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Old 03-13-2009, 12:58 AM   #1
gecko45
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Default too high starting gravity?

I'm running into a new situation and would like some advice. First, a bit of background: I've brewed a couple of 5 gallon ultra-hoppy all-extract beers and have been fairly happy with them, but my love of hops doesn't always agree with my friends' tastes. I saw a brand new Mr. Beer kit w/ additional recipe packs all for $20 and thought it would be a good way to do some small batches for other people since I don't want to tie up my big fermenters for stuff I won't drink as often.

One of the recipe packs was the Mr Beer "whispering wheat," which I thought would be a good change from my earlier recipes. I tend to like bigger beers so I stopped by the homebrew shop and got some extra ingredients. All in all, this is what I ended up putting in:

  • 19.4oz can of hopped malt extract "whispering wheat" from mr beer kit.
  • 2.5# of unhopped wheat extract (liquid)
  • 1oz of argentine cascades (1/3 oz at 60, 30, and 0 min, wanted something on the milder side)
  • 0.25# of Mr Beer "Booster" (mostly dextrose)
  • boiled in about 1.25 gallons, filled up to 2.1 gallons after yeast pitched.

Now my issue: according to beersmith, this should have given a starting gravity of ~1.069, which I know is a bit high but I didn't mind. My actual measurement came out to 1.085! Eight days (and lots of overflowing krausen) later, the gravity reading is at 1.016 (these are temp. corrected), giving an ABV of 9% which is quite high for the style. I see a few options here and would like any suggestions or advice:
  1. Leave things as is, prime and bottle for a really heavy beer.
  2. Dilute with some extra water, prime then bottle. How much would be appropriate?
  3. Dilute to 5 gallons, prime and place in corny keg to carbonate (and then hope the rest of my keg setup arrives soon so I can enjoy it).

I tasted the sample I took for the gravity reading and it seemed fine, but a bit heavy. Will this turn out to be a "drinkable" beer for my buddies after carbonation if left as is, or should I try one of the other options?
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:29 AM   #2
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1. I would let that "big brew" go for another couple of weeks
2. I wouldn't water it down.
3. I'd drink it if my friends didn't like it...

I'm assuming that you added the extra 2.5# of Wheat Extract

are you sure you had your volume set right in Beer Smith?

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Old 03-13-2009, 06:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woollybugger2 View Post
1. I would let that "big brew" go for another couple of weeks
2. I wouldn't water it down.
3. I'd drink it if my friends didn't like it...

I'm assuming that you added the extra 2.5# of Wheat Extract

are you sure you had your volume set right in Beer Smith?
Yes, I added the entire can of LME and all of the extra 2.5# as well. Beersmith is set to 2.1 gallons for this recipe. I suppose it's also possible that the volume gradations on the Mr Beer fermenter are inaccurate and that my "2.1 gallons" is actually 1.7 gallons (off by 15% or so). I guess after this batch is done I'll try to find the actual volume. I'm leaning toward just keeping it as is but I'm still curious if the dilution before priming strategy would work in general.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:10 AM   #4
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You could dilute it with some cooled boiled water when you get ready to bottle, but really, why? The balance may be off with that much malt but it still looks like a pretty tasty brew to my eyes. If you're just worried about the ABV being too high, then go ahead and dilute, but I would give it a taste first before you mess with it.


Just my $.02

Terje

Edit: Re-read the OP and saw that you have tasted it. If you thought it was good, I'd leave it. The heaviness may go away with some carbonation and if it doesn't, you'll still have a good strong wheat.

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Last edited by Stratotankard; 03-13-2009 at 07:16 AM. Reason: re-read OP
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:04 AM   #5
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I say keep it as is and if your friends don't like it then just drink it yourself. Quit worrying about their feelings and tell them to quit whining about free beer. What is this world coming to when you can't give away beer? It must be the end times...

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Old 03-13-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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I ran your ingredients through tastybrew.com's recipe generator, and I got an OG of 1.066. If you got all your numbers right, your OG of 1.085 is just from insufficient mixing of the extract syrup into the topup water. It takes several minutes of hard mixing to completely dissolve the extract into the water.

If I were you I would just tell your friends you'll go after them with your tactical team of mall ninjas if they don't appreciate your free beer.

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Old 03-13-2009, 12:19 PM   #7
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Your OG is a gift from the beer gods, why piss them off with dilution.

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
I ran your ingredients through tastybrew.com's recipe generator, and I got an OG of 1.066. If you got all your numbers right, your OG of 1.085 is just from insufficient mixing of the extract syrup into the topup water. It takes several minutes of hard mixing to completely dissolve the extract into the water.
Good point, this could be it. Previous batches I kept the bucket on the floor and got good mixing/aeration by pouring the water in from high, but this time the fermenter was sitting on the counter I'll see how it turns out after bottling.

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If I were you I would just tell your friends you'll go after them with your tactical team of mall ninjas if they don't appreciate your free beer.
Do I need to duct tape ceramic ballistic plates on my fermenter to protect it?
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:24 PM   #9
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You'd better duct tape two on there, just to make sure. You never know when the Mayor's son will need to protect his anal virginity.

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Old 03-14-2009, 12:56 AM   #10
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keep it! I've had a couple wheat wines and they are amazing. I don't know why people don't brew more of them. If yours turns out anything like Smuttynose wheat wine you might drink the whole keg.

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