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Old 03-21-2014, 12:26 AM   #1
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Default What happened was...

I tried to make beer. I probably did, technically but would like some input as to what happened. I was trying to make something similar to St. Arnold's Santo (a "dark" Kolsch). The ingredients were from their website, and I played with the amounts until it fir the style of a kolsch, then added the black malt. Going for 2.75 into the fermenter

3lb Am. 2row
2lb Am. Pils
1lb Am. Munich Light 10L
0.5lb Am. Black malt

BIAB 3.5gal 1hr started at 158 mash in, dropped to 154, at 15 minute intervals it was 152, then 150, then 148 so I fired it back to 162, added ice to bring it down to 152 for the last 15 min. Had the 5 gal pot very full with grain & water & wrapped in a sleeping bag. Ran 1qt thru the bag as a sort of sparge.

The boil went mostly OK, .75oz Hellertau/60min .25oz Hellettau/10min. Went down to 2.5gal, not 2.75, but went with no-chill because I had had enough of my last brew and didn't want to wait on an ice bath. In the morning it was a happy 68* and I pitched the WL029 Kolsch yeast in. Took a while, but it's got a nice kreuzen now, 48hours later.

I broke my hydrometer in the sanitizing bucket so couldn't test my sample until I could get to the LHBS. I covered the test jar with foil and let it sit on the counter at about 68* Got home today with my snazzy new hydormeter and plopped it in the jar. 1.069. retested 3 times, all the same. Lots of sediment in the test jar, so mixed it up and tested again. Same thing. 1.069.

Brewers Friend says I should have gotten 1.059, seems like I really overshot. What happened? The LHBS tripple grushed the grain at the normal settign for me. Did the beer gods grant me extra booze? The sample tastes and smells very sweet. Is there a bunch of unfermentable sugar in my wort?

Any and all insight is welcome and greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-21-2014, 12:45 AM   #2
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When you did your recipe were you inputting a known efficiency from previous brews (with the same crush) or using the default?

Also considering your SG was estimated with 2.75 gallons and you soaked up or evaporated slightly more than expected your wort is a bit more concentrated.

Nothing to worry about now. The software won't always be right, especially if you don't have an equipment profile or information from previous brews to go from.

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Old 03-21-2014, 01:35 AM   #3
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I agree that the difference in final volume was likely a factor in increased sg and that you may have had good conversion for whatever reason ( crush, mash temp, etc).

I've been brewing for a while and never heard of a test jar but I definely like the idea.

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Old 03-21-2014, 02:18 PM   #4
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Brewer's Friend says I hit 74.3% efficiency. I guess that's not unheard of. Tripple crush probably had a big play in that. With it being way darker than intended, and probably sweeter and higher ABV, I think I'll call it a stout rather than a "black" kolsch.

Test jar? That tall tube you put beer/wort into to float the hydrometer in. Still dialing in my vernacular.

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Old 03-22-2014, 05:55 PM   #5
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I just have never heard of someone adding the yeast to the wort and then withdrawing a sample to place in a test jar/hydrometer tube that is then fermented separately. Then using that test sample to test gravity. It was my understanding that the common practice was to withdraw a sample from the primary fermenter, test, then discard/ drink the test sample.

I like the idea of fermenting a small sample in a test jar considering you do not have to open the primary to withdraw a sample (possibly contaminating the beer).

I just wonder if the test jar sample being fermented apart from the would give a different reading. I don't think it would so I'm going to give this a shot.

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Old 03-22-2014, 07:02 PM   #6
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The only potential issue I see is that the smaller sample will be more susceptible to temperature swings.

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Old 03-24-2014, 12:43 PM   #7
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They sample was drawn pre-yeast. But it then sat for a couple days until I could get to the LHBS for a new hydrometer.

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