? Have you calibrated the device with distilled water? How long are you leaving the beer in the primary?



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Old 06-20-2007, 08:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
What type of yeast? What attenuation, What is the PH of your mash, what are you using to measure specific gravity? Have you calibrated the device with distilled water? How long are you leaving the beer in the primary?
Both using WLP 001, I assume attenuation would be... over 80%, using my hydrometer to measure gravity, I have not calibrated it with distilled water, but it's always given me reasonable readings up until now, I'm leaving the beer in primary for 6 days. You know, I don't know my mash pH. Ive never checked, which could very well be my problem....
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Allston, MA


Thinking About: Strawberries and Cream Ale

Primary Fermenter: Nuthin...

Secondary Fermenter:"C-4 IPA!", American Wheat


Conditioning: 4 C's IPA

Drinkin': 4 C's American Pale Ale
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:16 PM   #4
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Low mash temperatures (~150F) produce highly fermentable worts. Mash at 156F and you'll have a sweeter, less fermentable wort.

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Old 06-20-2007, 08:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Low mash temperatures (~150F) produce highly fermentable worts. Mash at 156F and you'll have a sweeter, less fermentable wort.
Yeah, I actually mashed both brews between 155 and 156 intentionally. I'm not thinking it's mash temperatures... unless the temps are dropping off during my sparge or something. During my hour long mash the temps were constant between 155 and 156. After the hour, I take off the mash jacket, recirculate, and drain the wort. I then add the 168 degree sparge water, mix, and let sit for ten minutes, before recirculating and draining. Temperatures could be dropping during the sparge I suppose.
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Thinking About: Strawberries and Cream Ale

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Secondary Fermenter:"C-4 IPA!", American Wheat


Conditioning: 4 C's IPA

Drinkin': 4 C's American Pale Ale
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:10 PM   #6
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I think you want to keep the sparge water at 168-170 in the MLT, so you need to add hotter than 170 water. But, I don't think it is the sparge.

My guesses:
1. thermometers is off and you are actually mashing too low
2. you have better than expected efficiency and are making beers with higher ABV

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Old 06-21-2007, 02:54 AM   #7
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Maybe add some crystal malt to give the brew some extra residual sugars?

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Old 06-21-2007, 03:23 AM   #8
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Have you checked your temperatures after the mash has stabilized? For example, it might be a good idea to check your temperature about twenty minutes after dough-in. 155F and WLP001 would not yield a final gravity of 1.007. It sounds like your mash temperature might be dropping lower than you think. I have a digital thermometer, and I can leave the probe in the center of the grain bed for the entirety of the mash, and check it periodically. The lid of my igloo slides on (as opposed to "screws on") and there are grooves in the lid presumably for venting when you use it as a cooler and pour from the bottom spout. The wire to the probe fits very well in the groove even when the lid is on tightly, so it works quite well.

If you pull off the right amount of wort after your mash is complete, boil it, and return it to the grist for mash out, you can denature the enzymes so imprecise sparge temperatures won't allow conversion to continue.

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Old 06-21-2007, 03:46 AM   #9
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Calibrate your thermometer!!!!!! Test it in ice water and in boiling water. My LHBS purchased glass thermometer reads almost 5 degrees high. Therefore, my 153 mashes are actually 148. I also agree about monitoring your mash temp for the duration, or at least until you need the thermometer to get a sparge water reading. My X-treme cooler seems to loose about 3 degrees in the first 15 minutes, then stays stable after that.

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Old 06-21-2007, 10:26 AM   #10
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Well thanks for all the replies. I'm thinking it's most likely my thermometer, with my mash pH in second place. I always check my mash temps every 15 minutes or so. I saw a great tigital thermometer with an alarm and 3 foot cable in a cooking store near where I work. I think I'm gonna buy it come payday tomorrow!
-Ben



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Samuel Waterston Beer Co.
Allston, MA


Thinking About: Strawberries and Cream Ale

Primary Fermenter: Nuthin...

Secondary Fermenter:"C-4 IPA!", American Wheat


Conditioning: 4 C's IPA

Drinkin': 4 C's American Pale Ale
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