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Old 05-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #1
ASantiago
 
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Ok, I'll come right out and admit I didn't check the grain I got from the store to see if it was crushed correctly. I have never done that and it has never been an issue.

Today's brew session is over, but I highly suspect the grain was not crushed. For starters, everything with the mash (temps, water volume, etc), went correctly, but the gravity out of it was half of what I was expecting! I can understand inefficiencies of a system and I know mine has them, but not like this.

I checked the grains I had dumped and noticed what looked like water stuffed grains of rice. I'm thinking that's what I wanted in my wort!

The other thing I got was that the mash absorbed a lot more water than usual. Beersmith had indicated almost 4 gallons for around 11 pounds of grains, but the grain caked up like I've never seen before and I only got like 1.5 gallons out of the first drain (before the sparge). It was like I didn't put enough water. But I went back and counted the empty containers of distilled water and I had 3 empty and one about 1/2 full.

So, my questions are, if the grain is not crushed, or is improperly crushed, the yield will be super low, correct? And does the grain absorb more water?

And if the above is the case, what the heck is in the wort? Can I expect it to have sugars to ferment? Or am I going to be trying to ferment other crap?

Finally, to get the gravity to a decent level, I had to boil the wort for a lot longer than normal (twice the time) and my blonde turned into a red head. Nothing wrong with the latter, but I wanted the former.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
yeastluvr
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Yes your yeild will be significantly lower. It should be easy to tell if your grains are not crushed by looking at them, sounds like they were not by the description. There is without a doubt sugar in the wort but you probably had a super low effeciency. I dont think becasue the grains were unrushed something different is now in your wort......its still grain, crushed or uncrushed.

 
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:44 PM   #3
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What happens when the grain is not crushed?

Hate to say it, but I would guess nothing, besides them getting warm and wet. I can't imagine extracting much if anything at all from uncrushed grain, live and learn

discount tommy cheap grain mill
http://www.discounttommy.com/p-189-p...-nut-mill.aspx

 
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:20 PM   #4
ASantiago
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
live and learn
discount tommy cheap grain mill
http://www.discounttommy.com/p-189-p...-nut-mill.aspx
Indeed, indeed. It's a hard lesson, but part of learning. I'm proceeding with the fermentation anyway, just to see what comes out. I tasted the wort yesterday and it didn't taste very sweet to me. I'm fermenting with WLP001, harvested.

It was supposed to be a Blonde Ale. What I have now is a 1.030, caramelized, amber/red ale, with the same hops that were going to give 20 IBUs in 5.5 gallons of 1.050 beer now concentrated into 3 gallons (I had to boil off more in order to end up with a higher OG, which also means more bitterness out of the hops). So... weak and hoppy.

We'll see what happens. Who knows? It could turn out to be a great brew. Ultimately, it's an interesting experiment (at least to me ), unwanted as it maybe. And since I'm pretty much "anti-dumping", I have to see it through.

Thanks for the reference to a mill. My limitation is that I can only brew once a month and to me milling my own means buying grain in quantity, which would go bad from lack of use. Plus I don't have a place to mill away from where I brew. And I don't want that dust flying around.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:23 PM   #5
ASantiago
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeastluvr View Post
Yes your yeild will be significantly lower. It should be easy to tell if your grains are not crushed by looking at them, sounds like they were not by the description. There is without a doubt sugar in the wort but you probably had a super low effeciency. I dont think becasue the grains were unrushed something different is now in your wort......its still grain, crushed or uncrushed.
You are correct. But I was thinking more in terms of ratios. In any given beer there will be things other than sugars (I'm talking things that are supposed to be there). But sugars make up the vast majority of the contents.

However, when extraction is poor to nil, do those ratios change so that now the "other" stuff makes up a larger percentage? That's what I'm wondering.
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:48 AM   #6
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Without crushing you'll get about 25% of the sugars that you'd get with a good crush.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:07 PM   #7
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Update: OG was 1.030. Reading today, one week since inoculation, 1.023. My experience is most of the sugars are usually gone by now (but I fully realize fermentation is not done yet).

Among other issues this batch may have is overpitching. I had prepared a starter with a healthy amount of yeast from the previous batch and used it. However, the volume I got out of the kettle was 1/2 of expected, so I probably pitched way too much yeast. I may now have a stuck fermentation.

The next step in my regular process is to increase the temperature by a few degrees for the next few days. We'll see what happens as a result of that.

I hate to say it, but this is looking like a dumper. But I'm going to see the entire fermentation process through, including some cold conditioning. I'm not keeping any high hopes, though.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:48 AM   #8
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Just to close this topic out...

I dumped the batch. It was a disappointment to have to do it, given all the effort I put into it, but it just didn't come out. It was just issue after issue: funky smells, a weak fermentation that ultimately stalled, no clarification during the cleanup and cold conditioning stages, etc, etc.

I highly suspected it was going to be a waste, but wanted to see the whole process through with it.

On a very, very positive note, Brewmasters Warehouse reinforced their reputation of great customer service by owning up to the mistake immediately, apologizing, and resending me the ingredients at no cost to me.

So, this past Saturday, I brewed again and I'm happy to say it all went well and I have a nice Blonde Ale fermenting away as I write this.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:17 PM   #9
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Now that is good customer service!
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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Wow. They instantly claimed responsibility? I wonder if other people had the same problem. Maybe they had a new guy in the warehouse who didn't know you had to crush the grains before packing. Kudos for their customer service though.

 
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