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Old 11-11-2013, 03:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by apalke View Post
Well, it sucks that you didn't get the gravity you expected, but 1.050 should still produce a good beer. If you're really concerned about the gravity you could add a bit more of the honey, but then you'd dry the beer out more. Depends on how you want the beer to turn out. It sounds like it will be fine as is.

You should try to diagnose your efficiency problem... I used to have problems here. For me getting my own grain mill and getting a perfect crush gave me the biggest gain. If you're doing partial mash and adding malt extract I would have thought that you'd get pretty close to your calculated gravity... which means if you're way off something might be out of whack with your mash and sparging technique.
Yeah, I'm bummed but live and learn. My process...

On my sparging technique, I slowly heated the mash to 170F after steeping for 60 minutes around 154F. Once to 170F, I moved the wort to the boiler then sparged 5 quarts of 170F water through the grains 16 oz at a time until empty then squeezed the mash to get anything left behind...which was very hot! lol... I then added enough water to get a little over 6 gallons in the boil kettle. Heated water, syrup, hops (intervals varied) and let it stay a little over 60 minutes. Cooled it down with a wort chiller to 100F. I didn't time it but it seemed like that didn't longer than 15-20 minutes.

Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if there is something wrong with my hydrometer. I've used it once before on another batch is it was a bit lower too. 5-10 gravity points lower than the predicted OG on the partial grain kit if I remember correctly... For my next beer, I might pickup another meter so I can compare readings.

Have you guys ever had a junk hydrometer?

Chances are, nothing is wrong with my hydrometer and there is something wrong with the process I conducted. I did hear that a lot of folks like to crush their grain twice for better efficiency. Maybe I'll have that done next time and increase the mash time along with keeping the boil temp a little higher. I had a very small boil over so that freaked me out on keeping the temp too high since that happened VERY quickly.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #12
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So this is a brew in a bag setup? It sounds like your process is fine. I do more of a traditional mash/sparge so I don't have good advice on ways to improve your efficiency. There should be plenty of other advice on the forum.

Have you tested your hyrdometer on plain old water? If it doesn't come up at 1.000 then you have a problem. You can also get other calibration points by making up sugar solutions with fixed amounts of water and sugar to make a solution with a known gravity. I've never done this so I can't help much but if you search the forum for "hydrometer calibration" or something you should find it.

I used to sanitize my hyrdometer then shake it a bit to get the star san solution off... then I realized my readings were off because the little strip that sits inside the glass tube had dislodged and moved down. The telltale sign was that the reading for water was much below 1.000. Before you start berating me, I realize now this was a really stupid thing to do. But otherwise my hydrometer works well. I periodically check my hydrometer in plain water to make sure that it is correct.

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Old 11-11-2013, 06:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by apalke View Post
So this is a brew in a bag setup? It sounds like your process is fine. I do more of a traditional mash/sparge so I don't have good advice on ways to improve your efficiency. There should be plenty of other advice on the forum.

Have you tested your hyrdometer on plain old water? If it doesn't come up at 1.000 then you have a problem. You can also get other calibration points by making up sugar solutions with fixed amounts of water and sugar to make a solution with a known gravity. I've never done this so I can't help much but if you search the forum for "hydrometer calibration" or something you should find it.

I used to sanitize my hyrdometer then shake it a bit to get the star san solution off... then I realized my readings were off because the little strip that sits inside the glass tube had dislodged and moved down. The telltale sign was that the reading for water was much below 1.000. Before you start berating me, I realize now this was a really stupid thing to do. But otherwise my hydrometer works well. I periodically check my hydrometer in plain water to make sure that it is correct.
Yep, brewed in a grain bag. Honestly, I didn't even think about testing it in water. I'll do that when I get home and also see adding sugar to test readings. Thanks for spelling that out to me!

Yea, I could see how that could throw you off. It would me. This is certainly a process that you get some experience with. So many variables.

I snapped a picture before leaving for work. We have liftoff. It was pretty active. A bubble more than .5 seconds. I increased the temperature a little so I bet it will be forming up a little bit more by the time I get home.
20131111_064004.jpg  
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:24 PM   #14
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Day 2... the temp kicked up higher than what I wanted yesterday while I was at work. Somewhere around 79-81. I dropped the temp to try to keep it about 70-72 hopefully.

Strange thing, the krausen has pretty much fallen which I thought was unexpected for this yeast (Belgian #3522). It is still bubbling one in about 1.25 seconds, so it is certainly still moving a long. Never had the krausen drop that quickly. Under 48 hours.

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Old 11-20-2013, 04:37 PM   #15
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Day 10 has gotten here!

I was a little concerned on Day 3 so I pulled a sample measured the gravity while swapping the blowoff tube. It had great fruity notes like any decent Belgian beer. It did have a crazy bitter/metalish finish. My memory compared the finish to something like Palate Wrecker. Obviously the beer was still in large development so I wasn't too concerned. Gravity measured complete for the most part in only 3 days. This yeast is crazy...

Yesterday I pulled a sample to see how it is coming along. So far it was quite tasty! Gravity didn't really change much from the Day 3 reading. The bitterness came down quite a bit but still quite bitter but like an IPA.

I'm hoping to rack to secondary this weekend and start dry hopping and throw in my other additives. I plan to let that go for a week and bottle.

Woot, getting closer!

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