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Old 10-15-2012, 02:15 AM   #1
Jablestein
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Default Getting Proper Yield

Hey all,

So over the past few brews I've tried, I've noticed that the yield of my brew seems to vary greatly. I've been averaging about about 20-24 bombers per intended 5 gallon batch. Sometimes it's much greater, sometimes much less. I've been trying some IPAs with lots of whole leaf hop additions (Almost 6 ounces in the boil and 6 more in dry hop) which seem to yield much less do to absorption of the whole leaf hops. I'm just curious how you guys combat issues like this. I've been doing about 4 gallons in the boil and adding 2 more when going into primary. I honestly haven't paid too much attention as to where that leaves me in terms of how close I am to 5 total gallons, but that's what has been suggested to me in the past.

Should I be looking to top off to 5 gallons all the time, regardless of the amount of wort I'm left with after initial boil and hop additions? I'm concerned about over diluting my beer.

I'm also about to jump into All Grain brewing as well and i'm not entirely sure what I need to be looking out for when it comes to proper ratios of Grain and Hops to Water.

I appreciate all the help in advance.

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Old 10-15-2012, 02:25 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jablestein
Hey all,

So over the past few brews I've tried, I've noticed that the yield of my brew seems to vary greatly. I've been averaging about about 20-24 bombers per intended 5 gallon batch. Sometimes it's much greater, sometimes much less. I've been trying some IPAs with lots of whole leaf hop additions (Almost 6 ounces in the boil and 6 more in dry hop) which seem to yield much less do to absorption of the whole leaf hops. I'm just curious how you guys combat issues like this. I've been doing about 4 gallons in the boil and adding 2 more when going into primary. I honestly haven't paid too much attention as to where that leaves me in terms of how close I am to 5 total gallons, but that's what has been suggested to me in the past.

Should I be looking to top off to 5 gallons all the time, regardless of the amount of wort I'm left with after initial boil and hop additions? I'm concerned about over diluting my beer.

I'm also about to jump into All Grain brewing as well and i'm not entirely sure what I need to be looking out for when it comes to proper ratios of Grain and Hops to Water.

I appreciate all the help in advance.
Really you should be looking for a specific gravity during the final water add. Getting up to 6 gallons sounds like too much and you are probably diluting too much ( if it is a 5 gal recipe). Hydrometers are only about 6$ and save you from making watery beer.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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I pour all through a fine mesh strainer into the FV to cut the amount of trub I wind up with come bottling day. More consistent numbers of bottles that way. Less trub = more beer to bottle.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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I pour all through a fine mesh strainer into the FV to cut the amount of trub I wind up with come bottling day. More consistent numbers of bottles that way. Less trub = more beer to bottle.
I do the same, it also helps to aerate the wort.

If your going to make a 5 gallon batch then you need to know what 5 gallons looks like in your bucket. I personally brew to a 5.25 gallon batch to offset loss from readings and trub loss, but my recipe is scaled to be 5.25 gallons. The best way to do this would be to measure out 5 gallons of water, or in my case 5.25 gallons, and then mark your fermenter. This will be your fill line in the future. You can measure the water by volume, if you do this make sure the water is similar in temperature to what your wort will be, because water expands with increased temperature. A more accurate way to find the fill line would be to weigh the water, but again make sure the water temp is similar to the target wort temperature.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
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Thank you all so much for the replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheg2011 View Post
Really you should be looking for a specific gravity during the final water add. Getting up to 6 gallons sounds like too much and you are probably diluting too much ( if it is a 5 gal recipe). Hydrometers are only about 6$ and save you from making watery beer.
I have a hydrometer and I generally use it to take an Original and Final reading just to make sure they yeast is actually doing its job, but I'm not entirely sure what sort of reading I specifically should be looking for at the beginning. I assume this is based on the recipe? If not is there some sort of general guideline to follow when you're taking your OG reading and looking to "top off" the wort with water to increase to the proper yield of the batch?

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Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
I pour all through a fine mesh strainer into the FV to cut the amount of trub I wind up with come bottling day. More consistent numbers of bottles that way. Less trub = more beer to bottle.
I always strain the chilled wort when transferring from the boil kettle to the carboy. Even that aside though, I still pretty consistently end up with about an inch or two of trub in the bottom of my carboy on bottling day. Not sure if that's par for the course or not. I've also been using yeast starters to help get it going so not sure if the more highly active yeast produces lots more trub. Also, not entirely sure what you mean by the "FV".

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Originally Posted by BamaRooster View Post
I do the same, it also helps to aerate the wort.

If your going to make a 5 gallon batch then you need to know what 5 gallons looks like in your bucket. I personally brew to a 5.25 gallon batch to offset loss from readings and trub loss, but my recipe is scaled to be 5.25 gallons. The best way to do this would be to measure out 5 gallons of water, or in my case 5.25 gallons, and then mark your fermenter. This will be your fill line in the future. You can measure the water by volume, if you do this make sure the water is similar in temperature to what your wort will be, because water expands with increased temperature. A more accurate way to find the fill line would be to weigh the water, but again make sure the water temp is similar to the target wort temperature.
Haha, this seems like the most ridiculously obvious thing I could be doing that I'm currently not. I'm almost mad that I didn't think to do something like this! Thank you very much for the tip. I imagine that I'd probably try and hit the 5.25 gallon mark, especially given the use of whole leaf hops that I generally add to most batches (and their absorption). So I'd probably just want to heat about 5.25 gallons of water up to around 70 degrees and pop it into my carboy to see about where it fills to? No one has ever accused me of being a physicist, but will the sugars and fermentables in the wort affect the volume it takes up in the carboy as well?
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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"FV" means Fermentation Vessel. And I make 5 & 6 gallon batches where chilled wort & top off water goes through the fine mesh strainer. I typically wind up with only about 3/8" of trub & yeast in the bottom on bottling day. And that's compacted pretty well.
This partial mash brew will be interesting to see how much trub I get from the same process. The grains still seemed to leave a lot of fine silt that went right through the strainer.
And measuring the liquids is just to get total volume,regardless of the amount of fermentables to get the desired gravity.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:40 PM   #7
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So I'd probably just want to heat about 5.25 gallons of water up to around 70 degrees and pop it into my carboy to see about where it fills to? No one has ever accused me of being a physicist, but will the sugars and fermentables in the wort affect the volume it takes up in the carboy as well?
Just run 65-70 degree water from your tap. Don't worry about the wort. Just worry about the total volume.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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For consistency sake, you should take the time to scale your recipes based on the ingredients. Whole hop recipes will have more absorption so to get the same final volume you're going to need to start with more volume, which probably means you need to increase some of your ingredients. It requires a bit of trial and error along with good brew day note taking. Software like BeerSmith can help with the math.

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Old 10-15-2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jablestein
Thank you all so much for the replies!

I have a hydrometer and I generally use it to take an Original and Final reading just to make sure they yeast is actually doing its job, but I'm not entirely sure what sort of reading I specifically should be looking for at the beginning. I assume this is based on the recipe? If not is there some sort of general guideline to follow when you're taking your OG reading and looking to "top off" the wort with water to increase to the proper yield of the batch?
Recipes include a OG specification (ones I use) that usually has a range of 4-5 thousandths. when you hit this mark, you have all the ingredients in the proper ratios with the water, assuming everything else is done correctly. Water has a value of 1, so the more water you add the lower the number of your wort. Add water until you hit the range and you will be good, make sure you correct for the temperature because it plays a large role in the reading. All recipes are different in OG so there is no standard. If your recipie doesn't have one listed look for a similar one for a spec.
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