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Old 09-04-2014, 04:10 AM   #1
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Default A few questions regarding my (hopefully) almost finished first brew

Hi all,

I had a few questions on what to do with my first brew at this point.

Details:
5 gallon boil
3.3 lb. light LME
1.0 lb. Pilsen DME
8 oz. Corn Sugar
8 oz. Rice Syrup Solids
.5 oz. Brewers Gold
.5 oz. Cluster
1 pack Danstar Nottingham Yeast

Recipe called for
OG: 1.037 - 1.041
FG: 1.008 - 1.011

My OG was 1.041

So I pitched my yeast on 8/23/14, about a week and a half ago. I didn't have much action for the first 24 hours, but was patient and didn't open my fermentation bucket until today. The airlock action has slowed in the past two days. I measured my gravity and was surprised to see that it was at 1.004 - below the suggested FG. So I have a few questions:

  • Do I rack it now? I am worried that a week and a half is not enough time for the yeast to attenuate properly. It also still looks darker than the "light" color I was expecting.
  • Is it a problem that the FG is lower than what was called for? Is there anything that can be done about it?
  • The beer had kind of a stale smell, is this normal?

Sorry for the large picture, but hopefully it may provide some clues to those more experienced than myself.


I have a carboy if somehow using a secondary fermentation would be helpful.

All thoughts and suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated.

-Ed
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:22 AM   #2
dkevinb
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I don't use secondaries, so if you mean should you rack it to secondary I'd say put the lid back on and wait for a total of 2 weeks.

5 gallons in a bucket will always look much, much darker than a pint in a glass. Nothing to worry about. Besides, the color it is is the color it is. There's not much you can do about it at this point. It's possible your extract was a bit old, which causes it to darken. Boiling extract also causes it to darken. Many people use the "late extract addition" technique to avoid this - adding some at the beginning of the boil and some with 15 minutes or so left in the boil. The color won't affect the flavor.

That is a pretty low FG, but you used a fairly high percentage of highly fermentable adjuncts (corn and rice syrups). I'd say it is what it is at this point, not necessarily bad. Taste will tell.

I think what you're smelling is the yeast. It's not done with it's thing yet. Even after it's turned the simple sugars into ethanol it needs to go back and clean up after itself, turning other byproducts into other final products. Put the lid back on and wait. It should be fine.

Bottom line I think it's doing fine. Put the lid back on and have patience.

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Old 09-04-2014, 04:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkevinb View Post
The color it is is the color it is. There's not much you can do about it at this point. It's possible your extract was a bit old, which causes it to darken. Boiling extract also causes it to darken. Many people use the "late extract addition" technique to avoid this - adding some at the beginning of the boil and some with 15 minutes or so left in the boil. The color won't affect the flavor.
This could definitely be the cause. I will keep this technique in mind for future brews.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:35 AM   #4
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+1 on dkevinb comment.

What temp did you ferment at? A higher temp can cause increased attenuation. Until I locked down a solid fermentation chamber I was always ending around .004.

I don't secondary anymore since I don't really want to stress about oxidation. If it's only going to be a few weeks in primary don't worry about transferring...my opinion.

Good luck!

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Old 09-04-2014, 11:53 AM   #5
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Agree with all of this.

Let it go for 2 weeks and check your gravity again. Most likely it will still be 1.004, but always good to let the yeast have enough time to do their thing.

On the topic of yeast, I can offer this:

Welcome to the wonderful and magical mystery that is Nottingham.
That stuff is an absolute beast and I often am thankful that yeast do not like human flesh all that much. If they did, I would be afraid of Notty.
When temps are properly controlled, I have had that stuff chew through 5 gal of wort in 3-4 days to FG.
I always give it 2-3 weeks regardless, just to allow them to finish up at their own pace.


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