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Old 06-13-2010, 07:37 AM   #1
oregoncurtis
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Default Low Attenuation

I think I'm having a low attenuation problem (~67%) vs. the 70-76% advertised.

Brewed on 5/28/2010
Style: German Weisen (Hefeweizen)
Yeast: Wyeast 3638 Bavarian Wheat (3/16/2010)
Malt: 6 lbs. Briess DME (weisen)
1st Hop: 14.2g Whole Mt. Hood (4.8%)
2nd Hop: 11.3g Whole Mt. Hood (4.8%)
Boil Volume: 4 gallons

I added one 3 lb. package of DME and brought to boil. Once boil was attained I added the first hop addition. 40 minutes later I added the rest of the DME, then 9 minutes after that I added the second hop addition. Ten minutes later I turned off the flame and used a water bath to chill the pot with wort.

Once wort was around 75F I poured the it back and forth to oxygenate, added additional 1 gallon of water, pitched yeast and let the rubber bung fall into the carboy I racked out of the carboy, got the bung out, refilled the carboy and put the blow off tube on. I placed the carboy in my basement which is a constant 60F.

OG: 1.052-1.053
FG: 1.017-1.018
Lag Time: 36 hours

My yeast pack never inflated much despite being activated for 5+ hours at room temp. I'm using a 5 gallon carboy so there was quiet a bit of blow off. After fermenting for 8 days with a fermometer temp of 62F I check the gravity it was about 1.023. At this point I thought I'd better raise the temp because it's going a little slow. I placed a heating pad underneath the carboy partially to bring the temp to 64-65F on the fermometer. After another 5 days at these conditions the gravity was 1.017-1.018. I shook the carboy a bit and moved it in to the house so the fermometer temp is about 66-68F right now. Is there anything I can do to get the extra points so i can be within style (~1.014)? I've tasted the beer and it's not bad, but a little watery. Will this disappear with carbonation? It also has a little "hot" alcohol taste at the end, what could've caused this.

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Old 06-13-2010, 01:41 PM   #2
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The "watery" taste will improve with carbonation, so I think the beer will be fine.

The "hot" flavor generally comes from too-warm fermentation temperatures, but that doesn't sound like an issue with this batch. Perhaps it's coming from stressed yeast, which is possible.

I assume you didn't make a starter for this liquid yeast? The long lag time and poor attenuation suggests to me that the yeast was underpitched. That is the only thing I can think of. It may not drop any lower- it may be all finished.

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Old 06-13-2010, 03:18 PM   #3
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Yooper,
No starter. I'm gonna bottle tomorrow most likely assuming the gravity doesn't change. For my next brew I'll try making a starter.

Also when everyone uses a smack pack without a starter do they smack in the early morning/ day before brewing? Then pitch in the evening (10+ hours of activation time)?

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Old 06-13-2010, 04:31 PM   #4
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I've used a smack pack without a starter once or twice, I believe. I think in a mild (OG 1.039ish). According to Wyeast's website, it's not necessary for the pack to swell before using. It's simply just "proof" that the yeast is viable. I think I smacked it about 3 hours before brewing.

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Old 06-14-2010, 04:29 AM   #5
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When I bottle the beer should I store the bottles at the highest fermentation temp (72F) or the lowest (60F)? I basically have the basement or the house and the basement is by far more stable, but pretty cold. Will the yeast be able to carbonate within a couple weeks at that temp?

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregoncurtis View Post
When I bottle the beer should I store the bottles at the highest fermentation temp (72F) or the lowest (60F)? I basically have the basement or the house and the basement is by far more stable, but pretty cold. Will the yeast be able to carbonate within a couple weeks at that temp?
I'd store it in the 70s. It'll take forever to carb up at 60 degrees.
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