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Old 09-21-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default Low Yield

i have bottled 2 batches(an IPA and a stout). both times i have had a low yield. i am only bottling @ 4 gallons per batch. between the gravity readings, dry hopping, and transferring to a secondary, i am getting a lot of waste. both beers had an OG over 1.065, as well as late additions like chocolate and hops. both beers are delicious, i wish there was more. i have a pumpkin ale that has instructions for a secondary for clarifying and i was going to add some vanilla to. at this point i think i'm better off leaving it in the primary. is this normal to lose this much?

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Old 09-21-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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i have bottled 2 batches(an IPA and a stout). both times i have had a low yield. i am only bottling @ 4 gallons per batch. between the gravity readings, dry hopping, and transferring to a secondary, i am getting a lot of waste. both beers had an OG over 1.065, as well as late additions like chocolate and hops. both beers are delicious, i wish there was more. i have a pumpkin ale that has instructions for a secondary for clarifying and i was going to add some vanilla to. at this point i think i'm better off leaving it in the primary. is this normal to lose this much?
How many gravity readings are you taking? You need to take two. One each on on different days to determine if they are the same, indicating fermentation is complete.

Maybe try not dry hopping for a batch or two and produce some beer not requiring that process.

I cannot speak to the pumpkin ale, but many of us do not use a secondary. Personally, I just leave my beer in the primary for a couple of weeks. As I have it in a refrigerator I am satisfied with the clarity of me beer.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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you need to adjust your recipes to fit your your system. Not everyone has the same losses from tuns, racking readings, or get the same efficiency. Small amounts, but they add up by the time bottling comes around

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Old 09-21-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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Try to find recipes that produce 5.5 gallons instead of just 5. The 5.5 gallon kind usually factor in all the losses you will encounter (trub, hydro samples, etc...) so you are left with ~5 gallons of usable beer

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Old 09-21-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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Use a refractometer for your readings, you'll only use a fraction of what a hydrometer uses. Just be aware that the FG reading is not straightforward - you'll need a spreadsheet or web-based conversion to get the gravity of the finished beer.

Every transfer wastes beer. Where possible, avoid secondaries.

Start larger (my favorite solution).

I'm curious though - where do YOU think the beer is going? You know your process better than we do. So give us a rough accounting. If you can identify how much is lost at each point in the process, the problem will almost solve itself.

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Old 09-21-2011, 01:51 PM   #6
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Use a refractometer for your readings, you'll only use a fraction of what a hydrometer uses. Just be aware that the FG reading is not straightforward - you'll need a spreadsheet or web-based conversion to get the gravity of the finished beer.

Every transfer wastes beer. Where possible, avoid secondaries.

Start larger (my favorite solution).

I'm curious though - where do YOU think the beer is going? You know your process better than we do. So give us a rough accounting. If you can identify how much is lost at each point in the process, the problem will almost solve itself.
i thought refractometers were only good for OG. don't they lose their accuracy once alcohol is present?

as far as my process goes, i know i lost a lot in the second batch when i dry hopped with pellets into a glass carboy. they never dropped and i did not contain them in any manner. when i transferred to secondary there was quite a bit of trub on the bottom because i did not strain from the boil. i need to verify that my buckets are labeled correctly. i do a partial boil and top off to @ 5.25 gallons after cooling using water bottles. i am not surprised at loss , but losing a gallon + seems like a lot.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:14 PM   #7
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When transferring to secondary and/or bottling bucket, do you tip your bucket/carboy and leave it for a while? I grab a scrap of 2x4 and set one edge of my bucket on it and leave it for an hour or two. Trub slides right down to the "corner" and settles. I don't lose much from transfer by doing this compared to just leaving the bucket level.

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Old 09-21-2011, 02:26 PM   #8
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i thought refractometers were only good for OG. don't they lose their accuracy once alcohol is present?
There's a moderately complicated way of calculating FG from a refractometer reading.

One of the reasons I stopped using secondaries for most beers was the volume loss. There are many other reasons to leave a beer in the fermenter, but that's a big one.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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I usually take a small hit on OG by making 5.5 gallons so I have 5 at bottling/kegging. Or some styles I will augment with a 1/2 lb of sugar, honey, or invert syrup to hit an equivalent gravity at 5.5 gallons vs designed 5.

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Old 09-21-2011, 03:22 PM   #10
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how long are you giving your beers before you transfer them? the longer you allow them to sit in the primary the more compact the cake will be and the less you'll lose.

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