Blue Moon Clone - Looks light and tasted watered down

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Volkar

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I brewed my first all grain batch four weeks ago, I utilized BIAB and did a full volume boil based on John Palmers BIAB targets. I linked the recipe will all details. I just bottled it last night and it looked good in the fermenter (picture attached). But once I siphoned some out for a FG reading, I noticed right away it looked more like a bud light than a blue moon. It also tasted like a very watered down blue moon. I’m letting them naturally carbonate over the next week or so.

I know it might seem obvious that I probably added too much strike water, but my OG and FG were right on the money for this recipe. Any help would be appreciated as I don’t want to brew another batch until I can figure out why it came out so thin bodied.

Cheers 🍻
 

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hotbeer

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Beer will never taste right till it's bottled or kegged and carbonated. You might can get some ideas about the flavor and aroma notes. But don't put too much into even a bad tasting sample.

Even after bottling or kegging beer will sometimes change certain qualities as it gets older. So once it's where you want it after bottling or kegging, then you need to keep it cold to hold that as long as possible.

Otherwise it might get better still or worse.
 
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Volkar

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Your beer will gain in apparent body when it is carbonated. Give it 3 weeks in the bottle and report on what you find then. (you can sample one (only one, mind you) at a week to get an idea of how it is progressing but don't base your conclusions on that.)
Much appreciated, I’ll report back once carbonation is complete.
 
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Volkar

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Beer will never taste right till it's bottled or kegged and carbonated. You might can get some ideas about the flavor and aroma notes. But don't put too much into even a bad tasting sample.

Even after bottling or kegging beer will sometimes change certain qualities as it gets older. So once it's where you want it after bottling or kegging, then you need to keep it cold to hold that as long as possible.

Otherwise it might get better still or worse.
Appreciate it, I’ll report back in a couple weeks.
 

DBhomebrew

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If you haven't yet, take a look at this thread.

 

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If you haven't yet, take a look at this thread.

I just did that! I way overshot the OG though so it’s about 6.7% oops. My mash eff. is about 80% now that I tightened my mill up to 0.035-38 (drain and batch sparge)
 
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IslandLizard

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I just did that! I way overshot the OG though so it’s about 6.7% oops. My mash eff. is about 80% now that I tightened my mill up to 0.035-38
A 0.035" gap is still a bit (too) wide for wheat malt, at least on my 2-roller MM-2 mill.
I use 0.035" for barley; wheat malt is crushed separately on a 0.025" gap.

Rye malt and especially Oat malt enjoy an even tighter gap, 0.022" and 0.016" resp.

The issue with most store mills is the wide gap they use. Wheat kernels drop through, mostly uncrushed. Running through twice, as some will do, doesn't fix that.
 

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Additionally, US-05 is a clean American yeast. If you want to add extra Belgian character you should use a Belgian yeast.
 

IslandLizard

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No doubt, good carbonation will make that beer taste fuller, giving it better mouthfeel.

What temp did you mash at?

I've found it's not all that easy to boost dextrine levels by simply mashing at a higher temp, somewhere in the 154-162F range, though. If it dips below the higher chosen mash temp, for only 5-10 minutes or so, while doughing in, beta amylase will have nibbled many of the ends off already, making the wort much more fermentable than intended. So you need to start high, let it settle at your target temp, and keep it there, all throughout.
 
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Volkar

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No doubt, good carbonation will make that beer taste fuller, giving it better mouthfeel.

What temp did you mash at?

I've found it's not all that easy to boost dextrine levels by simply mashing at a higher temp, somewhere in the 154-162F range, though. If it dips below the higher chosen mash temp, for only 5-10 minutes or so, while doughing in, beta amylase will have nibbled many of the ends off already, making the wort much more fermentable than intended. So you need to start high, let it settle at your target temp, and keep it there, all throughout.
This is a great piece of advice. I tried to mash at 152, but when I doughed in it dropped to around 147 for a couple minutes or so. So I turned the heat back up and then stabilized it at 152. Looks like that could have been the issue
 
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Volkar

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This is a great piece of advice. I tried to mash at 152, but when I doughed in it dropped to around 147 for a couple minutes or so. So I turned the heat back up and then stabilized it at 152. Looks like that could have been the issue
Also, when letting my bag drain after the mash, I killed the heat on my kettle and let it sit for another 10 minutes. That could also of been why those dextrins were broken down further yet leading to a “watery” beer.
 

Kickass

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Blue moon isn’t a Belgian beer though so don’t use Belgian yeast for it
That’s fair but if the complaint is that the beer was boring and thin, I’d scrap the US-05 in favor of something less attenuative and more flavorful. Say...a Belgian yeast.
 

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From the Blue Moon Clone thread I linked to above. Wayne1 was a Coors brewer during the early days of Blue Moon.

A less flocculent yeast would remain in suspension longer.

English yeast strains, such as S-04 and Windsor, flocculate faster, are a bit fruitier, and usually have a higher final gravity.

S-05 and the Chico/California ale strains are medium flocculent.

For a Blue Moon clone you do want to use a clean ale strain, all of which do tend to drop clear eventually.

The traditional Belgian yeasts have quite a bit of phenolics and do not flocculate as much as the cleaner strains. Added to the wheat you do tend to get a very cloudy beer.

For fun, you can try blending a couple of strains of yeast. Maybe an English strain with an American strain to try to get less flocculation and will end at a higher gravity, so you can get more mouthfeel.
 

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Also, when letting my bag drain after the mash, I killed the heat on my kettle and let it sit for another 10 minutes. That could also of been why those dextrins were broken down further yet leading to a “watery” beer.
A mashout right after the mash is recommended to retain your wort profile.
Enzymes work fast, once they are in the liquid phase, which is where all the conversion action takes place.

Starting the mash at a bit higher temp, then letting it slowly settle at your target temp over the next 10 minutes while you're stirring is the best and easiest way, IMO. 5 gallon batches are easier to handle that way, but larger batches (10-20 gallons) will retain heat better. Insulation around the kettle during the mash helps enormously.

Just be careful heating the mash directly, especially when there's a bag in the kettle. Scorched wort/grist taste way worse than thinnish beer. ;)
A false bottom and recirculation can help tremendously accomplishing higher temp mash profiles.
 
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Volkar

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A mashout right after the mash is recommended to retain your wort profile.
Enzymes work fast, once they are in the liquid phase, which is where all the conversion action takes place.

Starting the mash at a bit higher temp, then letting it slowly settle at your target temp over the next 10 minutes while you're stirring is the best and easiest way, IMO. 5 gallon batches are easier to handle that way, but larger batches (10-20 gallons) will retain heat better. Insulation around the kettle during the mash helps enormously.

Just be careful heating the mash directly, especially when there's a bag in the kettle. Scorched wort/grist taste way worse than thinnish beer. ;)
A false bottom and recirculation can help tremendously accomplishing higher temp mash profiles.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I think it was a compounded problem with what you stated as well as my pH. I used a test strip and found out it wasn’t even reading on the range of 5.2 to 5.6 during dough in. So I’m thinking that lead to more fermentables and less dextrins.
 

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I see target FG 1.014, actual 1.01
My latest Blue Moon was thin because I used WY1007 to try to make it "crisper" and ended up making it finish too low, 1.008. Try @Wayne1 's suggestion of S04 or Windsor next time.
 

IslandLizard

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Thank you, thank you, thank you. I think it was a compounded problem with what you stated as well as my pH.
YVW !!! :D
It takes a few times to get the process tuned in on one's system. Indeed, compounded, there are many variables. Just keep at it.
It's much easier to lose 3 degrees than it is to raise it the same amount.

I used a test strip and found out it wasn’t even reading on the range of 5.2 to 5.6 during dough in.
Yeah, sorry, those test strips are very inaccurate, and hard to read, compounding the problem. Swatches of brown in brown wort... At least your wort had a light color. Try that in a Stout. :drunk:
Besides, once you take a reading, even with a probe, it's usually too late to fix it.

Using a mash/sparge water calculator such as Bru'n Water, Mash-Made-Easy (MME) or Brewer's Friend's are darn accurate, and should get you close. Basically you'd be verifying it. Our Brew Science forum has many discussions on mash pH and pointers on measuring it.
Make sure you know the mineral content of the water you start out with, especially alkalinity IRT mash pH. Or possibly even more importantly, sparge pH. The last thing you want to do is sparging hot at a high pH, and extracting tannins.
 
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Volkar

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Alright, we tried the first growler tonight. It turned out a lot better than originally expected! The carbonation and time helped tremendously! Next time I will ensure the mash-in doesn’t drop below 153 and also to perform a mash-out at 168. Thanks to everyone for the tips!
 

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IslandLizard

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Alright, we tried the first growler tonight. It turned out a lot better than originally expected! The carbonation and time helped tremendously! Next time I will ensure the mash-in doesn’t drop below 153 and also to perform a mash-out at 168. Thanks to everyone for the tips!
Your Blue Moon looks way better than any Blue Moon I've seen the past 10 years. You can be proud of it.

If I had to change anything in your recipe for the next brew, I would rather use flaked wheat instead of wheat malt. Something about that raw wheat that makes it closer to an authentic Belgian Wit... which is the inspiration of a Blue Moon, AFAIK.

I swear, Blue Moon was so much better in 2008 than whatever it has become since. We drank several pints of it at (a hot) ArtScape then, here, in downtown Baltimore. Maltier, hoppier, more orange/spice, and with a wonderful mouthfeel.
 

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Alright, we tried the first growler tonight. It turned out a lot better than originally expected! The carbonation and time helped tremendously! Next time I will ensure the mash-in doesn’t drop below 153 and also to perform a mash-out at 168. Thanks to everyone for the tips!
Are you fly sparging with a conventional mash tun? If not, skip the mash out, it isn't needed. It may not be needed for a fly sparge either.
 

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I swear, Blue Moon was so much better in 2008 than whatever it has become since...Maltier, hoppier, more orange/spice, and with a wonderful mouthfeel.
+1. There's quite the contingent of those who are less than enthusiastic about Blue Moon, but I recall liking it sooooo much better "the other day"*. I agree with you completely that my memories of it from 15-20 yr ago are of something different.


*Just ask my long suffering kids, but "the other day" is my pat phrase for a time interval that could be 20 minutes ago or 10 years ago.
 
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Volkar

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Are you fly sparging with a conventional mash tun? If not, skip the mash out, it isn't needed. It may not be needed for a fly sparge either.
I am not fly sparging, just a straight BIAB with some stirring every ten minutes. I killed the heat while letting the bag drain and the thought process is that the wort became over fermentable.
 

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The enzymes should be in the grain where the starch is, not in the wort. In any case, when you pull the bag, turn the heat on immediately to start heating the wort toward the boil while the bag is draining. That will be your mash out.

Try a batch where you don't stir the mash and see what changes. Most likely the only change you will see is that the temperature of the mash doesn't fall as much and the muscles in your stirring arm don't get as much exercise.

If you can get some iodine, check the grain particles for the remaining presence of starch every 5 minutes until the iodine doesn't turn blue anymore. If that never happens, get the grains milled better. Well milled grains will fully convert. When fully converted your conversion is complete. If that happens in less than 30 minutes, let the grains sit until the 30 minute mark as it takes about that long to extract the flavors.
 
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Volkar

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The enzymes should be in the grain where the starch is, not in the wort. In any case, when you pull the bag, turn the heat on immediately to start heating the wort toward the boil while the bag is draining. That will be your mash out.

Try a batch where you don't stir the mash and see what changes. Most likely the only change you will see is that the temperature of the mash doesn't fall as much and the muscles in your stirring arm don't get as much exercise.

If you can get some iodine, check the grain particles for the remaining presence of starch every 5 minutes until the iodine doesn't turn blue anymore. If that never happens, get the grains milled better. Well milled grains will fully convert. When fully converted your conversion is complete. If that happens in less than 30 minutes, let the grains sit until the 30 minute mark as it takes about that long to extract the flavors.
Really appreciate all this great information! Will give this a shot for my next batch!
 

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The best part about your pic of the final product is that it doesn't look murky. In fact it looks pretty clean.

I wince when others hand me a glass of their swill where obviously they've gotten the term hazy confused.
 
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