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Old 10-28-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
farny
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Default Brew day results questions all grain

I did a double brew yesterday as my 3rd and 4th batch. 3rd batch was the white house honey porter as a kit from morebeer. Brew went well but ended up boiling off more than planned to I ended up with an OG of 1.072. The recipe says its should be between 1.054-1.059. Im worried that the yeast I pitched (WL California Ale) won't be able to keep up since I didn't make a starter.

Second issue was with my second batch, I researched for a while and made a recipe for a witbier.

Recipe:
5lbs American 2 row
4lbs Torrified Wheat
1lb Flaked Oats
.5lb Carapils
.5lb rice hulls

Saaz- 1 ounce boil, 1 ounce aroma
Bitter Orange peel and Corriander seed

White labs Belgian Wit Ale yeast.

LHBS told me that the torrified wheat did not need to be cracked which I thought was weird. Also my inexperience had the original grain as belgian 2 row which now I know would not have provided enough diatastic power. The receipt said it was american 2 row luckily but there was no way of knowing if that was a receipt error. I didn't pick up the grains I had my girl friend pick them up for me.

So brew results ended up with a pre boil gravity of 1.010 and an OG of 1.032. Far from what it should have been. Im confused on what could have gone wrong. Any advice?


Thanks for the great forum! Ive been laying low around here and reading all that I could. So far my first two all grains have been excellent!

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Old 10-28-2012, 06:57 PM   #2
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You might come up high on that first batch that was 1.072, that's a long way to go for one vial of yeast with no starter. I use a starter with anything over 1.050.

Torrified wheat should be crushed, according to the manufacturer. Probably why the OG was low.

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Old 10-29-2012, 03:26 AM   #3
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That kind of what I thought too about the torrified wheat. Most of the grains were popped open though so I figured I would be okay. Also the LHBS had them vacuum packed in 1lb bags so I'm not sure if they would let me mill them or not.

Today the honey porter started getting air lock activity and has about an inch of krausen. Am I home free now? Should I not worry about that beer anymore?

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Old 10-29-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Brew went well but ended up boiling off more than planned to I ended up with an OG of 1.072. The recipe says its should be between 1.054-1.059.
A few tips on your first question.

1) Boil off is a function of TIME and surface area/diameter of the pot. SO, your particular pot has a SET boil off rate per 60 min. It is worth the time to figure out during a brew or with just a water boil to figure out your pot's exact boil off rate, because it doesn't change.

2) Always make sure you stir the crap out of the wort before you take your OG reading. Gravity is a reading of density compared to water, so the density needs to be uniform throughout the solution to get an accurate reading. It is VERY common for extract brewers especially to get false OG readings because their wort is not mixed and has pockets of wort that are more/less dense than the rest of the solution.

3) If you DO end up with a legit 1.072 when you expected 1.059, then all you have to do is add water until you hit your intended OG, again stirring it like crazy so it distributed uniformly throughout the solution. Boil off is practically all water, so you are just adding back in the water you lost to steam, which brings you back to the intended density. Again, however, if you know your pot's boiloff rate, then you can compensate for that in your original strike water volume and not have to worry about it.

Hope that helps on your future brews!
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:05 PM   #5
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Interesting I didn't think about adding water after the boil. Should I be concerned with bacteria in the water then? I thought boil off was also a function of firing rate of the burner. I could turn down the flame low and have a less vigorous boil which would boil off less water right?

There was a lot of crud in my hydrometer test tube I'm not quite sure how to get it out of there though.

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Old 10-29-2012, 08:15 PM   #6
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Yeah, the boil off rate might change slightly based on how vigorous your boil is, but you should control that variable as well for consistency. I personally boil as vigorously as possible without going into boil off, that way I know my boil off will always stay consistent. It's more important to control those variables and be consistent than it is to do low boil/vigorous boil or whatever, so just do whatever you think is easily repeatable.

As for bacteria, take minimal precautions to use at least filtered tap water or reverse osmosis/spring water from the grocery store and you'll be fine. There isn't lacto/brett in the municipal water supply, I'd be more worried about chlorine, if anything, which any decent filter will take care of. Extract brewers routinely use top off water without issue.

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Old 10-29-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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Yea I guess I should do a test to see how much actually boils off for a given time and fuel knob position.


The honey porter has been in the fermenter since Saturday. Is it too late to add some distiller water to bring down the og? I guess that would throw off some of my gravity measures then though because I don't have an accurate og since I have some alcohol already made. Thoughts?

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Old 10-29-2012, 09:06 PM   #8
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The volume doesn't matter as long as you have a full surface area that whole time, so you can do like 2 gallons of water for 15 minutes, and just multiply that by 4 to get your 60 minute boil off rate.

If you have a common pot, like a Bayou Classic, Polarware, Boilermaker, etc., there are a few threads on here with average boil off rates if you can find them in a search.

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