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Old 10-31-2011, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default Thick sludge wort at 1.120 gravity! What did I do?!

I'm a newbie brewer trying my second partial mash. This time I decided to make a black IPA. Everything seemed to be going really well until I started pouring the wort into the carboy through a brewing funnel with a built-in filter. The beer was barely trickling through the funnel into the carboy, and as I was pouring I noticed the wort was the consistency of motor oil. This stuff was THICK! After I finally got the first pour to go through the funnel, there was a seriously significant amount of "sludge" in the funnel caught by the filter. After pouring the whole 2.5 gallon wort through the filter, I probably collected a good 4 cups of this goop. Normally you'd collect some goop from the hops being strained out, but this was WAY more than the amount of hops I put in.

You're probably wondering now the quantities of ingredients I used. I used a little less than 2 lbs of grain, the bulk being Carafa III and Carared. I did a 90 min boil using a total of 3 oz. of hops put in at different intervals. I used 8 lbs of light Pilsen DME, to try to get the final product to 7.4% abv.

My initial thought on what happened is that a good amount of the grain was small enough to sneak it's way through the cheesecloth that I used and ended up in the wort. It didn't help that I used so much DME in order to get a relatively high gravity beer. The question is, how much is this screwed up now, if at all? I got most of the grains out through the filtering process, but that means those grain particles were in the boil for the 20 initial steeping minutes, plus the 90 mins I boiled the hops. Also, I'm a little worried that my original gravity is at 1.120 when my calculations from BeerSmith2 says I should only be at 1.070.

Help!

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Old 10-31-2011, 02:50 PM   #2
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All that malt in only 2.5 gallons seems like the culprit to me. Not enough water.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:57 PM   #3
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I may not have been clear. I started the wort with 2 gallons of water. I then added about another 0.5 gallon when I was sparging the grain. So the boil had about 2.5 gallons total when I was adding extract and hops. Put it in the carboy after and bought the whole thing up to 5 gallons. But you might be right. I should boil with a little more water considering the amount of extract I was using. I also boiled it outside with a turkey fryer and it was a little cold. I wonder if I lost a lot of the water during the boil to steam.

Will it come out OK though? Also, I'm starting to wonder if I screwed up something else. Should I have put the extract into the boil at the beginning, before the 90 mins of hopping? I can't remember if the extract should be added at the end or the beginning! Doh...

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Old 10-31-2011, 03:02 PM   #4
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Idk,it sounds like it's too thick to me,but it may ferment out. It's also getting common place to add half the extract for the boil,the remainder at the end. This is the "late malt additions" you read about more often nowadays.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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Eight pounds of DME in 2.5 gallons will give you a gravity of 1.144 without adding any grains... If you boil up 2.5 more gallons of water to bring it to 5 gallons total and dilute it you would get to a gravity of about 1.060 at this point. I have no idea what it is going to do to your bitterness without knowing more about the hops used.

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Old 10-31-2011, 04:30 PM   #6
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When I first started out, I bought one of those large plastic funnels with a detachable screen. It's amazing how a few ounces of hop pellets can turn into a boatload of thick sludgy goop, but it can and does. So I threw away the screen.

Now I do two things to deal with the hops in the boil: If there are a lot of hops in the recipe, I will let it settle while chilling, then carefully pour as best I can into the funnel. When It gets down to nothing but sludge, I stop. If there arent too many hops, I just pour the whole dang mess into the carboy. Three or four weeks later, when I'm siphoning into the bottling bucket, it's all settled out and I get nice clear beer off the top..

No worries!

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Old 10-31-2011, 06:15 PM   #7
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Ok,so you did wind up with 5G of wort. Didn't get that at the beginning. So it seems to me you'd have to have measured it before topping off to get a reading that high. But as long as you got it topped off to the right total volume it should be ok.
That goop has me concerned though. Grain particles,or LME that didn't mix in & maybe burned? How'd it smell at that point?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:26 PM   #8
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If you started the boil with 2.5 gallons and boiled for 90 minutes that should get you down to about 1-1.5 gallons of wort before you even added the extract. Add extract plus the sugars from the grain and you have slightly watered down extract. I would expect that to look like motor oil. You should have been able to dilute up to 5 gallons with a reasonable gravity.

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Old 11-07-2011, 08:40 PM   #9
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Default I think I'm OK!

Thanks so much for all your help and comments everyone.

Well, after a week of letting it ferment, I decided to check on it and see where we are at. I noticed that a good half-inch or so of solid material has fallen to the bottom of the fermenter and the beer itself no longer looks as thick and dark as it was. I was able to siphon off a little bit of the beer to taste and take another gravity measurement. I'm happy to say that the gravity is now down to 1.02 and the beer tasted GREAT! I think I just had some grain particles still in the beer and they hadn't settled out when I took the OG. Now that they have settled out, the gravity is back to normal. I should have maybe waited a day for the particles to settle before taking the OG. Oh well, I just won't know the exact ABV, but I will have a good idea. I'm also very happy that the particles that were left in the beer didn't seem to make the beer really bitter and off tasting, as far as I can tell right now.

I really think this one is gonna be goooooood....

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Old 11-07-2011, 08:48 PM   #10
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There ya go! See how easy brewing is?

Cheers!

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