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Old 07-17-2014, 04:56 AM   #1
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Default Why are my all-around beers coming out thin?

All my all-grain batches (BIAB) are coming out to a very low FG and very thin/watery body. Based on my research, here is the info I think might matter:

1) Extract. 1.086 to 1.013. WLP500
2) Extract. 1.066 to 1.009. WLP001
3) Extract. 1.053 to 1.004. Wyeast 3711
4) AG. 1.052 to 1.005. Wyeast 1272. Mash temp 153. Mash out 170.
5) AG. 1.040 to 1.003. Wyeast 3942. Mash 150. No mash out.

Thermoworks with wire probe. Hydrometer reads 1.000 in water. I don't taste any infection. Fermentation in all cases but one was swamp cooled, keeping temp around 66.

Any thoughts? They're drinkable, but honestly my extract beers were coming out better. I'm gearing up for a big stout, and I'd be disappointed if it ended up with no body too.

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Old 07-17-2014, 05:12 AM   #2
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I'd check the thermometer for calibrated temps. Low fg/thin/high attenuation sounds like you mashed lower than intended.

Dissolve known amount of sugar in water, and determine the expected gravity. Test with hydrometer. Do they match? Need two points to determine a linear relationship.

Post the recipes, equipment, procedure? Maybe a fermentation temp issue, over pitched starters.

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Old 07-17-2014, 05:38 AM   #3
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I've seen this before. Pretty common on here. You need an exorcism. You need to scatter a ring of granulated garlic around the fermentor, then say 100 hail Mary's while spraying all your brewing equipment with starsan.

But seriously, looks like you're getting way too much attenuation from standard Saccharomyces yeast. You might have a wild yeast infection somewhere. My beers never get below 1.010.

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Old 07-17-2014, 06:15 AM   #4
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My first several BIAB batches were kinda lame compared to my extract beers. I really needed to calibrate my thermometer and crush a lot finer. I use a Corona and grind almost to flour. But yeah, 1.003 seems awfully low FG. Sure your hydrometer is working properly? Testing at true room temp?


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Old 07-17-2014, 06:16 AM   #5
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Also -- are you checking temps through the mash, or is that starting mash temp?


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Old 07-17-2014, 06:16 AM   #6
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Hmm. I'm pretty careful when it comes to sanitation, so I'm having a hard time thinking of how unwelcome beasties would he getting in the mix.

What should I replace? And don't say everything! My ale pales are practically new and not scratched up yet, so I'd like to salvage those. Tubing I can replace... I can replace my thief and racking can, but the beer is infected (if that's the cause) well before they enter the mix.

Any way I can confirm infection as the cause?

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Old 07-17-2014, 06:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ong View Post
My first several BIAB batches were kinda lame compared to my extract beers. I really needed to calibrate my thermometer and crush a lot finer. I use a Corona and grind almost to flour. But yeah, 1.003 seems awfully low FG. Sure your hydrometer is working properly? Testing at true room temp?
Thanks for the ideas! How do I calibrate my thermometer? I'm not 100% positive about my hydrometer. I'll take it into the LHBS I got it from and have them double check me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ong View Post
Also -- are you checking temps through the mash, or is that starting mash temp?
Continuos monitoring. The temps don't drop more than a degree during the mash (I insulate the BK with a sleeping bag).
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calypso View Post
How do I calibrate my thermometer?
I bought a cheap glass lab-style spirit thermometer (0-100 degrees C) like those I used in science classes back in high school. Checked all my thermometers against it and found some were a LONG way off. Some of the dial type ones can be recalibrated by turning a nut or screw on the back. Digital ones I'm not so sure, it would depend on the model.

One of mine I just had to throw out in the end as even if I got the calibration right at low temperatures, it was off by 3 or 4 degrees at mashing temps and vice versa.

Using the glass thermometers all the time though is a PITA, they break almost as easily as hydrometers.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:39 PM   #9
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So I was chatting with a friend that brews, and he raised an interesting question. I've been doing full-volume boils with no sparge. Is it possible that, after I pull the grain bag out of the kettle and the wort is sitting there, that it's continuing to convert and that is leading to a lower body? My process is:

1) Fill BK with ~7.5 gallons of water.
2) Heat to strike temp (156ish).
3) Turn off heat and add voile bag.
4) Add grains and stir.
5) Cover BK and wrap in sleeping bag.
6) Every 15-20 minutes, stir.
7) At the end of mash, raise bag and let drain for a couple of minutes.
8) Put grain bag in bucket on upturned colander, allowing to drain further
9) Start burner (on about a 7-8 to prevent scorching)
10) After grain bag has drained for 5-10 minutes, squeeeeeeze, then set aside grains and dump run-off into BK.
11) Bring wort to boil over the next 30-40 minutes.

Does it seem like there is a process flaw in there somewhere that is leading to a very low FG and thin body?

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Old 07-18-2014, 10:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calypso View Post
So I was chatting with a friend that brews, and he raised an interesting question. I've been doing full-volume boils with no sparge. Is it possible that, after I pull the grain bag out of the kettle and the wort is sitting there, that it's continuing to convert and that is leading to a lower body? My process is:

1) Fill BK with ~7.5 gallons of water.
2) Heat to strike temp (156ish).
3) Turn off heat and add voile bag.
4) Add grains and stir.
5) Cover BK and wrap in sleeping bag.
6) Every 15-20 minutes, stir.
7) At the end of mash, raise bag and let drain for a couple of minutes.
8) Put grain bag in bucket on upturned colander, allowing to drain further
9) Start wort to boil over the next 30-40 minutes.

Does it seem like there is a process flaw in there somewhere that is leading to a very low FG and thin body?
'

I don't see anything wrong there. If you are getting the right OG without sparging you are OK.

Check your thermometer in crushed ice with just enough water to fill the spaces between. It should equal 32 F. Then check in boiling water. At sea level it should read 212 degrees F. If the actual temperature is low you will get a very fermentable wort and end up with the thin beer. This wouldn't show up with the extracts where you are not doing a mash.
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