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Old 12-28-2011, 08:11 AM   #1
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Default 2nd All Grain Brew - So depressing

So I just finished with my 2nd all grain brew... I decided to go with Ed's Bee Cave Bavarian Hefe for my 2nd all grain...

For starters, I came out with a 60% brew house efficiency using my cooler as a MLT and Sanke for kettle. I figured, what the heck, over time I will perfect my methods using my own grain mill and improving my sparge methods.

But then at the end of the brew day, when I cracked open the bottle of WLP300, it started foaming, so I let the foam fall to the ground, and after everything, I got maybe 1/5 of the vial in the fermenter. I was devastated! I know I under-pitched exaggeratedly! I should have made a starter! Anyways, with this little yeast, do you all think I will get a drinkable brew?

Someone tell me I'm going to be okay. *tear*

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“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:26 AM   #2
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1. Don't worry about efficiency. Record your numbers. Make the beer. Reflect and change for the next batch.

2. Always open liquid yeast over fermentor. Do it slowly. If you hear the sound of pressure releasing: STOP until it quits. Open slowly, then dump.

3. You might get a drinkable brew, you might get a stuck fermentation. Let it ride and see what happens. They we might be able to deal with it.

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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I always make a starter now. Just the way to go for now.

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Old 12-28-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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Why don't you get another vial of yeast and throw it in?

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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I would go get another vial of yeast as well and pitch that immediately. In the past, if I am regretting not making a starter within 48 hours of pitching, I would usually pitch another package of yeast. Some of my best beers went this way.

I make starters every time now

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weizenwerks View Post
1. Don't worry about efficiency. Record your numbers. Make the beer. Reflect and change for the next batch.

2. Always open liquid yeast over fermentor. Do it slowly. If you hear the sound of pressure releasing: STOP until it quits. Open slowly, then dump.

3. You might get a drinkable brew, you might get a stuck fermentation. Let it ride and see what happens. They we might be able to deal with it.
All good advice. My first few all grain batches I got about 75% efficiency with pre-crushed grain (AHBS). I use a 10 gallon rubbermaid and double batch sparge. This past brew I only got 65% efficiency. I was in a bit of a rush, it was cold outside and I only had 3.5 gallons of sparge water. I decided to do a single batch sparge which is what probably lowered my efficiency. It was a Scotch Ale that was suppose to go into the fermenter at 1.090 and I ended up with 1.080. No worries though, I'm sure it will turn out fine. I'll just make sure I double batch sparge next brew. What I'm getting at is there is always something to learn from one brewday to the next. Keep some notes of what you do/don't want to do next brewday and your process will improve each time. It may be something as simple as heating your strike water an extra few degrees warmer. Keeping notes will ensure you remember next time though.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
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1. Don't worry about efficiency. Record your numbers. Make the beer. Reflect and change for the next batch.
A warning of what not to do (just in case you're tempted)... My first couple AG batches were really low as well (55 and 58, I think). I tried to compensate by sparging until the runnings were nearly clear and then boiling the hell out of all the extra volume. Dumb idea. It did ultimately increase the efficiency into the fermenter, but it turned out astringent and nasty.
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:06 PM   #8
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It was a Scotch Ale that was suppose to go into the fermenter at 1.090 and I ended up with 1.080. No worries though, I'm sure it will turn out fine.
Yup and something like that is an easy thing to deal with. I always take a 10 minute gravity on a refractometer. If it doesn't look like I'm going to get to my gravity, I'll take out the bittering hops (I use hop sacks) so I'm not adding bitterness and just increase the boil time so I hit my gravity. I'll get a little less wort out of it, but I want to hit my number first and foremost.

With your case, the hops might be off a bit for the gravity, but it should still be a drinkable beer. Sometimes the best beer is made by mistake. Trying to recreate that is the hard part. I royally messed up a Pale Ale but when you drank it, it was as smooth as a Miller Lite then when you swallowed you got the hop flavor all around your mouth at the finish. I have no idea what happened to get that but that was an interesting batch to drink.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:21 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the amazing advice! A couple of things; first of all, I realize I should have opened the yeast on top of the carboy, with a sanitized funnel. From now on, thats what I will do (live and learn right?). The reason why I "don't just pitch in another vial" of yeast, is because I do not have access to one at the moment, and my city does not have a LHBS. I will send an email to AHBS and see if they're nice enough to send me another vial. However, to my surprise this morning, the airlock is bubbling away! Yay! Now I'm not sure if this means it will fully ferment, but I know there is some fermentation, and it started fast! My next project is a stir plate, and I will make starters from now on.

Secondly, I don't know where I went wrong on my efficiency. I hit my mash temp at exactly 153 and lost about 2 degrees over the whole 90 minutes. I mixed well, so no dough balls were present. I did a double batch sparge, at about 185 degrees, and mixed well for about 4 mins each before draining (maybe giving it those 4 mins affected it?). My first AG, Cream of Three Crops, came out to about 70% efficiency, and the only difference was that I did a single batch sparge, then slowly drained and used a bucket with small drilled holes to do a mini fly sparge. The water level went down way faster than I was sparging, and it got to a point where I was just rinsing the grain bed. I messed that one up too, but it was ok given my decent efficiency. Anyways, I'm not going to ask anyone here to diagnose my poor efficiency, as I know how annoying that can be.

Someone mentioned compensating the hop quantity to the lower efficiency, and I completely forgot to do that! I was too ashamed, and was not really thinking at the moment. I did BeerSmith it, and calculated that I will get an extra IBU or so, no problem!

Edit: On a side note, my hydrometer was reading 1.041 while my refractometer was reading 1.045, strange.

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Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:30 PM   #10
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did you use the same mill at the same setting for brew 1 vs. brew 2? have you read brewkaisers webpage? Troubleshooting Brewhouse Efficiency - German brewing and more

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