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Old 01-28-2013, 04:44 AM   #1
Labradork
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Default Mangrove Jack's Belgian Ale questions

Howdy Brewers!

I just started a batch of Mangrove Jacks Belgian Ale this afternoon. I followed the instructions on the can, other than I cut the amount of dextrose and replaced it with a slightly higher amount of dried malt extract, on the advice of an experienced brewer I was speaking to at the lhbs. He told me this would give the beer more body and flavor. I also hydrated the yeast before pitching it, instead of pitching it dry into the primary as the label had instructed.

So, here is my concern. After everything was in the primary fermenter I poured a little out and checked the Specific Gravity. It was much lower than I had expected, about 1.019. I've looked over the instructions numerous times and I didn't leave anything out, and if anything I used slightly less water than the recipe calls for. I don't have any idea exactly where the Spec Grav is supposed to be on this brew since I don't know exactly what kind of "Belgian" this is supposed to be, but I would have expected the original gravity to be closer to 1.050 or so. At this point, I don't know if I should add more sugar or malt or just let it go. I know this is supposed to be a fairly light beer, but I don't want to end up with half-strength Coors Light.

Any suggestions, insights or general information would be very much appreciated.

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Old 01-28-2013, 04:54 AM   #2
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$50 says you did a partial boil, and topped it up with water. It's very difficult to mix the top off water sufficiently with the wort, the rich wort sinks and the weaker stuff sits in a layer on the top. That's what you got your sample from. If you were using a recipe you could go from the projected OG of the recipe, but since you deviated from it why don't you give me your bill of fermentables, volume, and I'll tell you what it is.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
$50 says you did a partial boil, and topped it up with water. It's very difficult to mix the top off water sufficiently with the wort, the rich wort sinks and the weaker stuff sits in a layer on the top. That's what you got your sample from. If you were using a recipe you could go from the projected OG of the recipe, but since you deviated from it why don't you give me your bill of fermentables, volume, and I'll tell you what it is.
Bomber,

You're exactly right. I poured the thin stuff off the top when I tested the SG earlier. Here's the whole story.

I started with the can of malt extract (1.7 Kg, or 3.75 lbs) which was dumped from the can into the carboy first, then about .5 gallon of boiling water and about one pound of dextrose and 1.4 lbs of powdered malt extract. I was concerned about aeration, so I mixed the heck out of it by swirling the carboy vigorously. I then added 3.5 gallons of cold water, picking up and swirling the carboy between each gallon. By then the wort was cool enough that I pitched the hydrated yeast, and finished adding water up to about 5.5 gallons. The recipe actually called for a full 6 gallons, but I wasn't sure my carboy was big enough. The wort was down to about 54degrees from all the cold water, but I put it on a heating pad and wrapped it in a jacket. It was almost up to 58F by the time I was headed for bed, so I turned the heat off. By morning it was sitting pretty at 68F with a 1" thick krausen and rapid bubbling in the airlock.

This afternoon I gave the carboy a very thorough stir with a long spoon (very carefully sterilized) making sure to scrape the bottom and sides. After a few minutes I siphoned a bit out of the middle to test. It came out this time at about 1.038. Still a bit low, but then it's had about 30 hours of vigorous fermentation already, so I expect some of the sugars are already gone. As to what the original Specific Gravity actually was, or should have been, I would guess somewhere in the 1.05 range? If you know what is typical with this kit or with these ingredients in these proportions, I would love to know.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:08 AM   #4
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3.75 Lb LME
1.4 Lb DME
1 lb Dextrose

Gives you 1.040 OG for 5.5 Gallons of wort. You're at 16% sugar on this, so I would expect it to finish fairly thin bodied.

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Old 02-13-2013, 01:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
3.75 Lb LME
1.4 Lb DME
1 lb Dextrose

Gives you 1.040 OG for 5.5 Gallons of wort. You're at 16% sugar on this, so I would expect it to finish fairly thin bodied.

Is there a way to calculate what your alcohol level will be by adding a certain amount of sugar/ malt extract etc?

Also going to make the MJ Belgian Ale, but not quite sure what my sugar ratios are going to be. Bottled my first brew this week, so barely have any experience.
Was thinking about adding:
400g dextrose (sugar)
200g maltodextrin
200g candi sugar
300g light dry malt
Simply going to boil water in a kettle, pour the MJ can in my fermenter, add the hot water then sugars, mix, add cold water and then yeast.
Any advice?
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