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Old 03-06-2007, 05:08 PM   #1
onecolumbyte
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Default All my beers finish at 1.020. Help!

So I've been brewing with LME, dried yeast, and steeped specialty grains. I've got about 8 beers under my belt and ALL of them have finished at 1.020 (plus/minus .002). Did the math and that means that my big beers are getting 50-60% attenuation but my small beers only get about 30%. Why do all my beers finish at the same gravity? I've been using the generic bulk LME (dark and amber) from my LHBS and dried yeast. Nottingham, Windsor, and Doric all end about the same. I like my beers and for porters and stout 1.020 is OK but if I want to brew a lighter beer it ends up too sweet. What do I do?

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Old 03-06-2007, 05:12 PM   #2
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Make starters and aerate!

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Old 03-06-2007, 05:18 PM   #3
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Is it calibrated properly???

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Old 03-06-2007, 05:36 PM   #4
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I had this problem also, try using a different LME. Order a kit from an online store and see if their LME does a better job. There could be too much dextrins and unfermentables in your LME which would keep your final specific gravity higher than what you would like.

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Old 03-06-2007, 06:05 PM   #5
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I've seen/heard that some LME's have different finishing OGs. Guess I'll have to go name brand and see if that makes a difference. Maybe next time I'm in the brick and mortar store I'll grill the owner about what brand his "bulk" LME is.

_99, I've checked my hydrometer against tap water and it's VERY close to 1.00. Is there any other calibration checks to make?

Toot- I've been using dried yeast. I rehydrate in warm water according to the directions. Do you make a starter with dry yeast too or just liquid?

Thanks all.

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Old 03-06-2007, 06:06 PM   #6
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If they all go down to 1.02, there's a good chance it's the LME. The DME I was buying from my LHBS only went down to 1.025 no matter what I did to it. A few Beano later, it went to 1.012. A great reason to go AG!

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Old 03-06-2007, 06:17 PM   #7
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Are you using Laaglanders DME?

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Old 03-06-2007, 07:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onecolumbyte
Toot- I've been using dried yeast. I rehydrate in warm water according to the directions. Do you make a starter with dry yeast too or just liquid?
I've only used dried yeast once, but I don't see how it could hurt.
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Old 03-06-2007, 07:58 PM   #9
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Starters are not necessary with dried yeast--an 11g packet of dried yeast has many time more yeast cells than a vial or smack-pack of liquid yeast.

Onecolumbyte: are you doing full boils? If you aren't, what are you using for top-off water? Poor aeration could be one explanation for poor attenuation.

Also, are you fermenting in very cool or vary unstable temperatures?

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Old 03-06-2007, 08:26 PM   #10
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No I'm not doing full boils. I boil about 3 gallons and top off with tap water. So far I've only shaken to aerate.

I don't ferment cold (I live in CA) but unstable could describe my conditions. I generally just hide the fermentor away in the closet. Haven't had good temp control till just recently (new HVAC). Will unstable temps disrupt the yeast? The temp certaily never got much below 60 though.

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