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Old 03-18-2011, 07:29 AM   #1
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Default Low OG a problem?

So, I'm new to partial mashing and I decided to do something simple, a bitter. The OG I ended up with is 1.038 (60*) which feels pretty low to me, and I'm wondering if I should do something radical about it like put a couple more pounds of DME in there once fermentation's started. Here's my recipe. Maybe you can tell me what I did wrong/tell me to relax.

3# UK 2-row base malt
.25# British crystal malt
.75# Biscuit malt
1# brown candi sugar
3# Amber DME
-----
1 oz N.Brewer @60
.5 oz US fuggles @40
1 oz NB @20
1.5 oz US fuggles @5

I mashed at about 154*

thoughts?

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Old 03-18-2011, 07:42 AM   #2
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That does seem low, but as is it will probably be a nice mild bitter for use as a session beer.
Maybe your mash wasn't efficient enough, or perhaps your measurement was skewed with some top-off water?

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Old 03-18-2011, 07:48 AM   #3
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How long did you mash and sparge for?
Was the OG into the fermenter? What was the batch size?
Which method did you use for this (BIAB)??

I would suggest having some more DME on hand (extra light) so that you can hit the projected OG for the recipe... I would also suggest running recipes through software so that you get a good idea of what the OG, and FG could/should be with the ingredients.

Mashing at 154 means that it will probably have a FG higher than if you had mashed at closer to 150. Not that it's a bad thing. Mash temperature will determine how much body a brew will have... But, using extract will also skew those results...

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Old 03-18-2011, 08:07 AM   #4
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Thanks guys, this is helpful. I'm nearly certain the problem was that the mash wasn't efficient enough. This is something I have to learn more about. Incidentally, where does one go to learn about mash efficiency?

I mashed for an hour and I batch sparged. It's a 5 gal batch. I took the reading after I aerated it, so I don't think the reading is skewed due to things not being mixed enough. I built a mash tun recently anticipating that I'll get into all-grain eventually, so I'm doing my small-scale mashes in there.

If I were to add some, how much DME should I consider adding? When would I add it?

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Old 03-18-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
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your mash might have lost a lot of temperature in you did it in a mash tun sized for all grain 5 gallon batches, the headspace can really suck heat from the grain bed. What was your water to grain ratio? that might shed some light on things too.

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Old 03-18-2011, 09:56 AM   #6
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Hi Em,
It looks like your beer will have about 62 IBU, which is pretty high for a bitter. Who knows, you may like that, but it may be out of balance, and will be out of style for a bitter.
If your gravity is really 1.038, you have 190 points in 5 gallons. To reach 1.050, you would need to add 60 points in 5 gallons, and DME is about 40 points/pound/gallon. This would require adding 1.5 lb DME. Adding 1 lb DME would bring it up to about 1.046- this would be low but in style for a special bitter.
If you're not too far along with fermentation, this might be like a late extract addition. I have never done this, so I can't recommend it, but of course you should boil about ten minutes and cool before adding, keeping everything touching both worts as sanitary as possible.
Let us know what you end up doing and how this turns out! Cheers.

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Old 03-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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Idea! I have an available carboy right now. I *could* rack half the batch into that and add some sanitized DME to one (or I guess both) of them. I'm inclined to add it only to one to see how different they come out.

But fermentation has already sort of started, There's about a finger of loose krausen.... I wonder if I should wait to split the batch until after the big initial fermentation is done or try to it before that happens....

tick tock...

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Old 03-18-2011, 03:48 PM   #8
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one more question, if I do what you're suggesting cevezarara, what do you think is the minimum amount of water I could use to dissolve 1 lb of DME in. I know that'll screw with the calculations you generously did, but I'm thinking that I ought to add as little liquid as possible at this point.

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Old 03-18-2011, 04:16 PM   #9
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I know you already decided to add more sugar but I just wanted to add that 1.038 is a standard OG for an ordinary bitter.

1 lb of DME to 2 cups of water should be fine to answer your last question.

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Old 03-18-2011, 04:28 PM   #10
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Without knowing the AA% of the hops, you will have at least over 50-55 IBU there. WAY outside the style range of a English pale ale, or standard bitter. Even outside the range for an ESB... It's barely inside the style range for an English IPA in fact..

Also, you should have hit an OG of around 1.055 with that grist. If you change the type to extract, instead of partial mash, then you nailed the OG... Which means you REALLY F'd up the mash... Get a new thermometer and figure out what you did wrong in the process before you do another batch. As it stands, you got no gravity contributions from the grain.

Did you get the lumps/dough-balls out of the grain? How much water did you mash in?

As it stands now, or it was at the start, you'll probably end up in the area of 1.010 for a FG... Probably not much lower, since you're only fermenting the sugars from the extract and sugar... So, about 3.6% ABV... A light beer...

Review DeathBrewer's stove top partial mash sticky (aka BIAB) and make sure you get the process down... If you're pots are too small and you're not mashing, or sparging, with enough water, that could be part of it. If you're not removing ALL the clumps in the grain, that's probably another part of it. As it stands now, you might as well has not used the 3# of UK 2 Row malt...

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