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Old 03-29-2012, 02:54 PM   #1
chasman
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Default First all-grain BIAB: IPA OG waaay too low

Hi all,

I decided to try out my new homemade BIAB setup with a 5 gal. batch of Deadringer IPA last week. The recipe called for an OG of 1.064 - but mine came out to 1.038. I took the reading at room temp (right before pitching yeast). I can post my setup as well as procedure... well here it is:

Setup:
10 gal aluminum pot
large voile bag that fits over pot and closes
thermometer in thermowell

Procedure:
heated 8 gal. of water to 155 and doughed-in
temp dropped to 150 so i heated back up to 152 for mash temp
mashed for 60 min with lid and blanket on
mashout to 170 for 10 min (later came to learn that this means hit 170 - then wait 10 min... i took 10 min to get to 170 oops )
pulled grain bag and squeezed hot bag as hard as i could
boiled for 60 min (added hops in small muslin bag)
cooled in ice-water bath and galvanized tub for 45-50 min.
took a reading at 68 deg. - 1.038
dumped into carboy and pitched dry yeast packet.
krausen peaked on 2nd day - now no more bubbles in airlock

So...
Where did I go wrong to get such a loooow OG?
Will I still get an OK IPA?
What can I do next time to improve?
Is it likely that I'll get a stuck fermentation?

Thanks in advance!


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Old 03-29-2012, 03:22 PM   #2
zachattack
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How was your crush?


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Old 03-29-2012, 03:34 PM   #3
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Your crush is something to look at. A bad crush will hurt your efficiently in a big way.

Also, you might adjust up on the hydrometer reading a bit because many of them are calibrated for 60 degrees (but this isn't the source of your problem, obviously). There are lots of calculators that will show you the correct reading at a certain temperature.

I don't think you'll have a stuck fermentation, all things being equal. I don't see any problems with your setup or procedure. Lack of airlock/blowoff tube activity does not equal finished fermentation. The only way to know is to take successive hydrometer readings.

One more thought: did you make sure that the grain was well mixed and wet? If there were dry clumps, that might have hurt you.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:35 PM   #4
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It looks like your process is pretty close to mine so I cant see that as an issue. Zachattack hit the nail on the head I think. A fine crush is important for effiency when you use the BIAB technique. If you got the ingredients from the internet pre crushed or used your LHBS's mill you most likely didnt get a very fine crush. Most BIAB brewers will run their grain through the mill twice. The first purchase I made after going to BIAB was my own mill. For around $150 its the best investment into brewing hardware I have made yet. Also something to do before making your next batch would be to calibrate your thermometer in boiling water to make sure it reads 212F and ice water at 32F. Lastly the Mash PH can have an effect on your conversion, Read the Brewing water primer in the Brewing Science section and consider using RO water with the suggested salt additions.
At 1.038 you are really making a hoppy Pale ale.
As far at a stuck fermentation goes that is dependent on your yeast pitch rate and fermentation temps more then your OG.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:37 PM   #5
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Ha - that's a funny story actually. I think I was the first person to buy grains from my new LHBS. The owner held the mill in one arm and a bag in the other while i poured the grain in. We ripped the bag twice and had to add more grain. I wasn't about to ask about the crush setting on the mill - we were just lucky to get it done

That being said, seeing as this was my first all-grain I am no expert at determining how my crush was, but... it seemed to be a bit coarser than i would have expected. Some grains even seemed to be intact (not crushed)... oh well.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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Yeah, if that was the case the crush is most certainly to blame. I would call up the store and let them you about your bad efficeny so that they can adjust the mill.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:47 PM   #7
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Good advice guys thanks. I will work on the grain crushing situation.

As far as my thermometer goes, I did calibrate it in boiling water and actually took into account my altitude here in VT which brought my boiling point to around 210 deg. F

Prymal: What is RO water? salt additions? I use town tap right now...

PistolsAtDawn: I mixed it once or twice but I was scared that uncovering it and mixing it would drop my mash temp out of range. Thoughts?
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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I dont know what water in Ludlow VT is like but if it overly hard you might find that pale beers dont turn our as good as you think they will. RO stands for Reverse Osmisis, its essentially super filtered water (very soft). If you go to a grocery store and they have a water dispencing unit where you can fill 5 gallon or 1 gallon jugs it is producing RO Water. The water that you use for brewing is just as important as the grain hops and yeast. If you are putting good water into your brew you will have a better chance of getting good beer out. The up & downside of using RO water is that since there are almost no minerals in it you need to add some back with the addition of Salts. I am still pretty new to building brewing water so i would suggest reading the Brewing Water Primer in the Brewing Science section to get a better idea of what I am talking about.

I tend to heat my strike water 7 degrees above my desired Rest Temp. This compensates for heat loss from adding the grain and mixing the hell out of it. I also open up my kettle and give it good stir about half way through the Mash. You shouldnt be too worried about loosing heat because if you have the ability to heat your mash up to 170 for a mash out you can do the same to raise to temp a few degrees if it drops out of your desired range.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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Im an extract brewer, so I know nothing about your issues there, but I did see you ask about RO water, and I was a water purification specialist in the army for 8 years, so I can speak on that subject. Reverse Osmosis. Water is forced through a non-pourous filter at high pressure, breaking it down at the molecular level and removing any and all dissolved solids leaving you with pure H2O. That being said, I believe some mineral content in your water is good for brewing, though I'm not sure what additions you would have to make. Probably way more info than you wanted, but I'm currently 2 deep on my freshly ready 1.112 barley wine #drunk
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:00 PM   #10
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Ohhh... I see... the "Stickies" have tons of info on brew water science - got it!

and It certainly will be hoppy as I'm dry hoppin' an ounce of Cascade on Friday when I rack to secondary


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